Human Dignity vs. Minimum Wage or, Where the Right Goes Wrong


DSC02097Matt Walsh, the male Ann Coulter for the right (and he’s on the same path), is back at it again, creating a straw man and then hacking it to pieces. This time around, he’s picking on Walmart employees that don’t enjoy the wages and treatment, saying they should be thankful to have a job and that if they just worked a bit harder, they’d all get promotions. In this conservative utopia where hard work is always justly rewarded, everyone becomes the manager, everyone works their way up to the top, and everyone becomes rich who deserves to be rich. Sadly, however, Matt Walsh (and conservatives in general) ignore the importance of human dignity within the wage debate (not that liberals do any better; they demonize and dehumanize the rich, whereas the conservatives demonize and dehumanize the poor).

From a purely practical standpoint, basic psychology tells us that if we treat someone as less than human then that person will act as less than human. One wonders why in the Roman Empire there were so precious few slave revolts until one realizes that beating slaves and treating them as less than human led them to believe they were less than human. The same rings true within the American south, where slaves didn’t revolt even when they made up a majority. Typically, when humans are exploited, they begin to think of themselves as “lesser than” and act accordingly. It should serve as no surprise, then, that when you put a minimum investment into a person you get a minimum return.

The better I’m treated, the less I have to worry about bills, the more incentive there is to earn higher pay for working harder, the likelier I am to be a better worker. The promise of an eventual promotion that may or may not come is merely dangling a carrot in front of the horse, getting him to run harder without the promise of ever actually eating the carrot. “If you work hard, then perhaps someday you too could become an executive in this corporation!” This, of course, is assuming that you’re able to keep a roof over your head, pay for electricity and water, and then afford the necessary education to get promoted. More than likely, however, even the hardest working Walmart employee (or any other big retail chain) will find herself stuck within store management, typically after years of hard work.

See, for all the love between Christianity and American conservatives, we would do well to remember that the two are not the same. Modern conservatism, or neo-conservativism is actually Darwinian and materialistic in its outlook on life. Modern conservatism, at least economic conservatism, is nothing more than the bastard child of Ayn Rand, the ugly offspring of objectivism. Within this philosophy the individual reigns supreme, even over the family unit. The essential core is that if a man wants to be rich, he has to be willing to outwork and undercut anyone around him, even if it’s his wife and kids. The end objective of existence is for the individual to realize himself. Such a teaching stands in stark contrast to Christianity, which teaches that the individual is nothing without the community, that a man must sacrifice himself to his family’s needs, and the objective of existence is to become like God.

Thus, the minimum wage debate is an interesting one in which we have conservatives, many of whom want to “take back” a “Christian America,” arguing for pragmatic utilitarianism, one of the most anti-Christian philosophies out there. “I’ll pay you for what I think you’re worth, depending on what you bring me.” Such a thought process inherently views the laborer not as a person, but as a commodity. The laborer is then viewed as nothing more than livestock, produce, or whatever it is the company happens to sell. While the labor itself is a commodity, the laborer is not; he is a human being and worthy of dignity and respect. The Christian view, then, is that the commodity of labor is to be treated fairly to the laborer because he is made in the image of God. Continue reading

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Loving God but Hating His Image, or How Our Attitude Toward Illegal Immigrants is Reprehensible


childimmigrantpic

Photo Courtesy of Voice of America

This article is not about how the U.S. should handle the massive influx of children illegally crossing the boarder.  I do not pretend to understand all of the variables involved in this complex issue and it is not my intention to argue in favor of any particular form of legislation or promote any one solution.  In fact, I’m not interested in politics at all (at least within the context of what I’m about to say).  This article is about our attitude toward thousands of impoverished at-risk youth living in conditions so bad they’re willing to risk their lives just to make it to our boarder.  More specifically, it’s about Christians who allegedly love God yet make disparaging, heartless, and down right selfish comments about illegal immigrants.  It’s about those who claim to know the Lord but, through their actions (or lack thereof) and attitudes hate His divine image. 

Let us begin with a self examination.  Do you find yourself looking down on those who illegally cross our boarders?  Do you find them an inconvenience or a nuisance?  Do you resent them?  Do you find yourself indifferent to their plight?  Do you feel they are underserving of your charity?  Are you angry or embittered by their presence?  Do they annoy you?  Do you believe their plight is no business of yours? . . . If you answered yes to any of these questions it’s important for you to realize these feelings stand in complete opposition to the Gospel.  They are selfish, prideful, heartless feelings.  They are, in short, sinful attitudes unbefitting a follower of Christ (oh yes, I went there).

Let’s review three crucial points of theology to help us understand why:


 (1) Man Is Made in the Image of God

Christians believe every man, woman, and child has objective value, dignity, and worth because everyone–no matter their age, race, culture, gender, nationality, or sexual orientation–is made in the image and likeness of God (Genesis 1:26-28; Wisdom 2:23).

(2) We are Commanded to Love our Neighbor

Christ states that the first and greatest commandment is to Love God, “with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind” (Matt. 22:37).  Interestingly, our Lord follows this by stating that the second commandment is like the first: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.‘  On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets” (Matt. 22:39-40).  Why is loving our neighbor with all of our might like loving God with all of our being?  Because man is made in the image of God.  Therefore, anyone who truly loves God will truly love His image and likeness.  This is why Jesus also taught that to discard, belittle, or ignore those in need is to discard, belittle and ignore Him.

(3) If We Don’t Love our Neighbor, We Don’t Know God

The Bible teaches it is impossible to know God–to have saving faith or a personal relationship with Him–and harbor ill-will or hate in our heart toward our neighbor (I John 2: 9-11; 4: 20-21).  St. James, echoing the teaching of our Lord, states that a faith without love (i.e., works) is dead (Matt. 7:17-23; 25:31-46; James 2:14-26).


Take a moment and seriously dwell upon these truths.  In fact, take time to look up the passages I’ve cited and let them sink in.  Then, ask yourself if your attitude toward illegal immigrants (not the impersonal concept “illegal immigration” but the actual people: the helpless children, the father’s desperate to be with their families, the women fleeing sex traffickers . . . ) is truly a Christian one.  Forget your political affiliation, forget your nationality, forget your social status.  If you profess to be a Christian you claim, first and foremost, to be a citizen of the City of God; a part of the Kingdom of Heaven; a member of the Body of Christ.  Your deepest and truest loyalties transcend all worldly categories and all worldly affiliations.  Your chief duty is to love, to serve, and to lay down your life for your neighbor (including your enemies).  This is your chief duty precisely because the greatest commandment is to Love God; but it is impossible to truly love God and hate His image.

As I peruse Facebook statuses, read comments on news articles, and listen in on conversations, I grow disheartened.  I am appalled and embarrassed by the reprehensible attitudes of professed Christians toward illegal immigrants.  I feel disgusted by those who, in virtue of their attitudes, fail to empathize with or care for those suffering and in dire need of help; and I wonder how long we shall ignore the sound of their voices screaming for help?

My American brothers and sisters, please stop.  Stop speaking heartlessly; stop acting selfishly; stop worshiping your country; stop discriminating based on nationality; stop discarding, belittling, and ignoring your neighbors; stop your crummy attitudes.  My dear brothers and sisters, love your neighbor as you love yourself; for without love you are nothing.

 

 

Love LGBT People As You Love Yourself or A Modern Day Good Samaritan


Christianity affirms the intrinsic goodness of creation and the essential goodness of man made in the image and likeness of God.  These are bedrock beliefs with far reaching implications.  In the realm of ethics and civil law these presuppositions  provide the only viable foundation upon which to build a case for civil rights and human dignity.  From a theological standpoint, they provide the context necessary for understanding Jesus’ profound summation of the Mosaic Law found in St. Matthew’s Gospel:

“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.  This is the great and first commandment.  And a second is like it, You shall love your neighbor as yourself.  On these two commandments depend all the law and the prophets” (Matthew 22:37-40).

But exactly who is your neighbor?  A lawyer, who desired to “justify himself” once asked our Lord a similar question.  Jesus’ response was to tell a story–a provocative story that is known today as the Parable of the Good Samaritan (see Luke10:29-37).

Sadly, this parable is no longer shocking; as it most certainly was to its original audience.  Frankly, it’s become rather trite–reduced to that of a charming bedtime story for children (or a slapstick musical comedy if you prefer the Veggie Tales version).  I feel quite comfortable saying the beloved parable hardly evokes the following emotions within the soul of today’s average reader:  conviction, disgust, anger, confusion, regret, sadness, empathy, or shock.  Yet this story is a fire starter!  It should turn your world upside down; it should force you to re-examine your life; it should pierce your heart, shatter your pride, and cause you to question your very standing before God.  But, for most of us, it doesn’t.

One way this is evidenced is by our general lethargy concerning the plight of the LGBT community.  In between sermons in which the pastor passionately proclaims in a bright red face that, “homosexuality is an ABOMINATION,” or attending a protest against same-sex marriage, Christians are often entirely indifferent to the emotional struggles of LGBT children who have taken their own lives due to bullying.  We sometimes yawn when we hear about the violent, and downright disgusting, mistreatment of LGBT people in Russia and other countries around the world.  Our general disinterest in the suffering of the LGBT community stands in direct opposition to the parable which seeks to explain the second commandment that is like the first.  More specifically, our behavior is discordant with the Christian principle that human beings have intrinsic dignity, value, and worth because they are made in the image and likeness of God.

Perhaps if we retold the story–taking our current mental environment into account–we might, once again, be shocked out of our self-righteous stupor?  Thus, I ask again:  who is your neighbor?

Let me tell you a story . . .

“A man was walking home from the office one night when a couple of young gang initiates pulled him into an ally, stabbed him, emptied his pockets, and left him for dead.  Now by chance a well respected pastor from a local mega-church was going down the road; and when he saw him in the ally he passed by on the other side.  So likewise a beloved seminary professor, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side.  But a successful gay business man, as he journeyed home that night, came to where he was; and when he saw him he had compassion.  He immediately went to him and, seeing that his injury was potentially fatal, bound up his wound using a piece of fabric torn from his own shirt.  He carried him out of the ally into the light of the street lamp, pulled out his cell phone and dialed 911.  As he awaited the arrival of the ambulance he held the man tight and spoke words of encouragement to him.  Later, he followed him to the hospital and remained there until the doctors assured him he would pull through.  It was then that he discovered the victim of this heinous crime only worked part-time and did not have medical insurance.  So he made arrangements to pay off the gentleman’s hospital debt himself.”

Which of these three, do you think, proved neighbor to the man who fell among the robbers?

Light Will Dawn in the Land of Darkness: A Call to Pray for Syria


Violence against Christians has grown increasingly fierce in Syria as reports about priests and pastors being kidnapped or killed by extremists and stories of churches, monasteries, and health clinics being ransacked or bombed abound.  Some instances of considerable note include the kidnap (and presumed murder) of two archbishops, the recent murder of a Franciscan friar, and the detonation of a bomb outside of a Greek Orthodox cathedral.  Reports of violence against Christians continue to pour in on a daily basis.

In view of this, I implore you to join me for the next three days (7/01/13-7/3/13) in a time of prayer and fasting.  We shall be praying for the following things:

  1. For the protection and safety of Christian leaders and their families (who have been especially targeted by the attackers) and lay people who continue to live and work in Syria.
  2. For an end to all violence in the region and for justice and peace to prevail.
  3. For the Lord to turn the hearts of the jihadists away from violence and to have mercy upon them.   

I’d like to draw special attention on the third item of prayer.  Many people will think I’ve lost my mind for adding this.  Why on earth should we pray for the evil men perpetrating these heinous crimes against humanity?  Shouldn’t we hope for their destruction?  Why would we care what happens to them?  . . . Because they are made in the image of God and it is God’s desire for them to repent from their evil deeds and to embrace the Way of peace and love.  Only the power of the gospel – the message of God’s love and sacrifice on behalf of His creation – can conquer the darkness which is sweeping over Syria.  Peace and life will be restored when the jihadists are transformed from messengers of hate and death into emissaries of God’s peace and love.  It’s only through our love as Christians, in the power of the Holy Spirit, that the light of Christ will outshine the blackness of mans hatred.

Our Lord set the perfect example for us – both in His teaching and in one of His last recorded acts on the cross.  In His famous Sermon on the Mount Jesus taught the unthinkable, He taught us to love even those who hate us:

“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.‘  But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust”  (Matt. 5:43-45).  

He exemplified this teaching as he hung, suffering an excruciating death on the cross, praying for the very people who were murdering Him:  “Father forgive them, for they do not know what they do” (Luke 23: 34).  

May we long for peace and justice but let our hearts not become hardened and filled with the same hate fueling the jihadists.  Let us join hands with the martyrs who have sacrificed their lives out of love and pray for salvation and life to flow into Syria.  Let the prophecy of Isaiah be fulfilled once again, as it was when Jesus first came, through the blood of the martyrs and the prayers of the saints:

“The people who sat in darkness have seen a great light, and upon those who sat in the region and the shadow of death light has dawned” (Matthew 4:16).  

Retributive Justice vs Reconciliatory Justice or: Why Sheriff Joe Arpio isn’t Someone We Should Admire


pink sheriffThis post is meant for those of the Christian mindset, which is why its reasoning is more theological than philosophical. However, a good natural law argument can be made as well, mostly that all humans are worthy of being treated with dignity.

There’s a meme making its way around Facebook talking about Sheriff Joe Arpio and his harsh method of delivering justice to his inmates. The picture (seen above) it accompanied with a list of what Sheriff Arpio has done while the sheriff for his county. He’s made his prisoners wear pink, work in chain gangs, pay for their meals, and the like. In addition to that, to save taxpayer money, he’s opened up a tent city wherein prisoners have to live despite the harsh desert heat.

When faced with criticism, he has responded with, “These criminals are paying a debt they owe to society.” And there is a bit of truth to such a statement; after all, our modern penal system is simply a way for a criminal to further his education in being a criminal. County jails tend to be a criminal’s college, state penitentiaries tend to be graduate work, and federal penitentiaries tend to be post-graduate. Thus, perhaps it’s good that we look at reforming our system.

Sheriff Arpio, however, goes too far. The problem is he’s practicing retributive justice (eye for an eye), which does nothing for the criminal or for the victim. It may give us an emotional feeling of justice, but it’s not actually justice. Ignoring the drug users who are mixed in the group (and I fail to see why anyone who uses drugs should ever be imprisoned or fined above being put in rehab), let us assume that someone is a violent criminal. He broke into the home, beat up the owners, and stole some property. How is him sitting in a tent in the desert beneficial to the owners or beneficial to the criminal? Retributive justice gives us the sense of justice, but isn’t justice because it accomplishes nothing.

It would make more sense to have him do labor (though not necessarily hard labor) that at the same time teaches him a skill he can use once he is released from prison. The wages he earns while imprisoned can be given to his victims as a way to reconcile himself with those he harmed. At the same time, we should do what we can to reform him. In this way, we have concerned ourselves with the victims first to ensure they receive a just compensation for what they lost and what they endured, but equally we have concerned ourselves with the welfare of the criminal. This is reconciliatory justice. It’s actual justice because it seeks to bring a criminal – who is a criminal because he abandoned the norms of society – back into society to be a productive member. It actually accomplishes something while also aiding the victim.

People would raise three questions to the idea of reconciliatory justice. The first is why should we concern ourselves with the welfare of the criminal at all. After all, he violated the public trust and the Common Good, so why should we concern ourselves with his well being when he did not concern himself with our well being? The answer to such a question is that despite what the criminal has done, he is still made in the image of God and is therefore worthy of dignity and respect. Just because he has failed to show such dignity and respect to other image-bearers does not grant us the right to treat him as such; though clichéd, it is true that two wrongs do not make a right. Being in the image of God means that the criminal deserves some semblance of respect and dignity, which is what Sheriff Joe Arpio removes from his inmates. They are forced to live outside in the heat and subjected to harsh conditions; this is not something worthy of God’s image.

The second question raised would be how we could promise that criminals could be reformed when it seems that most criminals don’t want to be reformed. The argument that accompanies this question is that most criminals don’t want to reform, after all, most of them return to prison within a few years of being released. My answer to this is that such a question and argument betrays a type of fatalism, or genetic determinism. Some people are just born (or conditioned) to be criminals and there’s nothing we can do to change them. There is no hope for redemption for them. But such an argument flies in the face of the Gospel, which teaches that all people can come to Christ, despite their backgrounds. If anyone can come to Christ, then certainly anyone can also be morally reformed from a criminal past. If we believe that criminals cannot be reformed, then why don’t we make the punishment for every crime the death penalty? Everything from simple thievery to tax evasion to selling drugs to murder should all be punishable by death. If the criminal cannot be reformed, or if we think it’s unlikely that he’ll be reformed, then why not just kill him? Perhaps we’re afraid that this would result in many innocent people being killed, so then let’s make all sentences life-sentences without the eligibility for parole. Whether you are caught stealing a stick of gum or murdering someone, you end up with a life sentence.

Such an idea is, of course, absurd and no rational person would ever endorse it. We endorse graduated sentencing based on the crime in part because we believe that the less severe the crime, the less likely the person will return to it. Deep down we hope that people can be reformed, but the way we have established our system completely prevents true reform from occurring. We allow our prisoners to leave without any skills to make it in the real world and then our society attaches a stigma to these criminals so they cannot acquire a job. Is it any wonder that we get repeat offenders?

As a side note, I do understand that there are some criminals who are mentally ill or simply refuse to be reformed. But there is no way these people constitute the majority of people within our penal institution. Such committed criminals could certainly remain in prison for the rest of their lives, with us always trying to reform them, but not releasing them for fear they will strike again. This is actually humane and dignified both to their potential victims (in that we protect the victims) and to the criminal, as it protects him from further violating God’s image within him by harming others. However, forcing someone who is capable and willing to reform into a life sentence or a harsh sentence and not giving him the chance to reform is inhumane and undignified because it gives him no hope for redemption.

The final question one could ask would be why should taxpayers have to pay for the criminal’s reform. How is it that someone commits a crime and then it becomes the taxpayers’ responsibility to pay for his crime? The reason is quite simply that we want a better society, and sometimes we as a whole have to pay for a better society. The United States has the highest incarceration rate in the world, so obviously the status quo isn’t working. We need something new, and any program that upholds the dignity of God’s image in people and seeks to bring that image to the forefront in their character is worth the payment. If we were able to reform our criminals, especially if we get them at a younger age, to where they become productive members of society, then our society would be stronger and better. The taxpayer money then becomes an investment, as a stronger society leads to a stronger economy, which leads to more money for the taxpayer.

More importantly, however, many of these criminals come from impoverished areas of the country. Were to we work to reconcile these criminals, by teaching them virtue while imprisoned as well as helping them find a skillset to help them on the “outside,” perhaps when they moved back into these impoverished areas they could help to make a difference. They could open up their own businesses or work with the ones already in the community to hopefully strengthen that community. While the ideal would never be achieved, it is still good to work towards the ideal so that we’ll be left better off than we currently are.

Ultimately, we need to remember the parable of the unforgiving debtor (Matthew 18:21-35). In this parable, a man ends up owing a great sum of money to someone (ten thousand talents, and one talent would be worth somewhere around $800,000) and promised to work to pay the debt off. The debtor had pity on the servant and forgave him his debt. This servant then turned around and demanded someone in debt to him by 100 denarii (a denarii was a day’s pay for most laborers, or about $60 if we go off minimum wage and an 8 hour day). The servant refused to forgive the debt of the man owing him 100 denarii and had the man thrown in prison.

We must never forget that through God’s reconciliatory justice, our debts have been forgiven. He has helped to reform us from our sins, though we were in debt to Him. The crimes these criminals commit, while ranging from petty to heinous, indebt these criminals to society, their debt is miniscule when compared to the debt we each owe to God. If He can find it within His capacity to forgive us our debt and work to reconcile us, certainly we as a society can do the same to our criminals. While imprisonment is necessary, what we do while the criminal is imprisoned makes all the difference. And making them endure hard labor while living in harsh conditions, while not giving them any skills to survive or training in virtue, without attempting to reform them, makes us the ungrateful servants of God.

We Leave Christ Naked, Hungry, and Alone


Jesus once taught His disciples about the final judgment, when all men will stand before God and answer for the things they have done.  He said this:

“When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne. Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats.  And he will place the sheep on his right, but the goats on the left.  Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.  For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me,  I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’  Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink?  And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’  “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.  For I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink, I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not clothe me, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.’  Then they also will answer, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to you?’  Then he will answer them, saying, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.’  And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life” (Matt. 25:31-46). 

Many of us (and I include myself in this statement as perhaps the chief of all sinners) confess Christ with our lips but deny Him through our actions because our hearts are far from Him.  We say we believe, but our faith is dead; it is lifeless; it is stale.  We say Christ came to save the world, to usher in the Kingdom of God, but we live as if He never rose from the grave—and for this we shall be held accountable.  For, “as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me,” He says.  Herein lays the disturbing and profound truth of this statement:    

When we ignore the little children being kidnapped or sold into the commercial sex industry and monstrously abused and neglected by hordes of foul men, we are ignoring Christ.  When we fail to provide assistance for the teenage mother, abandoned by her friends and family, without hope and alone, we are failing and neglecting Christ.  When we sit back quietly as the same single mother, out of fear and shame, has her unborn child executed, we are driving the very nails through His hands on the cross.  When we stand by in silence as transgendered teenagers are bullied to the point of suicide we are bullying and murdering Christ.  When we scoff at the homeless drug addict begging for cash on the side of the road we are scoffing at Christ.  When we laugh at, make fun of, or speak hatefully towards homosexuals we are mocking Christ.  When we leave millions of abandoned or unwanted children to rot and die on the streets or in some orphanage, we are abandoning Christ.  When we look at pornography, thus objectifying other human beings in order to satiate our own perverted lusts, we objectify Christ.  When we cling to our wealth, our comfort, our pleasures, our freedom of speech, our liberties, our country, and our homes—failing to help those who are hurting, lonely, hungry, lost, and in need–we  leave Christ naked, hungry, and alone.

If You Disagree With Me . . . You Hate Me


As you read this post please keep in mind that if you disagree with anything I have to say . . . you hate me.  In fact, if you disagree with the statement I just made, you are probably one of the most hateful people on the planet.  I’ll take it one step further:  if you think the statement I just made regarding my first statement is somehow wrong, you’re no different than the KKK.  I can think of nothing more spiteful, more degrading, and more uncivilized than disagreeing with someone.  The sheer audacity and arrogance it takes to suggest that somebody is wrong is just shameful.

It is because of my desire for peace, love, and harmony for all of mankind (and the rest of the animal kingdom) that I have dedicated my life to the fight against hate.  The first point I wish to make clear is that hate is wrong . . . well, not “wrong” wrong; but just, wrong.  Okay, okay, I wouldn’t say it’s wrong because that would be a hateful thing to do.  What I really mean to say is that hate is just not right . . . that is, I strongly disagree with people who hate.  Hold on a second, that’s not right.  Disagreeing with people is hateful, and I disagree with hate; so, I can’t disagree with people who hate because that would be hateful.  Wait a minute, I think I just disagreed with myself!  Oh my goodness!  I hate myself!

As you can see, hate is terribly destructive.  This is why it is important that we seek to include everyone; quite frankly, everyone’s opinion is valid and should be accepted.  After all, to say that someone is wrong, that someone’s opinion is invalid, is no different than saying that person is a worthless pile of dung.  This is why I have a dream!  I envision a society in which everyone is accepted for who they are and everyone is allowed to think or believe whatever they want without the fear of some arrogant bigot saying they are wrong.  In fact, the only people we would not accept in this harmonious society are those who disagree with us.  This society, like Boston, would be on the very cutting edge of inclusion.  I believe we could make this dream a reality—all we have to do is force, by law, everyone who disagrees with our inclusiveness to shut-up; and if they don’t shut up, we’ll just throw them in prison.

Don’t like what I have to say?  It’s because you, my friend, are a hater . . . oh, and please don’t leave any comments because I would consider any feedback about this article a hate crime.