Just finished a somewhat tongue-in-cheek post at the blog next door about what I see as a witch hunt for Orson Scott Card over his outspoken support for traditional marriage.
There is a certain irony, of course, in seeing people who almost certainly sympathize with Arthur Miller fall into a roll more reminiscent of Joseph McCarthy. And at one time in my life, I would have found such hypocrisy amusing--but now I just find it sad.
It makes me sad because any harmful pattern that both conservatives in the 1950s and gay rights activists in the 2010s can share is probably a part of human nature rather than a symptom of a certain ideology. If I see witch hunts when I look to the right, and witch hunts when I look to the left, I'm probably quite prone to witch hunting myself, should the proper conditions emerge.
If witch-hunting is a common human error, I want to know how to avoid it. When you feel strongly about an issue, how do you keep from unfairly victimizing others in your activism? Or, as Jesus might have asked, how do you maintain empathy for someone who is working against you?
I'm not Jesus. I don't know.
All I can think of today is this: no matter what opponents you face in your battles for a better world, never forget that the most important evil is always the one living within you.
An oil spill is a big threat to the environment, but the most important threat is my own careless use of resources, my own ignorance about the systems of life in my neighborhood.
A changing culture may be undermining marriage through the nation, but the most important threat to marriage is my own selfishness and pride in my relationship with my wife.
A shooting may reveal the problem of violence in my world, but the most important violence for me to stand against is the force of my own voice when I raise it in anger against my eight-year-old.
To fight an oppressor is to do a good deed. But only one who fights against his own wish to oppress is a good man. To recognize an injustice is praiseworthy--but only one who repents of the injustices she commits can truly make the world more pure.
I want to help make the world a better place. But I hope to work with humility so I can face others with charity. I want my anger at others to be diffused by the realization that I am also part of the underlying problems I may see manifest in them.