President Trump was in Huntsville, Alabama last Friday to speak at a rally for Luther Strange. He is the GOP establishment-backed choice for the Alabama special election to fill the seat vacated by Jeff Sessions when he became the U.S. Attorney General. Oddly, Strange was not the front-runner and was defeated on Tuesday in the GOP runoff election by fellow Republican, Judge Roy Moore.
During his sometimes-randomized-remarks, the president spoke about NFL athletes who use their “freedom of speech” to protest during the National Anthem. He suggested that the player’s actions were disgraceful and disrespected veterans. Team owners, he said, should fire players who disrespect the American flag. Unfortunately, he got quite explicit about it.
While the President’s profane comments seemed to thrill his supporters, many veterans, and those who criticize National Anthem protesters, others were embarrassed or angered by his speech.
The thoughtless profanity literally disrespected the players’ mothers, calling them “bXXXhes.” That animal terminology has always inflamed anger and frequently incited violent responses. It is not surprising, then, that the number of NFL players linking arms and “taking a knee” during the playing of the National Anthem rose from six the previous week to over 200 this week, capturing the news cycle for weeks to come. And the NFL season has just begun.
It was no longer about former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick’s continued protest of alleged “police brutality” or the charge by others of the “disrespecting our nation’s values and flag” by “overpaid, pampered, players.” Rather, the non-violent protests on the field by players, coaches, and some owners were a defiant “show of unity” in support of some of their fellow players, who felt disrespected by the profanity of our president.
Sadly, there is no escaping that our president sometimes uses coarse and crude language. Some would even say he is coarse and crude. Either way, his outbursts of profanity have raised undesirable, divisive dialog and lowered the needed level of civil discourse in this country.
Clearly, our president has brought this upon himself and our nation. His professed respect for the White House has not translated into a respect for the Office of the President—at least not enough to where he will restrain himself from un-presidential-like remarks and actions.
Profanity is the language of a profane heart, just as a tree is known by its fruit. Jesus said “A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.” Luke 6:45 (NIV)
Profanity seems to have “gone wild” these days, in both private and public conversations. From television and movies to the mouths of parents and politicians, foul language clutters our airwaves and contributes to the corrupting of our private and public morals.
Some online forums have resorted to software subsystems, known as “profanity filters,” in attempts to modify or remove coarse or crude words deemed offensive by the administrator or community.
According to the website “cuss control,” swearing is bad for the following reasons:
Swearing is Bad for Society
It contributes to the decline of civility
It represents the dumbing down of America
It offends more people than you think
It makes others uncomfortable
It is disrespectful of others
It turns discussions into arguments
It can be a sign of hostility
It can lead to violence
Swearing corrupts the English language.
It’s abrasive, lazy language.
It doesn’t communicate clearly
It neglects more meaningful words
It lacks imagination
It has lost its effectiveness
Swearing Imposes a Personal Penalty
It gives a bad impression
It makes you unpleasant to be with
It endangers your relationships
It’s a tool for whiners and complainers
It reduces respect people have for you
It shows you don’t have control
It’s a sign of a bad attitude
It discloses a lack of character
It reflects ignorance
It sets a bad example
Maybe you don’t use the “F-word” or the “C-word” and keep a special watch over hurtful or racial insults and the “N-word.” Congratulations! However, Jesus said it is really a matter of what is in your heart that makes you unclean (Matt. 15:11).
You and I, even politicians and presidents, can be profanity free! We can correct our tendency toward coarse and crude communication by seeking forgiveness from our Maker and submitting to His operations manual, the Bible.
The Apostle Paul taught that by the power of His Holy Spirit, we don’t have to be conformed to the habits and words of the world around us. We can renew our minds, and live and speak in a manner that is “good and acceptable” to God and our fellow man.
His teaching in The Message’s paraphrased version of Romans 12:1-2 reads:
So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.
The media are sure to see that President Trump’s profanity in Huntsville will live on and on, to virally distract from his agenda, mission, and legacy. But he and we can learn from the past (even from presidential blunders and profanity) and, by God’s help, be “transformed by the renewing of our minds” so that our words are pure and helpful to all who hear them!