Political Language

Like many of you I am trying to make sense out of the terrible tragedy that took place in Arizona yesterday.  Anytime a life is taken it saddens me.  As an Orthodox Christian I believe that every life is sacred so when one is lost I can not help but feel sad.

I have also been trying to figure out how to respond to this.  Our country was founded on Revolution.  Political language has been around since the dawn of time and in a country that has free speech as one of its bedrock elements it is more important.  I find it quite interesting that on Thursday when the US Constitution was being read in the House chamber, Rep Gabrielle Giffords of Arizona was the one to read the 1st Amendment, the one about free speech and freedom of assembly.

Shortly after the tragic events, the new Speaker of the House released a statement, (emphasis is mine) “I am horrified by the senseless attack on Gabrielle Giffords and members of her staff. An attack on one who serves is an attack on all who serve. Acts and threats of violence against public officials have no place in our society. Our prayers are with Giffords, her staff, all injured, and their families. This is a sad day for our country.” Mr. Speaker I believe you are correct.

Over the next few days or weeks the direction of this event will change.  We will be looking for answers, the fingers are already point to and from both sides.  This man was troubled no doubt.  For any action such as this there is usually some catalyst that sets off the powder keg.  We do not know what that match was and speculation does not help.

I was watching MSNBC last night and Keith Olberman spoke at the end of their coverage.  If you ever watch his program you know that he does sort of an editorial at the end.  He spoke about where the political language in our country has gone the last two years, and he also pointed out that both sides are guilty here the blame cannot be shouldered only by one side of the political spectrum.  He even apologized for statements he made in the past that could have led to violence.  I have made statements right here on this blog and on Facebook that have not always been charitable and for that I apologize and will try, with God’s help, to correct this action in the future.

Since the Republican began we have spoken of politics in the same vain as we speak about warfare.  We use terms like campaign, target, war room, take aim all of this is common language.  In the spin up to the American Revolution we were burning King George in effigy and also during the Civil War the same was done to Abraham Lincoln so this is not new to politics. 

However, our words come with a responsibility and although we do not mean them in a certain way some will take them in their own way and strike out (another military term).  Political language is important, free speech is important and as I have said before I may disagree with what you say but I will lay down my life for your right to say it but our freedom comes with a very large moral responsibility.

So where do we go from here?  Hate is wrong plain and simple.  In a spiritual sense hate is very destructive and requires far more energy than love does.  Hate comes from the Devil not from the one who IS love.  One cannot be a Christian and hate the two are not compatible.  Disagree yes, but we must disagree in love.

We have some real problems in this country and yes we have become polarized.  I for one am looking t our leaders, the ones we elected to serve and represent us, to come together and work together to solve our problems.

I will close with a quote from one of the great Orthodox saints and I think Fr. Luke for sending out this morning.  I am not sure if this was done because of what happened yesterday or if it was just in the line up.

β€œTo be gentle, humble and kind to all, even to our enemies; to be simple, disinterested and content with little, the little that is indispensable; to be generous and full of good will to everyone – such are the things that unite us to God, the source of life, and to others by endearing us to them.” (St. John of Kronstadt)

Our life here on earth is very transitory and short compared with our eternal life.  We do not have time for hate all we have time for is love.  Let us love one another and treat our neighbor as we would like to be treated.

Blessed Sunday to all. 


  1. a nut is a nut! you can not take freedom of speach away because an unstable person might do something wrong.
    According to this killer he was upset because he was made to see,vow to or put his hand a bible when he entered the military.
    Should we take the bible out of everyones view and stop vowing to God so they don't flip out and kill people.
    The man is a mental case and needs help.
    Who knows what sets these people off,but sooner or later something does.

  2. Linda, no one is talking about taking free speech away, I am not sure where you are getting that. I wtached the entire coverage last night and read many of the blogs this morning and no one is talking about restricting free speech. But free speech comes with respoinsibility. You cannot yell fire in a crowded theater! If you tell some one to lock and load, they just might.

    It is also not Christian to make reference to someone with a mental diability as nuts, it is uncharitable and I would ask you to not make such statements on my blog in the future.

  3. I think that your response to the first poster was way over the top. It is your blog, of course, but if referring to a person with extreme violent tendencies as a "nut" insults your sensibilities, then you must have lived a very sheltered (or cloistered) life.

  4. Dogo, thanks for your comments. Christians do not use language such as this in making reference to people who have mental disorders. This is not Political Correctness but Christian. I am sure Jesus would never use such language. As a priest it is my job to help people live a Christian life and that means correction when necessary as a father would correct his children.

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