When did civility and manners disappear from our lives? I can remember a time when people could sit and discuss their differences without resorting to name calling, or refusing to listen to what another person had to say, or telling someone they were wrong just because they didn’t agree with one’s own beliefs and opinions. I mourn for the death of civility and manners.

People seem to be so polarized that they won’t read, or listen to, a different point of view. Is it the proliferation of talk radio? Is it the fact that anyone can post on a web site and gain a following? Is it because the political arena has become so mean and nasty? Is it because the far right and the far left are gaining most of the attention?

I don’t have the answers. All I know is that things are so twisted that it’s impossible to have a rational conversation about much of anything any more. People are angry, and rightfully so, but I think a lot of the anger is being misdirected. And there are people out there who are taking advantage of the anger by directing their followers to hate anybody who disagrees with them. Why?

Religion is also playing a big part in the hate and anger. For example, in a few communities where Muslims have been living for years, the townspeople are up in arms because they want to build a new mosque. I don’t know a lot about Islam, but I do know that it, like Christianity or Judaism, can be perverted into extremism. There are people of all faiths who will take to the extremes, or focus on only one part of their religion’s sacred text to justify what they do. Should we hate all Baptists because Fred Phelps is an extremist? Should we hate all Muslims because a few hate us? Should we hate all Jews because Jesus was spurned by them? We live in a country where we are free to practice any religion or none, so why are we against all non-Christians?

I think much of the hate comes from ignorance of what we hate; and it comes from misguided people whipping others into a frenzy; the mob mentality, if you will.

I don’t remember hearing hate taught in Church when I was growing up. I don’t remember hate being taught in Sunday School. I do remember being taught to love all of God’s children, whether they were Christian or not. Where did that go?