Some of you may have read about the lady in Nova Scotia who was not allowed to have a personalized license plate because it had a religious theme and therefore may be offensive. This story points to a reality that serves as the foundation for Arguing with Friends; the belief that conversations about life’s biggest questions must, necessarily, be offensive.The interesting twist in this story is that offense might be had before the conversation even starts!
A license plate is not a conversation. It could, possibly, spark a conversation, but in itself it is simply a combination of letters and/or numbers that probably conveys some message. If a person is going to be offended, their offense will exist before the lady in the car says or does anything. In order words, the offense is independent of the person. Well if it has nothing to do with the person then it must have something to do with the belief itself; the content of the license plate. The idea is obviously still prevalent in “polite society” that it is rude to talk about God. Notice that the problem is not how you talk about God, but that you talk about God. In fact, in this case the problem is simply that she dared mention God without even getting into a conversation. Even declaring that you have an opinion on the subject is considered rude, or in this case offensive! God, himself, is offensive; that’s about the only conclusion I can draw from this.
The claim that the problem is a mixing of religion and government is addressed by the thoughtful commentary of Stephen Bedard at the link provided. I won’t steal his thunder, just read his comments.
I’ve said it before (mostly through my book) and I’ll say it again; these important life questions can be discussed at length and deeply without causing offense. It is possible. “Polite society” needs to learn this so we can all get along better without existing in a steady state of self-censorship.
As an aside, did anybody catch the very postmodern-esque quote by the Christian lady? She claimed, about her beliefs, that “…it’s my truth.” Ah, the old “my truth” concept that has pervaded our society and obviously our churches. Her beliefs may very well be her truth, but the only way that can be the case is if it is everybody’s truth!
Oh, there I go, being offensive. Good thing that sentence won’t fit on a license plate!