Our Offended Nation
June 1, 2017 | View PDF
Have you been offended today? No? Well, you’ve likely not checked social media or various news outlets to learn what is trending as the offense of the day. It seems that there is a long list of things that are supposed to offend me, but in many ways it’s just becoming tiresome chatter.
As I read and learn about these issues that are now serving as “triggers” for insult, I realized that our culture seemingly exists in a state of perpetual offense and outrage at any thought, speech, or person with which or whom we disagree. Are Americans so incredibly sensitive and unsure of our own belief systems that we can no longer have discussions about differences of opinion without being offended?
It’s a mindset that has definitely infiltrated younger Americans, particularly those on college campuses where the outlook of being offended by differing viewpoints, particularly if those views lean conservative, is being openly encouraged. Increasingly, the concept of “free speech” is being reserved for those whose opinions fall more in line with the ideology of the left, and those with opposing conservative-leaning views are quickly labeled as racist, sexist, homophobic, or intolerant as a tactic to shut down any conversation.
We’re currently in the season of commencement addresses and have already had two episodes of college graduates so offended by the selection of speakers that they have rudely interrupted one and walked out on another.
Education Secretary Betsy DeVos was rudely and loudly booed by students during her recent commencement address at Bethune-Cookman University in Daytona Beach, Florida and many also turned their backs to her as she began to speak. While DeVos is by far my least favorite Cabinet appointment of the Trump administration, the level of disrespect shown to her was appalling.
Disagree with her policies all you wish, aspects of which this conservative also has serious concerns, but can we possibly differ in opinion while behaving with some level of maturity? Who is shown to be intolerant here?
A planned walk-out protest by graduating seniors in opposition to Vice-President Mike Pence’s address at the University of Notre Dame was far less disruptive, but still, at least in my opinion, in poor taste and enacted at an improper venue. Peaceful political protests are part and parcel of what makes America distinctly different from other nations and are an important and vital component of our democratic system, but marring the memory of such an important milestone ceremony for other students and their families simply reflects poorly on those who walked out.
While college students protest, the left-leaning media almost salivates over any opportunity to portray the current administration in a negative light, and as its liberal bias and seething anger over the results of the November election increases by the day, it fuels much of the offended mentality we now see.
I find it interesting that the Greek word for offense in Bible Scripture is skandalon and is translated in Strong’s Concordance as a trap, snare, or stumbling block.* Our declining level of civil political discourse appears to indicate that we are falling into a trap that continues to divide by identifying us as ever-increasing agitated factions rather than a nation with any semblance of a shared vision for the future. And as our enemies foreign and domestic well know, that is a destructive trap from which we may never escape.
* Strong’s Concordance, online version. https://www.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?t=kjv&strongs=g4625
Marcia Chambliss has been involved in grassroots conservative politics since 2009 and has contributed opinion articles pertaining to politics and cultural issues to The Alabama Gazette since 2010.