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And yet suddenly we get an entire group of people who conspicuously promote and defend their outgroups, the outer the better. But if the Emperor has curly hair, are straight-haired people part of his outgroup?
If the Emperor’s name starts with the letter ‘A’, are people whose names start with the letter ‘B’ part of his outgroup? I would differentiate between multiple different meanings of outgroup, where one is “a group you are not a part of” and the other is…something stronger.
But since forgiveness is generally considered a virtue, and one that many want credit for having, I think it’s fair to say you only earn the right to call yourself ‘forgiving’ if you forgive things that genuinely hurt you.
To borrow Chesterton’s example, if you think divorce is a-ok, then you don’t get to “forgive” people their divorces, you merely ignore them.
The fake forgiveness the townspeople use to forgive the people they like is really easy, so they get to boast not only of their forgiving nature, but of how much nicer they are than those mean old priests who find forgiveness difficult and want penance along with it.
After some thought I agree with Chesterton’s point.
This isn’t especially original to me and I don’t claim anything more than to be explaining and rewording things I have heard from a bunch of other people.
The good-for-nothing brother killed the beloved nobleman (and stole his identity).
Now the townspeople want to see him lynched or burned alive, and it is only the priest who – consistently – offers a measured forgiveness conditional on penance and self-reflection.
They lecture the priest on the virtues of charity and compassion.
Later, it comes out that the beloved nobleman did not in fact kill his good-for-nothing brother.