For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false witness, slander.
Keep thy heart with all diligence, for out of it are the issues of life.
I recently read about an Internet atheist who has said something to this effect: "I don't think it's really wrong for me to lust and hate. Those are just mental attitudes, and I can control them."
In pondering what, if anything, to say about Dylan Roof's vile murders in Charleston recently, that particular bit of pernicious foolishness from the atheist seemed relevant. Of course, the atheist was saying it deliberately in contradiction to the words of Scripture and of Jesus Christ. Nah, never mind all that "keep thy heart with all diligence" stuff. Never mind "He that hates his brother is a murderer." Never mind "Out of the heart come murders." I can harbor whatever thoughts and attitudes I want, because they're "just thoughts" and I can control them and not act on them.
Dylan Roof didn't keep his heart, and murder came out of it. (South Carolina does have the death penalty, and he deserves it and ought to receive it, though it seems that South Carolina's actual use of the death penalty is currently tied up in lethal injection red tape.)
His evil leads me to reflect a little bit on web sites, obsessions, and keeping one's heart.
For those who are very mainstream or very politically correct, things are pretty cut and dried. Some endless litanies of horror stories and anecdotes of evil-doing are approved; other reports of group-on-group evil-doing are evil in and of themselves. Endlessly retelling anecdotes of anti-gay bullying or killings is fine. Labeling the Family Research Council a hate group is fine, even if Floyd Lee Corkins is inspired thereby to try to carry out a massacre at the Family Research Council. Likewise feminist man-bashing and stories about the evil things whites have done to blacks over the years. On the other hand, any web site that posts even a single article expressing worries about the Polar Bear game and the media's failure to cover black-on-white violence accurately or that gives even moderately favorable mention to Colin Flaherty's book (endorsed by Thomas Sowell) is a hive of evil racism and should be shunned. Likewise any site that has as a theme the problems with Islam and that recommends an end to Muslim immigration.
If one is not so PC, however, things aren't so clear. And here's the thing: There's a reason why they aren't so clear. Man is fallen, and there are indeed evil things done by one group of people to another, and these do fall into categories; they are classifiable. Men do often mistreat women. Likewise, there are characteristic ways in which women mistreat men. There have been white-on-black atrocities and black-on-white atrocities, and the latter are indeed underreported and to some degree covered up by the news media.
All true. But at the same time, to say that one is just reporting the truth, just getting the word out, just trying to "empower" a mistreated group, becomes less and less plausible when one is obsessing. When is a web site or a person obsessing? When does it come to be, functionally if not intentionally, a promoter of hatred for that group by the obsessive, never-ending, hammering way in which it reports? Well, I'd like to think I know it when I see it.
If an evil, crazy person decides to murder a bunch of innocent people, the rightness of that act never follows logically from accurate reports of other evil acts. It doesn't even follow logically from such reports combined with accurate and frustrated statements about media bias. It sounds trivial to say, "Two wrongs don't make a right," but it is true nonetheless.
Still. Keep thy heart.
At the risk of sounding preachy, but also with the intent of doing something constructive, I want to say this to my fellow somewhat-right-of-the-mainstream conservatives: Yes, we need alternatives to the mainstream media. Yes, we want to know what is really going on in our world, even if some of what is going on is unpalatable to the Guardians of Public Opinion. At the same time, if you find yourself going to a web site or group of sites that starts to make your heart feel dark with burning resentment and hatred, stop! Stop now. Cut off ties. Don't go there anymore. Don't feed your heart on it.
Because out of the heart are the issues of life.