This week I have been mostly thinking about the three Rs, that’s retard, rape and reading. I would like to add that this isn’t usual, my mind isn’t normally occupied with such things. But I made the mistake of looking on the internet to see what has been going on in this wonderful world of ours.
The use of the word retard hit the headlines this week. Pundit Ann Coulter tweeted during the final Presidential debate that she approved of “(Mitt) Romney’s decision to be kind and gentle to the retard,” referring to Mr Obama. This has prompted a social media backlash, highlighted by the viral response from John Franklin Stephens, in which he explains his concerns with the use of the ‘r’ word.
In other news, rape went viral. Senator hopeful Richard Mourdock commented that life from rape was a gift from God. This prompted more posts on my newsfeed than a cute cat wearing pajamas. It was suggested the comments that prompted this viral onslaught had been taken out of context, but in a very emotive area, greater care should have been taken.
We’re all curators now
It used to be the media; press and newspapers who would take things out of context and give their own particular spin on things, but now everyone with access to social media can join in.
Whether in or out of context the words spoken by Ann Coulter and Richard Mourdock will stick to them for the foreseeable future. And here is the bit that I have really been thinking about this week…
…what we say will stick with others too.
And when anyone can take what you say out of context and post it on Facebook, Twitter or anywhere else, then what we say and do needs more attention than ever.
Read my lipsOne of the things I have learnt in my years providing resources for children and young people is that we shouldn’t ‘teach’ anything that needs to be unlearnt later in life. This destroys integrity and makes for very messy and muddled theology. It’s no good teaching black and white, when you need to teach grey, or the other way round… sometimes.
What we say and what we do, teaches others about us. As Christians what we say and do teaches others about what Christians are like.
This week the old wartime slogan may have taken on new meaning in the Republican battle for the White House, only time will tell if careless talk has cost votes.
The Internet is a powerful tool for spreading news and information, let’s make an effort to keep the story being read about our lives, and therefore the Good News is a positive one, is, in fact, Good News.