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Monday, August 13, 2012

Affirm or Attack

The other day I was driving down the road, minding my business, when someone attacked California. Right there in the lane next to mine.

Let me explain. I live in a state that borders California. Now, most people are pretty patriotic when it comes to their homes, whether it be the U.S. against the world or their home state against all others. So it's fairly common to see stickers that are pro-the-state-we're-in. And, of course, since I live in a state that has a large number of immigrants from other states, it's not uncommon to see stickers in favor of the states from which they came. It's not hard to find a license plate frame that says "Native New Yorker" on a vehicle with Arizona plates, for instance. And, of course, there are a lot of pro-California stickers here since there are a lot of Californian expatriates here. Fine.

So, now we come to this brazen attack. It was on the car that passed me. It had a sticker on its back window. Written in a common script that often spells out something like "So-Cal" or "Nor-Cal" indicating someone from southern or northern California, this one said, "Not-Cal."

Okay, so I'm taking it too far. Fine. As it turns out, "Not-Cal" is the name of a brand of clothing. They sell themselves as "a REAL brand to show off the GREAT state of Arizona!!!" (Note: The capitalizations and exclamation marks are from their statement; they're not added by me.) So, you see, they are indeed attacking California.

I only point this out to illustrate the difference between affirming and attacking. Recently there was quite a battle over remarks that favored "traditional family" and "biblical marriage". These were labeled as attacks. They are not. I'm hoping that this example of bumper stickers can help you see the difference between attacking something and affirming something. Affirming A is an affirmation of A, not an attack of B. Saying, for instance, "I like cats" does not require "I hate dogs." Saying "I favor biblical marriage and the traditional family" is not the same thing as saying "I hate gays." This is a simple logical fallacy, an error in thinking, a lie when it is pointed out as such and ignored and repeated.

But, I suppose this won't go very far. Those who are so bigoted and hateful that they cannot see an affirmation of something other than their own position as anything but an attack on their own position won't likely read this, smack their foreheads, and say, "Oh, my! Thanks for clearing that up!" I'm hoping, however, that one or two can see the difference between affirming God's Word and attacking those who deny it, affirming biblical and traditional values and attacking those who deny it. And maybe, just maybe, some will make an effort to be less attacking and more affirming in their conversations. Is attacking always wrong? No, of course not. Jesus did it. Paul did it. Peter did it. God did it. Still, we might consider being affirming more than we are attacking. Sure, it won't stop people from being hateful and judgmental of people they deem hateful and judgmental, but at least it will serve to give us a cleaner conscience.

2 comments:

Marshall Art said...

The worst part is how often one who affirms God's Will regarding marriage and/or family will still affirm the homosexual as a human being endowed with the same rights the rest of us possess. That is always ignored by those who demand "rights" that don't exist.

Stan said...

Affirming opposites is itself problematic, of course. But I've rarely seen those who affirm the "rights" of homosexuals to redefine the concept of marriage without resorting to "narrow-minded, bigoted, haters" kind of rhetoric (which is not "affirm", but "attack").