Bad Word Rehab

January 26, 2007

Isaish Washington, one of the stars of "Grey's Anatomy," has made a lot of headlines lately because of his anti-homosexual slur he used toward a co-star. Now, it has been reported that he has entered rehab/counseling. Conservative Commentator Bill O'Reilly referred to it yesterday as "bad word rehab." There are a lot of Christians who could use some bad word rehab. We probably do not need to establish inpatient programs, but there are a lot of Christians who need to learn how to be careful and appropriate with what they say.

Some Christians proved with their response to the Washington case that they do not understand what it means to talk in an ethical or Christian way. For instance, the Family Research Council's Tony Perkins attacked the idea that Washington went to rehab, but Perkins never condemned the use of the offensive word. He then argued that Christians may soon lose their right to free speech on homosexuality if hate crime legislation is passed. Yet, Perkins misses the important point--Washington was wrong to use the hateful word. If a law bans that word, then Christians should not worry because we should not be using such hateful language. Perkins is one Christian who must need some bad word rehab.

An interesting related story: the mayor of a town in Texas proposed fining people who use the "n-word," which is another hateful word that Christians should not use and should work to remove from our society.

13 comments

  1. We need offensive rehab.

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  2. You are correct!

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  3. locke6:38 AM

    Apparently you don't understand how a democracy works. We live in a free marketplace of ideas, and in such a marketplace, SOMETHING is going to offend us. I find religion offensive, yet that does not give me the right to demand their silence. Hate speech IS protected under our right to free speech, just as religion is. Our founding fathers understood that to deny any one group or person's voice will forge the path to fascism.
    "I may not agree with wat you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it." -Voltaire

    A better way to remove the harmful influence of language is to subject it to ridicule. Remember the KKK? They USED to wield real influence and power. Now they've been reduced to visual gag by talented funnymen like Dave Chappelle. Same with religion and language. As soon as we allow ourselves to laugh at how foolish and ridiculous we can be, such harmful influences will lose their power.
    "The human race has one really effective weapon, and that is laughter. In the face of laughter, nothing can stand." -Mark Twain

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  4. locke: Thanks for the comment but you drastically misunderstood what I wrote. I do actually understand how a democracy works and the importance of free speech. Please calm down and then reread my comments.

    I am not calling for laws or people to censor the speech of others. Instead, I am urging Christians to avoid such language. We have the right to say whatever we want, but it is not always right to do so. I am not advocating taking away our right to free speech, but simply urging Christians to use their right to remain silent and not say stupid things.

    By the way, if you are interested in more of my thoughts on the issue of democracy, check out a column I wrote a couple of years ago: “Valuing Baptist Democracy: Creating a Free and Open Culture to End Divisiveness and Polarization.”

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  5. People call other people "idiots" on-line all the time.

    Why should gays have special privilages under the law?

    (Answer: They want to make their behavior MORALLY (not just socailly) accpetable)

    Interesting to see how this post relates being gay to being black.

    Do you posit the theory that being gay is genetic????

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  6. And what about Hillary Clinton's comments about the "evil" men in her life??

    Shouldn't those qualify as "hate speech" the way you define it?

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  7. Kris: Thanks for the comments, but you seem to really miss my point. Let me answer your questions.

    First, you wrote, “People call other people ‘idiots’ on-line all the time.” That is true, but that does not make it right. Thus, I am really not sure what your point is other than to prove that there is a large problem in our society.

    Second, you asked, “Why should gays have special privileges under the law?” I never said they should. All I said is they should not be subjected to hateful slurs just as none of the rest of us should. I am arguing that no one should be hatefully attacked. That is not special treatment.

    Third, you wrote, “Interesting to see how this post relates being gay to being black.” You are reading way too much into my comments. I did not make such a comparison. The only thing I was arguing is that no one should be subjected to hateful speech.

    Fourth, you asked, “Do you posit the theory that being gay is genetic????” I am not sure why that is even relevant to this post. Either way we should not use hateful slurs.

    Finally, you asked if Hillary’s comments should be considered hate speech. You are really stretching it here since she was making a joke about her husband (well, maybe it was hateful!).

    Please calm down and quit trying to make my words say things that are not there. The point is this: as Christians we need to be careful not to be hateful in our language.

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  8. Don't you see a PROFOUND difference between slandering someone for their inherent skin color (using the "n"-word) and criticizing someone who exhorts their IMMORAL behavior?



    Or don't you find homosexual behavior MORALLY wrong????

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  9. just a guy8:29 AM

    what IS 'Moral/Immoral' anyway?

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  10. Morality is defined by Scripture.
    See Romans 1 and Genesis 19 to find what God thinks about homosexual behavior.

    Ironically enough, I saw a piece on CNN today about that Texas town that tired to criminalize use of the "n" word. Both blacks and whites spoke out against it, and the measure failed.

    As one older lady stated emphatically, "you've opened a real can of worms here".

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  11. Thanks for the comments! Kris, you are right as it seems I did open a can of worms. I also saw that report today and it was interesting. Here are my thoughts on issues in the last couple of comments.

    Kris: You ask if there is a profound difference but I do not think so. Hate is hate. We cannot justify the sin of hate by saying, “But I was attacking sin.” We must take the moral high ground as Christians.

    Just a guy: I believe there are such things as moral and immoral behavior. This is a basic tenet of Christianity. We are all sinners and all have committed immoral acts, which is why the only true moral One (Jesus) came to save us and teach us how to live more moral lives.

    Kris: One more thought for you: I think Christians too often focus on homosexuality and ignore the sins that we ourselves commit. It is time to show more love and less condemnation.

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  12. You still haven't answered the question....

    DO YOU believe homosexuality IS A SIN???

    It just takes a simple yes or no.

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  13. Kris: You sure do seem to love quotation marks.

    As for your question, my first response is one that is often given on “Grey’s Anatomy”: Seriously? Seriously?!

    Why are you obsessed with this? It is unrelated to the point of this post. Regardless of the answer, Washington’s remark was wrong. I believe the Bible. I also believe that many Christians are way too focused on the issue of homosexuality. We obsess about it even though Jesus never even mentioned it. We condemn instead of love.

    I was hoping to move the discussion forward, but you seem obsessed with going back to the same old tone. I wrote about the issue and how Christians should deal with it in my book, which just came out. So, if you are interested in knowing more, check it out.

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