Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Jared Loughner's Heart

Jared Loughner's heart.

It's surreal. If you've ever read George Orwell's 1984 you are aware of his depiction of the Thought Police. It was their job to identify and eliminate members of society who were having thoughts of opposing the existing government. If Orwell was writing a prophetic book he only missed it by about 25 years.

The politicization of the Tucson Tragedy has created an atmosphere of hysteria in American culture that has drowned out the echoes of the soul of a nine-year old girl crying for justice and has callously trampled on the broken hearts of those who are suffering from the loss of their loved ones.

The bandwagon to condemn free speech is overloaded because so many have jumped on as it passes. Everyone is entitled to their own beliefs about speech but if you think it should be limited and monitored, who will do the monitoring? Who has or what is the perfect standard by which we can declare certain speech approved? Choosing this incident in which an innocent nine year old girl is murdered by a man who is very mentally disturbed doesn't seem to be the proper place to instigate a fight over the first amendment.

Robert Wright jumped on the 'ban the first amendment' band wagon when he wrote for the New York Times, "The point is that Americans who wildly depict other Americans as dark conspirators, as the enemy, are in fact increasing the chances, however marginally, that those Americans will be attacked."
When Mr. Wright, wrote of certain Americans wildly depicting other Americans as "the enemy", was he talking about our president? President Obama declared last October that "if Latinos sit out the election instead of saying, we're gonna' punish our enemies and we're gonna' reward our friends" then the November elections would be lost. Were his words intended to inflame Hispanics? Who are the 'enemies' he was referring to? Are they good, law abiding citizens of America who happen to want to enforce the laws of our constitution?

John Green, the grieving father of the slain nine year old, would like the press to refrain from using his daughter's death to encourage restrictions on our first amendment rights. His wishes are being trampled by political zealots like Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik who declared unsympathetically, "When the rhetoric about hatred, about mistrust of government, about paranoia of how government operates, and to try to inflame the public on a daily basis, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, it has impact on people especially who are unbalanced personalities." Is this the 'pot calling the kettle black'? Will his words inflame someone to attempt to assassinate his unmentioned targets: Rush Limbaugh, Sarah Palin or Glen Beck?

No one would deny the power of words. "Reckless words pierce like a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing." (Proverbs 12:18) It would benefit our society if those with influence would use the power in their words to build up and point people to truth and love rather than using them to divide and draw people away from truth. Our problem is often not so much the words we choose, it’s the fact that we no longer know how to find or define truth.

It seems to me that the desire to suppress speech is a blatant attempt to revise and sometimes contort history and reality in order to promote a certain political agenda. Dr. Alan Gribben is publishing a compendium of Mark Twain's "Huckleberry Finn" and "Tom Sawyer." The words chosen by the literary master have been edited out of the work to satisfy the demand for political correctness in our present culture. The "n" word is replaced with the word "slave". Do we do justice to those who endured the pain of slavery by removing the "n" word? Is the pain of their suffering watered down? Is it being diluted by our present day political correctness? Doesn't the reader of Mark Twain's novel need to understand that Jim ran away from the plantation because of the torment of slavery? Readers need to feel the full force of why Jim hid away on a river raft fleeing from the bounty hunters. Doesn't the use of the 'n' word remind us of a wound on our cultural past we dare never forget? What makes the 'n' word offensive is the hatred in the heart of the one who utters it.

The motive of those who want to eliminate free speech is questionable. If their motive is to promote a certain political agenda in order to experience political victory over an opponent then the cost of sacrificing our liberty for such a thing is too great. If their motive is to reduce the pain and suffering that harmful words cause then they are to be commended. But ignorance abounds. We cannot eliminate pain in our society by policing thoughts and words that come from the mouths of our citizens. The problem is not in the words that are uttered, the problem is in the fountain from which those words spring. Changing the way we use words doe not indicate a change of heart.

Our words reveal our hearts. Jared Loughner's actions cannot be explained or blamed on the words of others. "…out of the heart come evil thoughts and murder." (Matt. 15:19). Many will attempt to explain away the actions of Jared Loughner by blaming others for carelss speech. Some will blame his parents, some will blame his drug usage, and some will blame Rush Limbaugh. Very few people will place the blame where it belongs, Christina Green and others died as a result of murder launched from an evil and sinful heart.

Kevin Probst - Is a teacher of Apologetics and History at Calvary Christian School and Associate Pastor of Crosspointe Nazarene Church church in Columbus, Georgia.

1 comment:

  1. We are in a dangerous time in this country. The media is spewing words and thoughts into peoples heads that could be deadly. Even though they claim Loughner didn't listen to the news, I still believe there are too many like him out there that do. Freedom of speech is one of the best freedoms we have but that doesn't mean peoples can not take it as there own and distort. Something radical has to happen to the media in this country and around the world but unfortunately I believe their aren't enough good people left in this country to actually do something to change it without thinking violence is the answer. God is the answer.