Yeah, it's a lousy quotation. But it really is something that I've heard said a lot. I'll have an opinion about something, and people will tell me that I shouldn't assert this opinion because the topic doesn't affect me. Sometimes, this is how it should work. If two people are having a private discussion, it's not my place to step in and start telling them what I think. In this way, it doesn't affect me. But then, that isn't the situation where I typically hear this phrase. Normally it's something else entirely. Something happens across the globe, or a law changes that won't change the way I live. These do not directly affect me, and therefore, people who support what happened will tell me that I shouldn't oppose it because it doesn't affect me. I, however, would beg to differ. I think there are situations where we must speak up."It doesn't affect you."
-People who want you to let something go
Before I get into the meat of the topic, I'd like to give an example. Let's say that I have a box. This box is empty, and this box is closed. My box has never been opened, and I take pleasure in that fact. But let's say that one day, I'm sitting at the park gazing fondly at my box as it sits on the bench beside me. Suddenly, a stranger walks up and takes my box. He opens it, looks inside, closes it, and puts it back. The box is now, physically, exactly the same as it was. This will not directly affect my life. My actions will not be required to change simply because my box was opened, seeing as how the box is now closed again. But it has still affected me. My box, which was never meant to be opened, has been opened, and thus, has been defiled.
I'll come back to that example again in a moment, but first, I'd like to move to another example. Let's say that a law is passed legalizing murder. The exception to this rule is that nobody may murder me. I now have secret service agents protecting me (but in such a way that I won't even notice them) so I'm still safe and not directly affected. It's still illegal to murder me, so no issue, right? This law hasn't affected me in any way, except maybe given me a freedom that I didn't previously have. So, since it doesn't affect me, I have no need to speak out against this law.
As you may have noticed, my being forced to live differently isn't the only way to affect me, and things that affect me aren't the only things that I should speak up about. See, there are two issues that, more than any others, cause people to tell me to shut up because it doesn't affect me. These issues are gay marriage and abortion. I've done a post on each of these topics before, so I try not to saturate my blog with more of what I've already examined, but in this case, I'm looking at a new aspect- that is to say, I'm not examining the topics themselves, but rather, why it is, in fact, my place to discuss these issues.
Marriage is a religious institution. That is to say, the entire purpose for marriage (as opposed to unwed companionship) is either, A, to glorify God, or B, to glorify a fake god that we made up. In that way, marriage basically "belongs" to religion. If you don't believe in God, then there's no reason to value marriage. Gay marriage is actually a defilement of something that is precious to us, and thus, even though I don't have to change my behavior or become a homosexual, I still am affected.
I believe in a just and holy God Who has said that murder is wrong. I believe that abortion is murder, and that it goes against the rights of the child for the baby to be executed. In a sense, this doesn't affect me. I'm a guy, for one thing, and even if I weren't, I wouldn't have to ever choose to get an abortion. And because I'm already born, nobody can abort me. In the same way, under the earlier example, I don't have to choose to murder anyone, and nobody can murder me. But it's not that simple. It's not a matter of whether it forces me to change my ways, it's a matter of whether it's good and just. Abortion violates the rights of the child, and therefore, I must speak out against it.
In some situations, it's not my place to offer an opinion. But in others, I must speak out. Gay marriage and abortion are only two examples. Two large examples, yes, but there are many more situations where we're told that we shouldn't talk about something because it doesn't affect us. But just because something doesn't require us to change our actions doesn't mean that we shouldn't speak out. Just because something doesn't affect us doesn't mean that it's okay.
"No cause occurs without effect, and no effect occurs without cause. No unjust action goes without penalty, and no action or thought flows unnoticed throughout the universe."