Since I came to Daily Kos almost nine years ago, I've written fairly often about the damage the religious right has done to our discourse. Well, I got an all-too-personal reminder of it yesterday, when one of my closest Facebook friends messaged me out of nowhere to tell me she was unfriending me. The reason? In her view, my support for gay rights and my recent change of heart on abortion were "dealbreakers" for her.
So naturally, I asked why we couldn't agree to disagree. Her response hit me from somewhere around thread level on the carpet floor--to her mind, "agreeing to disagree" opened a window for the devil to get in.
And that, ladies and gentlemen, is why in a nutshell our government is in gridlock, and why our general political discourse has become so toxic. We have a significant segment of the population that's been raised to believe merely sitting and talking with people who don't think the same as you do is verboten. The real reason this floored me, though, is that a good number of my Facebook friends are pretty socially conservative, and they've never unfriended me for it. And many of them are older folks whom conventional wisdom would suggest are more set in their ways.
I think back to when I got suckered into joining a dominionist/Christofascist campus ministry in my freshman year at Carolina. I still wanted to stay friends with most of the rank-and-file members of that bunch after I walked out. They seemed like nice guys and gals--their theology was just nothing to look at. It was only after finding out that they were still willing to do the pastor's bidding after finding out he'd been deliberately hiding his past as part of the uber-abusive "campus cult" Maranatha Campus Ministries that I ruled out wanting to be friends with most of them. But then again, that's one of the biggest differences between liberals and conservatives, isn't it? We liberals aren't afraid to be exposed to different ideas.