Constitution of the United States : Bill of Rights 1st Amendment
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
He who guards his mouth and his tongue keeps himself from calamity. Prov. 21:23
Even a fool is thought wise if he keeps silent, and discerning if he holds his tongue. Prov.17:28
When words are many, sin is not absent, but he who holds his tongue is wise. Prov. 10:19
There are more than 60 references to the tongue in the Bible, and nearly that many to words. There is power in the tongue, and power in words. Most of us have heard the sayings, "Sticks and stones will break my bones, but names will never hurt me". How about this one, Reckless words pierce like a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing. Proverbs 12:18
Speech is a powerful thing. It makes people think, it helps people form ideas, expresses emotion, helps us communicate. Words can heal a sad heart, words can even heal a hurting or diseased body. Words can heal, but they can kill too. They can kill a spirit, they can harm a person's character, they can cause all kinds of hurt. Words can convict, and words can liberate- it all depends on how we use them.
Have I said things I regret? Oh yeah. I've said things- stupid and hurtful things, I've said things I'm ashamed of. Thankfully, I am learning- although slowly, to tame my tongue, but I have to admit that it gets the best of me still- proving nothing really, except that I am still foolish and sinful. I hope that someday I can have more control over what comes out of my mouth.
So, what am I leading up to this time. I've been quiet about this for some time, but ever since last summer, I have been quietly watching, listening and getting a little p'd off with what I am hearing. Not only what, but whom I am hearing from. Now, I know that most folks who read this are on the same side of the political fence as me, and in many, if not most ways, we are much the same thought on Biblical perspectives. Every now and then, I get people commenting who are in complete disagreement with my views. That's OK though. Oftentimes I wish there were more who were in disagreement, because that makes for interesting and different views. It seems to me though, that more and more people are showing total disrespect, bitterness, hate and nastiness in their words these days. Not only in the comment sections of most news and opinion columns, but from that bastion of "Free speech and of the press", those who deliver their views every day on cable and news columns. Not only from the press, but politicians themselves.
Used to be that politics was dirty- only it was during campaigns where the mud was slung towards opponents who were also campaigning. Now, it is the politicians who are slinging mud to those who put them in office. The press used to comment on dirty politics- now they revel and roll around in it themselves, adding to the muck. The people commenting only pile it on higher.
Now, it is from all sides. Not just a liberal thing, nor a republican thing, although those on the left love to point out how hateful, bigoted and narrow minded those on the right are. When a politician on the right shouts out the word "Lier", he is somehow hateful and racist. Sure, the guy could have held his tongue at least until the end of the speech, but in light of certain ways in which the present administration is working, there is much truth to the word which was shouted. Race and hate had nothing to do with it. Seems that the left can go 8 years calling the president all kinds of things from Nazi to lier, from murderer to racist- and everything is OK because it's their right to voice a redress. When it is the right who call out socialist, and voice anger over out of control spending and dubious practices, they are unpatriotic, fear spreading, racist hate mongers.
People on the left claim that "right wing" blog sites and radio hosts are full of hatred, bigoted and incite violence. People who comment on news are described as narrow minded, uneducated and backwards. Anyone who speaks from a Christian viewpoint is homophobic, xenophobic, racist, bigoted, hate filled taliban.
From all directions lately, these kinds of words have been directed at folks like me, who happen to be pro life, pro marriage, pro Christian values, pro Constitution, pro small government, pro free market, pro conservative, pro founding principals and pro individual rights. Every time I hear or see words from a politician or a member of the press, describing folks like me, I feel it directed at me, and at so many other good and loving folks who believe in the same ideas as I do.
Every time I have heard these: gun toting, Bible clinging, uneducated, backwoods, hick, inbred, racist, hatemonger, terrorist, extremest, teabagger, throwback, Christian taliban, homophobic, lier- I tend to take it personally. It makes me sad to see elected officials describing their constituents in such degrading terms as "teabaggers" because they know it will offend. To hear them call their constituents fear mongers and hate mongers because they are standing up for their rights under the 1st Amendment, and actually involving themselves in town hall meetings. Since when have town hall meetings only been open to those who agree with politicians anyway? How can there be a discussion about an important issue when the people have read a proposed bill, but the politician has not? How can there be a discussion when the only ones welcome to speak are those who agree?
When someone who is running for the President of the United States of America can give a speech to one segment of society, those who are among the wealthiest and elite, claim he is for the average American, for the poor, then insult a good portion of that very part of society, this saddens me. To be called bigoted, Bible clinging.. well, even he has the freedom to speak doesn't he.
What makes me sad though really, is that there are some very good people who look up to these name calling foolish people. They are so blinded by the smoothness, they are deaf to the fact that we are being insulted on a daily basis. I have said before that I have been insulted many times for my Bible believing views, and I am used to it. Does that mean I like it? No. I don't. Much of is is very offensive to me. It hurts- as words do. Does that mean I want them silenced? Nope. Not at all. They have every right to speak freely. From my thinking, they can keep it up, because it just re affirms how foolish and hateful they are. Maybe some day, more of us can speak in edifying and loving ways even when we disagree. Some day, our passions will not rule our mouths.
I am learning from the Ultimate Word- Jesus, that words count in so many ways- for good or bad, and I pray and try and help others to learn too. The Lord has given us the right and ability to all speech, and our forefathers realized that right when they wrote our Constitution, and I have no right to take that away from anyone. All I would ask, is that, you join me, and try and think about the power we do have, and use it for goodness.