Robin was a new first-time mom, although she had been friends to most of the ladies in this group for many years. She had waited and waited to become a mom and was now thrilled with her pretty little girl, Chloe. And although it would still be a few years before Chloe would be school aged, Robin wanted to be part of the homeschool group and participate in the activities before she made up her mind about educational choices. Little Chloe was good throughout the entire tour. She patted little Sam in his stroller and she thoroughly enjoyed the candy at the end of the trip!
Over the years, Robin and I became friends. Robin eventually decided to homeschool Chloe so we had that in common. We also went to the same church so we had those activities and experiences in common too. When Robin eventually had a son, our boys also became good friends. There was one special feast day that we started sharing together and it became an annual event. One year we would go to Robin's house and the next to ours. Our husbands even became involved. We made many happy memories and I can remember Chloe in my minds eye as she grew up with my kids.
I remember one time in particular when Chloe was a little girl - not a toddler, but probably around 6 or 7, she had an accident while she was over at my house. I took her to the bathroom and cleaned her up, and since I didn't have any little girls yet, I gave her some clean boy underpants to wear until her mom came to pick her up. It was our little secret and she went back to playing without anyone even knowing there had been an incident.
The years went by. Robin helped me through the loss of my baby. We attended the funerals of the grandparents. The kids got bigger. Chloe started attending a local Catholic High School. And although we could no longer celebrate our special feast day together any more because of school conflicts, Chloe stayed in the homeschool youth group and I have memories of her participating in those activities as well as the beautiful formal dances we had every year.
Chloe got married last summer. We weren't invited to the wedding, but I sent her a little something from her online registry just as a memento of past friendship. Now a wife and a mother herself, I never see Chloe any more, but I was happy to keep up with her life and her experiences via Facebook. Until yesterday. You see yesterday, many people, in support of "marriage equality" changed their Facebook pictures to an impersonal.
I didn't know what it was at first and had to Google it for an answer. Chloe however put a question with her changing profile picture. She asked something along of the lines of, "Why should their love be different." Knowing that Chloe had been homeschooled through 8th grade and then attended a Catholic High School, I answered with this clip from Catholic Answers, thinking that in her search for answers, she would find this helpful.
You see, her changing of the profile picture and posing the question wasn't an invitation for discussion or debate. In fact she basically told me some line about separation of church and state and not forcing beliefs on other people (which is a line I had heard back in November from an other alumnus of the same high school!) and then she wrote that she had her opinion and I had mine and that was that.
And it would have been, except that her other friends, including a 21-year-old anarchist and a 20-something self-described bisexual, felt the need to add their comments which included calling me and the two other mature, conservative Catholics joining the discussion names like, selfish, ignorant, bigot, douche-bag and dumb ass. One gentleman said that because the times are changing and public opinion was swinging that we, we should just get with it - I promptly informed him that he had just employed the appeal to popularity logical fallacy.
And that was the last straw with Chloe- and I entered the wilderness of "unfriending" on Facebook. My new exile appeared to be pretty severe too - no access to updates or pictures. Nothing. Her name would still pop up among the many other friendships we share, and it would be a reminder that despite watching her grow up and sharing joys and sorrows, I was no longer her friend. That's a little too painful for me so I had to block her name to protect my feelings.
That was the most severe incident yesterday. A cousin included this on her facebook page as a way to marginalize opposing viewpoints.
Here is what I learned from this and other incidents: If someone writes something along the lines of:
I will for the rest of my life not understand how the people i know and love can not understand the need for marriage equality.
Don't get suckered in!. Especially if they had a religious upbringing- they know the arguments for the other side, they just don't want to hear or read them.
Yes you are free to believe what you believe but we live in a country of freedoms and your religious or personal beliefs should not dictate what another can and should do with their lives.
Interestingly there is never any consideration about how such a major cultural change is going to affect anyone else's life. And we know that there will be a change.
I have never heard any of you speak against the millions of married straight couples who divorce and therefore live in opposition of the "sanctity of marriage".
And most of them won't acknowledge the friends and family members who have been married for decades!
I post this not for a litany of responses about what God did or did not say in the bible, as I am sure you are aware there are many things written in the good book that we do not abide by....
I say this because I hope that this baby that I carry and my baby at home will grow up in a world that celebrates love and not moral bigotry.
.Not so subtle ad hominem and a gentle threat that expressing your opinion is probably going to guarantee a similar exile on FB and in real life.