Quick Follow-Up – Polarized Words

In the “morning paper” I ran across two perfect examples of what I was talking about in changing the meaning of a word.

This is mega-church pastor Craig Groeschel piling on the word religious. Notice how he is distancing himself from what I called the voodoo ooga-booga.

Religion focuses on outward behavior. Relationship is an inward transformation. Religion focuses on what I do, while relationship centers on what Jesus did. Religion is about me. Relationship is about Jesus…One time when this happened, the person I was talking with politely shared that he didn’t like religious people. I chimed in that I didn’t like religious people either. His mouth nearly dropped to the floor. I explained that religion is about rules, but being a Christian is about relationship.

This is about Guns, liberty, and rights. First, I don’t own a gun, never have owned a gun, don’t really plan on getting one. Probably not something to say on a public forum, but I’ve always figured if someone needed to steal from me, they needed it more than I did. But take a good hard look at how the words are being used. A constitutional civil right is being called just an esoteric policy. It is being de-personalized. And the move to strip that right is being personalized when the writer says this these faces of the kids at Newtown demand “unrelenting response”. The attempt is to redefine gun control away from fascist jackboots and toward sympathetic pain prevention. It is to move a constitutional right away from a solid protection saying what the government can’t do, toward something that the government must do. Those are dangerous redefinitions.

We can have esoteric policy debates about gun ownership. I am an avid hunter, from wild boar in West Virginia to deer in Maryland, and I believe there’s a legitimate role for long guns and handguns, in sport and self-defense.

But as a country, we now have to reckon with what has happened on our watch. Our young men and women are dying on the streets of Chicago, because anyone with half a brain can figure out how to get around background checks, into gun shows, or otherwise acquire a firearm. Our kids are getting off school buses without certainty that they will come home. And three months ago, the president of our great country found himself greeting 26 families whose 6- and 7-year-old boys and girls were mowed down execution style, by a maniac who had access to a rifle almost as a big as he was. What happened in Newtown on that awful December day was not abstract. I was there with them in that bitter reality. I saw their faces. The pain of that day was unrelenting. Our response must be as well.

Exactly the same argument could be used in regards to late term abortion. The cries of those half-aborted children in Kermit Gosnell’s torture room demand an unrelenting response. Why does the Daily Beast give us a scene a day on guns, but is yet to mention the cold-blooded spine snip-er who killed far more children?

The language is being manipulated and abused by the very people who should respect it the most.

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