In August of 2010, Glenn Beck gathered about a half of a million people in hopes of restoring honor to America. They sang “Amazing Grace,” prayed, and spoke of becoming a better people. In addition to the people that actually were able to attend the rally, many more watched the broadcast live on CSPAN or on the Internet. At the end of the rally, they went home to live their lives, hopefully a changed people. As a proud Tea Party supporter and Glenn Beck fan, I have noticed that some of us still need to work on restoring honor. Some of the comments made on a recent post on Glenn Beck’s news site, The Blaze, tell me that many of us could spend a little more time in our Bibles and could focus more on becoming the good people that God would have us to be. To some degree, some of us may be behaving worse than the primarily liberal crowd over at the Huffington Post.
The Fruit of a Godly Person
The Bible tells us how a Spirit-filled, godly person should act. If Tea Party and Glenn Beck supporters want to be this type of people, we need to take a look at what it means to have the fruit of the Spirit. Galatians 5:22-23 says “the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.” There are many people that do exhibit this kind of behavior (although we all can do better, as there is none that is perfect). Galatians 5 also tells us about the works of the flesh. Verses 19 to 21 list such characteristics as hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, and envying as being works of the flesh. These are characteristics that people who want to be right with God should avoid.
The Report Card: Michelle Obama Eating Fries
A Spirit-filled person who wants to be right with God should exhibit the fruit of the Spirit, even when dealing with people that they don’t like. More likely than not, the Obamas are just trying to do what they think is right, although most of us conservatives find them to be misguided. We need to be longsuffering with them and show self-restraint (temperance) and gentleness, even when dealing with them. So how are we doing? I noticed a problem after seeing a recent article on The Blaze discussing Michelle Obama going to a restaurant, eating a hamburger and French fries, even though she wants everyone else to start eating healthier foods, like carrot sticks instead of those fries.
I decided to do an experiment. I went through the first page of comments on this article on The Blaze. Out of the 130 comments there, I counted how many were neutral or kind comments, and how many were mean-spirited. Using derogatory words for liberals or referring to Michelle Obama’s weight in an unkind way would put the comment in the works of the flesh column. I considered the term hypocrite as constructive (Jesus himself called some of the religious leaders that), but unkind comments about her weight were not okay. Out of the 130 comments that I counted, 26, or 20%, had something unkind to say. The remaining 80% of individuals responded constructively and refrained from name-calling. It was a judgement call on my part, but I tried to be fair and impartial.
How the Huffington Post Fared
I wondered how the Huffington Post would fare under the same scrutiny. I picked a news article that would probably anger a few liberals, one about a magazine editor that was detained by the security guard of an Alaskan senate candidate, Joe Miller. I figured that some of these people would be angry. Both The Blaze and the Huffington Post are open to people of all political beliefs, but primarily attract people from one side or the other. I tallied up exactly 130 Huffington post comments. Derogatory names for the Tea Party were counted as posts of the flesh, along with non-constructive comments that seemed hateful. Surprisingly, only 16% of the posts of Huffington Post comments resembled works of the flesh. Thinking that perhaps there would be more negative comments about an overweight conservative, I glanced at an article about Chris Christie. Only one comment on the front page was about his weight. It was fairly tame. Even a page on Glenn Beck only had a few insults. Either Huffington Post viewers show more self-control, or the site vigorously censors their comments (both sites do remove inappropriate comments).
The Bottom Line (No Pun Intended)
The good news is that 80% of the comments on The Blaze were constructive, refraining from name calling and mean-spiritedness; however, if we want to restore honor to this country and become a good people of godly character, that 80% should be higher. Name calling and unkindness has no place among a people attempting to demonstrate exemplary moral character. Even though it may be frustrating to see our liberties being taken away, or to see Michelle Obama eat fries while she tells our children not to, we need to exhibit patience and goodness.
“Joe Miller Security Guards Handcuff & Detain ‘Alaska Dispatch’ Editor”. Huffington Post, 18 October 2010. Comments counted October 17th at night (Arizona time).
Seidl, Jonathon M. “Food Hypocrisy? Michelle Obama Caught Ordering Cheeseburger and Fries.” The Blaze, 15 October 2010. Comments counted October 17th at night.