Saying Something

5 years ago, I wrote a "Minute for Mission" on domestic violence. As I've become aware, five years is too long to wait.

When I was in high school, we took a career-oriented field trip of sorts to a few local businesses. Nearly all my classmates were white, and they were almost all upper middle class, or just plain rich. The bus driver, who was black and, at best, lower middle class, was late picking us up after one stop.

One of my classmates made a joke, wondering if the driver were trying to sell the bus's hubcaps. I don't think anyone outright laughed, but some people giggled, and even people like me who thought that the joke sounded wrong didn't say anything.

Except Mr. Rushing, one of our teachers. "That was racist, and there's no place for that here," he said.

Mr. Rushing didn't end racism, but he stopped the giggling, and he did make a difference. And, in the sense that I've think of his courage as inspirational, he made a bigger difference than he thought.

So anyway, a few weeks ago, a friend and I at work were talking about the mess that the NFL has become, or maybe always was, with regard to the way it tried to brush aside the evidence that one of its star players had beaten his wife literally senseless in an elevator.

While we were talking, a man who neither of us knew walked by and decided to volunteer his opinion. He said that he only cared what football players did on the field. He didn't care if they were bad role models, or supreme jerks, as long as they did their job in practice and during the game.

I wonder if he would say the same thing if the player in question had robbed a bank or beheaded a reporter in a YouTube video. Probably not.

I said that I thought beating someone unconscious in an elevator was a lot more serious than being a supreme jerk, or being a bad role model. The guy walked off.

You see, beating someone (anyone) senseless is immoral, not to mention illegal. The fact that the victim was his girlfriend, and that the woman later married him, doesn't really make a difference.

But I'm not really worried about NFL players, since I don't really know any NFL players. I'm more worried about the people I see every week. Most of them are not attackers or victims, but I'm pretty sure some of them are.

And if I were to pretend that beating up your girlfriend was one of those things that's none of my business, like what their favorite authors are, or what kind of music they listen to, then I'm part of the problem.

Just like I was part of the problem back in high school.

So here's the thing: It's not OK.

I know it's not simple. I know that domestic violence is not just going to go away because someone says it's wrong.

But hitting someone who loves you is wrong.

And there's no place for it.

Anywhere.

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