She talked about how she thought the purpose of life was really to gain knowledge... (I agree,) that we should really love our neighbors (I agree,) and how we should all work towards communication and really understanding each other. (I agree.)
She talked about what she had learned about different religions and I looked at her and asked, "So, do you know what I believe? What Mormons believe?"
"No, not really," she said warily and looked even more wary when I opened my sketchpad and told her I was shifting momentarily into missionary mode to explain it.
She has mentioned several times that she doesn't want to be proselytized to (and I haven't,) and how that would totally kill our friendship, but I pointed out she had just said she thought we were here to gain knowledge and what about all that tolerance and understanding anyway?
So I drew it out how I believe that we first lived with God and what the point here was and what will happen next. She was dismissive but it's not like I was expecting anything different. She talked again how we should work for solutions other than war. We talked about our various points of view...where we get our information. I read blogs written by soldiers and Iraqi citizens. She reads Newsweek.
Now...before we have always had an unspoken agreement to not discuss politics or religion or really ... anything important at all. I think we just always understood that we disagree on just about everything. I have never gone into the life drawing studio talking politics or religion and I do not throw a holier than thou when they offer me a glass of wine, nor do I get all snitty when they make the obligatory wisecrack about how I always refuse it. I understand I am very much a guest in their space.
But tonight, we weren't in the studio space and she was making her comments and I was politely countering them and offering mine... and truly, it was very civil until out of the blue she exploded.
"I HATE Mormons. I hate EVERYTHING about the LDS faith! I HATE CONSERVATIVES! I DESPISE REPUBLICANS! I HATE BUSH!!! In fact," she said glaring at me almost defiantly, "We have absolutely NOTHING in common."
I blinked at her. "We both love art."
"Well," she thought, "We do both love art."
I sat there, near stunned. My friendships with people are not dependent on if whether or not they agree with me. For the most part, none of my friends do. I knew she didn't think much of the church, big shock her political leanings ran more to the left than the right...but I confess I knew nothing about her level of vitriol.
Still, very calm, I pointed out that not 3 minutes earlier, wasn't she saying we should work on tolerance and love and understanding and COMMUNICATION?
So, how does that fit in with her blanket statement of hating Mormons and conservatives and Republicans...
I pointed out that I do not hate people who do not share my faith. I do not hate people who do not share my political leanings... I am not angry when people of other faiths try to share their knowledge and understanding with me.
So which of us really has the problem?
"I think we both do!" she said emphatically.
"Um, you have this blanket HATE over all these groups. You don't try to tolerate them or understand them or communicate with them... I'm sorry but all your `oh, the world would be a better place if only we could love and communicate' reeks of hypocrisy."
I asked her if she knew anything of LDS history.
"Well, what I do know, I'm not impressed."
Sorry, that answer confirms the question. She didn't know very much at all. Last week she was snarking about the Pope but admitted she didn't know much about him either.
So, she hates Mormons. However, she'll accept my help to help her move. She hates conservatives, but really appreciates the ride to the airport on Wednesday. She will not discuss what I believe and is dismissive and callous towards my feelings... but is more than willing to tell me of things she has read and learned and thought in her own spiritual quest.
I think I shall think of what tolerance and love and communication and understanding really are a bit more and try to actually DO those things more than merely talk about them while eating omelets at the Village Inn.