King's Evangelical Divinity School

27 April 2011

Thankfully, Christians haven't ever had to put up with the 'd' word

According to the Guardian newspaper, PM David Cameron at PMQs today sparked Labour fury when he told opposition front bench spokeswoman Angela Eagle to "Calm down, dear". It seems it was the second of those 'd' words which caused considerable offence on the Opposition front benches. Actually, there seems to be some confusion as to who Cameron was taunting, whether Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls, his wife (also a frontbencher), or Angela Eagle, but all that is beside the point. So is the fact that hardened senior Labour politicians - including Ms Eagle - seem to have got so hot under the collar over that most frightfully offensive, demeaning and hate-filled of words, the 'd' word. I quite concede Dave's use of the 'd' word is frightfully spiteful, utterly filthy and breathtakingly denigrating, but perhaps it demonstrates how such delicate flowers as Ms Eagle should avoid the brutal, rough and tumble world of Westminster politics. For his part, the PM maintains this was merely a reference to those well-known (if rather annoying) Michael Winner adverts where he keeps saying, "Calm down, dear, it's only a commercial". Whatever the truth may be, I guess those involved will simply have to put up with what British Christians so very often now hear all the time, namely, that we should get used to it, grow a thicker skin and stop getting offended so easily (though actually, I rather think it takes more than the use of the word "dear" to get us frothing at the mouth... after all, in recent years we've had to put up with somewhat more distasteful language and anti-Christian vituperation than this).

But all this aside, what arguably stands out in this saga is how the Guardian seems to have taken an attitude of utter moral repugnance at Dave's language. Granted, he did use the 'd' word (other sexual language just pales into insignificance, doesn't it?), but the Guardian seemed to be one of the very first newspapers to report the story, somewhat gleefully it has to be said, initially presenting the story in a somewhat "holier than thou"attitude oozing moral gravitas (after all, this is the 'd' word we're talking about here). Now let's leave aside for a moment the rich irony of some of the comments published on the Guardian website following their story, which describe Cameron in language nearly as fruity as the 'd' word (which is surprising, given how the Guardian frequently censors and removes comments). Far more interesting, however, is how on Easter Sunday (one of the holiest days in the Christian calendar) the Guardian published a column by the comedian David Mitchell which many people - Christian and non-Christians alike - would have found quite distasteful and offensive. Granted, Mitchell didn't use the 'd' word, but it was pretty bad, regardless of the wider point he was making (note particularly the irony of kkmfo's observation, second comment down). You can find it here, though be warned it is rather nasty. My point is this: Christians are often told (somewhat frequently, it seems, in Guardian comments and posting by the newspaper's readers on its website) to like it or lump it. In short, Christians are treated quite shabbily on the site, while some Guardian readers whose comments are not censored seem to be quite intolerant of people of faith. But perhaps I am being a trifle unfair, after all, we've only had to put up with trite comments by the likes of David Mitchell, whereas the Guardian and some of its readers have had to endure that behemoth of all swear words, the 'd' word. Yes, Christians need to get a grip, grow a thicker skin and stop getting offended so easily, as today's historic antics in Parliament, together with the Guardian's reporting of this dire situation, clearly demonstrate.

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