Loss of Respect and Consideration

I am lifting this entire post from my friend Heather’s blog. It is well worth the three minutes it takes to read it. If you are encouraged by the article, leave Heather a note so she can pass it along to Mr. VanBemmel. While you’re there check out her amazing photography for a real treat.


This afternoon, after we got home from school, I was reading through the weekly newsletter that our Headmaster, Jason VanBemmel, sends out. There is a section in there titled “Speaking From My Heart”. I thought this was so well said, that I just wanted to share it here.

The Loss of Respect and Consideration

So the House of Representatives failed to pass a tough piece of legislation to rescue banks and investment companies from bankruptcy over our bad debt. Without getting into the pros and cons of the political debate, I want to comment on the nature of the discussion surrounding this process.

 What I noticed in all of this activity was something very indicative of the sad state of affairs in our country. The media referred to President Bush as “the lamest of lame ducks” and said “It would almost be better if he weren’t there.” I heard other commentators say, “No one takes him seriously when he speaks anymore.” Now whether you agree or disagree with the President’s proposal, one thing should be clear: When the President of the United States speaks and offers a solution to such a huge economic crisis, he should be taken seriously. To have a sitting president who is so disregarded and disrespected is as serious a crisis for our nation as the economic crisis.

The media have fueled this disrespect toward the President. They have relentlessly criticized and undermined the President for almost eight years, dropping the respect and decorum typically offered to the office of the presidency. News anchors and reporters have repeatedly referred to him as simply “Bush” or “George Bush,” and not “the President” or even “President Bush.” This is an unprecedented level of casual disregard for the leader of the free world and for the office he holds.

And so is it any wonder that politics has become so divisive and so poisonous? In this as in other areas, politics is merely a reflection of the health of our society, a barometer of the condition of our cultural soul. We have created for ourselves a disrespectful and inconsiderate culture. We are so casual and so flippant in our conversation and our conduct, that only one word adequately describes us: rude!

Rudeness comes from casual disrespect, which comes from a callous selfishness. It is an attitude that disregards the honor due to others and cares only about itself. Our society is infected with disrespect and rudeness at all levels, and it is getting worse, accelerated by the Internet and our 24-hour-a-day news channels with the talking heads who must out-do one another in rudeness to get ratings. Whether its Chris Matthews or Keith Olbermann on the left or Sean Hannity and Bill O’Reilly on the right, these guys are rude, selfish, disrespectful and arrogant.

But if you read the comments people post connected to any issue online, you will see why these men are so rude. If you’ve seen the way children speak to their parents in the grocery store or the mall, you’ll see it even more clearly. If you watch Spongebob Squarepants or the other popular media our children’s brains are fed regularly, you’ll see the same reality. Our culture is rude. To be successful in a rude culture, you must be ruder and more disrespectful than the next guy.

People say they want more positive politics, but political reality simply mirrors cultural norms. We will not have more respectful politics until we have a more respectful culture. We will not have a more respectful culture until we have more respectful homes, families, schools and churches. So, what about your home? How do you speak about others, especially those in authority, in front of your children? Are you cultivating an attitude of disrespect? How do you allow your children to speak to you or to others? Do you model, teach, correct and train your children to be polite and respectful? What do you allow your children to watch and imitate? There’s no other path to a respectful society, but for us to start forging it, one home at a time.



4 responses to “Loss of Respect and Consideration

  1. Wade Hulcy, husband of the author of KONOS, wrote back to Mr. Van Bemmel:

    Dear Deb and All,

    I would concur with Mr. VanBemmel that we live in a rude society. It is
    evidenced in how we dress and how we speak to each other. But, Mr.
    VanBemmel, the political discourse will not change and become more honoring
    in this country because the worldviews of the two sides have taken such
    divergent paths that there is no common ground, no sense of honor for the
    opposition whatsoever.

    At the core of this great divide is the stark figure of Jesus Christ. He is
    either the “Rock of Salvation,” or “A stumbling block.” He confounds the
    wise. Our political divisions in this country are not in how the economy
    should operate or whether we should send troops to Iraq any more. Our
    divisions are grounded in our view of the cross. Granted, there are many in
    politics and the press, who don’t realize that the division is based on
    faith in the Savior, but listen to them try to explain the difference in the
    two sides and they stumble over themselves to explain why the other side is
    so entrenched in what they believe.

    Core beliefs are tightly held and are non-negotiable when all other beliefs
    can be altered and tweaked a bit, “in the interest of compromise.” This is
    true for the conservatives in the area of abortion as an example. We just
    think it is morally wrong to kill a baby in a mother, no matter how you
    couch it. The opposition sees nothing wrong with it and cannot figure out
    why we are so DOGMATIC in our beliefs. We think homosexuality, adultery,
    co-habitating, same sex marriage, pornography and a dozen similar moral
    issues are not just opinions; we think they are laws of moral conduct that
    were established by God for our protection and are not to be violated or
    negotiated in any way.

    The liberals don’t see any problem with CHOICES regarding these core values,
    but they know that if they give in on one core issue, we will go after
    another one and another one until all the choices in opposition to the Word
    of God will be eliminated. The liberals will fight to the death on each of
    these core values, just like we will. You see, liberalism has become their
    God to them. As a result, there will never be civil politics as usual in
    this country again.

    I agree that they say inflammatory things about the sitting president,
    George W. Bush, but we said the same things about Bill Clinton. Jimmie
    Carter is still thought by many to be the worst president in history and has
    no honor or respect among conservatives. Yes the liberal pundits and
    Hollywood liberals vilify rather than honor the office of the president
    while Bush is there, but what did Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity say about
    Bill and Hillary Clinton when they slept together in the Whitehouse. (Oops,
    see what I mean?) What do we give to Al Gore, John Kerry, and now, Barak
    Obama, honor or ridicule?

    The honor has vanished in the political arena because we do not honor who
    the opposition is in his core beliefs. In the founding of this country,
    Thomas Jefferson and John Adams vehemently disagreed with each other on the
    role of government, but they were great friends and respectful adversaries.
    Their respect came from who the person was and what their core values were.
    That fundamental respect is gone in politics today, even in Christian
    circles because we do not respect who the opposition is. I have no respect
    whatsoever for Bill or Hillary Clinton as people, do you? I have no respect
    for Al Gore, do you? I have no respect for Barak Obama, do you? When a
    person stops legislation to halt the practice of killing babies while they
    are coming out of the birth canal, (they call this heinous act partial birth
    abortion), like Barak Obama did, there is nothing he could ever do or say to
    earn my respect short of apologizing and righting his wrong.

    Look at what happens when someone enters the national scene who really holds
    these core values as dear, because they believe in them from their heart,
    like Sarah Palin. The attacks are so vicious, so personal, and so nasty
    that a fair-minded person is taken aback. A real believer in core values
    hardly stands a chance in the public arena now days.

    So get ready, the rancor of political debate is just starting to heat up.
    If McCain wins, the liberals will try to tear him apart. If Barak Obama
    wins, the same thing will happen from our side. Honor and respect for the
    opposition? There is none because this division in the two sides goes to a
    man’s core values and those are non-negotiable.

    Wade Hulcy

  2. How very interesting…Mr. Van Bemmel wrote back to Wade:

    I think if you saw the video that was made featuring the children in California singing a praise and worship song about barrack Obama changing the world and if you understand Black Liberation Theology, which is Barack Obama’s theology, you will come to one clear conclusion: Politics is the religion of the left. The state is their church and Barack Obama is their Messiah. Those of us who love the Lord and worship Him alone and who envision a more limited role for government, one held in its proper sphere under God’s sovereignty, cannot allow the state to become the god of our age. This is a central and unbridgeable divide.

    Video: http://wbal.com/apps/news/templates/?a=13635&z=11

    However, Christian should be setting the example for our culture in loving our enemies, praying for those who persecute us, giving honor to the King (which the early Christians did, even to emperors who saw themselves as gods). We have been dragged into a nasty, hateful, disrespectful process without injecting any bit of grace or love into it.

    So as much as I disagree with Senator Obama and as much as I would HATE to see him become president, I need to respect the fact that he is a human being made in God’s image and is worth treating with respect and dignity.

    Jason A. Van Bemmel

  3. And Wade finished up…


    Thanks for your response. I support your statements whole-heartedly. In
    fact, I find Mr. Obama personally attractive. Sad to say, his beliefs and
    the people he has chosen to associate himself with, are a threat to those
    who love liberty, limited government, and protection of the unborn. I have
    learned after many years of being involved in conservative politics that the
    other side does not fight fairly. They will do anything and say anything to
    stay, or reacquire power. We must recognize the opposition for who they are
    and stand for right. We can do so, as you say, with grace, but we also must
    be wise, resolute, and prayerful.

    Keep standing for right and stay in the fight,

  4. And from another reader:

    We have found that discussing and showing respect for the “office” to
    be a concrete way to show respect to a President, Governor, Senator
    even if we oppose the person on either a moral or general issue. We
    have talked about not respecting the person for the person that they
    are or even the decisions he makes as a President/Governor (fill in
    title) but the simple fact that he/she is the ________________ you are
    to show respect, whether they have earned it or not. That doesn’t mean
    I have to agree with them, sing their praises or what not. But it does
    mean that my kids aren’t going to catch me calling ________ an idiot or
    anything else for that matter. I will discuss not agreeing with
    decisions or behaviors. If you don’t like them, get off your duff and
    go vote them out of office and persuade others to do so as well—hmmm,
    we’ve had some nasty sheriff an county judge races.

    Due to the nature of the issue Wade expounded on, I find it the only
    way to maintain the authority of those offices. We fail to find the
    culture of casualness has percipitated many problems. Kids calling
    their parents by their first names (we don’t want to feel old or want
    to be their “friend”), college students calling their faculty by first
    names and wanting to be buddy buddy (too many stories to tell there),

    We need to becareful not to let deep seated moral difference cause us
    to act in an immoral way in the guise of righteous anger.


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