An animated discussion amongst a group of adults after church left me wondering whether the comfort we feel by accepting people whom others find unacceptable is only of little comfort to the unaccepted. People who are trying not to be prejudiced are going to do all they can to be fair. But, the world is full of prejudice, and like it or not, it only takes one act that shows that prejudice to undo all the kind words and acts of acceptance that might have preceded the display of prejudice.
The ring of safety and comfort that anyone who may be marginalised lives in can be very small, and its boundaries may expand in one direction, but it could easily be contracting in another direction. If you are inside that ring, it does not stop those who may threaten you from entering. Extending the metaphor, you can be dragged out of that ring and have nothing on which to hold that can offer comfort and security.
Yesterday’s discussion started with views on sexual preferences, but then went on to other areas that we found were also contentious, such as inter-racial adoption.
All the love and trust that people try to develop and show can seem like nothing when challenged by resentment, hatred and violent opposition. When you have a grounding in a faith you will often believe that that will both guide and protect you, but your own faith is no shield for those who are targeted. While some may grieve at what they see as injustice against some , others will gladly applaud what they want to see as ‘just’ desserts.
When we think of the ways in which the world is unfair, we have to remember that what we may see as fair, just becomes fair game for others.