Saturday, February 10, 2007

On Prudes and Sanctimony

At age 60, I still enjoy the revelation - the grand "ahaaa" - that comes from learning the meaning and origin of words.

A number of years ago, I was invaded with the accusation of being "sanctimonious" for discourging my family from watching a certain movie I felt was inappropriate at the time. I later learned that being called that word was a good thing, despite the negative intent of the name caller, as well as current usage. In fact, being sanctimonious is acting as though one has been sanctified; set apart; made holy through Christ. Of course our behaviors should be different from those who are neither sanctified nor sanctimonious. Those who are not sanctified tend to have a natural dislike of those who are. They like to ridicule.

Another word, "prude" comes to mind. Although I haven't been called a prude lately, I suspect some people think I am. But I was reminded by Laura Ingraham, speaking on her radio program, that the origin of "prude" is from "prudent" - a positive word suggesting thoughtfulness and care. I suppose since it is no longer fashionable (in the eyes of many) to be prudent, the natural thing to do is to ridicule those who are with a negative connotation via the word "prude."

I guess it boils down to this: If a person is and acts sanctified and you are not, ridicule him with the word "sanctimonious." If a person is more prudent than you believe is appropriate, ridicule him with the word "prude." The person who is called these things can take these words as a complement. As the Scriptures say, "But as for you, ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive."

So, to all you sanctimonious prudes out there - keep it up! We need more people like you.

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