There is a new tribe who have power. They are the offendi — the perpetually offended. They bowdlerize comedy (because it is racist). They insist that we do not say what we think. Rod Little described them accurately
One of these days, not too far away, the entire bourgeois bien-pensant left will self-immolate entirely leaving behind nothing but a thin skein of smoke smelling slightly of goji berries. Please let that day come quickly. In the meantime let us simply enjoy ourselves watching them tear each other to pieces, mired in their competing victimhoods, seething with acquired sensitivity, with inchoate rage and fury, inventing more and more hate crimes with which they might punish people who are not themselves.
The trouble is that these people have power. They want to pretend things are perfect, people are reasonable, and that bad things will not be said or will not happen. Which is rubbish: dangerous rubbish, because most of us on the front line in health care are continually inventing new ways of saying that this person has major social problems relating to their serious abuse of alcohol or other substances (relatively safe), their inability to manage the stresses of daily life (not that safe) or their partner’s habit of deliberately damaging them (only safe if it is male on female violence). Yesterday I found myself dictating a quite convoluted and circumstantial description — because saying it plainly would hit the “hate crime” button if the file was audited. At work I’m there to help people, not make their lives worse.
Now, this affects the church. We are taught that we should be chaste: continent outside marriage and faithful within it. We are told that marriage is but between men and women, and it is for mutual comfort (praise God) and the raising of the next generation. My church has wrestled with this and has a current statement: but note the link. The liberals argued that we are wrong, and want this abolished.
In accordance with the supreme and subordinate standards of the Church, sessions, parish councils, presbyteries and united district councils shall not accept for training, license, ordain or induct anyone involved in a sexual relationship outside of a faithful marriage between a man and a woman.
In relation to homosexuality, and the interests of natural justice, this ruling shall not prejudice anyone who, as at 29 September 2006, had been accepted for training, licensed, ordained or inducted.
I’m aware that this is seen as old fashioned. Some may call it hate speech — and praying for people we think are sinning (such as the bankers and the Federal reserve) oppressive. But we are commanded to pray for those who oppress us and do good — leaving the killing to that religion that looks to Mohammed.
But the offendi will pass: not without pain, but they will pass.
1 Listen to me, you that pursue righteousness, you that seek the LORD. Look to the rock from which you were hewn, and to the quarry from which you were dug.
2 Look to Abraham your father and to Sarah who bore you; for he was but one when I called him, but I blessed him and made him many.
3 For the LORD will comfort Zion; he will comfort all her waste places, and will make her wilderness like Eden, her desert like the garden of the LORD; joy and gladness will be found in her, thanksgiving and the voice of song.
4 Listen to me, my people, and give heed to me, my nation; for a teaching will go out from me, and my justice for a light to the peoples.
5 I will bring near my deliverance swiftly, my salvation has gone out and my arms will rule the peoples; the coastlands wait for me, and for my arm they hope.
6 Lift up your eyes to the heavens, and look at the earth beneath; for the heavens will vanish like smoke, the earth will wear out like a garment, and those who live on it will die like gnats; but my salvation will be forever, and my deliverance will never be ended.
7 Listen to me, you who know righteousness, you people who have my teaching in your hearts; do not fear the reproach of others, and do not be dismayed when they revile you.
8 For the moth will eat them up like a garment, and the worm will eat them like wool; but my deliverance will be forever, and my salvation to all generations.
We have a duty to be blunt: to be plain. Not to accede to the language of the offendi, nor apologize. Let the Offendi be the new Pharisees: let them command their new right-on inquisition, but let us say that they are wrong. Hate speech? Confrontation? I’d rather let the LORD speak.
1Now when the Pharisees and some of the scribes who had come from Jerusalem gathered around him, 2they noticed that some of his disciples were eating with defiled hands, that is, without washing them. 3(For the Pharisees, and all the Jews, do not eat unless they thoroughly wash their hands, thus observing the tradition of the elders; 4and they do not eat anything from the market unless they wash it; and there are also many other traditions that they observe, the washing of cups, pots, and bronze kettles.) 5So the Pharisees and the scribes asked him, “Why do your disciples not live according to the tradition of the elders, but eat with defiled hands?” 6He said to them, “Isaiah prophesied rightly about you hypocrites, as it is written,
‘This people honors me with their lips,
but their hearts are far from me;
7 in vain do they worship me,
teaching human precepts as doctrines.’
8You abandon the commandment of God and hold to human tradition.”
9Then he said to them, “You have a fine way of rejecting the commandment of God in order to keep your tradition! 10For Moses said, ‘Honor your father and your mother’; and, ‘Whoever speaks evil of father or mother must surely die.’ 11But you say that if anyone tells father or mother, ‘Whatever support you might have had from me is Corban’ (that is, an offering to God) — 12then you no longer permit doing anything for a father or mother, 13thus making void the word of God through your tradition that you have handed on. And you do many things like this.”
14Then he called the crowd again and said to them, “Listen to me, all of you, and understand: 15there is nothing outside a person that by going in can defile, but the things that come out are what defile.”
17When he had left the crowd and entered the house, his disciples asked him about the parable. 18He said to them, “Then do you also fail to understand? Do you not see that whatever goes into a person from outside cannot defile, 19since it enters, not the heart but the stomach, and goes out into the sewer?” (Thus he declared all foods clean.) 20And he said, “It is what comes out of a person that defiles. 21For it is from within, from the human heart, that evil intentions come: fornication, theft, murder, 22adultery, avarice, wickedness, deceit, licentiousness, envy, slander, pride, folly. 23All these evil things come from within, and they defile a person.”
You are not being nice when you call someone a hypocrite. When you say to them that they are acting: when you inform them that the results of their interventions is that the problem they are campaigning against is worse.
The current elite will want to shut this up. They would find the last few verses — where adultery and fornication is seen as equivalent to murder, and greed to deceit and folly — as hateful, hate speech.
Let them. If that be a hate crime, we need more of them. If a person is not free to say offensive things, he is not free to speak. And the correction to truly hateful and wrong speech — is more speech, calling them out, and confronting their errors.