Free speech, or simply sin?

The other day Ann Coulter tweeted about the debate. In the tweet she called Obama a retard. The reaction from all sides has been interesting to see. Some people continue to stand for those with mental disabilities, and point out the blatant offense to this kind of attitude. It doesn’t help that this woman has made this mistake in the past, and continues to blow everyone off who brings up the issue.

What I found even more interesting was seeing the people that defended her statement. They proclaimed how it is free speech and that her only desire was to insult the President. She is protected for under free speech, and this should not be condemned and judged for her statement.

I don’t use the word retarded as an insult. I know I have written about this once before, but I felt the need to write about it again. Last time it was simply under the topic of political correctness, but this time I want to take it deeper as a simple obligation as a human being made by a creator.

A few years ago I went to Mexico for a missions trip. It was an eye opening experience in many ways. One day we attended an orphanage for children with special needs. Most were severely disabled both physically and mentally. They were also children that craved affection and love, had different personalities, curiosity, reached out for physical contact, and were simply human beings. During that time I had never heard about the issue of using the r word as an insult. I would not be aware of this huge controversy until years later when I met my wife.

My wife majored in special education. She has a real heart for the issue, and it is one of the things I love about her. I became aware of this movement to stop people from using retarded as an insult. It made sense to me. I didn’t agree with the movement out of obligation, marriage, or some sense of duty, but simply as someone who believes in the need for human decency. I never used retarded as an insult. It never really crossed my mind until the issue presented itself to me. Why would I do that?

Retarded isn’t the only word used this way. Other words like “gay” are often abused with the same purpose. Why would we defend hateful speech under a man-made law? We think free speech is a God given right, but even God restrained us in our speech according to Scripture. What we say, how we say it, and what we intend were all meant to be monitored. Why is it that we feel our laws of America trump the Laws of Scripture?

Even if you are not a Christian you cannot understand this basic principle. Just because you can do something does not mean that you should. However, we fall into this realm where the only wrong actions we care about are ones that are performed directly on us. Shouldn’t we stand up against evil no matter where it strikes though? Evil. Is that really the wright word to use in this situation? I believe it is. Insulting God’s creation is sin. Sin is evil. It is really that simple.

This isn’t just a post about some random movement where crazy people want to stop the use of a word in the average person vocabulary. It is about seeing the need for caring about things beyond ourselves. We need to stop pretending that words only have power if we let them. We need to stop and realize that sometimes words really are just cruel. We need to remember that just because we are not personally wronged does not mean evil is not happening.

What can you and I do about this? Start by policing yourself. Not just with the word “retarded”, but with other things like calling something gay, using a race to make a statement of disapproval, in fact, perhaps you should stop and rethink insulting whatever individual you are in the first place. Ann’s use of retarded wasn’t the problem. It was simply a symptom. The first problem was the she saw the need to hurl a worthless insult at a man whose political views she disagrees with. If she is going to make that mistake, then it is really no shock that she would choose an insult that would be blatantly offensive to a whole group of people.

The constitution is not my Bible. A government is not my spiritual authority. What are you hiding behind to justify your actions?


2 responses to “Free speech, or simply sin?

  1. I am the mom of a child with special needs. I believe in free speech so if someone uses the word retard as an insult I personally hate it. What I really can’t stand is when someone calls me the language police. I’m not trying to police, I’m trying to educate. What I want is to be able to exercise my right of free speech and speak out when I hear a word that marginalizes my child and millions like her.

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