We have the right to free speech, free press, freedom of religion, and others so enumerated. For those who have never read the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, I have just given you links to go and download your own copies. You will even find a few "freedom from"s in there. What you will not find, however, is freedom from being offended.
I don't go out of my way to attempt to offend (except this week when I got ripped off by and ebay seller, but that is another story). The picture that you see on this page for a profile and was used this week in my column was used for a reason. I had actually considered names such as "Shooting Straight", "Taking Aim", or something similar for my column in The Selma News. The picture identifies three passions in life. One is on my head, one is in my hands, and the other on my finger. All three represent common sense, time tested, family oriented, conservative values.
It didn't take long for people who must live to find things to be offended about to complain to the newspaper. Did they complain about my writing, my opinions, or the fact that there was a new column taking up space in the local paper? No. They complained that there was a picture of a gun pointed at them. Not a real gun, a picture of a gun. Actually, of me holding a gun, in a picture, shrunken down and printed in a newspaper. That is supposedly offensive.
That is one thing that I have struggled with here in the South. Don't get me wrong, it is rampant in the liberal mindset propagated across the country. People who are offended are portrayed as victims. Everyone is allowed to be offended about something (unless you are a White Anglo-Saxon Protestant male, apparently) in the current political scene. People in general have little in the way of sense of humor compared to the French Canadian, European, and Yankee influences around which I was reared. It is not a matter of holiness or piety here in the "Bible Belt". That is a peril of zealous piety; self righteousness and false holiness that permeates a society. I say that as a born again Christian and one who has ministered in pulpits, in small groups, and online for years.
I don't blame the newspaper for wanting to pull a picture about which they received a whopping two complaints. I received one phone call of compliment and had a few in person. I do, however, detest the paradigm of taking offense at everything in life in the name of decency.
It was for this reason that I don't have fellowship with some brethren whom I loved dearly. I would not submit to their ideas of things that were unrelated to holiness. Here is a link to a book that I found to be greatly helpful in giving me freedom from that mindset. It is perhaps one of the greatest books I have read on the subject and mirrors what I had in my heart as impressed by the Lord. As a matter of fact, I just paused my writing to order another copy on the internet. I had lent my copy to someone several years back and never got it returned.
Anyway, I don't plan on removing the picture from this site unless I just want a change of scenery, which I tend to do from time to time, as evidenced by the change of the blog appearance recently.
If you like the picture as is, call the paper. I gave you the link to the newspaper web site. They will use the standard portrait picture, probably, until I can come up with something better. Look out, I have a few ideas.