Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Weep for Donald Sterling

“Do not judge, or you too will be judged.  For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.
           Matthew 7:1-2

As I have mentioned before, it is totally appropriate(and recommended) for Christians to "judge".  But what we are strongly cautioned about is the way we go about it.  This statement about judging by Jesus is directly connected to a vitally important addendum;  The measure you will use will be measured against you. 

Get it?  The way you go about judging and dealing with others will eventually be the same standard by which you find yourself measured and judged.  If you go around punching people because you don't like how they look, don't be surprised when you get punched for someone not liking how you look. 

If you haven't heard about the soap opera saga; "As the Sterling Turns; The Donald is a Jerk Saga", do yourself a favor and utilize some googlefu on that story.  But in a brief summation....

Donald Sterling is a billionaire who owns the LA Clippers.  Donald told his minority mistress that he doesn't want her publicly showing off that she is hanging around with black people.  Outrage by the media and the NBA led to his lifetime ban from the NBA, a 2.5 million dollar fine and basically  he has been forced to relinquish control of the NBA franchise that he bought in the 80's.  This summation does not also include his long documented history of his being a Class A jerk and racist who has been successfully sued for legal discrimination many times.(though those other issues never led to this result before) 

And it seems like the general consensus is that this is the right thing to do. 

Here is why it is actually a terrible omen for all of our futures.

1)  The conversation he had with his mistress was a private one that she recorded. 

Why is that a problem?:  Donald Sterling seems like a despicable human being.  But are we not allowed to be despicable in our private lives?  How would you like every single private conversation you have ever had with any person ever be accessible to anyone else to hear/read?  And then what you said in confidence, regardless of context, be used against you?

The measure you use against others will be used against you.

2)  He had his business stripped from him.

Why is that a problem?:  Donald did not break any laws.  But because his opinion of black people is unwelcomed(I hope we agree that it is a terrible opinion) it has apparently justified officially sanctioning and punishing him while literally stealing his privately owned business from him.  What if you worked in a company for 30 years and one day your boss found out that you held an unpopular opinion and he proceeded to fine you and fire you because he doesn't like how you think?

The measure you used against others will be used against you.

3)  He is, for LIFE, never allowed to go to an NBA event.

Why is that a problem?: 

Because we have decided we don't like how he thinks we have accepted that we can legally bar him from entering in to watch a public event in a public space(I believe all arenas are in some capacity funded in part by taxpayers and local municipalities).   How would you feel if you found your private views unacceptable by another group and they used their disagreement with you to legally bar you from public events?  

The measure you used against others will be used against you.

Don't get me wrong.  I have no problem with sponsors not wanting to give him money, or employees of his quitting in protest and fans refusing to attend his games.  That is within our rights to not associate with someone we don't agree with, nor, to give them money.  What is not acceptable is actively and overtly punishing him for views we don't like. 

Once we have accepted the premise that how a person thinks or feels justifies legal action(I know it is not the government punishing him, but how else do you define having money taken from him along with his business---is it voluntary??) then we all are at risk of being in the cross hairs.  Public opinion and subjective cultural morality is an ever moving standard.  Perhaps your views are completely acceptable today, but what if they aren't tomorrow? 

Christians should be outraged and opposed to the views of Donald Sterling(not to mention his adulterous relationships...), and they should also be outraged and opposed to a society that has deemed thought crime as reasonable standard for giving financial and professional punishments.  The slippery slope in our culture is getting steeper and steeper.  

The main message of Jesus when it comes to judging is that it is to be done fairly, gracefully and humbly.  What measure do we want to be held to?  The ever changing inconsistency of cultural whims, or, the never changing standard of God?

We should weep for Donald Sterling.  Not because he is a good guy unfairly being punished.  But because the way he has been punished, and the reasoning behind it, means that you could very well be next. 

Only a few days before his private thoughts were made public.....

1 comment:

  1. BTW Adam, I appreciate your reasoned responses on Wartburg. Because I'm fairly consistently, "put on ice" my ability to interact with the commentors is extremely limited. I agreed with the things you posted.