Being Judgemental

There is a common saying, albeit an older and somewhat dated saying, “Don’t judge me.”  I speak with many people who claim to be non-judgmental…but why?  Making assessments, assigning risk and making decisions based on that judgement is essential to survival.  But more importantly, we must make those same assessments of ourselves or we will not effectively direct our personal growth.

I actually WANT to be judged.  I welcome feedback even if it is contrary to my outlook…often especially if it disagrees with my views!  This is how we learn (unless we already know everything and therefore are not open to learning).

By the same token, I make decisions daily based on calculations tempered by my observations of the world around me.  This include things like which route to take when traveling, who to trust with my children or my bank accounts, whether the guy walking toward me on the sidewalk looks like a threat, etc.  All of these things are important and all are necessary to my well being.

But there are more personal assessments that we make in life.  Do you know someone who has a lot of friends?  There are people who call everyone they meet a friend and then there are those who realize that true friendship is earned over time.  In order to determine who is worthy of that exclusive title we must make judgments of the person’s character and use that information to determine if they are worth investing the time it takes to maintain a close relationship.  If so, the rewards are immeasurable.  If not, the risk is greater than the potential.

So the next time someone says that they don’t judge people, ask them why they don’t.  Teach your children to be discriminating and to know the difference between an acquaintance and a true friend.  And by all means, be your own worst critic!  It is your best tool to enhance your station in life.

Freedom Of Religion or From Religion?

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

This is the First Amendment to the United States Constitution, the first ten of which make up the Bill of Rights.  The framers of this document considered this to be so important that they placed it first.  Why?  Many, if not most of them had risked their lives, left their families, given up their homes and made major sacrifices to cross an ocean for the chance to be able to worship as they saw fit without fear of persecution.

This concept has been grossly perverted today.  The “separation of church and state” was intended to prevent any one religion from controlling the legislative process as a means to ensure that all men and women would be able to worship in their own way…or choose not to worship at all.  Today we have courts that are prohibiting people from honoring their chosen religion under the guise of Constitutional protection.  But one person’s right to NOT be religious does not trump another’s freedom.

If you see someone praying, you do not have to join in.  Even if the vast majority of people at an event are holding a communal prayer you can politely opt out.  When I was in grade school (yes, it was quite some time ago) we explored many religions; Judaism, Christianity, Hindu, etc.  Not in any great detail, but if there was a student in the class who practiced something other than Christianity we talked about whatever holiday it was for that religion and we…LEARNED!  It was enlightening.  I never had a desire to convert, mind you, and I never felt uncomfortable.  But I did learn to appreciate other view points.  And I learned that we are not so different in our overall philosophy.

It amazes me that in today’s society, where the politically correct pundits preach tolerance of others there is a skewed sense of fairness and the “tolerance” is for a limited few.  Should we not all be respectful of each other’s right to worship…or not worship…as we see fit?