I’ve read tweets by people who tried to follow someone they’ve never encountered before and found themselves blocked. It finally happened to me tonight. Someone I follow retweeted someone they follow. I liked the tweet, or I tried to like it, but Twitter informed me that my “like” had failed. I found that strange and tried to view the person’s Twitter. The tweets didn’t load. I went from Tweetdeck to Twitter and tried again. The actual Twitter site informed me that I had been blocked.
Why? I am 100% certain I’ve never interacted with this person. I went to my backup account to view their tweets and try to understand how I offended them. We seemed to be in almost complete agreement politically. Then I saw it–a tweet about someone being in violation of “the Gospel of Jesus Christ.”
So it seems that this person saw a tweet of mine, realized I’m not a Christian, and blocked me from following them. Why? I don’t often tweet about being Wiccan. I certainly do not proselytize. I was as bemused as the time I ran into that conservative, racist, homophobic pagan. I think that the great majority of the people I follow and the people who follow me are religious. I don’t know what they think of my religion, but it’s not a subject that comes up.
I guess I got used to the tolerance of liberal Christians on Twitter. A conservative, close-minded, intolerant Democrat confuses me as much as a conservative, intolerant pagan. But as I said yesterday about writers like me who chose to be politically active on Twitter, you do you. I have no intention of bothering this person who doesn’t know me and doesn’t want to. I did block them in return. Perhaps that was petty, but it seems fair.
I follow a liberal Christian pastor because I agree with most of the things he says about politics and our society. I bought his book and gave it to my Christian cousin for Christmas. I’ve given my mother a large, beautiful crucifix that hangs over her bedroom door. That I hung over her door for her. I gave her a bust of Jesus that occupies the den with my Rhiannon altar. I set up the large Nativity every Christmas because my mother says I’m better at arranging it than she is. I send religious Christmas cards to my religious friends and family members. I make a sweep of the house before someone comes over to make sure there aren’t any books about paganism on the coffee table.
I do this to make my existence in a Christian environment easier. I do it to make my mother’s life easier. My Christian extended family has nothing but sympathy for my alcohol and drug-addicted relatives, but if they found out that I’m not a Christian . . . .
Sometimes, when I encounter religious intolerance, I wonder why I bother being tolerant of others. I wonder why I care what people would think. It’s always a bit of a shock because I’m so used to the cozy, tolerant environment in our home. It’s like the time I was at the store and picked up a cookies and cream candy bar and the man in line behind me felt completely free and entitled to comment on the candy and the fact that I’m overweight. It’s why I like working remotely and sticking to stores close to home. I’m not tolerated. I’ll never be accepted. I’m a pagan. I’m bisexual. This is the second time in my life I’ve said “I am bisexual.” And I said it the other time on this blog, where I feel safe and in control. I get dyke comments elsewhere on the web by people who don’t know a damn thing about me other than I have a pixie cut. And I’m always bemused by that.
We live in a bad time. I could hide my religion and sexuality and political views and be a good girl, but that would make me feel like a coward.
As I said on Twitter, I’m not concerned with your religion. I’m concerned with your character. I’m glad I have so many accepting and tolerant friends. Intolerance carries with it divisiveness, and that hurts all of us who are working towards righting our political system so that everyone is equal.