Who is the Biggest Bigot?

It seems today that a strange hypocrisy is allowed: certain bigotries are mercilessly shoved into the light, while others are hurriedly covered up and excused.  Take the latest celeb news about Mel Gibson.  Now I didn’t hear what he said while he was drunk, but apparently he uttered something that would be offensive to a Jewish person.  Jesus said that from the overflow of the heart, the mouth speaks, so Gibson probably had some type of anti-Semitism in his heart.  But, as a contrast, take the case of the man, a Muslim, who drove three hours from a mosque into Seattle then went to a Jewish center of some sort and proceeded to shoot six unarmed women, one of whom was killed.  I have all but quit taking in the mainstream media, but I do browse channels at night and catch some talk radio.  I have received the impression that a disproportionate amount of attention is being given to Gibson’s remarks, while the shootings are ignored or excused (written off as mental illness).  Perhaps this is because of Gibson’s fame of making The Passion (which Hollywood types hated with a passion!), or simply the fact that he is a celebrity (which Americans seem to worship); I don’t know.  However, call me crazy, it seems that it is easy to figure out which expression of bigotry is worse.  [I did see today, that the “hate crime” (a phrase I hate) suspect in the shootings is being charged with murder, so this bigotry cannot be conveniently brushed away, even if some would like it to be.  I also saw that Gibson is also apparently being charged for fleeing an arrest as well (but not for making bigoted remarks).]

I think the ironic thing is that, it is likely that most everyone in this country either is now, or has been in the past, bigoted toward something in their heart or in their speech.  Bigotry is alive and well in Louisiana and in the US, make NO mistake!  I have seen (SEVERAL times!) people begin to speak softly and brush their right hand fingers at the back of their left hand when (secretly) referring to a black person.  Look at the influx of Hispanic migrant workers and the reactions it brings from people — ALL people.  I don’t have a doubt that bigotry (racially) goes both ways as well.  What is also interesting is who expresses this; it can span a wide spectrum that may surprise you at times. 

I don’t want to be misunderstood, both incidents in the news cause us to pause and reflect on what can happen with a bigoted attitude in the heart (and in Gibson’s case, when having too much to drink).  As a Christian, I am called on to love my neighbor as myself.  That includes black, white, Christian (sometimes we forget this one), Muslim, Jew, Hindu, atheist, druggie, lazy, rich, poor, arrogant, hateful, co-worker, etc., people.  And keep in mind that neither I nor anyone else EVER loves their neighbor perfectly at all times in their speech or actions.  Contrariwise, I also do not believe that it is up to secular culture to institutionalize loving-your-neighbor in speech (i.e., political correctness).  This is a Christian value that can be abused mightily in the hands of the vicious and powerful (read: many politicians, government officials, lawyers, the news media, and corporations).  We Christians are called to live at peace with all people and be above reproach in our speech.  Since our culture is utterly confused about all of this right now, let us live up to our call and set a positive example of Christ to the world.

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Published in: on August 3, 2006 at 3:26 am  Leave a Comment  

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