There is an ingrained Mormon reflex to angry mobs that poses a serious problem that I hadn't recognized until tonight. The thoughtless, easy, almost automatic response of "love your enemies" -- typified by my latest post -- reveals my old-school, politically incorrect upbringing. This response, I should say, is most easily coughed up while sitting in a soft arm chair at a safe distance from the action, like the 2,000 miles between me and California. That quirky response reveals clunky cultural blinders on top of obsidian lenses three inches thick on top of a Kevlar blindfold with a layer of duct tape over the eyes for good measure -- that's how blind I was. Because by regurgitating the old saying, "love your enemies," I was implicitly labeling people as enemies. Some of you are bothered by this - and I actually see some point to what you've said.

This term was not meant to apply to anyone who opposed Prop. 8. It is not meant to apply to gays or any other group, except those who I think would be comfortable with that label because they really don't mind saying they hate us - which they have a right to feel and say, but civilly, please. A tiny group of people were meant.

I think some of you felt I was being judgmental, divisive, and insulting in using the term "enemy" to describe others, as if I was applying that to gays in general, or as if I were missing the fact that the "enemies" were actually brothers and sisters we need to love.

I'm all for loving people who come after us with what I interpret as visible hostility and hate. That's kind of the intent of my previous post, and this one. They are our brothers and sisters and we should love them, even if they lose control and do things that seem wrong to us. But can't we love people, recognizing them as brothers and sisters, while also recognizing them as "enemies" that meet the dictionary requirements for that word, i.e., having hostility or hate toward us, opposing our interests, and in a few rare cases, even intending harm? The intentions may be honorable, as they are in most "anti-Mormons" who want to save people from hell by telling others that we don't believe in Christ and abuse children or whatever else they say. There are some great people, like Saul of Tarsus before his conversion, who take the stance of "enemies" to Christianity or the Mormon flavor thereof. "Enemy" is not necessarily an insult. In fact, if we're half as bad and deluded as some folks say we are, some of our most dangerous "enemies" may be heroes and saints in God's eyes. So recognize that "enemy" is not necessarily a put down.

When someone in an angry mob curses you while holding a sign saying "Mormon scum" and says it's time for retribution, calling Mormons the enemy, it seems like "enemy" status might even be one of the few things we could mutually agree upon. But to avoid adding any fuel to a potential fire, I am looking for softer, more politically correct language. So how about this: "Not Quite Friends." NQF. "Love Thy NQFs." Hmm, it's just not working. Suggestions? I'm at least somewhat serious. Is there better language to describe our NQFs?

(Note: Originally I used "Not Quite Friends Anymore" - NQFA.)
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