*warning: well-deserved cursing ahead!
With the red-hot political climate in the United States right now, emotions can run high.
But, then again, emotions can run high when we’re talking sports, movies, or whether or not pineapple should be allowed on pizza.
People get passionate about the things they love—and the things they hate. Our passionate nature can be the driving force that helps to create change or save lives, but it can also be the force that leads us to destruction and take lives. It’s all in how we use it.
Recently, I posted a comment on a political leader’s social media page, arguing my stance on a particular issue. I don’t even need to get into the details because the details don’t matter in this case.
My point was succinct and salient. It did not launch into a personal attack. I simply identified a problem, suggested a solution, and urged this political representative to do his due diligence when it comes to making an educated vote.
A “friend” (you’ll see why there are quotations here soon) immediately launched a personal attack against me—completed with name-calling, even though my post was not directed at this person. It was not shared on my page. It was simply visible to people that I have befriended online.
It left a bad taste in my mouth for a number of reasons. I know that this person will have no remorse for the comments because he holds the—wait for it—Jesus card. What, you may ask, is a Jesus card? It’s when someone is so self-righteous that they believe they get a pass on being, frankly, an asshole. When someone identifies as Christian but then acts, consistently, in an aggressive and even bullying manner with no remorse for his/her actions, this person is playing the Jesus card.
But here’s the thing: There. Is. No. Jesus. Card.
Just like there’s no Buddha card. Or Allah card. Or Universe-Get-Out-of-Karma-Free Card.
We don’t ever have a free pass to be an asshole because we think we’re more spiritual or more religious or simply more right than other people. Sure, it might feel good to unload for a minute and to write the other person off as ignorant, brain-washed, or somehow inferior to ourselves.
Just thinking that way can, in our own minds, absolve us of our treatment of other human beings. But it is actually dehumanizing them. And that’s not okay. We’re not given the master pass to treat other people poorly because we think we have God/Allah/Krishna or any other deity, or set of beliefs on our side.
Because when we’re horrible to someone else, no religion or spiritual orientation sides with us.
Christians have the “Golden Rule:”
“Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them.” Matthew 7:12, King James Version.
Buddhists have this:
“Hurt not others in ways that you yourself would find hurtful.” ~ Udana-Varga 5:18
“One should seek for others the happiness one desires for oneself.”
Confucianists have something similar:
“Do not do to others what you do not want them to do to you.” ~ Doctrine of the Mean
“This is the sum of duty: do not do to others what would cause pain if done to you.” ~ Mahabharata 5:1517
In Islamic tradition:
“None of you truly believes until he wishes for his brother what he wishes for himself.” ~ Number 13 of Imam “Al-Nawawi’s Forty Hadiths” (writing by Muhammad)
“Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.” ~ Leviticus 19:18
In Native American Spirituality:
“Respect for all life is the foundation.” ~ The Great Law of Peace
And Pima proverb:
“Do not wrong or hate your neighbor. For it is not he who you wrong, but yourself.”
None of these practices give out a free pass for worshippers to treat others poorly. Even the Satanists have standards of behavior around treating others with compassion.
So, no, there’s no spiritual pass for shitty behavior toward others. Not for me or for anyone else, and I’ve had moments of being guilty of this as well.
What we need to remember when we’re tempted to let “the other side” of any particular argument feel our wrath is that every religion and spiritual tradition does share one common thread: they all urge us to practice the same kindness and courtesy to others as we would like to receive ourselves.
And none of us, not one person among us, wants to be on the receiving end of vitriolic words or actions.
Author: Crystal Jackson
Editor: Sara Kärpänen
Social Editor: Khara-Jade Warren
Copy Editor: Travis May