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The Cowardly Weapons of Insinuation and Innuendo

Dan Cathy, CEO of Chick-fil-A, was targeted earlier this year for making statements construed to be offensive to the gay community.  He does disagree with same-sex marriage, and he felt he had a right to express that opinion in a open forum when he was asked about it.  The LGBT people reacted to his comments by organizing a boycott of Chick-fil-A restaurants, a move that was, by most observers, considered a flop.  In fact, those who turned out in support of Cathy far out-numbered the protesters.  

Cathy’s sympathizers charge that he is a victim of a witch hunt.  They point out that hearsay, concealed sources and detrimental innuendo’s have been marshaled against him.  This link tells more about it.

All of us have heard the phrase “tried in the court of public opinion.”  This court has no rules of evidence, no guidelines, no policies against lies, innuendo, insinuation or character assassination.  Whatever a party in the trial can get a sufficient number of people to believe, it’s all fair game.  In fact, one person can be prosecutor, judge and jury if such a feat can be pulled off.  The point is, credibility and truth does not have to prevail in this courtroom.  Only the cleverness and the dramatic skills of the plaintiff determine the outcome.  

Insinuations can be manufactured out of the thinnest piece of cloth—indeed, out of thin air.  One only needs some kind of likely scenario in which a victim can be cast in a bad light.  Add to that a huge malevolent motive, and suddenly a mountain grows out of something that could scarcely be considered a molehill.  Political campaigns have become notoriously adept at such concoctions.  Gossip columnists and tabloid journalists make a handsome living at creative lying.  We have come to expect these shenanigans from them, and, to a certain extent, they have lost their cutting edge.  Still, they work well enough that continue to enjoy a life of their own. 

Innuendos are nasty, cruel and grossly unfair.  Innocent persons have had their actions and words distorted totally out of proportion by those who were looking for revenge, not truth.  Grand and noble causes have been destroyed by vicious rumors devoid of truth.  In the scriptures, Joseph stands out as a man of integrity who had his career sabotaged by a scorned woman, her outraged husband and a complicit legal system.  Jesus himself was the victim of innuendo that was taken as truth and exploited to the fullest extent.  In American history, Dolley Madison was pilloried with accusations of sexual impropriety, none of which were proven true, and survived only by resolving not to respond to any of them. 

No one feels as helpless as the victim of innuendo.  First, he is suspected of being guilty before he ever opens his mouth.  Second, his objections are seen as predictable defenses against the charges, and people are probably not going to believe him anyway.  Finally, those who are convinced he is covering something up have already moved on to speculating about the motive and what the punishment ought to be.  In their eyes, it is a done deal. 

A person of integrity will not engage in rumor-mongering, spreading innuendo or launching a crusade against someone.  When he hears of such attacks, he will not participate in the destruction of an individual anyway.  If reports turn out to be true, he remains sensitive to the feelings of the person and reaches out with any help he is able to give.  Rather than delight over the misfortune of others, he has a sense of remorse and sorrow over them. 

Character assassination is the coward’s way of avoiding the crime of murder and yet achieving the same results.  An honest person will make every attempt to clarify a questionable situation directly with the responsible party.  To assume wrongdoing when none is proven, and then to regard the assumption as the gospel truth to be broadcast to the world reeks of evil.  

My appeal here is not so much to advise the victim, but to warn the potential offender.  Those who traffic in salacious rumors, malicious gossip or dubious innuendo do not elevate themselves.  Neither should they pat themselves on the back for “standing up for truth and righteousness.”  If anything, they are engaged in one of the lowest forms of human interaction.  Truth is a precious commodity and it must not be put out for sale for the price of a cheap thrill or act of revenge.  

Remember the old saying, “If you live by the sword, you die by the sword.”

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Reader Comments (2)

Thank you for writing this. It is unfortunate that what could have been dignified discourse over differences turned into personal attacks on the character of a person. I'm not as conservative as Mr. Cathy, but is there no room in our pluralistic society for people who hold a more traditional view?

Oh, and I love Chick-Fil-A sandwiches. Wheat bun, please! <3

December 9, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterTim Garcia

The gossip monger that feels his/her judgment is more fitting than that of our Savior is probably one who has read John 8 but does not have the intellectual capacity to connect the dots and see his/her own picture.

To do so without ever going to the brother or sister in private and verifying the story before breaking out the Facebook .50 cal with Barska sniper scope makes me question their salvation. While they may have Hear O Israel down pat, their grasp of the second most important commandment is nonexistent.

January 31, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterP. Riah

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