Huh. Who knew a post about making FICS friends would give me reason to introspect and reflect.
Tom popped by to share his FICS handle and since I didn't recognize him (I now recall seeing him over at LEP) I popped over to his blog to have a look. Rather than chess, I was surprised to see a Christian blog.
I've had a tendency to skirt most personal details except as they relate to chess, directly and indirectly, on my blog, and then here I was saying to myself, "Woah...he's a Christian, and pretty devout as well (a Deacon, even!)...wonder if I should add him or not?"
I'm an Atheist.
I'm not gonna be burning any Bibles (I have two, actually, not counting my daughter's from her Christening), removing kids from devout parents (although I do agree with the sentiment that Richard Dawkins expressed that indoctrination is a form of child abuse) nor will I be waging war on xmas (well...not much- it has roots in pagan traditions pre-dating Christianity and blends with them, but don't quote me- I'm not the expert) or saying things like Satan Bless You when you sneeze (okay...maybe once in awhile :P).
I consider myself very open-minded and considerate of others views, no matter what I think of the views and beliefs themselves. I will challenge them in the appropriate venue (one forum I frequent and play games at has had several recent invigorating discussions of religion and morality with advocates of many creeds and religions and a good sense of camraderie). It shocked me that I would hesitate to add someone to a friend list based on their religon. I'm the minority at my workplace, by gender, race and religon (I'm not out at work), and here I was getting all xenophobic!
I wondered if I'd add Tom to a non-chess section of my blogroll that I've been contemplating (despite saying in the past that I wouldn't have a non-chess section), and how I'd respond if he hit me up for a game on FICS.
And really, there's nothing I should do but add Tom to my lists. Some people like me, some people don't. I can't change that and don't expect them to change my opinions of them. But at no point should I exclude people because of our differences...I'll be awfully lonely in short order if I do, and I'll be missing these opportunities to challenge my spirit of acceptance and openness.