Personal Opinion: In Danger of Extinction?

Have you ever experienced vitriolic treatment, like threats or verbal abuse, because you expressed a personal opinion that was contrary to someone else’s opinion?

Maybe it’s safe for “unknowns” to have opinions on things political or social that fly in the face of current foisted ideologies, but it seems if you are a family member of someone famous, you don’t have that luxury.

I’ve read several articles this week about Brad Pitt’s mom, Jane Pitt, and the uproar over her innocuous letter to the editor of Missouri’s Springfield News-Leader, in response to another reader, Richard Stoecker, who stated that Christians should not vote for Romney based on his Mormonism.

In response Mrs. Pitt wrote:

“I have given much thought to Richard Stoecker’s letter (“Vote for Mormon against beliefs,” June 15). I am also a Christian and differ with the Mormon religion.

But I think any Christian should spend much time in prayer before refusing to vote for a family man with high morals, business experience, who is against abortion, and shares Christian conviction concerning homosexuality, just because he is a Mormon.

Any Christian who does not vote or writes in a name is casting a vote for Romney’s opponent, Barack Hussein Obama — a man who sat in Jeremiah Wright’s church for years, did not hold a public ceremony to mark the National Day of Prayer, and is a liberal who supports the killing of unborn babies and same-sex marriage.

I hope all Christians give their vote prayerful consideration because voting is a sacred privilege and a serious responsibility.”  Springfield News-Leader

Is there anything that smacks of “hate” speech here? Any character assassination? Any falsehood?

No, just statements of facts about each candidate’s record and some personal opinion about a Christian’s responsibility in the use of the voting privilege.

Yet this letter-to-the-editor has brought the “hate speech” cockroaches out of every conceivable crack and crevice. Mrs. Pitt has been personally attacked, no, ravaged by others on Twitter, Facebook, other “newspapers”, e-news media, and who knows what else, just because she expressed her personal opinions. Horrible language, insane suggestions of killing her (twitter: “kill the bitch”) and other vulgar and idiotic diatribes have not only fueled the fire, but actually struck the match that got it burning.

Since when has it become of national concern to express a personal opinion in a letter to an editor of a local newspaper, in which the writer disagrees with the more liberal view of life in our country – the United States of America, the land of the free? Who’s really free here? Only those who support abortion and same sex relationships? Is everyone else full of
“hate speech” because they have a variant opinion about these lifestyle choices?

If a federal or state legislative body attempts to implement “hate speech” laws, we are in deep trouble. For it appears already that the general public’s view of “hate speech” can be construed to cover any voiced or written opinion that disagrees with whatever minority status quo is currently in fashion. If any American citizen is threatened with fines, imprisonment, or death for exercising freedom of speech, we are a doomed nation. For limitations on freedom of speech create the soil in which despots spring up and rule.

Think of pre-revolution life in Egypt and Libya. Remember Orwell’s 1984 and “big brother is watching you”? Don’t think it couldn’t happen here.

Something I dislike: “news” agencies of all kinds who will publish articles which take great liberty in “interpreting” a story for the public that is far flung from the original comment or intent of the person who is being quoted or referred to. It’s called “putting words into the person’s mouth.” When a “news reporter”, who has no firsthand knowledge of an individual, of her beliefs, or of her character, attempts to extrapolate a meaning from her comments which was not clearly stated or intended, it’s pure fabrication; it’s called embellishing, which is a euphemism for lying. Such has been the case with Mrs. Pitt’s letter-to-the-editor spin-offs.

“Disagreement” is not the same as “hate” – if it were, most human relationship would be constantly in flux between hate and love on any given day.

I can totally disagree with your opinion, your choices, your very lifestyle and still not hate you as a person (though I might consider it if you are disgustingly vulgar, spiteful, wicked, and vengeful because I disagree with you). I can have very strong, even repulsive, feelings about your choices, opinions, or actions and still not hate you or suggest that someone kill you.

By the way, where are the cries of “hate speech” when it’s done in the social media? The venom fairly dripped from some of the Twitter responses to Pitt’s letter-to-the-editor and/or to misrepresentations of that letter.

There is one thing I do hate – the use of public media, social or commercial, that pounces upon almost any tidbit of “news” to create argument, hostility, division, suspicion, anger, threats, or that dreg up any other of the baser elements of human nature for personal gain, recognition, or revenge for perceived personal rejection.

My fellow Americans, we need to grow up, put our big girl and big boy undies on, allow each other the right to personal opinion, and agree that it’s okay to disagree.

Does anyone agree with me? Or disagree? I can take it, I live in the “home of the brave”.

©2012, Marcy Alves

About Marcy

I love my Father-God. Together we are walking through a season of my life where I am standing with him against cancer. He is my strength and trust. As one of his daughters, my passion is to share his love with others in practical, everyday illustrations and insights.

Posted on July 14, 2012, in Christian Growth, In the News, Reflections and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. Great article, Marcy. I applaud you for stepping up to the plate and going yard. The usual immature hate fest by the “enlightened non-haters” who hate more and deeper than anyone else is just one more case of the devil getting his panties in a wad. IMHO the actions of the haters will only make non-haters that much stronger. No one will ever be able to legally eradicate freedom of speech in this country without burning the Constitution. And the only way that will happen is if the tiny hater class is successful in ultimately intimidating the majority into silence. That will never happen. It will only cause many more millions to come forth and speak up, as you just have. We are in the early stages of a national Great Awakening. It will not be stopped.

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