Wednesday, June 26, 2013

He Who Is Without Sin

I don't have network television (by choice) so I get most of my news from the internet. The last few days it seems all anyone can talk about (me included) is Paula Deen. Paula Deen and Who is Jumping on the Drop Paula Deen Bandwagon. The latest of these is Walmart.   Smithfield and Food Network have already done the same. So why is Paula Deen now a pariah? Because she used a word that no one -and I mean *NO. One* should ever use--twenty years ago. Because of this and the court battle she and her brother Bubba are going through, people are split between calling her a racist and being happy that she's going through all of this and standing loyally behind the queen of Southern cooking.
    Each person has the right to research this and make up his or her own mind about Paula Deen, and whether or not to support the companies that so quickly dropped a woman who helped them bring in big bucks over the years. Personally folks, twenty years ago I was younger than I am now and I can almost guarantee I did or said something that I wish I hadn't. I don't know a person on this earth who is perfect and hasn't made a mistake or two. Granted, I don't know Paula personally, although I'd be pleased to meet her. But I can tell you this: I don't care so much about what she did or said in the past. I care about the person she is now. I could very well be proven wrong, but I will not judge her for a mistake in the past, especially since she has apologized for it. But as for the companies and individuals who are name calling and doing the politically correct thing, I feel nothing but pity. 
   Make no mistake. Racism is an ugly, ugly thing. But you know what? So is judging a person for something done in the past while ignoring the present. If we are going to hold Ms. Deen's feet to the fire for what she has said in the past, we need to take off the blinders when it comes to many, many celebrities and politicians, as well as ourselves. 
   In quoting a scripture that is much used (and abused), Jesus told the Pharisees, "Let he who is without sin cast the first stone" at the woman who committed adultery. That was a sin punishable by death, and the crowd would have been in the right to carry out that punishment. However, when faced with examining themselves, no stones were thrown at this woman. I'm seeing an awful lot of stones being cast today at one woman. 
   When the crowd dispersed and the woman was left alone with Jesus, he didn't condemn her. They both knew she had sinned. He told her, "go and sin no more."
   If we are to hold one woman accountable for something she did in the past, we had best be prepared to be honest with the world and ourselves, holding others and especially ourselves accountable to that same impossibly high standard.  How can we crucify one while allowing others to do the same?

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