(Part 1)
It's no secret that I TRY to stay away from getting involved with debates on social media or in general conversation (with the exception of one topic).  I do this for two reasons:  1) I'm so non-confrontational that just thinking about it makes my heart race, and 2) I'm not always as educated as I would prefer on certain issues...especially anything political...so when I offer my opinion around other people who make politics their top priority, I just feel stupid because I don't know all (or even half) of the facts.

Often times when dealing with family, family friends, and coworkers, my opinions on hot-topic issues are vastly different.  And you know, that's OK.  I don't mind that my opinions and beliefs and values are different...I'm fine with that.  It's more than alright to disagree with people.  But what scares me about sharing these things with others is that there's always at least one person who takes it personal.  There's always one person who feels the need to shout at you and get mad that your OPINION is different from theirs.  There's always one person who feels they need to not just openly debate, but down-right argue with you about your OPINION being "wrong" because it's different from theirs.  There's always one person who feels the need to take everything so extreme and outright saying that you can't be friends any more (are we still in Kindergarten?) because your OPINION is different from theirs.  That is what scares me about confrontation...most people can't just talk about the issues without it becoming a heated discussion or a flat-out argument over who's opinion is correct and who can back their's up with the facts.

Part of having a blog is being totally open and laying yourself bare for all to see (no there's no naked pictures, eww).  So this is me offering my opinions and beliefs...this is me being as confrontational as I can be without actually needing to look somebody in the eye (I struggle with this...self esteem and all).  But to be honest, I won't be surprised if I lose a friend or two on Facebook because I disagree with their beliefs...that's how petty some people are.  Some of my opinions are based off research that I've done.  Some are based off pure opinion of what I believe is right and wrong based off my values.

Agree to disagree and we'll all get along swimmingly.

I'm a Christian.  I was baptized in the Lutheran church when I was a baby and I was Confirmed in the Lutheran church when I was 14.  I believe in God, Jesus, Heaven, Hell, and the Devil.  BUT....I'm not religious....at all...not even close...not even a little bit.  You'll NEVER hear me say "I'll pray for you."  You'll NEVER hear me say "God is great and will provide."  You'll NEVER hear me say "The Bible says..."

I support EVERY religion that I know about and I think it's disgusting to try to convert a person to a different religion.  Just because the religion is different from yours doesn't make it wrong. I love the idea of mission trips to help build facilities for those in need, but if it's also on the agenda to teach them about Jesus, I'm not going.

No we don't go to church...you don't need a specific building to believe.  No I don't have Aria in a faith-based daycare or Pre-K.  No Aria did not attend Vacation Bible School and no she will not be forced to go to Sunday School.  When she's old enough to understand and to ask questions, I'll give her all the resources she needs to make a decision on her own as to what she wants to believe in, be it organized religion of any kind or just a deity...I just want her to believe in something.  I'll not chastise her if she decides to follow Buddhism, or Hinduism, or Judaism, or Islam, or Christianity, or even the Flying Spaghetti Monster.

When reading things online, even from my favorite bloggers, I skip over the religious phrases...I want to read about what you're writing, not about how Jesus or God has influenced you...unless that's the only thing that you ARE writing, in which case I'll probably stop reading there and wait for your next post.

Separation of Church and State
Religion does not belong in government, period.  Elected officials should not use religion as a platform for election...just as the voters should not vote for somebody simply because their commercial shows them going to church.

It also doesn't belong in business.  Business meetings should absolutely not be started with a prayer.  Religious phrases should not be in company newsletters.

Prayer should not be in school as an organized event (unless it's a religious school).  If a child wants to pray on their own during quiet reflection time or before they eat a meal..more than alright.  But for a teacher to lead a class in prayer, or for a principal to start a class assembly with a prayer, or for a Board of Education official to lead a graduation ceremony in prayer....not OK.

You never know who you're going to offend because you don't know everyone's beliefs.  Religion, to me, is personal.  It belongs within, at church, or at home...but nowhere else.  Stop cramming your religious beliefs done other's throats...they might not want to hear it and will eventually stop listening to you altogether.

Wildlife Hunting
To each his own.  Do I hunt? No.  There's no way I could kill an animal unless I was dependent upon it for food...and even then, I'd struggle and end up getting somebody else to do it.

I understand most hunting is for population control, and I totally support that.  And I understand some people get their rocks off by hunting big-game animals.  I disagree with that, but hey....if the people who govern the wildlife (the DNR?) say that hunting of those animals is OK, then it's OK by me.

But I do have a problem with people hunting illegally on wildlife preserves or national parks.  And I know there are conflicting reports about Cecil the lion and how he was killed...I don't know for sure which reports are correct.  And I know lions get killed all the time in Africa and that there's never as much of an uproar about it.  Regardless of that....hunting on a wildlife preserve (whatever the animal may be), unless it's a sanctioned event for population control, is wrong.  Luring animals off of a wildlife preserve so you can kill it is also wrong.

If you're hunting that animal to provide a TON of meat for a local village and the whole animal will be used for the good of the community, that's great, but still don't go about it in an illegal way.  I disagree with hunting an animal for a trophy.  If you're not going to use the whole animal for some actual purpose, don't hunt.  I think it's absurd to kill an animal just for the fun of it.

Coming up in the next installment of "Views"....Abortion, Vaccines, and Parenting Styles.
Oh this one's going to piss some people off for sure!

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