I have no opinion on Honey Maid’s product line whatsoever. As far as I know, I’ve never eaten anything that comes from them at all.
Anyway. I found a new blog, yesterday and, given that I’m hopelessly addicted to living through other people’s blogs, I started reading from the bottom. When I reached this post, I stopped for a moment and was struck, once again, by how predictably awful a certain percentage (9.0909091% in this case) of society is, and thinks that it’s their job to tell others how badly they are getting it wrong.
In short, Honey Maid released a commercial that depicted some families that reflect the actual make-up of their target audience (Mainstream American society), rather than the traditional 50’s model of white mommy, white daddy and one or two perfectly-manicured white children who never throw cereal at their parents. This commercial showed a family with two dads, a mixed-race family, and other families in non-50’s-commercial configurations. It formed part of their #NotBroken campaign to reflect the true reality that 40% of US families are ‘blended’, ie. there has been some reconfiguration due to divorce and remarriage, or other things that means that there are step-parents, step-siblings, a lot of shuttling between multiple households, and so on. The feedback they received from the whole campaign was overwhelmingly positive, offset by the usual bile from a certain slice of their audience (9.091%). Instead of rolling over and chasing that percentage, they responded with this. It’s a beautiful response to hatred and one I wish more people felt able to embrace.
This touches on a recurring theme that seems to be written through British and US (and others, I’m sure) society like the words through rock. It’s the notion that religion is a good excuse to behave like warring tribes. In spite of what that religion has to say about the way we treat others. My brother-in-law, if you ask him in the right way, will admit to being a member of the Church of the First Stone Thrower. It’s a joke religion set up by him and a couple of mates down the pub one night. He’s actually a deeply caring man who would never throw the first stone. Anyway, it’s a reference to Christianity, specifically from John 8 the story where Jesus is challenged by an indignant crowd who have grabbed hold of a woman, in the very act of committing adultery. Quite what they were doing barging in on a couple engaged in coitus is another matter, as is the fact that the other party (it takes two to tango, after all) was left in his bed, unmolested. The crowd drag this woman to Jesus and throw her down before him and try to trap him in the folds and creases of the Jewish Law. The Law was quite clear on matters such as this: a woman guilty of adultery is to be thrown out of the city and stoned to death. The Jewish authorities of the time were getting annoyed by Jesus’ constant series of challenges to their conduct and wanted to prove to everyone that his message was just as violent as their own. Now, Jesus was not a man to be trapped easily, and he seems to have no great difficulty getting out of this one. He doodles in the dust with his finger for a few moments before telling them “Let he who is without sin cast the first stone.”
Oooh, there’s a challenge. He’s calling us to examine our own lives and admit that we might be in need of mercy before we go about denying that to others.
The usual reaction from the Christians I have debated this issue with is Jesus’ final line to the woman herself, which is “go, and sin no more.” They use this as justification for pointing out that others’ actions are sinful and that they should stop. Well, that’s one side of the coin, certainly. To my mind, it is missing the thrust of the entire dialogue up to that point. Across the Gospels, Jesus teaches over and over that we are not to judge others’ sinfulness: that is God’s job. It is our job to teach that God is merciful and loves nothing more than to seek out the lost sheep, to care for the sick, to provide for the widow and the orphan. Quite why so many people concentrate on what they perceive as sin in others is completely beyond me.
I truly believe that everyone would be better off (and religions would have a better image) if more people decided to concentrate on living their own lives well and less on pointing out how badly they think others are living theirs.