There’s a difference between blending for clarity and mixing things up for the purpose of confusion. Ferhoodlum is a case in point. Although you won’t find this word in the dictionary, you can find the two words I have blended to create it:
- Ferhoodle: To confuse, tangle, or perplex
- Hoodlum: a thug associated with crime or theft
A ferhoodlum is a person who engages in the premeditated confusion of the facts. If you’ve watched any of the political debates, you’ve heard the voices of ferhoodlums. Were these slips of the tongue, honest mistakes, or the crass acts of ferhoodlums?
- Clinton exaggerated the facts when she claimed Bernie Sanders had benefitted directly from donations from Wall Street.
- Trump exaggerated the unemployment statistics.
- Cruz distorted Rubio’s position on immigration.
- Clinton made misleading statements when discussing Sanders health care plan.
Ferhoodlums are not a phenomenon of 2016, they’ve been misrepresenting the truth for ages, including the New Testament era. Paul warned the Ephesians of their deceitful tactics: Don’t be “tossed back and forth [like ships on a stormy sea] and carried about by every wind of [shifting] doctrine, by the cunning and trickery of [unscrupulous] men, by the deceitful scheming of people ready to do anything [for personal profit]. But speaking the truth in love [in all things—both our speech and our lives expressing His truth], let us grow up in all things into Him [following His example] who is the Head—Christ (Ephesians 4:14-15 Amplified Bible).”
Unwilling to compromise the integrity of the Gospel, Paul was determined to speak the truth: “Since we are joined together in this ministry as a result of the mercy shown to all of us by God, we do not become discouraged. Instead, we have renounced all the things that hide in shame; we refuse to live deceptively or use trickery; we do not pollute God’s Word with any other agenda. Instead, we aim to tell the truth plainly, appealing to the conscience of every person under God’s watchful eye (2 Corinthians 4:1-2).”
Proverbs 12 is a clear contrast between those who speak the truth and those who lie: “Whoever speaks the truth declares what is right, but a false witness, deceit. There is one who speaks rashly, like a piercing sword; but the tongue of the wise brings healing. Truthful lips endure forever, but a lying tongue, only a moment. Deceit is in the hearts of those who plot evil, but those who promote peace have joy (17-20).”
Ferhoodlums should give some careful consideration to Psalm 15: “Lord, who can dwell in Your tent? Who can live on Your holy mountain? The one who lives honestly, practices righteousness, and acknowledges the truth in his heart—who does not slander with his tongue, who does not harm his friend or discredit his neighbor, but honors those who fear the Lord, and one who keeps his word whatever the cost.”