“She loves much because she has been forgiven much.”
The words of Jesus regarding the woman who washed His feet with her tears and dried them with her hair. That’s how to build a civilization of love. Forgiveness leading to redemption. Only in a redeemed life can love take root and bloom.
In the past week, celebrity chef Paula Deen has come under withering fire for revealing in a deposition that she used a racial epithet DECADES ago, specifically, the N-word. In the ensuing hysteria, many of Deen’s corporate sponsors have jettisoned society’s newest leper. It is a travesty on many levels.
To begin, America has grown over the past half-century. Collectively, we have renounced the racism and bigotry that first enslaved blacks, and then left them destitute and marginalized after they gained their freedom. Many, black and white, paid for this growth with their lives. That’s a point worth remembering, as the blood of the Civil Rights martyrs makes certain demands on those of us who enjoy the level of civilization wrought by that blood.
The first duty we have to the martyrs is to live our lives honorably, to look within and expunge any vestige of bigotry that may have crept in, or have been inculcated by our elders growing up. They purchased this enlightenment with their blood, and we need to earn that by the decency of our lives.
The next duty we have to the martyrs is to ensure that the cause for which they sacrificed their lives is never, EVER, trivialized or coopted by groups with trite or nefarious objectives. The martyrs are the civil equivalent of the saints, and in fact they are saints. But here is precisely where the witch hunt against Deen drags us all down.
Decades ago, a great many people used all sorts of language and humor that just doesn’t fly anymore. I see movies that I once thought hilarious as a youth and cringe at what I was laughing at.
We’ve all grown up.
However, when do we destroy a person’s name and reputation, and for what reason? If it had been revealed that Deen privately holds blacks in desdain today, that would be cause for her corporate sponsors walking away from her. However, how can the use of boorish language have a greater statute of limitations than crimes such as rape or manslaughter? Worse, the standard seems to be applied rather unevenly.
The late Senator Robert Byrd served in the U.S. Senate for more than fifty years. In the 1940’s he recruited 150 men to start a new chapter of the KKK and was elected Exalted Cyclops. As a senator, he voted against the Civil Rights Act and Voting Rights Act. He went on to become an elder statesman in the Democrat Party. But foul language from decades ago is enough to undo a celebrity chef?
We are now witnessing the use of race to destroy people for resons entirely unrelated to race. The result will be a new distancing of demographic groups from one another. Given the increasing slaughter of blacks through abortion, and the genocidal program aimed at the black community, it will become increasingly difficult to rally non-blacks to the cause when such McCarthyism is deployed against the very folks we need to recruit as allies.
In the wake of Superstorm Sandy, Paula Deen came to the grill my Knights of Columbus council ran, the Comfort Grill. She showed with a tractor trailer filled with Smithfield hams, and hugged everyone in sight, including several blacks and hispanics. She came not as a diva, but with a warmth, humility, and sincerity that everyone fondly remembers.
Is that not the fruit of redemption?
In Christianity, who we are is all, not who we were. The Deen saga is just the latest chapter in the de-Chritianizing of America. The power and beauty of the civil rights movement continues to be sullied by those who really don’t care to preserve the love purchased by the blood of the martyrs.
Mrs. Deen, and we, deserve better.