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Political Hate Speech

I am just saying…

One of the things that the world teaches us is that when we have an enemy we must demonize them. We make them a monolithic evil force.

I had a friend illustrate this in some comments about President Obama.

“He is intentionally ruining the country.”

We’ve heard a great deal of that from the far extreme on the right.

“He is not one of us.”
“He was not born here.”
“He is heartless and petulant. ”
“He is cruel. He does not even care what’s happening with the average American.”

By the way, the liberals did a similar thing with President Bush.

From a purely practical standpoint, I understand what’s happening. Those who are experts in persuasion will tell you that people decide with their heart and then confirm with their mind. They THINK that they are making purely rational decisions. Really, though, they are rationalizing information in order to confirm their emotional decisions.

That’s why experts in communication like Limbaugh, Beck, and Hannity know they must demonize their political foes. Their rhetoric has been a well-orchestrated effort to question everything about President Obama. They have now painted a narrative around Obama that negates any move he makes. Listen to the callers on these shows and you will see just how successful they have been. Otherwise good, decent, and in most ways kind Americans call in and say things like, “I just hate the man.”

It isn’t enough to say, “I disagree with his policies!”
It is not enough to say, “I think his policies are ruining the nation.”
It is not enough to say, “I think his policies lean toward socialism.”

No, instead these folks say, “The man knows exactly what he is doing. His policies are intentionally designed to bring American down and turn over the keys of our nation to his Islamic socialist friends. I don’t think he is worried about the next election because he intends to suspend the elections. He is only bringing the troops home so he can order them into the streets to put down the will of the people when they finally rise up and say enough.” (This is pretty much the content of a caller to a nationally syndicated talk radio show! The host of the show responded, “Yeah, I know exactly how you are feeling!)

So, I get it. This kind of stuff works.

My concern is about what it is doing to our national morale. How long can we exist as a healthy nation when this sort of this (practiced by folks on either spectrum) is allowed to rule in our political discourse?

Well, I am a pastor, so let me speaks to my fellow Christians. This sort of hateful speech has no place in the mouth of a Christian.
So my first action right now is to repent for those times when my disagreement with opponents political turns into hateful speech that attaches motives to a person’s behavior or beliefs, especially when I never met, spoken to, or engaged the person in conversation.

Next, I want to remind my Christian friends that the Jesus who lives in you is better than this. So, let him live through you and put an end to the hate. Attack policies! Advocate for the other candidate. But repent of this hated. Reject those who despise a man they do not really know.

Nothing good can come of this kind of talk…not in the long run in our nation. Beyond that, this sort of thing will eat away at the soul.

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11 Responses to “Political Hate Speech”

  1. Somebody had to say it! Thanks Bill. Here comes the sarcasm to go along with the hate: “I guess we’ll just have to demonize you now that you’ve joined the other side!”

  2. Steve Roberts says:

    On both sides of the aisle, we have what I call Political Evangelists (PE). They are similar to the television evangelists of the 70s/80’s that preyed on the hearts and minds of their audiences while raking in millions. The PEs are also able to create such a religious fervor for their political purposes while making millions. I couldn’t agree more that we need to avoid hateful speech but we need to be wise to know when we are being played. When politics becomes religious, it will be lethal to our nation.

  3. billnieporte says:

    I agree that we need to not let ourselves be played, Steve

  4. dan says:

    The spirit of the antichrist was revealed through the Republican Party at a “faith forum” for “christians” to reveal themselves to the Republican faithful. snark.
    http://reason.com/blog/2011/10/10/like-st-peter-rick-perry-three

  5. dan says:

    Bill, do you believe it was the spirit of the antichrist revealing himself through the Republican’s who refused to call Mormonism a cult? Or just a fear to stand up for the Lordship of Jesus afraid they might offend those who might or might not vote for them?

    • billnieporte says:

      I believe the point is mute. It should not be a determining factor whether or not a person get’s elected. What matters is whether they has the ability to accomplish the job. Our founders knew this – which is why our constitition does not mention God or scripture, builds a wall between church and state (thank God) and say that no religious test should be used as it relates to service in public office. Them founders were smart…

      • dan says:

        But, as Christians we are supposed to walk by a different standard. If an unbeliever said that Mormonism is not a cult I would expect that because unbelievers consider all religions to be the same. I know that because I used to be one! But as believers who are supposed to know the difference and say that the Christian God is the same as the Mormon god who they say was created, that the Christian Jesus is the same as the Mormon Jesus, who the Mormons say was the brother of Satan, that the Christian Holy Spirit is simply a burning in the belly!
        For a Christian to overlook the lie that the Republican candidates endorsed is to deny the sacrifice Christ made on our behalf and do the devils work! And remember all of them claim to be Christians? Is that the level of Christianity you are comfortable to endorse with your silence?

        • billnieporte says:

          Dan – thanks for the comments.

          There are several ways I could respond, but I do not sense you will be satisfied with any. I will comment briefly on each – but will not pursure further dialogue if it will not seem productive to me.

          1) Technically (as per the use of the English language) Mormonism is a Christian religions. Christian means follower of Jesus. The Mormon religion has some differing ideas about who Jesus is – as you know from your own experience) but to say that a Mormon is not Christian is technically incorrect.

          2) Your understanding of Christianity involves a confession of faith about Jesus. There are some in the Mormon church that agree. They may not understand the doctrines of their own church – but even from your perspectice as a particular faith confession, the notion that any individual cannot be “a Christian” is certain an overstatement on your part, as one who does not know the heart of the individual.

          3) Salvation is not our work, but God’s. To have any sort of formula that makes it something WE do is not biblcial…whether the formula is Mormon, Baptist, or otherwise.

          4) The republican candidate do all seem to claim to follow Jesus. If we took a few moments to explore that with each of them as to doctrine, lifestyle, etc. We could each have a list of reasons why that could not be so. That only serves to furhter illistrate my prior points. We don’t get to make the call.

          5) As to higher standard – YES and NO!

          NO if you mean that we have some standard of legalism, some sense of doctrinal purity, or that sort ofn thing. That makes “Chrisitanity” about ME – how I live, what I believe, how I conduct myself, what institution I join, etc. Nope, I will not accept that sort of burden on myself, nor place it on any one else.

          YES, in the sense that the love of Christ will be expressed through me, which means I will respect another – which means that the other (Romney, perhaps) can be wrong. The freedom of conscience (the hallmakr of a confessional religion) means I must respect the right of the other person to believe differently than me. If they do, they are still my sibling in the human family.

          6) So all this brings me back to my last post and the original post. When we start taking our faith confession, religious training, conversion experiences, bad experiences with religion, etc. and making church doctrine, that’s one thing. When we nationalize it and seek to enforce that on the heart of another, that;s wrong. Our founders saw what that did in what was “Christian” england/europe and came here to get away from that. The freedom of consciouse means we permit people the right to be wrong – particularly in matters of the heart.

          The founders took this higher theological truth an applied it to government in the only way that made sense – and that was to take such matters out of the public square. They said no religious test.

          Of course, we have a civic responsibility to examine how a persons core belief (religiously or otherwise) will influence their public policies. For example, if a fundamentalist nChristian is running for public office – and their theology says we enforce a religious practicen on another by legislation (like prayer in school) I will oppose that as something that infringes on the freedom of conscious. If a Mormon seeks to impose of his faith confession on the nation – or a Catholic says he (if elected) will do everythng the Pope says, then their religious practice infringes on my liberty.

          However, if I do not like or agree with how a man prays (or if he prays) – or what book he reads – and then says, “He’s not qualified, so he should not be presdsident!” Well, that to me is not Christian, not american, and not smart at all.

          So, as I see it, the problem was not that the republican candidates were silent. Practically, that was smart, cause they want those votes. Beyond that, I always think the right answer to a wrong question is to stay as silent as possible. The question of whether the faith of Romney and Huntsman is a mute question, so the best answer is to say nothing.

          • dan says:

            So you agree with the Mormon doctrine that God is actually Adam and He had relations with Eve and thus the planet was populated and we as Adam’s children, (the ones who are enlightened) are seeking our own purity by right living so we can attain to our own planet and be the god of it to populate it with our children? You believe that is Christianity?

          • dan says:

            BTW we are first and foremost citizens of heaven and not America. To not honor the King of Glory and allow Him to be compared to a demon is the same as the Pharisee’s saying Jesus did His work by the power of demons. That is blaspheme.
            I understand your logic but it is terribly flawed in that it diminishes the Gospel and obfuscates the truth of God and nullifies the Cross and Jesus death and resurrection because those things are only a the window dressings to the deeper things of Joseph Smith.
            Finally, intellectual ascent is NOT the same as being born again! I would suggest this test:
            “Test yourselves to see if you are in the faith; examine yourselves! Or do you not recognize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you–unless indeed you fail the test?
            2 Corinthians 13:5

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