In eight grade a friend of mine picked up a prescription drug habit. Every morning he would use on the bus on the way to school and by first period he was flying high. He was taking uppers and our first period teacher was as dense as lead so she thought he was just “acting out.” I was watching my friend destroy his life and the supposed adult was too stupid to see it happening right before her eyes. After months of watching this dance and weeks of going home in tears afraid for my friend and the harm he was causing himself I went to the vice principal and told him what was going on. I became a hated thing – I became “a narc.” I expected it was the last I would ever see of my friend, but at least I knew I had done what I can to halt his downward spiral.
Needless to say, long term suspension from school followed soon after I “narced” my friend out. A few weeks after that I heard he was hospitalized and sober. At my parents urging, and assistance getting me there, I dared to visit. As I arrived his mother was leaving and while I had met her a few times, I barely knew her, yet she kissed my cheek as she greeted me. I entered the room and the first words from my friend’s mouth were “Thank you.” He knew I acted out of concern for him. Instead of being hated for “narcing,” he understood that my act was an act of brotherly love. We remained friends for some time, until in high school his addictions claimed him completely. He never managed to finish school and some years after, his addictions claimed him finally.
There are lots of ways of “narcing someone out,” most of which do not involve narcotics or drugs of any sort. Rather it is simply confronting someone either directly or indirectly with their actions and the consequences thereof. We used to understand that such is an act of love – born of the desire for the best for the person being confronted. But nowadays such is considered an act of hate because it implies disapproval of the actions of person being confronted and in the modern age we equate love with unconditional approval and unconditional acceptance. Apparently love no longer means desiring the best for someone, but simply granting them what their desire. Somehow, love now means allowing someone to continue to wallow in behavior that harms their soul, themselves and others. Somehow hate now means asking them to stop harming themselves and others while love means acceptance of that harm. Does that not strike you as completely backwards?
David French gave us a prime example of this phenomena in a National Review piece today on the Southern Poverty Leadership Council’s labeling of the Alliance Defending Freedom as a “hate group.” The piece circles ADF’s stance on same sex marriage, gender identification, etc. I can hear now the protests of, “Where’s the harm?” But such fails to acknowledge the world view of the ADF and those that support it.
Back in my Article VI Blog days I once communicated to a very knowledgeable friend my very impatient frustration with certain traditionally Christian group’s attitude towards Mormonism. I did not want them to change their mind, just shut up so conservative politics could carry the day. My friend reminded me that those groups were acting out of love, not the small minded hatred I presumed. He reminded me that their theology taught them that to allow someone to wallow in a theological tradition as “errant” as Mormonism, was to condemn their souls to hell. That’s pretty serious harm. They were acting from the same impulse that drove me to narc on my friend all those many years before. It is that same impulse that drives ADF now – and yet they are accused of hatred.
Should the SPLC and their ilk have their way and ADF and its allies are silenced they will not shut down hate speech, they will shut down many people doing their utmost to love.
My friend all those years ago never did fully overcome his issues. He had a lot more help than just mine over the years. A lot of us wept when he died, but at least he died knowing we loved him because we wanted what was best for him. We could mourn him because, issues notwithstanding, love abounded. The most that can be accomplished by the legal quashing of the expression of so many Christian’s love, as the SPLC wishes to do, is to quash love, and in the end we will not even be able to mourn each other. That would be the greatest crime of all.