On Bullying — The City Online

On Bullying

by John Mark Reynolds on May 11, 2012

To say I oppose bullying seems as unnecessary as saying I oppose the Bolsheviks.

Could any sane man love Lenin?

Apparently, and so one must point out that Lenin was a tyrant, mass murderer, regicide, and cad.

And one must oppose bullying.

I have been bullied, many American males have, but for my Faith. In government school being serious about Faith meant no porn or swearing and that meant getting roughed up and mocked. I did not enjoy it, but I survived it. No group came to my aid, but my parents loved me and supported me as did my Church.

It got better. I was able to enter an adult world where people disagreed agreeable and my refusal to look at pictures of naked women no longer got me in trouble. (Not that I was perfect, but I did try and it was the trying that irritated folk.)

Evidently aspiring to high things, even unattainable things, irritates teenagers, but is tolerated amongst grownups. My mature left-of-center friends left my beliefs alone . . . even when they disagreed and some of my best mentors surely disagree with most things I write.

It did get better.

Now I wonder why teenage suicide was lowest when our society was least concerned about bullying or “diversity.” Why? I don’t know. I will not guess, but it is obvious that professional support groups and lobbying campaigns were not needed to avoid people killing themselves.

And yet bullying is still wrong no matter matter what motivates it. I do not support gay marriage, but I have always hated, because I am a Christian, slurs used toward those with same sex attraction. It is wrong, because it fails the Golden Rule: it is not treating the other the way I would wish to be treated. It is also ugly and coarse and not the language of a gentleman. Everything in my youth shouted out against it.

Most kids I know who were bullied were different or weak. Attacking those who are weak is so base that no decent Christian would justify it. It is not a prank: it is wrong. Violating a persons  conscience or his person is wrong and saying it is a joke is also wrong. It is not a prank. It is a sin.

Still . . . one wonders why of all the sins our culture commits this one has become fashionable. Is there evidence that it has grown worse? Teens are less happy, more depressed, more medicated, more likely to commit suicide, but are they more bullied? In my youth, I was told to “take it” by authorities . . . and that continues today, but there are also many who would put a stop to actions that were allowed when I was young.

Most of all I have the sneaking suspicion that adults in arms about bullying are using this cause less to help the bullied than to score social and political points. If they help save one life, then I suppose we should thank them, but much of it seems hectoring and like secular bullying of those determined to hold traditional values.

No Christian should be a bully: our job is to defend the weak and the oppressed. If we love our enemy, then it is hard to imagine humiliating them. Bullying is always a failure of Christian charity. And yet, I think at this moment, at this hour, a noble cause is being hijacked for ignoble reasons.

We are told that charitably expressing Christian belief is “bullying.” Men ignorant of exegesis and theology claim that the Bible bullies the reader. God help me to treat those who disagree with me on serious issues as I would wish to be treated. God help me to avoid law and embrace love. God help me to express my views clearly and without diffidence born of fear. God help me to side with the powerless and the oppressed .

And yet . . . when I have misused rhetoric to make a point: I have bullied. When I side with the strong, because they are strong, against the weak, I have been a bully.

God help me hate bullying.

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