"Mankind are greater gainers by suffering each other to live as seems good to themselves, than by compelling each to live as seems good to the rest." ~ John Stuart Mill
Words and Deeds
Column by Douglas Young.
Exclusive to STR
Celebrity chef Paula Deen was professionally lynched for having once used a racist epithet at home 30 years ago when referring to the black man who robbed her at gunpoint. This came in a legal deposition prompted by an extortionist $1.25 million discrimination lawsuit filed by a white female former employee who admitted she hadn’t heard Ms. Deen use racist language. Shortly before filing suit, the same woman even wrote to thank Ms. Deen for the time she had worked for her, praising “Aunt Peggy” for the “opportunities” Ms. Deen created for her.
There is no evidence that Ms. Deen has ever racially discriminated against anyone. In fact, she has not only employed black workers but donated dozens of tons of free food to Atlanta’s Hosea Feed the Hungry and Homeless. She also backed Barack Obama’s presidential campaign.
But facts and context were irrelevant to the political-media-corporate mob intent on crucifying Ms. Deen for being honest under oath about one 30-year-old verbal indiscretion. For self-anointed politically correct speech cops, the glass isn’t 99.9 percent full – it’s 0.1 percent empty. These zealous purists are the most intolerant people of all. Such witch-hunters exhibit the same totalitarian drive to neurotically monitor everyone’s private speech as displayed by the French Revolution’s Jacobins, Lenin and Stalin’s Bolsheviks, Mussolini’s Fascists, Hitler’s Nazis, Mao’s Red Guards, Castro and Che Guevara’s communists, and Pol Pot’s Khmer Rouge.
Yet ideological fanatics fail to realize that people are not morally black or white, but many shades of gray. And far more important than words are deeds. Indeed, in Matthew 7:16 (KJV), Jesus Christ teaches us that “Ye shall know them by their fruits.” The Bible also says we’re all sinners, and history is full of complex figures whose private bigotry is dwarfed by great actions.
President Abraham Lincoln uttered loads of racist statements about blacks, but went on to free all black American slaves. When President William Taft was governor-general of the Philippines, he called the Filipinos his “little brown brothers.” He also racially integrated his office’s functions, wrote a constitution and bill of rights for the Philippines, ended Filipino slavery, brought civilian rule to the colony, upgraded public health, redistributed land to the poor, and provided public education for all Filipinos. They called him “Santo (Saint) Taft.”
President Harry Truman made anti-Semitic remarks and, when living in his mother-in-law’s house, obeyed her rule of not inviting Jews over. Yet his business partner (and close friend) was Jewish, and President Truman did more than any American to create the modern nation of Israel.
President Richard Nixon made many anti-Semitic remarks as well. Yet his top adviser, best speechwriter, and most important lawyer were all Jews: Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, William Safire, and Len Garment. Most importantly, President Nixon helped save Israel from the savage Egyptian-Syrian surprise attack in the 1973 Yom Kippur War. His emergency airlifting of supplies and putting U.S. nuclear forces on alert deterred the Soviets from direct involvement.
You think Israeli Jews care that Presidents Truman and Nixon didn’t always speak Kosher? As President Bill Clinton declared in his eulogy for the latter, “May the day of judging President Nixon on anything less than his entire life and career come to a close.” Isn’t that what we all want – and deserve?
The superb trumpeter Miles Davis made some anti-white remarks, yet most of this black jazz giant’s bands featured at least one Caucasian. And I hardly think the demanding Mr. Davis had an affirmative action plan for whites. He ultimately judged each musician on individual merit.
My grandparents lived in a Jim Crow time and absorbed Jim Crow attitudes. Yet they gave far more food and clothing to poor black folks and had way more contact with them than any PC white liberals I’ve ever known who tend to live in an exclusively bourgeois, lily-white world.
Does God judge us based on isolated ugly remarks taken out of context or by the totality of our lives, especially our actions? He certainly doesn’t choose perfect people to serve His ends. Adam and Eve broke the one commandment He gave them, yet Adam was blessed with 930 years. Noah got drunk, yet was selected to build the Ark. Moses was a murderer who God still picked to lead His chosen people to the Promised Land. David was an adulterer who arranged for Bathsheba’s husband to die in battle, yet he was still blessed to remain the king of the Jews. Jesus’s favorite disciple, Peter, denied his savior three times, yet was still favored to be a major leader of the faithful. And the Apostle Paul persecuted Christians before his conversion en route to Damascus propelled him to become the most important Christian leader after Christ.
In Matthew 7:1-3, Jesus teaches us to “Judge not, that ye be not judged. For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again. And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?” Indeed, as Christ told the mob ready to stone a woman caught in adultery: “He that is without sin among you, let him cast the first stone at her” (John 8:7). Amen.