Right in the centre - Opinions are like noses


By Ken Waddell

Neepawa Banner & Press

New Year’s is always a time to reflect, maybe plan ahead, contemplate changes. One thing that I have been pondering is how divided people have become on various issues. I won’t air a shopping list of issues but everybody has a list. There are tons of issues and everyone has a different list. Everyone has their preferences and that is a good thing hopefully. Opinions are like noses, everyone has one.

The problem today is that many people can’t overlook the things they disagree about. We need to be able to disagree without being disagreeable. Today’s version of disagreeing seems to quickly drift over to hating the person or group you don’t agree with. That is simply not right, it goes against everything I stand for and for that matter and it goes against Christ’s teaching. That said, even some Christian churches have strayed away from Christ’s teachings and wandered away from loving their neighbour to hating those who disagree with them.

I believe there is another misconception going around. It goes something like this, “It’s legal so how can you disagree with it.” 

Just because an action is legal doesn’t mean I have to agree with it. Just to avoid stress, let’s take a fairly familiar issue and stay away from the more controversial issues. In the past 100 years, making and selling alcohol has been legal, then illegal, and back to legal again. Legal or illegal, it does’t mean I have to agree with alcohol usage. 

There are many issues, both simple and complex, innocent and controversial, that are legal but it doesn’t mean a person has to agree with them.

Again, it’s a matter of opinion.

The whole idea of enforcing opinions is another phase of human behaviour that is under scrutiny and rightly so. Two issues come to mind. One is the Iran situation where the government is using violence to enforce dress codes seems like a huge mistake. I know how a woman dresses and what she wears on her head is a huge issue for some segments of the Muslim faith but really, is it worth killing your citizens over the issue? I think not and the Iranian government’s actions may well destroy the government and perhaps the country with it.

The other issue is the abortion issue in the United States where it appears the Supreme Court has ruled that abortion is a state by state matter and not a national law issue. Whether it be state of federal, it doesn’t really matter. There needs to be a law. By the way, Canada doesn’t have such a law at all. Abortion is legal at any stage of pregnancy in Canada. In my opinion, abortion is a very serious matter, one not to be taken lightly. It has to be available in cases where the mother’s life is in danger. The no legal abortion law jurisdictions will see a rise in dead women. The no restriction states will see a rise in dead babies. Neither option is a good one in my view.

Abortion is also a prime example of how serious, informed discussion needs to be applied to an issue. Informed discussion needs to be applied to all issues instead of riots, nasty demonstrations and military enforcement.

The Bible says we are, “as much as possible to be at peace with all mankind.”

I think that’s a good idea, but we have long way to go.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this column are the writer’s personal views and are not to be taken as being the view of the Banner & Press staff.