Yesterday I pulled a Sound Byte for the show from "Real Time with Bill Maher". It was said by, you guessed it, Comedian Bill Maher. Here it is:
It's 1:41 in length. Just watch the whole thing.
So the key moment obviously is Maher's calling Christians people who "hate charity and love killing." And a "faith based lynch mob."
I'm a Christian. I certainly don't hate charity, absolutely don't love killing, and feel that calling the entire religion a "faith based lynch mob" is a bit of a dirty generalization. I know a lot of Christians who aren't the tpes of Christian people like Maher think they are.
But here's my actual point.
I can think of a lot of Christians who would be offended by this, sure, but Bill's a comedian. He's telling a joke. I'm not personally a huge fan of the guy but I respect his line of work because I also consider it my own. It's comedy.
The issue with the Nation in recent times hasn't become an increase in our spewing of hate speech, that's been around since the beginning of time, we've just got a delightfully modern media network to remind us of its presence on a 24/7 basis. The real problem has quickly become an increase in our inability to have a little self confidence, to be self assured. We're losing our spines. So many are too antsy to jump the gun and pounce on any form of speech that seeks to get a rise out of us and make some big media firestorm out of it.
I'm not saying we should let everything slide, but you know what, people are people. They say hateful things sometimes, in fact, comedians even say mean things in a joking way to get laughs and, you guessed it, ratings and publicity. But instead of focusing on being offended and traveling further down the trail of being sue happy and overly sensitive, why aren't we focusing on what really counts; how to be happy.
You know the ye olde saying, turn the other cheek, etc. etc. That's hard to do, trust me, I know, I get it. But how often do you lay your head down on the pillow at night and lose sleep over something someone said to you, about you, or about a community you belong to? I mean you seriously stayed awake because you couldn't let it go. On the flip side, how often does someone say something mean or hateful and you hit the hay resting easy because you know, in your heart of hearts; how much damage can jerkoffs like this ACTUALLY do to your spirit?
We need to stop focusing our energies on counter attacks and focus it inward, on strengthening our spines and standing up. Someone with a weak spine walks around hunched over, someone with a strong one walks around upright and tall.
Remember when our parents told us to ignore the bullies and they'd go away? Or the phrase "sticks and stones may break my bones but words can never hurt me"? I get that these are a little cliché, but a cliché is what it is because there's truth to it. It wouldn't last as long as it does unless it made some sense right?
If someone shows you intolerance and you show it back, what does that bespeak of you to the rest of the world? They'll see you as intolerant. Some might think it's just, but those that do will suffer from a warped sense of justice defined by you and your actions or people like you. Sure you're getting revenge on the person who offended you, but what are you doing truly? If your desire is to promote peace and awareness, do you think you'll do so effectively by taking an eye for an eye?
If someone shows you inolerance and in return you show tolerance, now that takes guts. Taking them to court is a waste of time and money. All because they hurt your feelings? I don't mean to make excuses for people who say horrible things, but why are you giving them what they want? Their fires are fueled by our giving them the reactions they want. Once we've done that they've won. It's as simple as that.
But what does it take to make you sure about yourself? Yes, it is difficult to turn the other cheek, but imagine what you'll do if you address the issue in a public way without practicing hate speech yourself.
To be perfectly honest, I would say that it's becoming harder and harder to call myself a Christian. There's this weird hate going on out there in our politically correct society that demands we respect the minority and show some odd sense of contempt for the majority. If someone is a Buddhist, a Taoist, a Muslim, Jewish, Athiest, Agnostic, etc. then we'd better hold our tongues. It's hate speech if we make jokes on their behalf (unless of course we belong to them), but it's A-Okay if we jokingly ridicule the masses because screw-em', they're all hateful, bigoted, lynch mobs who vote Republican and love money.
Come on. We're not all the same. You should know that better than anyone. We're all our own individuals and differ from everyone else on many levels. But rather than moan and complain that we should be allowed to make fun of those in minorities, why don't we just seek to stop it altogether? Because the fact of the matter is, at our core, we're all human being. There is no minority, there is no race, there is only the human race and that includes all of us. And the best place to start spreading peace is within yourself. For what shines bright within you will surely shine bright without you.
Why is it okay to stick up for certain groups and popular to shun others? And why is society allowing this? People are going to be Democrat and people are going to be Republican. People are going to be Religious and people are going to be Athiest. So some people are going to have differing opinions, that's life, suck it up and deal with it. Stop taking things personally. No one's looking through the lens of the camera and calling you out. They may be calling you to a challenge, but the real challenge is addressing the issue while simultaneously showing love for that person. Talk about how to blow some minds.
Nothing feels better than when someone attacks your beliefs or way of life and you walk away unscathed because there is no doubt in your mind about who you are. If you feel threatened, legitimately, then it may be time to reassess. Only the threatened respond with threats. Believe me, people do take notice of those who are right with themselves. That MUST be step one. If you spend all your time trying to solve the woes of the world and take not a minute to solve the woes of yourself, you'll never reach your goal. There will always be problems in the world, but there doesn't always have to be problems within you. You'll be of much better use to the world if you know who you are, what you stand for, and how to successfully go about doing it.
Don't be silent to injustice, to the ailments of your life, but understand that the best way to combat these is with a little self confidence. Sticks and stones may break your bones but a strong spine makes you stand tall and is good for your brain and thus, your life. (Or something smart and witty like that.)
If we complain all the time, we'll never learn anything and we force others to comply with our, sometimes, ridiculous demands. Look life's hard, we all know, and people can be nasty, but some days you've just got to bite the bullet, take one for the team, and suck it up. There's a time for sensitivity and there's a time for strength. I'm telling you that both are important but one is used as a crutch more than the other. Take a wild guess as to which.
And boom goes the 21st Century.