It is hardly the Christian God’s fault that Bill O’Reilly can’t keep his hands or his fantasies to himself. (If the publicly-pious O’Reilly paid any attention during his long-ago parochial school days to the discussion of the near occasion of sin, he’d have known that already. Being “mad” at God was, IIRC, considered a second mark against your permanent record.)
I second Alexandra Petri, in the Washington Post:
Smoke is not weather. Let me tell you why I have said this. Weather is something you can do very little to prevent; you can only prepare for it and warn people about it and buy protective gear. Smoke happens when someone decides to light a fire.
I am sick of having to treat smoke as though it is weather.
I am sick of having to bear witness about sexual harassment.
I am sick of being warned, or not warned, about interacting with certain people, as casually (Molly Ringwald’s words, not mine) as talking about the weather.
“Bring an umbrella. There is a man spitting on you from a great height and it is easier to treat it as though it is raining.”…
You thought you were being nice, maybe. That any attention from you was flattering, maybe. That I would see it as a compliment, maybe. I have forgiven you, maybe. Or I am embarrassed for you, or I never knew what your name was. But make no mistake: Nothing about this was inevitable. This was not weather. You are not the weather, and your buddy is not the weather.
This has to stop. Instead of saying, “You cannot smoke in here,” we are telling every woman, “there is going to be smoke in the restaurant, so encase yourself entirely in protective sheeting.” Instead of saying, “Do not go around lighting people on fire,” we are telling women, “Don’t be flammable.” But you can’t be human and not be flammable. This is not like walking down a dark alley and getting mugged, because for that to be true you have to have the option of not walking down the dark alley…
I am sick of having to suffer so a man can grow. What is this, every Hollywood movie ever made? I am tired of having to confess to someone else’s crimes. I am tired of showing up at the banquet dripping blood like Banquo’s ghost. This should be your ghost, not mine. I am not the one who should be ashamed that you have done these things. I am not here to make you see the error of your ways. I am here to get through my life every day without inhaling thick lungfuls of smoke.
Because that’s what this is. This is like getting people who have gotten cancer from secondhand smoke to come testify together as a way of solving the problem. But you are the one who needs to stop.
So let’s try something new: You don’t stop smoking because it kills other people, until those people are your family. You stop smoking because it makes your breath foul and your hair brittle and it will kill you, eventually.
If you don’t know that this is killing you, I should not have to tell you. It is in your interest to be a good person, not because of some abstract conception of sin but because you are poisoning yourself. You like the smoke, but you are choking on it and you can’t even see. You are making us tell these stories instead of all the other, better ones we could tell…
Everything in our lives does not have to smell like smoke. We could get rid of it. But we have to want to. You have to want to…