On Being Offensive, and Offended

We live in an age in which ever-expanding and ever-annoying states are seeking to regulate everything, even your thought life. Hate crimes are now all the rage, and more and more laws are being passed to protect people from being offended. Seriously.

All kinds of vilification laws are being introduced around the Western world, and the state thinks it now has the duty to protect its citizens from being offended. Of course most states are quite selective in all this. It is always open season on Christianity.

People can say any abusive, ugly, vile and nasty thing they want about Christians and Christianity, and the state takes no notice. (Maybe that is why I get so much of this hate speech and anti-Christian bigotry thrown my way on this website all the time.)

But just dare to say a word about various politically protected groups, such as the militant homosexual lobby, or the radical feminists, and all hell breaks loose. The heavy hand of the law will dump on you big time if you dare to say something which goes against the accepted ideology of the day.

Why just this morning I was reading about how when Jesus spoke, people got real uptight. Indeed, they were offended by what he had to say (Matt 13:57). We read about this happening quite often in the Gospel accounts. Jesus always seemed to be getting into trouble with someone or some group.

But this is certainly ironic to say the least. Here we have the most loving, the most gracious, and the most compassionate man ever to walk the earth, yet people still got all bent out of shape over what he did and said. Go figure!

It is a good thing all these lousy hate speech laws weren’t around back then, or Jesus would have been thrown into the slammer very early on in his public ministry. Of course at the end of the day he was crucified for his unshakable stance on truth, but that is another story.

Columnist Terry Paulson had a good piece on all this today, so he is worth quoting at length: “Five Live Oak High School students’ First Amendment rights were challenged this year when they were asked to leave school because they donned American flag T-shirts on Cinco de Mayo [a Mexican public holiday], an offense one official called ‘incendiary.’

“Other students could wear or wave the Mexican flag and any number of other potentially offensive messages, but wearing the American flag in America is just too ‘incendiary.’ To their credit, the Morgan Hill Unified School District did not concur with the suspensions, but the ‘offended’ still got their way.

“Unfortunately, in America today, being offended works! It’s become an effective strategy for oppressing the freedom of those who disagree with the offended party. An Iowa Veterans Hospital is removing crosses and Christian symbols from its chapels because ‘offended’ atheist complainers have successfully intimidated hospital administrators with threats of a lawsuit.

“On a more personal level, when a doctor informed a female patient that she was clinically obese and needed to lower her weight, she was offended. Instead of addressing her own weight issues, she attempted to get her doctor reprimanded.

“Is this still America? ‘We the people’ are supposed to be free to disagree, dislike you, and even offend you. Face the sad truth, in a free society, there will always be somebody out there who will be offended with anything, everything or at least something that you might say or do.”

He goes on to quote from the French-born American historian, Jacques Barzun, who once said, “Political correctness does not legislate tolerance; it only organizes hatred”. Exactly right. And there seems to be a whole lot of intolerance going on out there, all in the name of tolerance of course.

Paulson continues, “Political correctness is the enemy of freedom of speech. What may have began as a crusade for civility has soured into arguments over what is ‘offensive’ and, even worse, censorship. To label someone a bigot or a racist for a comment that offends minimizes true racism. If being offended is enough to squander our freedom of speech, I’m offended by those who are offended.”

Hey I like that. I am offended by you being offended. Take that, and complain to the anti-discrimination board. Paulson concludes with these words: “Thankfully, some are protesting ‘offended’ demonstrators. After ‘offended’ students from Michigan State’s Muslim Student’s Association protested the publishing of Danish cartoons portraying the Prophet Muhammad as a terrorist, professor Indrek Wichman protested the protest.

“He sent an e-mail to the association: ‘I am offended not by cartoons, but by more mundane things like beheadings of civilians, cowardly attacks on public buildings, suicide murders,…the imposition of Sharia law on non-Muslims….’ In spite of an immediate uproar from the association and CAIR, the university has stood in support of Professor Wichman, saying the e-mail was private and, as a result, warranted no university condemnation.

“So, instead of using the courts or the long arm of the government to ban, threaten, or otherwise punish those who refuse to agree with your views, try exposing the supposed ‘offending’ comments. Treat what you consider ‘hate’ speech with more speech, not legal maneuvering that limits one of our most treasured freedoms. Remember, people you try to silence may not get mad; they may get even and work to censor and control you! When it comes to taking offense, don’t do to others what you wouldn’t want done to you.”

Quite right. Until the state decides to make illegal everything which may offend anyone, keep being offended. After all, there are plenty of things worth getting offended about, including a nanny state which wants to take away your freedoms in the name of “tolerance” and Political Correctness.


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12 Replies to “On Being Offensive, and Offended”

  1. That’s interesting, Bill. Yes, this current zeitgeist does promote offense. The offended ones must be coddled and rewarded at all costs. I recently read a book by John Bevere, ‘The Bait of Satan’. I picked it up from my mother’s bookshelf. Actually I wanted his other book, ‘Driven by Eternity’ and was disappointed that I had picked up this one which is written on unforgiveness and harbouring offense. But I decided to give it a whirl and read it anyway since I had a bit of free time. Whoah!!! Didn’t I get a wakeup call! It made me think again about the parable of Jesus of the ‘certain king’ who had a servant who owed him a vast sum of money who the king forgave but who refused to forgive his fellow servant. So the king recalled that servant’s salvation and basically sent him to hell. Yes, satan wants us to coddle unforgiveness and offense…because it will send us to Hell!!! God is not joking or messing around with us. Jesus told His disciples again and again that they must not coddle offense. The Lord’s Prayer lists it as a primary component of our daily prayer…to forgive.
    I now pray every day that if there be any offense…any offense at all…Please Lord God remove it from me.

    And this week, after reading your article on the persecuted church, I’ve been praying for them and just meditating on their submission to the terrible persecutions they have to face…How they go like lambs before packs of vicious wolves. How much more do they have to forgive? They don’t even begin to have the luxuries we have of taking offense over the tiniest of slights.

    We really need to let God deal with the pride and stubbornness that comes with growing up with a feeling of entitlement and ask God to keep our hearts meek and humble…just like Jesus.

    Dee Graf

  2. P.S. But being offended by sin, as you say, is a different thing altogether. Jesus, who told us not to hold personal offense was very offended by the abuse of His Father’s house and drove the money changers out of the temple with a whip! Can’t get more feisty than that….LOL.
    Dee Graf

  3. Thanks Dee

    Yes I am on a bit of a roll here on all this, and am just now penning a second article on offense, this time looking at all the times Jesus caused offence. And as you say, he certainly could take offence at sin in all its forms.

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  4. Tony Blair was reported once as saying, “I hope and believe that stories of people not being allowed to express their Christianity are exceptional or the result of individual ludicrous decisions. My view is that people should be proud of their Christianity and able to express it as they wish.” He went on to say: “The real test of a religion is whether in an age of aggressive secularism it has the confidence to go out and make its case by persuasion.”

    What a cynical liar this man is. What he proposes might work in a society that respects freedom of conscience, freedom of speech and where persuasion is brought about by reasoned and open debate; but he knows full well that this is no longer the case. Homosexuals and Muslims have no reasoned argument with which to justify either their behaviour or ideologies and therefore they have no choice but to use oppressive legislation and terror in order to get what they want when they want. Blair is asking Christians to speak up, knowing full well what will happen if they do.

    Power is given to those who control the language. When queers and Muslims insult Christians it is a “right of freedom of expression“, or “just bit of fun“, or “revealing data,” or “justified hatred,” or the “absolute human right of a victim group“. When Christians wish to reason or raise legitimate doubts about homosexuality or Islam it is incitement to murder. Queers, Muslims and useful idiots are at liberty to raise the bar of tolerance towards the extremist language of favoured minority groups, whilst lowering it to the level of limbo dancing or even ground level for Christians.

    David Skinner, UK

  5. Satan is very cleverly involved in all this “political correctness” these days: he is a cunning, seductive persuader to evil. We need to ask God to send Saint Michael the Archangel to do battle with the Evil One and shove him back into hell where he belongs. We too must fight this persecution with vigour.
    The irony of all this anti-Christian, pro-Muslim and athiest thrust nowadays, is that Muslims will severely curtail all atheistic expression and behaviour if they ever get into a position to do so.
    Jerome Gonzalez

  6. Good discussion.
    Did not Jesus say “Do not be afraid” and ask that we be his disciples in our lives.
    It takes courage to speak the truth but that is part of the way as Jesus taught us He is the way, the truth and the life so speaking His teachings is about following the way to the kingdom He promises us. We need to remember that He came on earth for every person, be they Muslim or Christian, atheist, homosexual or other. The kingdom is there fir everyone who hears his call and follows it no matter what they doing their lives before they die. Take the example of the humble “good thief” who knew he was getting what he deserved as distinct from the arrogant “bad thief” who thought Jesus should save him from death.
    We need to continue to speak out knowing that some will always reject and some will be inspired by what we have to say. And you may not know for most of the time who will be rejecting and who will be inspired.
    David Grace

  7. I am offended by political correctness that offends my sensitivities. How’s that for a start?
    Pat Brams

  8. Can someone please explain how you can hear the call and follow Jesus without at least changing your life style. When Jesus Said I am the way the truth and the light/life he was obviously telling people to follow his example for there is no other way to access the kingdom except through him. Yes he came on earth for everyone (Go forth and preach the Gospel to all nations) so that they may come out of darkness into the light. And once you have seen the light and seen the error of your ways yet continue with your vile or evil acts your state will be worse than it was in the darkness.

    Dennis Newland

  9. Naively perhaps one speaks: With changes of governments is there not an opportunity to lobby and repeal much/some PC legislation?

    Ray Robinson

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