I never want this website to become political. Politics divides. The goal here is to bring Christian minds back to the truth of God’s Word, help be makers of peace, remind us of our hope in Christ, and point out where we can increase maturity in His Church.
This weekend, the annual White House Correspondents’ Association Dinner was held in Washington D.C. This organization was founded in 1914 in reaction that Democrat Woodrow Wilson was going to only allow journalists he wanted to attend his press conferences. The dinner began in 1921.
This event was started to help fund scholarships for aspiring journalists going to college.
In the beginning, between meal courses, there were all sorts of entertaining performances like singers and small budget movies, with some big names performing toward the end. It was a high profile event put together to raise a lot of money. Since 1983, the dinner changed direction and the entertainment is now comedians who “roast” the sitting president and his administration. As these have continued, the dinner has become more and more a Hollywood spectacle and the “roasts” have gotten meaner and meaner.
This year was by far the dirtiest. I cannot say I haven’t laughed through some roasts. I watched the Comedy Central Roast of Rob Lowe due to all the hype about the attendees. I have seen legendary comedians like Don Rickles, whom I believe to be one of the funniest comedians in history. But the kinds of “jokes” this year’s comedian slinged were just mean. While many are arguing Trump and his administration deserve criticism and the jokes are a way to point that out, I want to say (without pointing blame at any one particular person or party) that I think this event has become a mockery of our Nation.
Yes, our President has said some pretty horrible things. He should be shamed for those things and I think I have said publicly (but not here) that he’s wrong. I don’t support him. I didn’t vote for him. I said back when there were 16 candidates that our President should have class and bring dignity to the highest office.
But what I have heard to defend this year’s roast is that our President started it by doing it himself.
As adults, we need to be more mature in how we handle these situations. I teach my children that even though someone says or does something wrong to you, it is not okay to return the jabs. Even for those who are clearly not Christians, if they are adults, they should know better. Maturity is not political. Shame is not for one party.
But I have even heard Christian leaders respond to this event and use the same rhetoric. So for those people, I am ashamed to be one of their peers. Please allow me to share some scripture on this matter:
Proverbs 24:29 says, “Do not say, “I will do to him as he has done to me; I will pay the man back for what he has done.”
We are called not to return bad behavior for bad behavior. We are called to be the bigger person and forgive and be mature.
Romans 12:17-19: “Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.”
If being mean to someone is dependent on you, then calling people names and making fun of their looks is your responsibility. You can choose to not do it.
Someone said, “…they are just comedians, not journalists…”
Proverbs 26:18-19 says, “Like a madman who throws firebrands, arrows, and death is the man who deceives his neighbor and says, “I am only joking!”
Jokes or not, being mean is mean. Saying things about someone and believing you have some kind of immunity is ridiculous.
Most importantly, we are called to be kind and not throw jokes about people around like this. Ephesians 5:4 is clear. Paul said, “Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, which are out of place, but instead let there be thanksgiving.” We cannot be profane simply because the object of our ire is profane.
Let me tell you a personal story about this activity outside of the political realm:
There was a time when I was the youth minister of a different church. It was a typical Sunday morning. I am sure I was not at my best in mind and spirit (I have been in some difficult situations in full-time ministry) so I was probably very sensitive on this particular day.
As we settled in for the service, I sat near the back since I wasn’t singing with the praise team on this Sunday. Our new minister got up to preach and started in with his jokes. He always joked. He loved to poke fun at different people in our church. I guess they were okay with it, but I found it to be distasteful for our minister to do that. So, again, I was probably a bit sensitive that day.
But then he started to speak about a street preacher downtown who would get out his little stool or chair and as soon as his rear hit the seat, he would immediately start speaking lines that he had probably said a thousand times without context of the people who would hear his message.
But for some reason, our minister, the leader of our church, brought someone else from the congregation to the front of the church to help demonstrate it. He apparently was really good at imitating this street preacher? So he did it! I was floored. And the members of this loving, tolerant, progressive church started to laugh along with the minister and the man making fun of this street preacher!
What was happening? What if this is the only form of evangelism this man had ever learned? Has anyone tried to have a conversation about the Gospel with him? Has anyone reached out and shared the love of Jesus with him? What if he was actually saying things that were true and we are mocking our own Scriptures? Is the street preacher a part of the body of Christ? However you look at it, why are we mocking someone?
I fumed and began to weep. I shouted out, “This is so inappropriate!” and there was an elder sitting in front of me so I know at least he heard me. I had to leave the service. I wept in the restroom for the entirety of the sermon for this poor man who had no clue what people thought of him. I wept for our church who was learning that it is okay to treat others with contempt as long as you disagree with them. I wept for the minister who thought he was funny and being a good expositor of God’s Word. I wept for myself. I knew I would not last long at this church.
This church situation was wrong. The roast is wrong. The WHCA dinner has jumped the shark. If it were up to me, I would turn the dinner into an inspirational event with a respected leader giving a speech on journalism and sharing news with the world. I would give people hope.
Jesus, our Christ and Messiah, is clear. We do not repay evil for evil. We pray for our enemies. We weep for the lost.
Matthew 5:43-45: “You have heard that it was said, “You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.” But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven…”
I weep for our nation. We are going in the wrong direction. And our Christian leaders aren’t stepping forward to end this catastrophe. We only egg it on because it makes us laugh….