In my head, I’ve made this imaginary 9-1-1 call a
“Hello, 9-1-1? I’d like to report a drive-by hating.”
“Can you identify the perpetrators?” they ask.
“Yes. The perps are news media pundits, mostly
men, with a long record of hate speech.”
Most of you know the kind I’m talking about.
There are plenty of examples of hate talk from the
right and left. Glenn Beck, for instance, posed for
his new book cover wearing the hate-inciting Nazi
uniform. Bill Maher is fond of calling people
morons. Rush Limbaugh and Al Franken call
everyone who won’t parrot their opinion idiots. And
my mom won’t let me repeat what Howard Stern calls
people who disagree with him.
Some of these talking heads may be among your
heroes, but it’s time people of faith unmask them for
the opportunists they are.
I know the type from the wrestling shows I watched
as a kid. It took me a few television seasons to
realize that, while the masked wrestlers were people
with amazing physical agility, they weren’t true to
what they were selling.
The matches weren’t really a contest of strength;
they were a fixed contest for ratings.
Pundits are no different than these “athletes.” They
intellectually are agile, but they use their intellect to
accomplish dizzying acts of circular logic.
They don’t want to open dialogue and find
solutions. They want to drop a match in your tank
and then charge you admission to watch the
It doesn’t matter to me which side of left or right you
are, if you think these wiseguys are about politics,
you don’t understand the game. They have found a
self-sustaining source of wealth called hate, and
they are laughing all the way to the bank.
If 9-1-1 fails me, perhaps I could call the Centers of
Disease Control and Prevention to report an
epidemic outbreak of hate because these pundits
have infected everyone: our pastors, teachers and
media. The most innocuous people have become
carriers as they organize themselves for a tea party
or a coffee klatch.
If the CDC can’t help me, maybe I should call the
Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and
Explosives to report the hate bombs being planted
by these pundits among our young. The result is
that college campuses are being marked with
swastikas, churches are being torched, and people
are toting guns to coffee shops.
Because none of these organizations can offer any
practical help, I’m calling on people of faith. No
matter what your religion, it’s time to declare, “Stop
the hatin’; it ain’t a helpin’!”
Tell these hate mongers to stop promoting causes
and start prompting conversations. Peel off their
bumper stickers. Turn off your TV and think for
yourselves. Pundits such as Rush may be right, as
he says, but there are more righteous ways to be
right. Maher and his camp may be brilliantly clever,
but there are smarter ways to bring change.
After you’ve kicked these showmen out of your
home, invite a neighbor in and start conversations
that speak to people’s needs and seek solutions.
Then listen. Really listen.
I’m calling on people of faith to stop the hate talk
and find the wisdom in the words offered by the
Apostle Paul inColossians 4:5-6.
“Use your heads as you live and work among
outsiders. Don’t miss a trick. Make the most of every
opportunity. Be gracious in your speech. The goal
is to bring out the best in others in a conversation,
not put them down, not cut them out” (The