[personal profile] wingedbeast
Back when Dr. Tiller was murdered, one of the first reactions came from Bill O'Reilly, to defend himself against the notion that rhetoric like his own contributed. O'Reilly, on his show, had repeatedly referred to Dr. Tiller as "Hitlerian". But, denied that likening someone to the person voted most likely to be killed as a baby if time travel were ever invented might make the murder of that someone seem like a legitimate option.

After a shooting in Planned Parenthood, the same arguments were made. Likening abortion to the single event in History that is most used to lend credibility to the idea of assassination could have nothing, whatsoever, to do with someone thinking that a well-publicized shooting would save lives.

Whatever your view on abortion, or gay rights, or Muslims in America, or any number of other issues over which America has had mass shootings, the effects of your actions and, yes, your rhetoric extends beyond yourself. From the position of the unconvinced, deliberately taking actions that contribute to a problem only make it more clear that the faith you hold doesn't hold the solutions you may claim.

As an atheist, I have to know that my community is not clean of contributions to such problems as rape culture or anti-Muslim bigotry. While I'm not responsible for all of this and I'll argue there are enough counter-examples to show that atheism doesn't lead this way, I'm hardly going to be able to sell people on the superiority of any part of my view while contributing to these problems, myself. That includes taking a look at my actions, including my rhetoric, on any number of issues to see how they may impact things.

You've probably been told that that's just Political Correctness, which you've been told is nothing more than a means of bullying people into not telling the truth. Well, for one thing, Political Correctness is a bit more complicated than that*. For another thing, actions have consequences.

Of course, like many a tip, I'll remind you that I'm not telling you to go to the other extreme and assume that everything you do is the worst possible thing. But, the extreme so often seen, that of referring to any criticism as Political Correctness run amok or ignoring specifics in order to ask the oft-asked question of "Are we so thin-skinned that someone can't express disagreement without being called a bigot?", that isn't helping either.

The question best asked to counter that question is "Are you so thin-skinned that you can't take a breath, take a moment, and look at your actions to see if, maybe, you could do better?"

It's an important question to ask. You need to seriously interact with the possibility that you're a part of a problem. If you are, that doesn't doom you to Hell or to being evil forever. It just means you can do better and, for the sake of others who might suffer otherwise, you might want to do better.

* http://wingedbeast.dreamwidth.org/13388.html
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