During the Rush Limbaugh radio show a comment was made by a caller that civility is a term the leftist individual and government equate to censorship. This statement has a lot of truth to it. There are not only examples of this in the current era, but in past eras. To be clear, the terms are not synonymous. Civility is being polite or courteous by definition. Censorship is the limiting or elimination of the sharing of speech, ideas, or actions.
Currently, the United States is in the midst of a very emotionally charged cultural atmosphere. The issues at hand relate to freedom, stewardship, and morality. The leftist agenda has been widely pushed by liberal media outlets and a democrat congress voted in starting 2006. In 2008, the most liberal senator in the United States along with the third most liberal senator in the United States (as determined by voting record) were voted into the white house. Those individuals were Barack Hussein Obama and Joseph Biden. Immediately directing government through a series of unaccountable czars, socialists, Marxist Communist association, and criminals; the new regime set about on a course which would ignore the will of the people and its constitutionally concerned representatives.
The American people soon began to wake up to the disaster that was at hand. They engaged in peaceful gatherings and formed equally peaceful associations to counteract the atrocities which were occurring. Their words were clear and direct. “Give us back the America that our founding fathers gave us.” They were civil, but unwavering. The America those founders shared was one established in freedom and a trust in God. The issues of freedom, good stewardship, and morality have been a continual bone of contention in America for some time, seeing a slow deterioration for decades. However, the 112th congress and white house decreased all at alarming rates. As Americans began to voice their opposition, they were told they were not being civil in their request for the atrocities to stop. They were supposedly uncivil for demanding their representatives be faithful representatives to the people who elected them, rather than themselves. They were accused of being uncivil for asking the administration to stop spending the people’s money at a frantic rate. The leftist government being faced with their failings responded by saying the concerns of the people were rhetoric, hate speech, racists, violent, and divisive. In other words, they covered their ears and went on the attack.
Were the actions of those in opposition to the behavior of the government uncivil? Is it uncivil to tell someone they are in error and pointing out the specific error? Is it uncivil to gather in protest? It is uncivil to establish there will be legal punishment if the actions do not change – i.e. “America will vote you out of office if you do not straighten up?” This is what is being called uncivil by the left, as they make wild unfounded claims and accusations about their opponents. Efforts to boycott, intimidate, or legislate away American opposition have been tried, but they have not been successful. In other words, censorship has not yet prevailed.
Consider a waiter at Red Lobster presenting a bill to your table for the food you have consumed. Is he uncivil for asking accountability for the food consumed? Or is he uncivil when he politely asks your children to follow the rules of the restaurant which state there is no climbing on top of tables? The government’s response would be to call it uncivil and then demand the waiter go away. Would a restaurant manager be uncivil in quietly telling the table that they would have to leave if they did not contain their children? Gasp! Consequences! Threat! Punishment! According to the leftist, this would be uncivil.
The Bible is the mind of a God of peace. Civility by men of God, supporting freedom, good stewardship, and morality is described throughout scripture. If any being is civil, it is God, being courteous enough to give man chance after chance regardless of their sin. It is established in 2 Peter 1:2 that through knowledge of Him grace and peace will be increased. The knowledge of Him was shared by prophets of old by apostles during the timeframe of Christ as commanded in Mark 16:15. It was to be done in the civil manner of discourse: preaching (I Corinthians 1:21). Yet, many men refuse to know this civility. They want censorship. The response of King Ahab to the prophet Elijah in I Kings 18:17 was to call him a troubler of Israel. The king was not happy to see someone who would disagree with him. He considered someone who spoke truth to be a trouble maker. In fact, he so believed this that he had been trying to kill the prophet. He wanted censorship!
The man of God, Stephen, in Acts 7, shared the peaceful word of God. As he told the Jews of their atrocities, they became defensive. They did not want to know about their failings. They did not want to hear what they should do. They wanted to do only things pertaining to their own design. Just like the American left, they covered their ears and went on attack (Acts 7:54, 57). They felt Stephen was uncivil. They wanted censorship!
The apostle Paul sharing the gospel to the governor Felix (Acts 24:25) was sent away. Paul was not being uncivil, but the governor did not want to hear Paul’s words. The truth frightened Felix as it frightens many men. Civil men desire what is right and stand up for change. They point error. Felix chose not to adhere to civility, enforcing censorship upon Paul. He did not want to hear the truth. He did not want civility, but Censorship!
Like the men who rejected civility in the Bible, today’s leftist individuals and government have no qualms making threats, false accusations, or censoring those in opposition to them. They do not believe in civility or discussion. As stated by Barrack Hussein Obama when given the opportunity for discussion and civility, “We don’t mind the Republicans joining us. They can come for the ride, but they gotta sit in back.” In other words, sit down and shut up, Barack is the driver. Or how about when Americans wanted to discuss the financial freedom sucking monster called Obamacare? Mrs. Nancy Pelosi, told folks it would have to pass before people could know what was in it. In other words, “sit down and shut up”. A government promising civil transparency has been characterized by censoring opposition through closed door meetings and strong arm tactics.
Civility is not censorship despite the leftist desire for it to be so. Civility in America has, however, often become a one way street. This is frequently tied directly to the moral compass of the parties involved. God demands civility of His people as He is civil. However, people without God have no higher reason than themselves to care about civility. Sadly, civility is a now being tied closely to weakness. This has been pinned to many past administrations as they have allowed the leftist mindset to dominate. This does not bode well according to Mark 3:25: “And if a house be divided against itself, that house will not be able to stand.” Civil discussion must be allowed to correct faulty behavior. But the past civil actions of administrations to allow the leftist mindset to dominate is not weakness, it is foolishness. To equate civility with weakness is a mistaken definition. God though civil is not weak. He will punish the sinful (Galatians 6:7-8). Americans tired of leftist attempts at censorship, have been quite civil. However, they were not weak, choosing to punish the leftists heavily in the 2010 elections. They will no doubt continue to do so in the future, exercising muscles of civility, if changes do not come about in America. Civility is strong, moral, and needed in America and the World. Censorship would do away with it.