Social Justice Candle - June 30, 2014

By Frank O'Barski

It may surprise y’all to learn that I have always considered law and politics as a form of communal play. The Supreme Court of the United States has decided that women’s health clinics are not entitled to a buffer zone between protestors against abortion and the women who need abortion or other medical services.

Now, let me say, this is a fraught political topic, and I am not here to argue pro or anti.  I don’t personally like the idea of abortion. But I also don’t like the idea of women being forced to make a hard decision in their lives after being insulted, spat upon, and physically assaulted for seeking medical care.

My issue is with the kind of behavior people feel is acceptable in a policy disagreement. Like people walking into stores full of children and mothers armed for combat. Like people name calling and spewing hate against people with whom they disagree.  And I am old enough to remember this kind of behavior from the other side of some issues.

I try my best to respect people even when we argue about things. As some of you know, I am a talker, and more than willing to share my opinions. I am part Irish. I love a good old donnybrook. But when it is over, I shake hands and buy the other fellow a drink

It seems to me, and this is part of why I am a UU, that we can disagree and debate respectfully, protest peacefully and try to show moral leadership quietly and respectfully. 

I don’t assume I know better than everyone else, and certainly not about everything on which I have an opinion.  We can disagree respectfully, without name calling or violence or threats. I may be naïve, but that to me is the essence of humanity summarized in the golden rule: Do unto others as you would have others do unto you. That seems to me to be the essence of spiritual leadership.

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