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."