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Thomas Bonham is responsible for this content, which is not edited by the Wilson County News or

September 19, 2012 | 1,312 views | Post a comment

Well, it finally happened in a big way. The “freedom of speech” plus media of the “free Internet” have combined to cause international upheaval over religious beliefs. Even at family reunions, everyone knows there are two subjects one should not start as conversation: politics and religion. The anti-Islam, low-budget short film, “Innocence of Muslims” by, as yet an unidentified or confirmed producer, has emerged out of California and onto the Internet, essentially pouring gasoline on the smoldering ashes of burnt Korans and 11-year-old crashed airplanes. The film portrays the prophet Muhammad as a womanizer and religious fake. I’m smart enough to know I’m not educated enough to comment, but I am concerned to what extent will people go before they realize that their “freedom of speech (expression)” has become totally detrimental to the coexistence of mankind. Even every computer questions your rationality from time to time when you’re about to do something that could damage it, “Are you sure?”

One of the more shocking things I’ve discovered lately is the author Madonna. Yes, I’m talking about the performer I would not walk across the street to sit in the presence of, even with a free ticket in hand. Among her 30 titles, many have been No. 1 sellers and of those, children’s books. One children’s book, Mr. Peabody’s Apples, an exception to my low esteem of the author’s livelihood, presents a great lesson about the damaging properties of gossip and lack of knowledge. Mr. Peabody is a schoolteacher and summertime baseball coach of youngsters. Tommy, a student and ball player, witnesses Mr. Peabody taking an apple from the display while exiting the grocery store. Tommy reports to his friends that Mr. Peabody is a shoplifter. Gossip spreads that Mr. Peabody is a thief. Consequently, none of the boys will any longer play ball for Mr. Peabody. One of the boys tells Mr. Peabody about the rumor and that Tommy says he is a witness. Mr. Peabody takes Tommy to the grocer, who explains that Mr. Peabody always pays for his apple before he leaves the store. Tommy apologizes to Mr. Peabody and says he will tell everyone he was wrong about him being a shoplifter. Then Mr. Peabody asks Tommy to meet him at the baseball field and to bring a feather-filled pillow with him. The feathers are released (like gossip), and instructions are given to recollect all of them. Tommy realizes the impossible nature of the task due to the wind blowing the feathers away. The moral is clear: Gossip pollutes the world in a way that cannot be fully remedied, no matter how hard we try to clean it up.

[Proverbs 18: 1-8] “... A fool’s lips bring him strife, and his mouth invites a beating. A fool’s mouth is his undoing, and his lips are a snare to his soul. The words of a gossip are like choice morsels, they go down to a man’s inmost parts.” Is it better to stop and investigate an alleged “fact” that doesn’t sound right, or add my personal thoughts and pass it along? How would I feel if an untrue rumor was circulating about me? “But, it’s not gossip if it’s true!” Really? Stop to consider if a negative truth about another person even needs to be spread at all. Often, the motivation for doing such is nothing more than retribution or joy over the sins of another. I recall, “People who live in glass houses ought not to throw stones.” How happy would you be if, while Jesus was on the cross, dying for your sins, he told the whole world the kind of person you really are? Sow the Seed; feed the Sheep; love the unlovable; forgive and be forgiven.

Thomas W. Bonham is an associate minister with the Floresville Church of Christ. Email him at Find his column on his blog at
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