Offend Me Not
The power of life and death is in the tongue. The choice to act or react is a decision that could determine the direction of your future. The dilemmas we face today are not necessarily written in a book and mentioned by name but there are clear principles and standards that must follow in order to maintain a society that is prepared to face moral dilemmas when they come our way. Getting offended has become a way of life for many in our society, so if the power of life and death is in the tongue does it mean that the power of love is in the mind and how we choose to respond to the world around us?
Have you ever been offended? Have you ever offended someone? Can you remember how you reacted in either situation? Do you realize the impact of your choice will not only impact you but the world around you?
The word “offend” as described on Dictionary.com is: 1.To irritate, annoy, or anger; cause resentful displeasure in: (even the hint of prejudice offends me.). 2. To affect (the sense, taste, etc.) disagreeably. 3. To violate or transgress (a criminal, religious, or moral law). 4. To hurt or cause pain to. 5. (In Biblical use) to cause to fall into sinful ways.
The Liberals claim that Conservatives need to become more “tolerant” yet their hypocrisy seems to have caught up to them once again. When a Conservative posted a controversial ad about radical Islam in a New York subway station and Mona Eltahawy an Egyptian-born activist was caught on video spray painting pink on the ad that is pro-Israel and anti-jihad. The ad reads:
In dramatic fashion The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) decided to adopt some controversial measures that deal with First Amendment issues. If a proposed ad meets the following description then it will not be displayed;
“The advertisement, or any information contained in it, is directly adverse to the commercial or administrative interests of the MTA or is harmful to the moral of MTA employees or contain material the display of which the MTA reasonably foresees would incite or provoke violence or other immediate breach of the peace, and so harm, disrupt, or interfere with safe, efficient, and orderly transit operations.”
Our First Amendment was also tested when Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi addressed the United Nations and asked the international body to intervene on Egypt’s behalf. He made it perfectly clear that his nation would not allow anyone to insult Egypt’s faith by word or deed. President Morsi made a clear call for mass restrictions on free speech. Morsi stated;
“Egypt respects freedom of expression – freedom of expression that is not used to incite hatred against anyone, not a freedom of expression that targets a specific religion or a specific culture,” he continued. “A freedom of expression that tackles extremism and violence, not the freedom of expressions that deepens ignorance and disrespect others.”
These comments are extremely interesting when you consider the fact that Muslim extremist have no problem inciting hatred against the west and specifically target Christian and Jewish religions.
The day before President Morsi gave his speech at the UN, President Asif Ali Zardari of Pakistan and President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono of Indonesia called for international action to criminalize blasphemy. Never before has the First Amendment become the center of controversy and tested in front of the entire world like it has in the last week. So if we take in depth looks at The First Amendment and Freedom of Speech what does it say about the dilemmas we now face? And more importantly we need to review the exceptions to free Speech in the United States. Did you even know there were exceptions?
The First Amendment to the United States Constitution as described by Wikipedia as “part of the Bill of Rights. The amendment prohibits the making of any law respecting an establishment of religion, impending the free exercise of religion, the right to peaceably assemble or prohibitin the petitioning for a governmental redress of grievances.”
Originally, the First Amendment applied only to laws enacted by the Congress. However, starting with Gitlow v. New York, the Supreme Court has applied the First Amendment to each state. This was done through the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. The court has also recognized a series of “exceptions” to provisions protecting the freedom of speech.
Freedom of speech in the United States is described in Wikipedia as, “protected by the First Amendment to the United States Constitution and by many state constitutions and state and federal laws. The freedom ‘is not’ absolute; the Supreme Court of the United States has recognized several categories of speech that are excluded from the freedom of speech, and it has recognized that governments may enact reasonable time, place, or manner restrictions on speech.”
Criticism of the government and advocacy of unpopular ideas that people may find distasteful or against public policy are almost always permitted. There are exceptions to these general protections, including the Miller Test for obscenity, child pornography laws, speech that incites imminent lawless action, and regulation of commercial speech such as “advertising”. Within these limited areas, other limitations on free speech balance rights to free speech and other rights, such as rights for authors and inventors over their work and discoveries (copyright and patent), protection from imminent or potential violence against particular persons (restrictions on fighting words), or the use of untruths to harm others (slander). Distinctions are often made between speech and other acts which may have symbolic significance.
Despite the exceptions, the legal protections of the First Amendment are some of the Broadest of any industrialized nation, and remain a critical, and occasionally controversial, component of American jurisprudence.
“Exceptions to Free Speech in the United States” is described by Wikipedia as:
“Limitations on the First Amendment’s guarantee of free speech and expression as recognized by the United States Supreme Court. These exceptions have been created over time, based on certain types of speech and expression, and under different contexts. While freedom of speech in the United States is a ‘constitutional right’, these exceptions make that right a ‘limited one’.”
Restrictions that are based on people’s reactions to words include both instances of a complete exception, and cases of diminished protection. Speech that involves incitement, false statements of fact, obscenity, child pornography, threats, and speech owned by others are all completely exempt from First Amendment protections. Commercial advertising receives diminished, but not eliminated, protection.
Along with communicative restrictions, less protection is afforded for uninhibited speech when the government acts as subsidizer or speaker, is an employer, controls education, or regulates the following; the mail, airwaves, military, prisons, and immigration.
The most important part of all of this is; while freedom of speech in the United States is a “constitutional right” these exceptions make that right a “limited one”. Think about that the next time you get offended or become the offender! What people need to realize is that all the whining about being offended and people running around offending people have put our First Amendment right to free speech in the sights of the world to now criticize and take aim at! Even worse, President Obama and his leftist views seem to side with the enemy.
The power of life and death is in the tongue and if we cannot all learn to walk in love and edify one another, the mind will become corrupt and the entire world will become offended! The American people are responsible for the mess we now find ourselves in. We walk around too afraid to tell the truth, thinking that we may offend someone if we do. Political Correctness is slowly destroying the minds of Americans due to the fear that others create by continually getting offended. The only way we are going to be able to take this country back is if we walk the walk and talk the talk. We have to live by the clear moral standards and principles that America was built on.
If you choose not to live by those standards and principles then there should be consequences just like the consequences of a child when he goes astray. This has nothing to do with Right, Left or Independent–this has everything to do with protecting the right to free speech. We must recognize our faults, take responsibility for our actions and reactions, forgive each other and most of all learn to respect each and love each other where we are, even if we disagree!
There is nothing wrong with agreeing to disagree. Remember, your decision will not only have an impact on your life but the people around you. Learning to walk through life and never getting offended is the moment you will realize that you have met “Love Perfected”……….it’s your choice!
Shannon Carpenter Rodgers is owner of S.C. Construction and Shannon Carpenter LLC, DBA Classy-Cleaning. She is H.U.B certified and is only the 4th woman to be certified as a Kitchen Exhaust Specialist in the State of Texas. For over 8 years she worked in Law Enforcement and Juvenile Corrections. She was President of her Police Academy and graduated with a 4.0 and salutatorian of her class. Shannon also holds three Lightweight Titles for women’s boxing in West Texas.