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Montevideo American-News
Anyone who knows Eric knows that he writes about a little bit of everything, whether it's taking a trip down memory lane, or praising and/or criticizing something or someone.
Empathy Failure
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By Eric Bergeson
Since 1997, Eric has owned and operated Bergeson Nursery, rural Fertile, MN, a business his grandfather started in 1937. With the active participation of his parents, who owned the business for the previous twenty five years, and his younger brother ...
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Eric Bergeson's The Country Scribe
Since 1997, Eric has owned and operated Bergeson Nursery, rural Fertile, MN, a business his grandfather started in 1937. With the active participation of his parents, who owned the business for the previous twenty five years, and his younger brother Joe, who is now president of the company, the business has nearly tripled in size during Eric’s ownership tenure. The holder of a Master of Arts in History from the University of North Dakota, Eric has taught courses in history and political science at the University of Minnesota, Crookston. He is also an adjunct lecturer in history for Hamline University, St. Paul, MN. Eric’s hobbies include Minnesota Twins baseball, Bach organ music, bookstores, hiking, photography, singing old country music with his brother Joe, and watching the wildlife on the swamp in front of his house eight miles outside of Fertile, Minn.
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Ever since I worked as a page at the Minnesota legislature in 1995 (full-time pages in the Minnesota House range in age from college grads looking for openings at the Capitol to retirees wanting to expand their horizons) and watched as about a dozen Republicans giggled their way through a debate on transgendered people, I have made a person's attitude towards the issue a litmus test: If you immediately get grossed out and giggle at the plight of a person born with ambiguous gender--if you make immediate judgements such as "I guess I can understand, but only if they try to..."–-you don't have enough empathy to make decisions for the rest of us and should get your bigoted ass out of elective office. 

Here is an excellent response from a Christian perspective which I think the fundamentalists and other neanderthals might consider. I have met several transgendered people in my life and there ain't nothin wrong with 'em. They don't need to be told that they need to struggle to conform with God's plan for their body, as the fundamentalists do. They just need unconditional acceptance of who they are. Why this is so difficult for self-professing Christians, of all people, mystifies me. So often they rise up to defend the status quo, the rules and conventionality in general, when the founder of their religion was a revolutionary who had no time for convention. 

This is yet another example of empathy failure in the world of modern evangelicalism. Instead of demonstrating the radical love, forgiveness and acceptance so obviously demanded by their founding prophet, they go into panic mode when confronted by people who are different, demanding that they conform. 

I think their anxiety, their stern "concern," stems from the fear which grips middle-aged parents: What if our kids get ideas and don't turn out normal? A lot of hatred and ignorance is perpetrated in this world by people in the grip of this fear. 

I remember when a local mother found out that the theology Lutheran church she attended didn't postulate the literal existence of hell. 

"Well!" she snorted, "How are we going to get the kids to behave?" 

Her kids were little angels, but that didn't seem to matter. You still need hell to keep them that way. 

These desperate middle-aged parents, above all, want their kids to be conventional. I would say they value their kids conventionality over their safety, or at least have confused the two. 

I am trying to understand the desperate anxiety people on the religious right have to get everybody to conform to 1950s social norms, none of which are actually laid out in the Bible. Such norms can be found there only if you have a vivid imagination and pick and choose your verses.

How many nuclear families with 2 children living in a single-family home appear in the New Testament? None that I know of. 

I wouldn't waste one minute of time on the religious right if they weren't so close to the levers of power. It appalls me that we even have to spend time and energy making sure they are properly discredited for their sheer indecency

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