To Be, or Not To Be – Offended

ToBeOffendedby Deana Chadwell1/2/16
New York City is proposing a $250,000 fine for using the wrong pronoun in reference to a transgendered person. Really?! How would you know which pronoun to use. Why would a he that used to be a she be upset if one slipped up and used the feminine pronoun? Accidents happen, especially where confusion abounds. Are we now to ask about genitalia before we address a person with a Ms. or a Mr.?

No, that won’t work. Caitlyn reportedly still has his/her male genitalia. But I digress – it’s too easy to wax sarcastic with all of this, and I know there’s also some real human suffering here, and my concern really isn’t the transgendered movement. It is with all the fuss about being offensive.

Where, on what planet, in what list of thou-shalt-nots, among what tribe of people is being totally inoffensive the most important moral value? And who has the authority in a free society to determine for the rest of us what is or is not an assault on general sensibilities?

I can hear the libertine voices shouting, oh yeah? Aren’t you offended by pornography? No, because it’s avoidable – but I do feel protective of the people porn damages, the marriages that are destroyed, the careers damaged, the minds twisted. I’m even more concerned for those who produce the pornography – especially the very young. True morality has nothing to do with who’s offended. It has to do with limiting the chaos in society.

Being offensive is a breech of etiquette, not of morality. Being offensive is belching loudly, swearing like a stevedore, farting in church. It’s a failure of proper manners and decorum; it has nothing to do with political opinions, religious faith, or human morals. Case in point:

There’s a house in my town on a road I occasionally travel that never fails to catch my eye. It’s purple. Not a soft lavender or a gentle mauve, but a violently, poisonously, passionate purple. It offends every aesthetic sensibility I possess. And yet, there it sits in defiance, offensive in every sense of the word. I can as I drive by look away, but its presence is so commanding, the offense so great, that, like a car wreck by the road, it’s hard to tear my eyes away.

Nevertheless, these chromatically intrepid folk had no moral obligation to check with me before they bought that paint. They had no local ordinance to go by. They chose that color because 1) it was being thrown away so they got it cheap, 2) they’re color blind, or, most likely, 3) they actually like that macro-aggressive shade.

And, last I checked, people, outside of HOA’s, are still free to choose a paint color that pleases them. Would I feel the same if they had chosen, in solidarity with the gay movement, to paint this house in rainbow colors? Whereas, I find it appalling that God’s promising symbol, the rainbow, has been co-opted by a group of people who use it to mock the very God who offered the promise, the offensiveness of the house would remain the same.

And my inability to do anything at all about it remains the same. My being offended is not, nor should it be, a matter of law. I haven’t been denied anything I want or need. I am not required to drive down that street. I don’t have to look that direction when I do.

The gay couple in Portland who wanted the wedding cake, could have obtained one at dozens of other groovier bakeries than the Klein’s. The couple wasn’t being excluded unlawfully; the Klein’s had served them before. Their wedding wasn’t in jeopardy, nor was their health or wealth or wellbeing. They were simply offended by the bakery owners’ stance. That the Klein’s were offended by the gay couple’s wedding plans seems not to be an issue, which I don’t understand.

These storeowners, however, have been fined an exorbitant amount money and had all their bank accounts completely stripped of funds just before Christmas — for offending someone, someone of what I call “the whiney class.” These are people who claim a special dispensation and demand that they never be offended, slighted, or snubbed in even the slightest way. Some blacks claim the right to never be called on anything, and demanding such deference is a big part of the Muslim stealth jihad; evidently being even close to bacon will undo their spiritual journey to their personal clutch of virgins. Atheists appear to be of the opinion that no one should ever say anything about God; they evidently find His mention disturbing and references to His Son ever more disorienting. Feminists appear to be upset by anything men do.

I’ve lost track of the people we have to tiptoe now that our most important right is some imaginary privilege to never have our opinions, our suppositions, our biases questioned. Which amendment is that? “The right to have and hold opinions without ever having to defend them, or having to know anything at all about the issue, or be presented with any contrary opinions shall never be abridged, especially by Christians.” Is that how it works?

I am offended now and then. I’m offended by TV shows, obviously written and filmed in a land where 50% of the population is gay or transgendered. I get cranky about that not because of the gayness as much as by the untruth of that ratio. I’m offended by people extolling those who lie, cheat, finagle and steal. I’m offended by criminals getting away with murder, and by my guns having to take the blame for it. But — I would never sue anyone over my disquiet and revulsion. I live in a free country; I can take it.

I am not offended by the behavior of ISIS and orthodox Muslims; I’m horrified. It’s not simply offensive to rape a little girl to death; it’s pure evil. It’s not merely offensive to slice off a Christian’s head, or burn him alive, or nail him to a cross. Those things are terrifying. I grew up thinking mankind had left those barbaric cruelties in the distant past.

I’m not upset by people calling me names, nor by those who speak to me rudely because they disagree. I’ve learned that such behavior simply means they can’t win the argument in spite of their arrogant posture.

This business of having to cow-tow to the overly exaggerated feelings of those whose misbehavior has left them with uber-fragile egos is exhausting. Should we be polite? Of course. Loving? Why not? We are all God’s creatures and we should treat all people with the respect that warrants. Until…

Until I, and those I love, are threatened. Roseburg is only an hour away from me and I teach in college. And my school,  a small, moneyless Bible college, is being harassed by our state over our gay marriage stance. That threatens my career – all because someone is worried that something someone says on our tiny campus may offend someone. I mean, we don’t ever conduct weddings or bake cakes or actually do anything that could interfere with a gay couple’s wish to marry. So why are we being attacked? I’m not offended; I’m mad.

America has grown half a population with no backbone, no resilience, no interest in truth and the discomfort that often accompanies its discovery. Americans — can you believe it? — are all fussy about “microaggression” and not at all aware of the macroaggression that will be ours to deal with if we can’t face the truth about morality, about our enemies, and about God.

God’s not real receptive to whiners.


Deana Chadwell blogs at ASingleWindow.com and is a writing and speech professor at Pacific Bible College in Southern Oregon.
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Deana Chadwell

About Deana Chadwell

I have spent my life teaching young people how to read and write and appreciate the wonder of words. I have worked with high school students and currently teach writing at Pacific Bible College in southern Oregon. I have spent more than forty years studying the Bible, theology, and apologetics and that finds its way into my writing whether I'm blogging about my experiences or my opinions. I have two and a half moldering novels, stacks of essays, hundreds of poems, some which have won state and national prizes. All that writing -- and more keeps popping up -- needs a home with a big plate glass window; it needs air; it needs a conversation. I am also an artist who works with cloth, yarn, beads, gourds, polymer clay, paint, and photography. And I make soap.
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16 Responses to To Be, or Not To Be – Offended

  1. Timothy Lane says:

    In New York, I gather that they want to use “gender neutral” pronouns such as those proposed in Tennessee. Presumably they would be used for everyone, and if anyone complains about such a failure, it’s punishment time. (Liberals believe they have not only an entitlement to your money, but an entitlement to never being offended or made unhappy by you.) Even worse than the case of the Kleins is the case of the Washington florist, whose prospective clients didn’t even complain. But the “civil rights” office of whatever name (run by a Democrat, i.e., a Fascist) heard about it, and pursued the case anyway.

    • Rosalys says:

      “Gender neutral” pronouns? Are we supposed to refer to everyone now as it? To a certain extent, I’d be up with that. I’ve run across a few people lately and I honestly couldn’t tell what they were! And if someone would call me an “it” girl, I would be flattered; nay I would be thrilled (but I’m well beyond those years and that will never happen.) 🙂

      We are living in an intentionally insane period of time. At some point, we who are sane are going to have to put a stop to it all. But how? The people we used to laugh at and not take seriously, because they were so bizarre, have quite a lot of power now.

      • Timothy Lane says:

        No, this seems to be more like invented pronouns like “ze” to replace “he” and “she”. Liberal Newspeak becomes increasingly ridiculous as the zealots increasingly feel liberated to act as they truly please.

        • Rosalys says:

          I think I’ll stick to calling them “it” – or perhaps “Itt” if I’m feeling especially snarky.

          Idiots!

      • You’ve hit on something here, Rosie — “intentionally insane period” — yes. Whether human intention, or demonic intention is hard to tell, though my bet is on a combination thereof. Our children for the last several generations have been taught that human nature is essentially good. Since that is patently absurd, we now have 3 generations whose basic assumptions about life are far removed from reality and therefore very close to insanity.

        • Timothy Lane says:

          The point of “intentional insanity”, I assume, is that the Inner Party know perfectly well what they’re doing, and that their ideology is grossly at variance with reality. But the leeches-and-sheep coalition that supports them (the Outer Party) is (willfully) deluded by them.

        • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

          Whether human intention, or demonic intention is hard to tell, though my bet is on a combination thereof.

          I was reading your article the other day, Deana, and thinking “Geez…where did all the fire and brimstone go? If ever there was a time for calling a spade a spade (or demon a demon).” 😀

          Don’t get me wrong. I like what you said. But my Spider Senses tell me that “offense” is not at all at the center of this issue.

  2. NAHALKIDES NAHALKIDES says:

    Deana – this was a good exploration of what “offensiveness” really means. It’s important to remember, though, that the whining weaklings complaining that they’re offended by some word or gesture are only the stooges of the more serious villains – the hardcore Left.

    Now the ruling-class Left truly doesn’t give a damn about gay or transgendered “rights”; they couldn’t care less about anyone’s tender sensibilities. What they are after always is power, and the road here is simple: establish the principle that “offensive” speech may be censored and then declare any speech in opposition to the Left and its program “offensive”. If they get away with what they’re trying to pull in NYC, they will then go on to clamp down on speech attacking Islam, and eventually to speech critical of the Democratic Party.

    It really needs a separate article, but we also need to understand that the “anti-discrimination” laws being used to club people like those Portland bakers are in fact a means to muzzle free speech. For the gay “couple” was not being discriminated against at all; the bakers would not have baked a same-sex cake for a straight couple either. By not baking the cake, they were expressing their disapproval of same-sex “marriage” – that is why the Left wanted to force them to bake it. It’s really forcing them to say “Same-sex marriage is good”.

    • Timothy Lane says:

      This is related to the Kim Davis situation. These homosexual couples could have gone to a different county; indeed, some were from different counties, but went to Morehead in order to force Davis to betray her religion. That was the real goal for many, perhaps all, of the couples.

      • Steve Lancaster says:

        Indeed, they hate our culture so much that to compel bakers, ministers and anyone who holds to values to recognize the gay status as equal sends a shiver of schadenfreude up their collective legs.

  3. Pst4usa says:

    I’ve recently read, (listened actually), to the book, The Abolition of Man, by C. S. Lewis, he nails the cause of this phenomenon all the way back in 1943.

  4. David Norris says:

    Deanna – I’m appreciating the clarity and strength of your words.

    Some say that “the pen is mightier than the sword”. I subscribe to that notion, however it seems that as a nation we will soon be forced to cross the line to where swords will be necessary to communicate our wishes for self-determination and liberty.

    Two other points; A recent article written by the President of Oklahoma Wesleyan University might offer you and your colleagues some inspiration.

    Straight talk for the immature, and misguided; A university administrator who speaks with some common sense:

    Dr. Everett Piper, President (November 23, 2015)

    “This past week, I actually had a student come forward after a university chapel service and complain because he felt “victimized” by a sermon on the topic of 1 Corinthians 13. It appears this young scholar felt offended because a homily on love made him feel bad for not showing love. In his mind, the speaker was wrong for making him, and his peers, feel uncomfortable.

    I’m not making this up. Our culture has actually taught our kids to be this self-absorbed and narcissistic. Any time their feelings are hurt, they are the victims. Anyone who dares challenge them and, thus, makes them “feel bad” about themselves, is a “hater,” a “bigot,” an “oppressor,” and a “victimizer.”

    I have a message for this young man and all others who care to listen. That feeling of discomfort you have after listening to a sermon is called a conscience. An altar call is supposed to make you feel bad. It is supposed to make you feel guilty. The goal of many a good sermon is to get you to confess your sins–not coddle you in your selfishness. The primary objective of the Church and the Christian faith is your confession, not your self-actualization.

    So here’s my advice:

    If you want the chaplain to tell you you’re a victim rather than tell you that you need virtue, this may not be the university you’re looking for. If you want to complain about a sermon that makes you feel less than loving for not showing love, this might be the wrong place.

    If you’re more interested in playing the “hater” card than you are in confessing your own hate; if you want to arrogantly lecture, rather than humbly learn; if you don’t want to feel guilt in your soul when you are guilty of sin; if you want to be enabled rather than confronted, there are many universities across the land (in Missouri and elsewhere) that will give you exactly what you want, but Oklahoma Wesleyan isn’t one of them.

    At OKWU, we teach you to be selfless rather than self-centered. We are more interested in you practicing personal forgiveness than political revenge. We want you to model interpersonal reconciliation rather than foment personal conflict. We believe the content of your character is more important than the color of your skin. We don’t believe that you have been victimized every time you feel guilty and we don’t issue “trigger warnings” before altar calls.

    Oklahoma Wesleyan is not a “safe place”, but rather, a place to learn: to learn that life isn’t about you, but about others; that the bad feeling you have while listening to a sermon is called guilt; that the way to address it is to repent of everything that’s wrong with you rather than blame others for everything that’s wrong with them. This is a place where you will quickly learn that you need to grow up.

    This is not a day care. This is a university.”

    Last but not least it might be helpful to know that the LGBT flag is NOT representative of the rainbow. Their flag has only six stripes (colors), while natures/God’s, has seven. There is a lot more that I could say about the significance of that (7 rather than 6), on another occasion.

  5. Thanks, David, for such an interesting comment. So far I haven’t run across that level of fussiness at Pacific Bible, but that’s just a matter of time; the cancer of self-involvement has metastasized and is about to cut off our national wind-pipe. For our nation to be so weak-minded is a terrible thing to see. Oh, and thanks for pointing out the rainbow differences; I find that somehow comforting.

    • Timothy Lane says:

      There are some colleges that respect free speech, usually because they have strong leadership. I’m pleased that my alma mater, Purdue, is one of them. I read a George Will article today (in Conservative Chronicle, so I don’t have a link to it) on the subject. It’s disappointing that the number of colleges supporting free speech is so tiny, but at least there are still some available.

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