You Can’t Force Values on People

baby being fed by her mum

I don’t like being told what to think. Who does? It’s a domineering for someone to be so convinced they are right, that they believe that you and everyone else must get in lockstep with their way of thinking. If you don’t; you’re inferior. That attitude is arrogant, disrespectful, and unloving.


I came from a conservative evangelical subculture that stressed the evils of abortion, homosexuality, and anything “liberal.” Those who did not fit in with the group were sinners, disgusting, or, at least, sadly mistaken and misguided. What they called standing for biblical, or conservative, or family values was code for trying to get everyone to toe the line with how they believed. That focus took the church and republicans to a bad, and eventually very unpopular place. They were looked upon as bigots, haters, and unaccepting people. They didn’t look much like Jesus, or even people you would want to associate with.


The backlash to those misguided attempts to straighten people out lent favor to a liberal narrative that embraces diversity, tolerance, and individual rights. 

Popular culture has provided a steady stream of movies, books, and celebrities to teach us we must be supportive of those fighting to obtain the rights that others take for granted. Black lives matter. Katlyn Jennifer was Barbara Walter’s Most Interesting Person of the Year. Rachel Dolezal went through all of her adult life as a white person, but somehow, somewhere along the way “became” a black person, and led a chapter of the NAACP. Gay marriage is legal nationwide. People are proud of their identity, even when it is fluid. My point is not that these perspectives are wrong. My point is that they are shoved down people’s throats and those who are slow to accept these huge changes are deemed bigots. 

Liberals are just like conservatives in trying to ram their values into everyone’s lives. They are just as self-righteous about it too and just as quick to condemn those who are less enthusiastic.


Yes, the church and conservatives were stupid, unloving, and not much like Jesus, or even decent people in condemning people and behaviors that offended them, rather than getting their own house in order. Yes, gays, transgender people, and women who have had an abortion should have the same rights as everyone else and they should be loved and accepted like everyone else. Yes, some police departments need to be shaken up. Yes, we should monitor our society to make sure that people of every ethnicity and personal persuasion are regarded equally by our laws. We have to continually make changes as we move toward a more just society.


Yet, some of these changes are too much, too fast for some people, good people, people who just grew up in a different place, and are of a are of another time. They may be wrong, and they may be on the wrong side of history, but they are not evil. Unfortunately, some of the resistant people are hateful and dangerous bigots, but many of them just need some time to process these societal sea changes.

It all goes back to people being accepting and loving toward one another, even, especially when we disagree.

About Glenn

Glenn Hager is a blogger, former newspaper columnist, and author of two books, An Irreligious Faith and Free Range Faith.
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