Lately I’ve seen a lot of stories about people who try to force their beliefs on others by attempting to punish them in some way. People leaving nasty notes instead of tips, saying they can’t tip someone because they don’t approve of their lifestyle, or leaving them a religious tract instead of a tip.
Yeah, that’s a great recruitment strategy. Show that you’re cheap and intolerant. That’ll make someone want to be just like you.
Many years ago, when a family friend’s children were very young, they were traveling through my state and decided to come to visit me. I was looking forward to having a nice old fashioned sleep over with the kids, whom I love very much. Movies, popcorn, the works. But their mother informed me, at the last minute, that they’d be staying in a hotel. Why? Because I lived with my boyfriend, and she didn’t want to teach her kids that living in sin was okay.
Just to clarify, I had been living with said boyfriend for 12 years, and this woman, who felt she had the moral high ground, had been married three times. One marriage had lasted less than a year, and she had started seeing the latest one while he was still married to someone else.
So I counted to ten, slowly. And I said to her, “It is very important to teach your children right from wrong. I agree. But I can’t participate in teaching them that if you disapprove of someone’s lifestyle you should shun them. I can’t participate in teaching them intolerance. I can’t participate in teaching them that if someone disagrees with you, they cannot be accepted. This is a rapidly changing world, and they are going to run into all kinds of people during the course of their lives. So feel free to tell them that you disapprove of living together without being married if you wish, tell them you think I’m going straight to hell if you must, but if they’re not allowed in my house, then what you are teaching them is how to be prejudiced and inflexible and closed minded, and that any and all experiences that don’t fit with their belief system are to be avoided, and that, to me, is tragic and unacceptable.”
We had a very enjoyable sleep over.