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No Offense Meant

By Carl S ~

I submitted the following to the Letters-to-the-editor page of a local weekly newspaper, where I have published many times. That it was not printed proves, in my estimation, that there are areas where free speech is not welcome.

[I stand corrected. Believe it or not, this letter, without any edits, was indeed published the week following, in the Lincoln County News, here in Maine. This is one courageous, dedicated editor.]

No Offense Meant

"Editorially Speaking," of 12/02/10 reminds us to loosen up, so to speak, in our observances of the coming holiday season, of our varying interpretations of Christmas. The editorial insists, “We respect the rights of all Americans to life, liberty...and we would add that liberty includes the option of being offended, and for those so inclined, offers plenty of opportunity to take offense." (I’m not sure what "plenty" of offense means.)

One of my favorite melodies belongs to an American folk-hymn which begins with the words, “I wonder as I wander out under the sky, why Jesus our savior was born for to die." This is the central message of the Nativity. Many years ago I came across a quote by a famous man who was asked what he thought of a Christmas service he attended. He remarked quite honestly, “It would be a beautiful story, if it were true." I'm sure that some who heard those words were offended.

Every year when the Yuletide season arrives, I am reminded of this remark, as it differs so much from everything else that is said. And I must say after much thought, in spite of the fact that one is taught to believe and not think, I must disagree with the man; it is not a beautiful story, either. If the only purpose for a child to be born is to be slaughtered, then I reject it as devaluing a human life, rendering it no more valuable than that of livestock, whether one believes the story or not. To demand that another human being suffer and die an agonizing death, when alternative compensations are available to the parent, is especially indifferent and repugnant to a moral person. I am offended that others are not offended by these things. I protect my children, and if I can prevent them from coming to harm, I will. And, if I knew my child would die a horrible death, and I would not be able to prevent it, I would not have that child to begin with. Not all the glory in the universe could replace his life.

And that's my "liberty" opinion. No offense meant.