Who gets to decide what is offensive?

August 25, 2017


Ok . . . this is a very different kind of story for me. When it was posted at the beginning of this week on the AL.com site, it received more comments than any other story. The commenters on that site are allowed to be anonymous, so it tends to bring out the worst in people. Towards the end of over 1,000 comments, it turned into a debate about Auburn vs. Alabama football, so let that be your guidepost on reading comprehension levels. My personal email box blew up with a ton of comments from people, and 100% of them loved this story. I’ve never had nicer feedback from readers until this. 

Many people said it was unlike other things they’ve read on AL.com, which tends to have more liberal opinions. Regarding that, let me just say, never once has anyone at AL.com told me what I can or can’t write. In the spirit of freedom of speech and freedom of the press, they’ve welcomed my mostly conservative voice. I think hearing both sides to a story actually makes us think, and that’s what I’ve tried to do here. 

I wasn’t trying to compare Civil War statues to the Roman Colosseum, but rather make the point that what offends one person may not offend another, and if in fact we are offended, do we then have the right to force everyone to believe like we do? Anyway, here it is. Even if you don’t agree with me, thanks for taking the time to read and think about this issue. 

I’ll get back to writing about Southern manners, pearls and teenagers next week!

I had an eerie feeling while visiting the Colosseum in Rome. Although it was an ancient relic from another time, the fact that it was used for the sport of killing Christians was mind numbing. Literally fed to the Lions, these people had no way of escaping a brutal, humiliating and unjustified death. Making it worse, the crowds would cheer as the bodies of the Christians were mutilated. I was close to tears seeing how other tourists from around the world were also touched and deeply moved during the somber tour, and silently gave thanks that I live in a society where I can freely worship without fear. Even though the Colosseum haunted me with memories from a terrible time in history, I never once felt offended, or thought it should be demolished to save my feelings.

Those who are fighting to remove our Civil War statues are leading us down a slippery slope. Eliminating the painful part of our country makes the shiny new version of America worth less. If the ugly past is erased, future generations will think their freedom was effortless.

A movement to relocate the monuments to private property at first sounds like a good idea, but then, only those with resources will be able to see the relics and learn the stories they tell.

The controversy seems to be less about sanitizing our past and more about arguing over who is the most offended. What stops someone from being offended by the Vietnam War and chip away names on that monument?  What if someone is offended by the rumors that Martin Luther King Jr. . . .  please click HERE to continue reading the story on AL.com

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