Tuesday, September 13, 2005

How to make CC terribly uncomfortable IRL

Matthew writes in the comments on the "Democratic Party" post.

We attract people not so much through theology, but through cultural and political identification. As one UU minister of my acquaintance is fond of saying, "Why would a Republican *want* to be a UU?" Unfortunately, he has a point. When we eschew religious depth for a kind of tribal us-and-them cultural and political identity, we lose the elements of religion that transcend partisan politics.

For the record, CC in real life is not nearly such a firebrand as she is in writing. She's actually a bit shy around people she doesn't know well and when she hears people on Sunday morning insulting Republicans as a group, misstating facts, and in general doing the sorts of things she would jump on you for here, she just stands there uncomfortably for a moment, then silently creeps away. She actually talked to a minister once about some political things the minister had said from the pulpit that basically oversimplified something. The minister was sweet and apologetic about it, but CC was still very embarassed and probably won't repeat the trick.

My big concern is political things UUs do as a church and in worship. If you personally want to insult Republicans as a group, that's your business. But we've probably lost some good members to moments like some I've experienced.

who for whatever reason has defended Christianity to near-strangers, but can't quite do that for Republicans, perhaps because she has been a Christian but never been a Republican.


Denise said...

It's interesting, UU's will defend all religions and all races and all genders but when it comes to Republicans... do they not realize that they actually have Republicans in their congregations - like my girlfriend.

indrax said...

We are primates, we will react differently when in the presence of another primate.
For this same reason, some people are likely more agressive in person, and more polite in writing.

In person I am compassionate and reserved, if I voice disagreement, I will try not to upset the other person.
Online, I can be vicious. I don't know if I've made strangers cry, but I've had it as a goal. It's their punishment for being wrong.
I try not to be vicious.

IRL, I instinctively take into account the degree to which people have emotional attachments to their ideas, and I instinctively care enough not to hurt them.

Online, it's all about the ideas, and if the idea is wrong I will pick it apart. It takes effort and thought to show that same compassion.