Casual cruelty is an insidiious sort of threat.
The ease with which we discard our sympathetic instincts to make a point can often lead to staggering repercussions.
What happens when, in a difficult time, you are subjected to casual cruelty?
That was the issue facing Redditor and Original Poster (OP) poheyeon3388 when he came to the “Am I the A**hole” (AITA) subReddit for some outside opinions.
“AITA for telling my (31 Male) relatives that they’re just some POS with archaic beliefs who lack any sort of empathy?”
OP started with the backstory.
“My little brother passed away (fortunately peacefully in his sleep) last month due to glioblastoma (brain cancer) at the very young age of 19 after 18 months of constant fighting.”
He took the time to detail the kind of person his brother was.
“He was an absolute warrior.”
“He remained optimistic and lively ’till the very end despite all the pain he was under 24/7.”
“I never saw him cry even once. He used to ask us (the family) how we were feeling every single day and tell us that we shouldn’t be sad ’cause he wanted us to be okay no matter what.”
“He would spend so much of his time playing, taking care of and looking out for the sick kids while he was in the hospital.”
“Everyone adored him.”
“He was the sweetest, nicest, purest, smartest, bravest and most selfless person I’ve ever known.”
“He was gay (out of the closet since he was 13) and had a longtime boyfriend since the age of 14.”
“He was also a Wiccan.”
Then, he explained the problem.
“Recently, I posted some pics of my beloved brother on my social media accounts calling him an angel among other similar things.”
“Some relatives (conservative Christians) decided to DM me and inform me that I shouldn’t call him that because ‘you know he was gay so he can’t possibly be in Heaven and thus not an angel either’.”
“To say that I got angry after hearing this is an understatement.”
“I personally called each and every one of these relatives and told them that they’re just some POS with archaic beliefs who lack any sort of empathy.”
“Blocked them everywhere and cut off all contact. If only people like them go to Heaven then who the f*ck even wants to go there.”
“My parents called me after that saying that they think I’ve overreacted, that those are their personal beliefs and I should respect them even though I might not agree with them, that my approach was immature and childish, etc.”
OP was left to wonder.
“But why though, isn’t there a saying ‘no tolerance for intolerance’?”
Having explained the issue, he turned to Reddit for some clarity.
Redditors weighed in by declaring:
- NTA – Not The A**hole
- YTA – You’re The A**hole
- NAH – No A**holes Here
- ESH – Everyone Sucks Here
Redditors decided: NTA
The irony was not lost on anyone.
“It’s ironic that they want you to respect their beliefs, while going out of their way to criticise a social media post, of all things, because it doesn’t agree with what they believe.” ~ The_Cost_Of_Lies
“I know right. the irony is what gets me.”
“I was told that Christians are supposed to love and cherish everyone, and be so accepting.”
“Yet it amazes me how many homophobic religious people there are. The hypocrisy and irony sickening really.” ~ Mrx-02
Commenters pointed out some other horrible trespasses worthy of condemnation.
“Leviticus is a TRIP!”
“Eating fat? Sin.”
“Letting your hair become unkempt? Sin worthy of god-smite.”
“Tearing your clothes? Sin.”
“Eating or even touching the carcass of pigs? Sin.”
“Sorry American football players, you’re done.”
“Eating or touching the carcass of most raptors including eagles, and owls? Sin.”
“Going to church for 33 days after birthing a baby boy (66 days for a baby girl)? Sin.”
“Sex with a woman on her period? Unclean for 7 days… Also, sin.”
“Wearing clothes ‘of two fibers’ (like a nice cotton-poly blend)? Sin.”
“Trimming your beard? Sin.”
“Permanently selling your land/property? Sin.” ~ wonderwife
Noone was impressed with OP’s family.
“People who spout off about personal beliefs usually only see that as one way.”
“I’m pretty disgusted that OP’s parents would defend that kind of speech about their dead son.”
“Sounds like OP has a lot of AH in the family, luckily that gene seemed to miss them. NTA.” ~ DrWhoop87
“This that good Big Brother Sh*t!!!”
“Your love for him and his for you is so much more valuable than any kind of relationship with those ppl.”
“F*ck them NTA u loved your brother and they tried to sh*t on your love for him during a time of immense grief.”
“I hope they all get flaming bags of dogsh*t in their mailboxes.”
“I hope their credit scores plummet.” ~ Achillesbuttcheeks
There were also comforting words.
“NTA and I‘m so sorry for your loss.”
“They can believe all they want but what on Earth makes them contact you and say so?”
“I don’t understand what people who consider themselves good Christians get out of being so cruel to other people.”
“Tolerating intolerance will kill tolerance every time.”
“Your brother sounds amazing and if there is an afterlife, I‘d definitely want to go where he is, not where those folks are going.”
“I hope you have better people around you to give you strength and won‘t be bothered any further by those spiteful excuses for human beings.” ~ RiverSong_777
“I am so sorry for your loss.”
“Do not let your parents gaslight you into thinking you did anything wrong!”
“Those relatives are the lowest of the low to come at a grieving sibling and hurt you further with their nonsense.” ~ MissionRevolution306
Some set aside comfort for a more direct conversation.
“You can’t be respectful of other people’s beliefs, by accepting homophobia and bigotry.”
“In the same way you can’t create peace, by tolerating someone walking around punching people in the face.”
“Bigotry is not a personal belief, it is an attack on someone else’s beliefs.”
“It is by definition, not personal, because you have enacted your beliefs on other people.”
“Everyone has inherent biases: from your favorite color or taste, all the way down to deeply ingrained beliefs about certain identities (sexual, ethnic, religious, etc).”
“We should all try to identify what biases we have, and see beyond them – to recognize that life is more colorful and diverse than our black and white assumptions could ever be.”
“But as long as you keep your internal biases to yourself, you don’t externalize your misplaced beliefs onto others.”
“Being actively bigoted, and pushing your belief system on others, is different than having inherent biases.” ~ DakodaMountainborn
“Unfortunately the idea that we need to respect one another’s beliefs has been coopted by ignorance and hate.”
“It is a fundamental idea that is supposed to promote tolerance but is now being used to breed intolerance.”
“Some ‘beliefs’ are morally, ethically, or factually bankrupt and should not be given this equal respect.”
“Hate and discrimination are such ‘beliefs’ that deserve no tolerance.”
“By default, people who ‘believe’ such things can never reciprocate respect and so never deserve it, as they hate, disrespect, and marginalize people. As you stated, no tolerance for intolerance.” ~
Some even quoted scripture.
“It takes some gall to say something like that to someone who is grieving.”
“They went out of their way to disrespect your right to your beliefs about the afterlife, so I don’t think anyone should blame you for replying in kind.”
“Maybe next time you should throw in some Romas 3:23, ‘for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,’ and ask them where they get off believing their own sins are lesser than those of anyone else?”
“Also, if they’re such devout Christians, they would know that there are several places in the Bible that reference humans and angels as separate beings.”
“Therefore most Christians who actually read their Bibles instead of just thumping them agree that humans don’t become angles when they die regardless of sexuality.” ~ mercurial_planner
There were shared stories.
“You didn’t react.”
“How dare they try to smear the legacy of your brother.”
“And let me be honest: If THEIR god thinks your brother doesn’t deserve a spot in heaven because of the fact he was gay, and doesn’t care about the selfless, loving, wonderful, kind and giving person your brother was, but your relatives will get into heaven for being judgmental, nasty and callous…”
“That’s not a god I’d want to associate with, frankly.”
“(I once had someone in high school tell me my grandmother was in hell because we were Jewish.”
“Really considered that person my friend at that point, but I stopped after that.”
“How can you look at someone and say ‘your loved one is burning for all eternity because they didn’t adhere to MY faith’ and not think you’re an AH?)”
“Your brother sounds wonderful and do not let jerks dictate his legacy.”
“He’s at peace, whatever that may mean to him, or to you, and I’m so sorry for your loss.”~ The-Moocat
Casual Cruelty has no place in society – let alone in the grieving process.
Be careful that you guard against being accidently mean in this way – and never, ever put up with someone being so callous with intent.