Fear of Offense

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Something weird is happening to America. We have accepted people of all nations and religions, eventually with joy. We have been called a “melting pot” and a “stew of nations.” In the early years people emigrating from a new location, such as Ireland and Italy, were met with dismay and suspicion. Never, however, did Americans bow down to a new group of people in fear of offense.

Let me say upfront that the tenants of my religion include:

“We claim the privilege of worshiping Almighty God according to the dictates of our own conscience, and allow all men the same privilege, let them worship how, where, or what they may.”

In the history of my religious belief, men and women faced angry mobs intent on killing or ejecting them from their state many times. Even today we face a lack of respect and suspicion.

When I see Facebook memes suggesting Muslims should be forced to give up their sacred women’s clothing, or forced to give up something sacred to them, I cringe and remind my friends this has happened to us. We must be fair, kind, and loving, not fearful.

However, why should we be so condescending to remove all of the things we love that may offend a Muslim? We have had Muslims in our midst for many years, and have not had problems. They have not demanded we take the cleansing packets from Kentucky Fried Chicken, and why should they? If they don’t want it, they don’t have to take it! Yet, some stores are fearful of offense.

In one state, a store helped a city pay for upgrades to a street, earning the right to put up a sign. It included the word “bacon”. I don’t remember who complained, but they had to remove the offensive word. It offended Muslims. This practice continues throughout our country. We fearfully suggest they be ejected, or we do silly things to avoid offense.

Purposely offending others occurs all the time by “comedians” who purposely give offense to everyone as though it is funny. It is not. There is nothing funny about offense. Friends will tease and say hurtful things in jest, and hurt a friendship. Nothing good ever comes from purposeful offense.

Nothing good comes from fearfully attempting to not give offense, either. We have gone too far in this. We live here in this country, too. We have rights, and I am offended by the fear that drives commercial establishments to remove items for that reason!

Most heinous is that communities are denying citizens the right to fly the American flag, as it may “offend” some part of a community! The flag is a symbol of each citizen’s rights to freedom, fought and paid for by our soldier’s blood. We allow others to fly the flags of the country from which they came, but we don’t allow our flag to fly? Ridiculous!!!!

People move expecting certain rights and opportunities in the city, state, or country. The Statue of Liberty and our flag suggest welcoming them, and allowing newcomers to enjoy our freedoms. They come for our culture, our freedom, our opportunities, and then complain about the culture that provides the very freedom and opportunity they crave. I have seen this happen in cities and states. Now it is happening in our beautiful country. People arrive and take advantage of the benefits provided by our culture; the freedoms earned by the protection of our flag, and are offended by them?

I hate to say it, but the airplane, the road, or the boat that brought them here travels in the reverse direction. Those who are offended by our culture, our bacon, our clean wipes, our flag, can suck it up and be decent human beings, or they can go home!

Without the culture we have developed over the past two centuries, there would be no United States for others to flee to for safety, no place of opportunity so freely available. Because of our culture, we have accepted immigrants whether they arrive legally or not. That, too, is part of our culture. Early settlers came to this country seeking freedoms not available in their home countries. Those freedoms have been earned and rights have been given. No newcomer has the right to disrespect the freedoms and rights won for them by others. No newcomer has the right to receive the benefits of our culture and our willingness to accept them and reject the flag and laws that made the available.

Citizens of this great United States need to get a grip and stop fearing others. We should not purposely give offense, but we should continue to have the right to be free Americans, and enjoy our culture, especially the right to fly the flag of our country, freely.

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