Controversial Opinions Prohibited

Controversial opinions not wanted! Well, not quite so fast. In an abrupt about face, the Transportation Security Administration reversed a days-old policy of prohibiting its employees from accessing certain websites that had recently been banned from viewing. According to a CBS report, an internal memo was circulated late last week stating that “TSA employees will no longer be allowed to access five categories of websites that have been deemed ‘inappropriate for government access.'”
Apparently someone with a fondness for lists, not content with the list of items now prohibited when traveling by air, decided it was time to make a new list.

One of the five categories deemed inappropriate were websites containing “controversial opinion.” Of course, there was no initial explanation given for why any of the five categories of websites were added nor was there any definition given for what constitutes “controversial opinion.” In a clueless statement which sought to defuse this quickly degrading public relations nightmare, the TSA said:

TSA routinely makes improvements to our information technology systems to stay ahead of evolving cyber threats to keep our systems secure. As part of this continued effort, TSA uses a security technology to limit access to categories of web sites that pose an increased security risk. TSA does not block access to critical commentary about the organization and in fact expressly created the TSA IdeaFactory and the TSA Blog to promote diverse opinions. TSA employees will be able to access web sites required for work purposes. . . . TSA Blog was founded in 2008 to engage the public in an open dialogue and is open to both the public and employees.

Don’t you just love the political double-speak – presumably written by a person – that shifts the blame for this new idiotic policy to nameless, faceless “security technology.” I’m sure it was the security technology program that also wrote and sent out the original memo. Who knew that the TSA also has its own blog that encourages diverse opinions and open dialogue, if by diverse you mean similar and by open you mean non-controversial? How nice. The government agency responsible for maintaining the country’s “no-fly” list wants people to leave comments publically disagreeing with their policies. I’ll be sure to do that the moment I want to be added to the “no-fly” list. No thanks.

Even though Drudge Report gave this story wider coverage than it would have otherwise received, you have to give props to CBS News for breaking the story. As part of the mainstream media, Katie Couric and company have not been known for reporting stories which cast the current Obama administration in a negative light. When secular journalists pursue truth by asking hardball questions to those in positions of power, they serve the public and show respect to the First Amendment.

Powerful people in government, business or the church usually dislike being challenged. Presidents and preachers quickly become irritated when anyone dares to ask a question that they either don’t want to answer or don’t know how to answer. Some powerful leaders masterfully practice the art of obfuscation in an effort to conceal and confuse those who are seeking the truth. Controversial opinions will never be welcomed by leaders who only want to run from or otherwise deny the truth. However, it’s only when we know and accept the truth and the Truth that we can truly be free. In Christian circles, when did that become a controversial opinion?


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About Howell Scott

I have been a Southern Baptist pastor for the last fourteen years. Before entering the ministry, I was a practicing attorney in my homestate of Florida. I have been married to my wife, Brenda, for 18 years and we have three sons, Stephen, Jacob, and Andrew.
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