By L&T Publisher Earl Watt
In this day and age of political correctness, the lines between offending someone and discriminating against them has become one in the same, and it is wrong.
No one should be discriminated against, but all of us should be offended by someone or something in a free society.
We are not free from being offended. If that were so, there would only be one political party, one acceptable view, and one lifestyle.
Being offended is a part of living in a free society. If people were not free to express their views, no matter how extreme they may seem, it wouldn’t be much of a free society, would it?
But offending someone, and discrimination aren’t the same.
The Freedom From Religion organization has tried to blur this line, threatening lawsuits if they are “offended” by religious material.
They have no right to be free from being offended.
Here is the difference:
If a student goes to school with a T-shirt reading, “I believe in God,” or “I believe in Allah,” that student is not discriminating against anyone. He may offend someone who does not believe in God, but that is part of being free.
If everyone in the class is required to pray, that is discrimination. Discrimination is the unjust or prejudicial treatment of different categories of people or things, especially on the grounds of race, age or sex.
One person exercising their freedom of speech does not discriminate against another. It takes an action or denial of someone else’s rights to discriminate.
The Washington Redskins have been accused of being discriminatory against Native Americans. The team name does not prevent Native Americans from doing anything they legally have a right to do. Some Native Americans might find the term offensive, and some may believe it is a great point of pride, but there is no discriminatory foundation at all.
If I wear a Redskins shirt, I may be offending Panther fans or Red Demon fans, and that is fine with me.
We should be offending each other if we truly want an open discussion about all topics.
I detest skinheads, but they have every right to preach their ilk. That is what freedom is all about. The best ideas will win. If communists want to hold a rally, they can.
If Black Panthers want to blame white people for all their problems, they can.
Being offensive is required in a free society.
Even the rampant political correctness has its place. They have every right to try to eliminate all things offensive, and you have every right to tell them to take a hike.
That’s the beauty of freedom.
Your nightly news will falsely tell you that the political correct are the noble and honored voices we should follow.
NBC’s Bob Costas said the term Redskins is an insult and a slur, even though, he said that is not the intent today.
And then, he ends with the liberal’s battle cry — “... isn’t it clear how offense could be taken?”
Offensive means annoyance or resentment brought about by a perceived insult to or disregard for oneself or one’s standards or principles.
We have to have an open dialogue about standards and principles all the time, and that will lead us to offend one another.
We have to stop trying to silence voices we don’t like.
We have to allow for freedom of expression, and no one is given the right to be free FROM religion or anything else any more than they can be free from conservatives or liberals.
If we believe in freedom and democracy, we have to protect minority views and understand that in America, you will offend someone, and you will be offended, and that’s how it is supposed to be.