The dangers of hate speech

Posted by Bushel Basket in , , , ,

With the recent attack on the Holocaust museum and the assassination of Dr. George Tiller, I've been thinking and worrying about a possible upswing of domestic terrorism, possibly prompted by the poor economy, having an African American president, a change in how we pursue the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and more. I've been less connected to my political and national news feeds since I started my new job, but today I found a number of articles that are reflecting similar thoughts.

Apparently, the Department of Homeland Security released a Bush-administration-commissioned report in April detailing Right Wing Extremism which was thoroughly thrashed by conservative pundits. However, that report is looking to be more and more prescient.

One article I read from the Huffington Post touched on a question I have often wondered about, has the shift in news reporting and the increased exposure of on-air pundits contributed to this climate?

Seeds of Hatred---Reaping the Harvest by Larry Gellman

I think it's well worth the read. One excerpt reads:

" I'm certain that O'Reilly will insist, as Beck did, that it would be both wrong and unfair to link the inflammatory rhetoric and the vicious language of his repeated attacks against Dr. Tiller to the fact that a passionate true believer may have taken him seriously and decided to rid the world of this murderous Nazi abortionist.

But the venom spewers can't have it both ways. In their zeal to make headlines and establish themselves as true leaders of a movement and a party that has become consumed by anger and hate, these "celebrities" have chosen to abandon their civility, reason, and sense of responsibility. They either mean what they say -- in which case those who rid the world of murderers, Nazis, and other liberal villains should be hailed as heroes -- or they don't in which case they are simply cowardly liars committing libel in the name of the First Amendment as they discredit their once-proud movement and/or party."

For more background about the conservative response to the DHS report, read this Daily Kos article.

What bothers me the most is how this low level of discourse is becoming more accepted. As a Christian, I am amazed that so many others who also claim to be a Christian can overlook Jesus' commandment to "love one another as you love yourself." In my reading of the Bible, that seems to be central to the Jesus movement.

My hope is that this type of discourse will consume itself without injuring or killing any bystanders or objects of their rage in the process. My fear is that these death throes may be quite violent, or worse, they might not be death throes at all.

I try to remember to be not afraid.

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This entry was posted on Thursday, June 11, 2009 at Thursday, June 11, 2009 and is filed under , , , , . You can follow any responses to this entry through the comments feed .


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