Yikes! Another bad word. It is divisive and hateful. Meet Mr. “Thug.”

December 15, 2014

Long ago in a sensible and compassionate land, George Carlin laid charges against seven bad words. They were destructive of social order and always unacceptable. Carlin’s points was well taken. It is not the words but the interior motives which constitute the real danger. When things loosened up and the bad words, and a few worse, were allowed to be seen in public, it seemed to be a step in the right direction, and it was. Censorship is most typically a form of government meddling. The proper answer to dangerous words is a strong opposing response. There is another side of this matter and it is that people should be aware of Jesus’ warning that one is defiled by what comes out of the mouth. We are very defiled people.

In the same sermon on the mount, Jesus also warns about hateful words. In fact, he says that kind of expression is equal to murder. The newest addition to our expansive lexicon on abusive language in the frequent use of the word “thug.” Whether this is a racist attack is open for debate, even though there is a strong inference that favors that conclusion. There is more to say against this very bad word.

To say that one is a “thug” is to suggest that the target is less than human. It is a small first step toward genocide. It is only a first step, but if we think about the bloodbath of the 20th century, the march to gas chambers begins with a single step. Dehumanizing the Jewish population was official German government policy and the intention was to make it easier for regular people to go along with atrocities.

If a “thug” ids not human, not a child of God and created in the divine image, it would seem that not much more permission is necessary for the cleanup. Christians are satisfied calling bad people “bad people.” That is enough. We have court houses and prisons to deal with bad people.


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