"Listening to people's stories"

I read this opinion piece, and it raised a number of questions in my mind. It’s called “I Love America, It’s Americans I Can’t Stand.”

For years, my friend Jenny Boylan and I have had a recurring conversation about the purpose and value of our work. Jenny, an LGBTetc activist, has always been a buoyant believer in the power of language to overcome ignorance, misconception, and prejudice. She says: “It is impossible to hate anyone whose story you know.” She engages with the public through public speaking, TV, and social media.

I have trouble with this idea, because it seems like a waybof arguing that is based on emotions rather than on arguments relating to facts, logic, etc. Hey, I’m sure if I heard the bank robber’s story that I would feel a great deal of sympathy for him, but does that mean we should not put him in jail?

What are we to make of this when it comes to issues such as homosexual “marriage,” etc? I’m talking about on a personal level. Over the holidays, I heard a (very secular) young person really lament this issue as he thought that these people love each other and why would anyone want to mess with that? It was obvious to him that only hatred could be against love.

I have heard his story, so I had sympathy with him, but at the same, I also know that what I heard if his story is only a part of the full story. What I heard was what he chose to focus on in the process of coming to his conclusions.

So I don’t put a lot of stock in “stories” as an ethical means of changing people’s opinions: hard cases make bad law, and all that, but maybe I’m wrong?

And I would also like to know, if it turns out to be the appropriate thing to do, how to counter this sort of “debate technique.”

“St. Francis”

<<And I would also like to know, if it turns out to be the appropriate thing to do, how to counter this sort of “debate technique.”>>

Emotions can lead us astray. Acts of the will backed up by prayer and the Sacraments is what enables us to obey the teachings of the Church, and truly be led into the vocation the Lord wants us to be in.

Of course, non-Catholics will not accept this…but it does work. Many holy people can give their testimonies that it does work.

You can pray and determine whether some debates are worth the trouble,…or just walk away from them.

Thank you.

I guess I see two issues there: 1. that people are drawn into these stories and are glad when there is a happy ending, so someone I know was very glad when 2 “married” men were “expecting”—a woman was carrying a child whom they would adopt. My acquaintance (whom I do not know well enough to discuss this with) thought this was a happy ending which had become available to them as the result of changes in the law which released the two men from the oppression and bigotry of the past and now they could lead happy, fulfilled lives. (I did not even try to say anything as she is so definitely at that political point.)

The other issue is that empathetic people are moved by the emotions involved in the stories and seem to have little understanding that the stories are told from a limited and biased point of view. They seem to believe that any form of sadness or hurt or pain should be eliminated, altho they do recognize that the pain of a bank robber’s separation from his children is his own fault and that he should feel that pain. Well, bank robbers have non-consenting victims, I guess.

Yes are right.

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