Growing up, I was a steadfast republican. I was certain that democrats were demonic liberals out to destroy the foundations of our society. The Rush Limbaugh program had told me so.
Some chinks started to form in my secure armor during my early 20's. I started to notice the lose-lose position we always put the opposition in. If they went up, they should have gone down. Forward? It should have been backward.
It really struck home one night with a reaction Bob Dole had to Clinton during the primaries. Kim Jung Il's father had died and President Clinton sent his condolences. Dole lashed out, stating that Clinton had no business offering condolences given the history of North Korea. It occurred to me that I had formed my judgment of Clinton based on the opinions of people for whom he could do no right. Though I was backing Dole, I realized that his view of the proper response was conditional - based on which path Clinton selected.
I knew then that what I was observing was a game about winning, not being truthful. All is fair in politics.
This revelation affected my religious views as well. All is fair in religion it seemed. I began to notice how often certain religious persuasions would put the "opposing" camp in lose-lose scenarios. It is ironic that those who put others in lose-lose situations the most often also happened to be the ones who crowed loudest about "truth".
I was reminded of this yesterday as I read an article over at Mormon Coffee. Though this was not the main point of the article, the argument below is regularly made by folks who have made converting Mormons a focus of their lives.
Basically, Mormons are chastised for certain temple ceremonies in their history where Protestant/Catholic priests are depicted as servants of Satan. Admittedly, probably not the best thing to be teaching if you have any hope for inter-faith relations (but given the history between Mormons and other churches that was probably not a high priority at the time).
By 1990, this language was pretty much removed from the ceremony. Forward movement, right?? Wrong! Mormons are now charged by the same voices as being duplicitous and hiding how they really think. Lose-Lose. They are wrong for having it.... they are wrong for removing it.
I believe that every time we put someone in a lose-lose situation, kindness dies, a part of our soul withers, and the heart of God sighs - while looking forward to the day when his children will love each other.