Becky Says...


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Have you ever realized that someone you've known a long time really doesn't know you at all? I've recently had that experience, and it wasn't a lot of fun.

I met Joe about 20 years ago, when he was a volunteer at non-profit agency #1. We've been casual friends all these years. He's lived in another part of the state for a long time now. We'd get together once or twice a year for lunch, and exchange notes off and on.

And I thought I had made my political and religious leanings pretty clear to him over the years. I have, as long as he's known me (and prior to that) been pretty liberal in both areas. And made no secret of it.

A few years ago, Joe joined an ultra-conservative congregation of an already-conservative denomination. That's fine, of course; I believe in religious freedom. But he got weird about trying to convert people to his way of thinking. And he finally did two things that went way too far for me.

Early this spring I got e-mail from him, with an attached jpeg file. He had sent it to quite a few people, according to the address block. From the subject line, I was expecting a joke---"Mary Had a Little Lamb." The joke was on me. I opened the file. to see a picture of Jesus. Superimposed on it was a poem (rhyming, of course; Joe never did believe it was all right for poetry not to rhyme). The poem ended with a plea to support a very conservative right-wing political/religious position regarding organized prayer.

I broke several speed records deleting that thing.

And I didn't respond to the message, one way or the other. I figured my silence was the best response I could make. Apparently I should have pointed out to him we didn't see eye-to-eye on such matters. My silence apparently conveyed acceptance.

But I didn't realize that until few weeks later, when Joe sent me (just me, this time) an invitation to join a right-wing online Christian Singles' Group, to help him. Seems that if I would join (giving them all sorts of personal information, of course), he could have another week's membership absolutely free! And he thought that was cool!

That one I answered: No, it wasn't for me.

I was truly afraid of what would come next if I didn't.

Text © copyright 2000 Becky