I’m in the process of reading and summarizing a report about what happened in Baltimore last April for the association and conference that our church happens to be a part of. I have watched and became frustrated with the way so many people who claim Christ desire to fist bump Donald Trump as the coming Messiah of the good old U.S. of A, especially with his obvious bigotry and prejudice on display on a regular basis and his ability to spot internet rumor and conspiracy as fact…because we all know what we see on TV and read on the internet is always true… right? I’ve taken whats her name that wouldn’t just do her job and the christians who found it more conducive to wave crosses and play Eye of the TIger and call her a Modern Day martyr for the cause to task for being annoying and cannonizing her as a protestant saint. I realized the pure frustration that a family must have felt when their son was taken into custody for a “bomb” that was obviously not a bomb and that no one really thought was a bomb, given they way they kept everyone in the school etc.
As a pastor it’s part of my vocation to speak out about things that the church is doing that hurts the cause of Christ…which in case we were all forgetting is pretty much summed up in our telling people with our words and our actions that God so loved them that he gave his one and only son that whosoever believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life. Love God, Love People that’s what we need to be doing.
All of these things I have done. Interspersed throughout those posts and my work as a pastor in Baltimore I have shared some of the hard dark sad parts of what I do, as well as some funny moments that will inevitably happen being a father of three girls.
It’s a safe bet that I sit at odds with a lot of people that I know and love in many respects and I’m okay with that.
I write about good things and crappy things, things that encourage me and things that bother me, and so today I’m going to write about something that really bothered me…
When I looked at my news feed I found that Ahmed Mohamed’s parents are seeking 15 Million in damages in a law suite against the City and the School system, as well as a public apology.
Don’t get me wrong, there should be consequences to the idiotic behavior that officials both in the City of Irving and on the School Board evidenced. There should be a public apology, as well as some form of punitive penalty to help all of them think before they act in such an obviously bigoted way…but…15 Million. Think for a moment about who that amount of money is going to directly effect. Students and families that rely on some of the programs that the city has to offer. It’s not going to affect the people who perpetrated the bigotry and discrimination, it’s going to be taken from people who had no say in what happened.
What happened to Ahmed was wrong… and now when the city and school system pays out this 15 million what will happen to other students just like Ahmed will be wrong.
Ahmed has had some awesome things happen in the wake of the obvious bigotry that he was subject to. He has met presidents, the CEO of Google and been named one of Times 2015 most influential teens. He has been given a full ride scholarship to one of the best schools of Qatar, and while I think it’s deplorable that in order to get the education he deserves and to be treated with the respect and dignity he deserves he has gone there, I think it’s awesome that those things have happened. The tragedy was turned to triumph in many ways because people were willing to step up and do the right thing, to not allow a few people to be the voice of the majority.
So why then are we punishing not the idiots that started the whole mess but the students and families that had nothing to do with it. I wish it were different but it looks suspiciously like an easy pay day to me and nothing more. There is it seems no impetus demanding change, or training to understand what was done wrong, there is no desire for disciplinary action evidenced in the demand for 15 million there is simply a desire for 15 million and oh yeah a public apology…
And this is my problem… the childish, greed and need to be right, that so many evidence. Be it the Gay couple that decided that they would stick it to Memories Pizza, Ahmed’s parents who want their payday, or a group of Christians who claim an elected official can opt out of doing her job because she doesn’t like it, they all seem to miss the point and in my estimation set back the causes for which they fight when they resort to behavior that I would attribute to a spoiled child and not a rational adult.
When we punish the masses for the sins of the few, we create something frightening, a culture that will be less likely to speak up, use their rights of free speech, or want to put themselves on the line for what is right and what should be. It’s a different type of oppression, and places all the power not in the hands of the oppressed, not in the hands of the people, but in the hands of a select few who use money, and litigation to exploit rather than bring about constructive change.
Anyway I don’t know. I just was sad to see someone cashing in at what will be the expense of people who had nothing to do with the problem in the first place…