Whatever you do, don’t tell people to “wake up”

Archbishop Charles Chaput has a point, and it’s a good one, about religious freedom (reprinted here at the NCRegister). He makes good points and basically lets the Obama admin have it for being dumb about religious freedom, which they are.

But then he says this: “The day when Americans could take the Founders’ understanding of religious freedom as a given is over. We need to wake up.”

Time to put on the editor hat.

Eh, close enough.

Bad, bad use of words, Your Eminence. Because using the phrase “wake up” is basically a code for “don’t take me seriously because I’m a raving lunatic.” It’s a phrase that people tend to only use when they feel something is remarkably obvious but no one is paying attention to them. And it ends up coming across as insulting.

Here’s the sad part: Chaput is basically right. A lot of Catholics don’t think there’s a problem here. They should be aware of what’s going on. But there’s certain language that shuts people down, regardless of whether the speaker is right. “Wake up” is one of them. I wish he had simply not used the last sentence.


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