Friday, February 08, 2013

Judge and Jury

  • A long-time blog-writer friend of mine, with whom I was also friends on Facebook, has been deleted from my friends list and I want you to know that I didn't take that step lightly. 

    I used to marvel at her blog posts telling what she accomplished over the past day or week. She seemed to have an inexhaustible supply of energy and an excellent work ethic, which I admired. She started a farm with her husband and together they have transformed it into a showplace. She grows the food she cooks, bakes, sews, crafts, quilts, raises horses, and decorates every room in her home at Christmas time. I don't aspire to most of that, but I can admire it in those who do - and put it into practice. 

    Over the past year, I have watched Sue  (not her real name) get more and more narrow-minded about many things; namely politics and personal conduct. She wrote a post on Facebook earlier this week about not supporting actors, musicians, artists, etc. unless their personal lives reflect her moral code.  It sounded very self-righteous to me, and I said as much, trying to keep it less of a personal attack on her and more of a statement of my beliefs. My point was that you can sometimes enjoy a performance without having to reflect on or judge the person's private life.  It was not well-received. Apparently, you are not allowed to disagree with Sue. The responses to my comments had  Biblical references** (several of which were interpreted very strictly to agree with her statements, in reference to "casting the first stone.") One of her children also posted a similar comment. 

    I never got into a discussion with Sue about politics; especially during this last campaign. She was so very much against one of the candidates. Many of her posts during that time were similar to conspiracy theories and the like. I didn't un-friend her, but I didn't say much about it. After all, I can be friends with someone who doesn't agree with me on all aspects of life - we just agree not to discuss those things. She had many things about her personality and writings that were valuable and just because we didn't agree about some things didn't mean I had to "toss the baby out with the bathwater."

    During that time, a mutual friend sent a message (to me) about Sue's increasingly weird political/survivalist opinions, and before long, that friend "un-friended" Sue.  Recently, another FB friend sent a private message asking me about Sue, whom she felt was "going over the edge" in her rants about current events, including gun control issues.

    Today Sue posted about addressing envelopes and how it is becoming a lost art. Specifically, she had been receiving invitations to the events of friends and family that were so poorly addressed she had made the decision to "not only not attend the event, but not send a present either" unless the invitation was addressed in a perfectly correct manner. It bothered me, and her earlier rants about morals compounded it. 

    Here is what I wrote to her:

    "I agree with part of what you said. Most people are getting less and less formal with their writing, as well as their speech, and it doesn't portend well for the future. However, saying that you won't attend a function (or even send a gift) JUST because the invitation envelope was not addressed correctly? Another example of your self-righteousness. Who made you the judge and jury of all, Sue? God forbid one of your children ever makes a mistake. I can't imagine what the punishment would be."

    On re-reading my response, it sounds a wee bit harsh to me - but had you read her posts and FB updates over the past few weeks, you would have noticed a clear progression toward little to no tolerance of other people's shortcomings. Think about it. If we decided not to support any person who had ever made a moral mistake in life, who would be left??? Someone under the age of five, I'll wager.  I will not argue that some actors, musicians and other public figures are alley cats in their personal lives, and they do not seem to want to alter their actions in the hopes of becoming a better person. I don't buy their CD's or attend their movies (mostly) but who among us is without sin?  Their performances, music or art have value that we can enjoy and learn from without always having to dwell on their morals. 

    **Don't get me wrong; I am far from being anti-religious; nor am I against reading and quoting the Bible (or any other religious book). But if you quote it, you ought to be living it (or trying hard to) in my opinion. You can't select parts of it to prove your points and leave out other verses that would prove you wrong or misguided. 

    I can quote the Bible too - and the quote that most often springs to my mind is "Judge not, lest ye be judged."  


Thumper said...

I haven't de-friended anyone on FB for their religious or political posts...yet. If I do, it will be for the very same reasons. It might even be family...

I don't understand those who try to shove their beliefs down the throats of others without being willing to look at the other side. Matthew 7:1, for sure...

Betty said...

I have a friend who has become more rigid with age, too. We have been friends for more than 35 years, and she simply is always right about everything. She judges people left and right and has pushed quite a few friends out of her life, including family. I don't want to drop her because of our long history together, but I certainly get disgusted some times. I just try to let it go, because I have tried telling her that I worry about her being so unforgiving, but she just ignores it.

LL Cool Joe said...

Hmm she sounds like her life isn't quite so perfect after all. I often think that someone who is trying to create "perfection" in their lives is covering something up. I don't do Facebook, and the more I read of other people's experiences with it, the more pleased I am that I don't.

I had that Christian do gooder on my blog if you remember who told me I was steeped in sin because I'm transgender. And I'm sure a great many people think that way, but I've been a committed Christian for over 30 years and my relationship is with God, not her, and I know he loves me. :)

You did the right thing. If something, or someone is making you uncomfortable I think you should remove them from your life if you can. Surround yourself with people who bring you joy.

Gilly said...

I think getting more and more self-righteous is, or can be, something that comes with age, or, a symptom of on-going ageing. I wouldn't pretend to be medically qualified, but I'm thinking vascular dementia, or the very early stages.

I've always thought that we become in our old age like we were in our younger days, only more so. So someone who has always taken life easily, 'glass half full' type, gets more easy going, less fazed over issues, agreeable to anything anyone suggests, etc. while a more opinionated type, go-getter sort, always on the go, gets more opinionated, narrow minded, like your friend Sue.

I may be totally out of line on this one! But I do know my mother-ion-law who was always easy going, rather "put upon", would just let my husband decided what to do for her. We could never get an opinion out of her! Whereas my Mother, who was rather cut and dried in her opinions, got rather bigoted in her old age, and it was difficult to differ from her in a conversation.

Incidentally, has this Sue ever been a member of a rather fundamentalist church? Or is she still, that could explain a lot!

But I totally agree with you, judge not, that you be judged. We can see what is wrong with the lives of those who splash them all over the media, jump in and out of bed with anyone, etc. and if we choose not to see their films, isten to their music, that is our choice and judgement. But we don't push it down the throats of others.

I have never been on Facebook. And I can see why not!

OldLady Of The Hills said...

One wonders if there is something more going on there with Sue...It sounds like a personality change of sorts, which might be the symptom of something more serious....
If it is just her becoming more rigid and conservative with age---I would have a very hard time with that, myself. To become so very judgemental would make for a very difficult friendship!

The more I hear about Facebook, the less and less it interests me.
What does de-friending a person entail??

Star said...

I know you did not take that step without much thought. I have hidden some people's posts because reading what they have to say causes me discomfort or stress.

Florence said...

As Old Lady of the Hills said, it sounds like there may be more than just becoming more rigid in her convictions.

OTOH, I am on a one woman crusade over the proper spelling and use of "lose" vs. "loose."

As for Facebook, I maintained my calm throughout the 2012 elections but totally lost it over guns and unfriended 3 people. It has done wonders for my blood pressure.

kenju said...

This woman is in her mid 40's, I think, and I believe that she was raised as a southern Baptist, but I'm not sure.

Anonymous said...

I have un friended people in the past 3 years but for different reasons. I was one of those people who had over 300 people on my friends list even though I didnt speak to 200 of them. (This has to do with my former supervisor who had it in for me. You can read past archives to find out how insane she really is).

In regards to un-friend, I am VERY VERY diligent on who is in my network now and they are only people who i have specific connections or associations with.

As for the un friend, I was recently unfriended about a month a half ago, from an old guy friend who he and I have been good friends for over the years (it has been a 13 year friendship but became much better friends over the years). Obviously the 2 situations of the unfriend are completely different but I took it kind of badly and was really pissed off that he can be such a jerk.

Vagabonde said...

I like your post. I do not go on Facebook so I don’t know much about it. I agree with your last statement when you say that one can’t select parts of the Bible to prove a point and leave out the other verses that you don’t like. Unfortunately I think many people do that. They read the verses they like then vote against laws that could help healthcare or the poor – the poor? Who are they, they don’t want to know.
I don’t know where you live but I live in the Deep South – The Bible Belt if you please but many people are intolerant here – why, they don’t even like people if they have a foreign accent (I know, I have one – a French one, but most often they can’t tell it is French, they just know it’s not from “around here” even though I have been living here for decades.)

Ginnie said...

Wow, Judy ... whatever happened to "Live and Let Live" ?
This is a very interesting age that we are living in right now & I think it is fascinating to watch how so many people (such as "Sue")can't adjust to the changes. Your ordeal is the reason I stay away from Facebook ...

Diana said...

I've had similar experiences with friends lately. Is there something in the water back home in the U.S. People have become almost rabid in their opinions to the point where common sense is going out the window. Old, mild mannered, and tolerant people are becoming more like survivalists, bigots, and worse. I've never seen anything like it. What do you think is going on?

Peruby said...

It sounds like OCPD to me:

With "friends" like this on facebook, I change their setting to "Ignore". This way I don't 'un-friend' them, but I don't see what they post either.

If I need to go and read something they posted, I click on their friend icon and go to their timeline.

This way I don't get disgusted seeing what they post on a daily basis. I can really ruin your day!