Opinion: Judgment Day is every day



Sarabeth Caplin

Sarabeth Caplin

Sarahbeth Caplin is a senior English major and a columnist for the Daily Kent Stater. Contact her at [email protected]

I have noticed something when it comes to having discussions on controversial topics: the phrase, “Stop being so judgmental!” comes up quite frequently. People tend to forget that having a different opinion than most doesn’t automatically equate with arrogance or being in a higher moral bracket than everybody else. An accusation of being judgmental is not an adequate defense to use against someone whose opinion comes off as offensive.

Deep down, we all know that we judge people on a regular basis. We judge based on clothing, mannerisms, political and religious views and more. We make assumptions about people that are often faulty based on first impressions alone. Sometimes it’s easier to hold on to those faulty assumptions than admit we are wrong about something. Before we go accusing someone of being judgmental, we need to take a long, good look at our own judgmental hearts first.

Moreover, there is more than one definition of what it means to make a judgment of somebody. Say you’re on a date, for example. You will be making value judgments about the person you’re having dinner with to determine if a new relationship is on the horizon. Those judgments, based on conversation skills and compatibility, are not wrong. If you have a significant other or close friends, you have made a judgment of their character and have deemed them worthy of investing your time with them.

Making instant assumptions about a person is another form of judgment. It’s easy to assume that I, a woman with conservative viewpoints that have origins in religion, was brainwashed by my equally religious and conservative family, am a registered Republican, was home-schooled, am a huge prude – all of which are lies.

The kind of judgment that more people are familiar with is the kind that condemns people, which is wrong in every circumstance. This accusation comes out frequently during heated debates on sensitive topics such as abortion or anything regarding people’s personal lives. However, it is possible to condemn an action without condemning an actual person. It’s one thing to say, “I believe that abortion is an immoral practice.” It’s not the same as saying, “Any woman who has had an abortion is evil.” As the old adage goes, we can hate the sin, but still love the sinner.

For anyone who has children, this concept should be simple to understand. Children get grounded all the time for behaviors that displease their parents, but it doesn’t cause their parents to love them any less. My family disagrees with about 90 percent of what I write in the Stater; and somehow, they love me anyway.

We all know people we love dearly that make choices we don’t always agree with. Respect should not be given based on whether we agree with someone’s beliefs; we must respect people because of the simple fact that they are people. The standards we use to judge others can and will be used by others who judge us in return.