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Family Matters

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Linda Mintle, Ph.D. is a licensed marriage and family therapist, author of 16 books, a national expert on family issues and the psychology of food and weight. She's an assistant professor in the department of pediatrics at Eastern Virginia Medical School, a national speaker, writer, and news contributor.

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Handling Hate Speech

This week we’ve heard much in the news about hate speech. Paula Deen has been apologizing for her racial slur and the star witness in the Trayvon Martin case didn’t think calling a white person a racial slur was racist.

Deen has admitted to using a racial slur. She claims she used the “N” word 30 years after a gun was put to her head. Some people think her apology was insincere. I don’t know. Only God knows her heart.

But I was glad she apologized and admitted making a mistake. What else can people do? Once they’ve made a mistake, asking forgiveness is the right response and then do what you can to make things right.

Still, apology or not, she is being crucified in the media. People will have to decide what to do with her in terms of her celebrity.

I wonder if the media will pick up on the star witness’ comment that calling someone a “creepy *** cracker” is not racist. Will they be outraged by that?

Look hate speech is wrong. It shouldn’t matter who says it.

Many people in our country have grown up with bigotry and discrimination and need to be confronted when it comes out. But to ignore specific racists comments and then feature the ones you choose is wrong.

Again, hear me. Both comments are racially discriminating. I am not justifying either person.

And Yes, Deen is a celebrity and influences far more people. But what is really at the root here is what is in the heart of people.

You can outlaw hate speech, but you can’t outlaw what people think and feel.

The solution isn’t to crucify people in the media. It is to look honestly at the heart. Scripture tells us that a person’s heart reveals his or her true nature. Once we sin, God cares about repentance and external action.

Jeremiah 17:9 that the “heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure.” Thus, we need to examine our hearts and allow the Holy Spirit to show us those things that are not pleasing to the Lord–discrimination of any kind is one of those things.

In Luke 12:34, Jesus says “where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” In Luke 21:34, He warns us to “be careful” in the end times “or your hearts will be weighed down with dissipation, drunkenness and the anxieties of life.”

Most of us could do better at looking inward and examining our hearts. I pray the witness in the high profile case comes to understand that Trayvon’s comment, if true, was racist, as was Paula Deen’s. Maybe we can all learn a little from these stories. Maybe we learn that only God can change hearts and that a relationship with Him is what will bring true reconciliation.

Print      Email to a Friend    posted on Friday, June 28, 2013 12:19 PM

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