We live in a contentious society. Often it's needlessly contentious.
I was bemused a month or so ago at all the flap over a statement against same-sex marriage by the owner of Chick-Fil-A, which continues even now. It generated a lot of heat but no light.
- The restaurant chain owner has made no secret of his conservative religious beliefs and has a right both to his opinion, and to run his business as he sees fit as long as he's not discriminating among customers (which he is not) and is willing to take the consequences if people turn away.
- Conversely, those who disagree with his actions and statements have a perfectly equal right not to patronize his restaurants.
Leave the rest of us out of it, please. There are issues here of importance to both sides but they are matters of personal belief and opinion so why don't we all just make up our own minds about where we stand, and act accordingly? (To boycott, or not? What if, like me, you've never eaten a Chik-Fil-A and wouldn't know where to find one?) Do we really need to make a federal case of it, abetted by mass media always ready to fan the tiniest ember of controversy into a roaring flame?
Today we're presented with another example in the form of a "controversy" over male circumcision. In my day, nearly every boy was circumcised at birth and no one thought a thing of it. Now some think natural is just better, or less cruel, and insurance companies of course don't want to pay for the procedure; while some in the health field still say circumcision can help prevent the spread of some diseases and others insist on snipping for religious reasons.
There are other pro and con arguments, too (read the article for details) but to me the operative facts are: (1) you can make a valid argument for either point of view; there is no right answer! and (2) this isn't a life-or-death decision. So relax, decide what's right for you and your kid (and be willing to live with it) - but lawdy, lawdy, don't go trying to tell everybody what's right for them.
We pride ourselves in the U.S. on our individuality, our freedom of choice. Why then does everyone seem so hell-bent on fanatical proselytizing, the paradoxical aim of which is to make us all conform to one pattern?