Don't resort to disrespect


As a correspondent for The Daily Targum, I strive to keep my own opinions in check so that I may act as an impartial observer when sharing the news. However, my opinion is suddenly too overwhelming to keep to myself, and I am sorry to say that it is our very own publication that has awakened within me such a sense of disgust.

In Friday's "Laurels and Darts," darts were thrown to the folks who come and hand out Bibles every semester or so. The crimes of these people, according to the editorial, include "mak[ing] students more disrespectful" and serving as "an interruption when already hustling to class or trying to catch a bus."

Are you serious? I mean, really?

I do not care to which faith or spiritual belief you subscribe. Those people believe they have found something wonderful. They truly believe those Bibles act as a prescription for a good life, and they have found some joy within its pages. In giving them out, they are basically saying, "This little book gives me joy. Here's one for you, in case it brings you some joy, too."

Whether you subscribe to Christianity, Judaism, Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam, paganism, humanism, agnosticism or any other –ism, you should appreciate the fact that these people strive to share their joy with others. They ask for nothing in return, and in fact you admit in your editorial, "none of the people handing out the little green books were rude or forceful with what they were doing." They simply wish to bring a little light into the world by sharing that which they feel brings enlightenment.

Your allegation that the act of handing out Bibles forces students to be more disrespectful merely perpetuates the level of self-absorbed small-mindedness which is the actual cause of such disrespect. All you have to say is, "No, thank you." Sure, you may have to say it several times as you hurry toward the bus. If repeating a phrase five times is enough to drive you to act disrespectfully, I would like to turn your attention to the lovely new counseling facility which opened this semester on Senior Street. Stressed students are eligible for free therapy over there, and it seems you may need it if repeating the words "No, thank you" five times is enough to draw disrespect or impoliteness from your mouth.

Every faith teaches some variation of the Golden Rule: "Treat others as you want to be treated. That which you do will come back to you three-fold. Love your neighbor as you love yourself." Whether it is based in religion or simple decency, basic politeness should be a natural instinct for civilized people. If you found something that made you happy, something that really got you excited, and you turned to show it to someone nearby, how would you feel if they reacted with annoyance and disrespect?

I will actually go a step further and propose that we should be more than just polite to these people. We should be grateful. They are trying to share something that has great personal meaning in their lives, and whether or not we share their belief in that little book, we should be thankful they would offer to share it. They are trying to give us something they believe is a valuable gift, and they deserve thanks.

Reading your editorial caused me to reflect on the reaction of one of the women in my residence hall the day she received a Bible from those people. This particular woman has strong Christian leanings. As I passed her in the hall, she positively beamed with happiness, "I got a free Bible!" she exclaimed, and I felt happy for her. Perhaps it was due to her Christian leanings, but this woman felt she received a gift. Perhaps a Wiccan would be less enthused to receive that particular gift. That is no excuse to act with disrespect and certainly no excuse to blame the gift-giver for your lack of appreciation. When your favorite aunt gives you socks for your birthday, do you tell her off? Do you react with disrespect, and blame her for that reaction? No. You smile politely and say "Thank you." You appreciate her good intention. At least that is how we react in my family. I would hope you do not treat your poor dear hypothetical aunt so horribly.

Seriously, if things are that bad for you, head down to Senior Street and talk to the very polite, well-trained staff about your inability to appreciate the generous efforts of your fellow person. Darts to you, dart-throwers, for your lack of appreciation for the little things in life.

Deirdre S. Hopton is a School of Arts and Sciences junior.

 


Deirdre S. Hopton

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