Conservatism is no excuse for bullying othersIt has become painfully obvious to me since I started writing this weekly column that most of the mean people in our state and nation are socially conservative. And, most call themselves “Christians.” Many of the greatest people I’ve ever known (or learned about) are also Christians. But, there is a difference between the loving/embracing Christian, and the judgmental/ exclusive Christian . I appreciate reader feedback, but I often get folks writing me who are very meanspirited. A master’s educated nurse and self-described Christian and constitutionalist wrote last week to ask me to read her favorite blog. The blog states, “Obama is the enemy. Obama is a Marxist-Communist usurper and puppet front for a cabal of Marxist-Communists who are actively trying to destroy the United States of America. Everything they have done, are doing, and will do has the single goal of collapsing and destroying the U.S. economy, military, constitutional government and culture. What part of ‘Marxist Revolution’ do you not understand?” Obviously, the nurse and her favorite blogger (a “traditional Catholic”) have no idea what they’re talking about, yet I know their outlandish views are deeply felt and real to them — representing thousands of Americans driven by delusional fear. A gentleman from Caldwell wrote to me, “You and your loved ones should move to San Francisco.” He’s also a self-described Christian. A former police officer in Nampa wrote me a few months ago (several words deleted for the sake of publication), “The worst kind of people I had to deal with as a Police Officer, besides the low life junkies, were the liberal social workers who believe that every poor, lazy person deserves to be treated like the hard working people. Those same people believe the ‘poor’ illegal aliens deserve to be able [to] hide in this country...” He signed it, “God bless you sir.” Social conservatives gave us the Inquisition, genocide (Semitic, African, and Native American), slavery, and “witch” trials. Many of them continue to persecute women, people with same-sex orientation and liberals. The debate in the public square isn’t two-sided, it’s never been that way. The roar of hatred from so many who call themselves conservative, traditional or old-fashioned drowns out the voices of compassion and civility down through history and into our present day lives. We are making progress in human rights in this nation, but, intolerant people are often loud and dangerous. I wish more people who say they follow the humble carpenter from Nazareth would speak out more often and challenge their arrogant brothers and sisters in church, in the pulpit, and in the media. We cannot make progress as a state until ethical people driven by valuing every human being (or, Love thy neighbor as thyself) speak with a louder voice and work together to stop the hate speech on our airwaves and in our churches. Ignoring the rhetoric of social conservatives is like ignoring a bully on the schoolyard... it will only get worse. Delmar Stone is the executive director for the Idaho Chapter of the National Association of SocialWorkers. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org .