Have you ever started to read a book, story, article, watched a movie or TV show where you realized that the writer had another agenda other than telling a story? In the guise of a story, they only want to attack a belief, a religion, a way of life?

I have stopped dead in bookstores and libraries on the first page of  books which I thought I wanted to take home for that very reason. I have quit reading a book five pages in or two-hundred, (and never learned who-dun-it), for that reason as well. I have quit watching series that I enjoyed for several seasons when the writers changed, or changed their minds, or thought they had the audience now engaged enough to accept the agenda they wanted to push, the ethnicity or the religion or they wanted to attack.

That is not to say that I, as a Christian who identifies as a Catholic, watch only movies that agree with my personal beliefs and feelings.

In fact, that is hardly the case.  I haven’t even found more than two or three of those stories in my entire life, and that is fine. I find it hard to find a priest here that I agree with and who ‘gets it right’, as I see it, or as it has been taught through the ages, (and many of them got the actual teachings way wrong, but I digress). I will be the first to admit that the Church as it is in a mess and is inconsistent.

I will also be the first American to admit the United States government is and has been in a mess, and is duplicitous in its handling of its people and other countries, but I don’t want to read a book that doesn’t have a real story to tell, and is only an attack on any particular politician, however vaguely disguised they may be.

I left one political party of which I was a member for about thirty years and registered as an Independent around fifteen years ago over the mess the parties are in, but I don’t want to read a book that is out to attack either one.I am not going to read a book where someone is harping over one or another, be they on target with their barbs. I don’t need it.

Some years back I was given a book and asked to give a review. I read it through because it was short, but I contacted the writer’s agent and asked if they really wanted my honest opinion posted in public. The man had a bone to pick with National Public Radio. He had worked there and he thought that he could ‘get back at them’ subtly through humor within the story, but he failed.

It wasn’t subtle and it wasn’t funny. It was just a series of attacks.

Not that I am wild about NPR and the agendas that they push at times. I do enjoy some of their shows, but they really have been constantly pushing, pushing, pushing what they want to get across. Even if I agreed with what they promote (or attack), enough is enough.

Anyone who has been here before knows that I grew up in the Washington, DC suburbs. You meet people from all over there, from all over the country and all over the world. If you grow up in a place like that, (or any place, I imagine), with prejudices or those who close people out for their differences, you are in for a hard time that you brought on yourself.

Being prejudiced, you are going to be unhappy and you are going to miss knowing wonderful  people of any, all, or no religious beliefs, customs, or ideas. Some of the finest people that I know consider themselves atheists or agnostic. I have Jewish people that I love and possibly the  finest person in this area is a Muslim. I know Baha’is and Sihks that have been wonderful, among many others. Do I think that all religions are equal? No one believes that.

 No one believs that they are wrong in what they believe or they wouldn’t believe, it’s that simple. But we need to have respect.

I am not going to not read a book or not watch a movie because there is something of it which does not agree with my personal beliefs and allow myself to miss great stories, great writing or a chance to understand others because of narrowmindedness.

(I honestly knew a woman who would not let her kids watch Disney cartoons. She cited
“Bibbity-Bobbity-Boo”, I kid you not.)

All of us here have been very civilized, which is why I have tried to do my best during my tenure here. I have enjoyed every moment of it. I have enjoyed all of my colleagues and the guests. We agree to quietly disagree. We know that everyone here respects each other and our differences. We don’t get political, we don’t discuss the differences in our personal beliefs. We accept each other with respect.

Of course, all of us here put our personal values into our stories; how can we not? But out of respect of our readers, and to reach as many people as possible, we know better than to overtly press our beliefs and certainly do not attack others in the process.

I will read, listen to, or watch stories of all cultures, and many flaws must be shown or they are not true-to-life. I don’t have to have everything all sweetness and light, but outright attacks are a no-go with me.

There is an organization/religion/ cult which family members went into. I hate it, I hated it immediately. It ruined lives and stopped people close to me from straightening out their lives and gave them excuses to become worse. Yet, when one family member left and attacked that organization, (even to the point of stealing papers and going to jail), I was not proud of him. He did it out of spite, and because they did not, in his opinion, appreciate him. 

I distanced myself from him; what he said wasn’t wrong, but how and why he did it was.

Within the last week I have been attacked on Facebook for my beliefs. I have not been overtly outspoken; I stopped posting anything political, (as upset as I am over many, many matters). After years of silence I did, however, post in comments try to make people understand that they  have been misunderstanding the intentions of one part of one group, a group who was truly trying to show care and love, when these people see the opposite in them. They will not listen, their minds are made up. They could not open their minds or hearts to see any of the side’s ideas and in their opinion. In their concrete minds, everyone who is sensitive to this matter is insesnsitive, (and those the other side are of the same opinion about them).

There is no middle ground or even an attempt to see the other side’s understanding of the situation.  I got personal attacks from friends of friends who don’t know me at all and one with whom I considered myself in a friendly relationship.

I realized that there is no discussing this matter. Haters gotta hate, and even those I considered intelligent have closed minds at times and well, truly “None is so blind as he who will not see”.

I have been very disappointed in some people lately, very.

Just a couple of days ago I saw an attack on the Church. Again, I am not a happy person about what is going on within the Church, but we need to have respect. It was silly attack. It was not about any scandal, it was not about it being considered too strict or too loose on morals or political matters. It was a matter of wording and one little tradition.

With all the differences in religions and sects even within religions and every denomination of each religion, who agrees on the exact and every word of any scripture passage? There are debates on the Torah, there are conflicting teachings in the Koran, and there certainly are in the Bible. There are churches every ten feet, there are preachers all over each saying something different. The differences between what this pope says and what every priest says or understands is being interpreted in incredible amount of ways. You can find a priest who will agree with anything you want to say that is outrageous in any direction, if you look.

So, given that few of us agree on much, why go on Facebook and attack someone’s church’s traditions if it isn’t harming anyone? Why look for insignificant differences and attack?

I say that I am tolerant, but I do draw lines. For years I belonged to a religious rights organization. It defended people of every religion. I was very proud when they defended a Jewish military chaplain who was in a position to absolutely have to be in uniform, but at one point also absolutely had to don a yarmulke and shawl. No religious garments are not allowed while in uniform, but he was in a no-win situation. A few years later I immediately quit the organization when, after the founder died, the new head decided to defend a person a cult that involved the loss of school time, without loss of grades, in a year-long indoctrination of a child as a ‘priestess”, and where they sacrificed animals. I protested and left. (It has changed again, but the head is a blow-hard fool with whom I have spoken, who is a blow-hard and no business speaking for others, soI never went back.)

I stated in a comment on Facebook that I did not think that the person needed to be attacking a word or a simple tradition which did not affect this person’s life, nor any of Christianity. Again, I was besieged by this particular, other ‘friendly’ person and people whom I did not know, and who do not know me, citing literal scripture wording. I could have debated that there was a continuation of  that reading which I know that they use and contradict, but I did not want to debate the words. However these people did; they wanted a fight and to hate, which is what I wanted to stop them from doing. I removed my comments, and so, their rebuttals and assaults, and  I am sure that they thought that they ‘won’.
Haters gotta hate.

I do not believe that ‘defending’ one’s religion or belief necessitates attacking others, let alone Christian against Christian, when it is a matter of words or tradition where there is no harm. If we are to take Scripture literally, then love, understanding, and respect are where all should start.

We need to use it in our daily lives, in our actions and in our writings.


in what we write, what we give credence to by what we read or watch,

and in our words, spoken or posted.


About Tonette Joyce

Tonette was a once-fledgling lyricists-bookkeeper, turned cook/baker/restaurateur and is now exploring different writing venues,(with a stage play recently completed). She has had poetry and nonfiction articles published in the last few years. Tonette has been married to her only serious boyfriend for more than thirty years and she is, as one person described her, family-oriented almost to a fault. Never mind how others have described her, she is,(shall we say), a sometime traditionalist of eclectic tastes.She has another blog : "Tonette Joyce:Food,Friends,Family" here at WordPress.She and guests share tips and recipes for easy entertaining and helps people to be ready for almost anything.
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6 Responses to R.E.S.P.E.C.T.

  1. Patricia Kiyono says:

    You said it all, and I agree.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Jeff Salter says:

    I don’t discuss politics — except with my family (and I don’t find it fulfilling in any way). There is hardly anyone these days with whom I fully “agree” on interpretations / policies / etc — which I find depressing and demoralizing. On Facebook, in particular, I find daily NUMEROUS outrageous (to me) statements about politics and political figures… and I have to quickly scroll past them in disappointment and (sometimes) disgust.
    Same with religious matters — which I hardly discuss in public (other than Sunday school class). Many things I see / hear / read offend me deeply and I have to deal with them as I do those offensive political posts — scroll past hurriedly. It’s extremely rare for me to make a comment… and I never participate in the “debate” (which immediately because a violent argument) on that thread. If the issue is offensive enough, I quietly block that poster or suspend the appearance of that person’s posts on my timeline.
    I find very little RESPECT these days in ANY venue — whether FB / TV / other media / or in person. Last month I was in a barber’s chair when a fellow two chairs down felt the need to loudly pontificate about his own skewed opinions about everything and everyone. By the time my haircut was complete and I exited, I felt completely “invaded” by that blow-hard’s incessant diatribe.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I never engage people in public, but with this person, I felt that it was completely uncalled for, especially with their zealous opinion that they were doing the Lord’s will. I think that many people will be very surprised when they face Him. Whether they are right or not, it’s the attacking stance they took with it that is the problem.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Elaine Cantrell says:

    There’s no point in discussing politics or religion on places like Facebook. I often find myself at odds with the political beliefs of some of my friends, but I just won’t go there. I’ve never attacked anyone’s religion even though I think some of them are dead wrong. If I did I would not be showing respect for them as individuals, and to me that’s important. It’s a hard thing to find in this day and time.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I don’t usually, Elaine, but these times were too much. The person/people attacking the Church were so hateful over a couple of simple traditions, I saw no excuse for this behavior. The other group was judging everyone who did not see things exactly their way as all being hate-filled and uncaring, and they will not listen to reason; they just wanted to hate. In fact, when I asked them to help prove that someone they disliked was a hypocrite, they refused. Believe it or not, they did not want that person to be in any way less hateable in their own eyes.
    Most people today are so polarized, with an “Us versus Them” mentality, that they not only don’t understand anyone else’s intentions, they don’t even want others to have decent (in their own eyes), intentions. The same people who should be lovingly caring are completely blinded by jumping on bandwagons and being the opposite of caring, and they have no desire for fairness.


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