Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Being Meek Where It Matters

If you've poked around the new Second Guess website at all, you might have noticed a tendency to encourage humility & meekness in some of the language I've chosen. That isn't, of course, an accident. I'm a big believer in (and practitioner-in-training of) meekness.

Being meek isn't exactly my natural, default state. Really, is it anyone's? Merriam-Webster defines meek as "enduring injury with patience and without resentment." I wasn't being very meek in the privacy of my car when I got cut off this morning. (I did say I was a practitioner-in-training).

It's not very American to be meek. Toby Keith, for instance, is a fearless opponent of meekness, as demonstrated in his anthem "Courtesy of the Red, White, and Blue:"
We'll put a boot in your a**
It's the American way
I've never been to a Toby Keith concert, but I imagine him singing this line to thousands of excited fans whose cheers get a little bit louder at these words.

There is a whole lot of discussion to be had about standing up for yourself, what basic "inalienable rights" are, and what happens when we need to fight for them. We'll be having that discussion ongoing - but I will always push back with this question:

How might an infusion of meekness make this situation better?

For instance, you might have come across the news story yesterday of the Christian Legal Society at the UC Hastings School of Law in San Francisco, which is suing the University for formal recognition of its status as a student group with school funding & benefits. The sticking point is the group's statement of faith, which members are required to sign and which excludes practicing LGBT people (and a whole host of other folks) from joining the group. The University called this discrimination and refused to grant the CLS official student group status.

The whole thing actually began back in 2004. Six years and multiple appeals later, the fight over rights and freedoms and discrimination carries on. The main issues we focus on are, naturally, whether student groups should be able to receive public money when they exclude certain groups of people; whether excluding people on the basis of belief is true discrimination; and whether first amendment rights are at stake if people are forced to associate with others in their student group who don't share their beliefs.

There are a lot of great things to talk about in there. The unfortunate thing, at least as I see it, is that we're not just talking about these things - we're suing, fighting, and perpetuating a culture war in all of it. We've gone a long way down the road and dropped any semblance of meekness by the wayside at the very beginning.

So I ask... how might an infusion of meekness make this situation better?

I can imagine a few ways. What about you?

1 Comment:

  1. Damian said...
    My understanding of meekness is based on a proper understanding of who we are as an individual and as a member of the human race. I find it helpful to remind my "natural" self-focused perspective that we are all on the same playing field and not one of us is of greater or lesser value, we just play different roles in the game.

    Also, growing in empathy helps us become more compassionate and understanding of others, especially those who typically aggravate us and push our "I will cut you" buttons.

Post a Comment