And Little Wool

I really should say something about outrage-fest that has mostly concluded over in the NBA and its environs. Clippers owner Donald Sterling got himself banned from NBA games and practices for life, and was fined 2.5 million dollars, because he managed to insinuate himself onto some audio, the playing of which audio proved to the world that he was in fact a racist jerk, not to mention a bounder and cad. It is difficult to summon up any sympathy for that kind of guy, and so why bother? No sympathy at all, at least not from this quarter. The fact that he is a big donor Democrat just made the whole thing a little bit too delicious.

But wait . . . there are some lessons.

There are still at least two observations to be made about the whole affair. Let us leave Sterling, whose character isn’t, out of it for a minute. The first point is what Mark Cuban noted — that this in fact is a very slippery slope. Suppose, in a grand thought experiment, we substitute somebody else in for Sterling. Let’s make it an evangelical family man, true blue to his wife, faithful church attender, and a man who donated $10,000 toward the passage of Prop 8 a few years ago, the anti same-sex mirage measure. Can anyone around here envisage a scenario (within a year or two, at our current pace) where the same thing could happen? The only ingredient necessary, it seems, is a requisite level of public outrage, which the media can always arrange for us. Bringing it back to Sterling, I will only observe that lynch mobs sometimes hang guilty people, but that this is not a good argument for the protection of public manners being turned over to lynch mobs.

The second observation has to do with the frenzied efforts of the mob to prove themselves to be a deeply moral people, with lots of core values all over the place. When a generation is as leprous as ours is, we don’t like how quiet evenings at home make us think about our guilt. This is why we launch periodic outrage crusades, going off on moralistic jags, in order to convince ourselves that we are too an upright people.

Remember. We are the generation that has slaughtered millions of children in utero. We are the ones who have hooked up the furnaces of Molech to the power grid. We are the people who have sanctified the anus as a true and noble destination of eros. We are the ones who discipline anyone who has the temerity to take issue with our red queen sexualities. Our consumerist idolatries sizzle and pop as we fry them all up in mammon grease. We are plainly the ones we have been waiting for, but we failed to take into account the fact that we are also Godot, only with a little less substance. We are the sad clowns of history.

We are the ones who refuse to name the name of Jesus, savior of the nations. Jesus is the one who bled and died in order to wash our conceits away from us, and every evening a glance at the news shows us what a pressing necessity this continues to be. I hesitate to introduce esoteric theological terms in a discussion like this, but the relevant ones are repent and believe.

So back to L’Affaire Sterling. As the old proverb has it, great cry and little wool, as the devil said when he sheared the hogs.

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Sean Carlson
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Sean Carlson

well at least we’re still capable of a legitimate outrage. One does wonder how long this capability will last since we’ve long left the theological underpinnings of the Civil Rights movement.

Shane oneill
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Shane oneill
Roy
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Roy

Leaving Sterling aside, I’m not completely convinced of legitimate outrage. I get a sense of arbitrariness when these circuses roll into town. Regarding the slippery slope, DW’s point is well taken. A persons view of a lynch mob would seem to depend on who is holding the rope.

Robert
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Robert

I think the jerk is going to fight it. Taking it quietly does not seem to be in this guy’s character.

Thursday
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Thursday

Let’s make it an evangelical family man, true blue to his wife, faithful church attender, and a man who donated $10,000 toward the passage of Prop 8 a few years ago, the anti same-sex mirage measure.

Dreher beat you to it.

John McNeely
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John McNeely

I was a bit perplexed about Desiring God’s blog praising the NBA’s principles in this matter. Here http://www.desiringgod.org/blog/posts/a-statement-stronger-than-silver

Why does Marshall Segal act as if the NBA has such wonderful principles when they did nothing about Sterling’s adultery that seems to have lasted decades?

John
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John

I agree with Doug–certainly the guy is a jerk, blah blah blah, he’s rotten to the core. HOWEVER–the audio was taken without him knowing it, in a private conversation…can any liberal anywhere see the free speech issue here??? What if God played a video recorder of all our evil thoughts, including lust? In other words, this conversation was “off the record.” That should mean something. Point two–at John McNeely above–I love Desiring God ministries, but I have one critique of them, meant to be constructive criticism, not a “smack talk”—they tend to be a little liberal (for lack of better… Read more »

TKyle
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I also thought it strange that Desiring God posted what they did about this issue. Every Christian ought to agree that racism in all forms is wrong. And probably most Christians would agree that Don Sterling is a racist. But do we really want the NBA driving the morality bus on this one? Not me. At the end of the day, even a blind squirrel finds a nut once in a while, but it’s still blind.

Ben Bowman
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I like what Jabbar said. “We didn’t steal the cake but we’re all gorging ourselves on it.”

There is something rather unsettling in my mind about someone being forced out due to a belief, even if that belief is untenable and evil.

Ben Bowman
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I like what Jabbar said. “We didn’t steal the cake but we’re all gorging ourselves on it.”

There is something rather unsettling in my mind about someone being forced out due to a belief, even if that belief is untenable and evil.

Moor
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Moor

I’ve been trying to wrap my mind around the idea that expressing racist views can or does disqualify a person from owning an NBA franchise. That is, assuming that Donald Sterling did not actually discriminate in his capacity as an employer (since doing so would have placed him in violation of the law), then on what basis would his personal views disqualify him? I’ve seen some suggest that because he is a franchise owner, and that since the NBA is a brand that he simply bought into, that he could be removed. And maybe that’s true. But as this blog… Read more »

Tim H
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Tim H

Yawn. Racism is not a sin. Racism is not a crime.

Counter-culturists in your own minds.

Kimberley
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Kimberley

Outrage over disgusting words against a protected class.

No outrage, and hardly any mention of the Oregon homes being heated, cooled, and lit by murdered Canadian babies.

What is wrong with this picture?

MJ
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MJ

The particularly disturbing aspect of this situation is the fact that Sterling is having his business taken away from him because of his private beliefs and thoughts. Had he made a public speech in his role as an NBA owner expressing racist views, that would be one thing. But Silver has barred him from the NBA and is seeking to take his team because Sterling doesn’t think like the postmoderns want him to. Granted that racism is contrary to God’s revealed will and thus is sinful. But Cuban is right- this is a slippery slope, and it’s a slope the… Read more »

Moor
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Moor

Tim H: if you get a chance, could you please elaborate on your comment. I honestly don’t know what you intended to say (and maybe it’s just me, but I’d like to understand).

Arwen B
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Arwen B

“Racism is not a crime.”

Have you never heard of hate-crime legislations? Of course it’s a crime.

…unless you are a member of the Goodthink Brigade and no one higher than you on the hierarchy of grievances wants your stuff.

Nathan E.
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Nathan E.

I just love the fact that social conservatives are accused of wanting to police people’s bedrooms, but then everyone goes nuts over a private recorded phone conversation between two illicit “lovers” (that word hardly seems appropriate at all). Wait, I thought I was the one who wanted to violate people’s privacy by denying marriage certificates to homosexual couples? It really is the case that we are being driven by a lynch mob in today’s society. Double standards and half-baked reasoning to justify them abound with increasing frequency and numbers.

Tim H
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Tim H

Moor — “Racism” is a term that was coined by a communist and has entered our discourse on the sly. I submit that it is impossible to give a definition of it that both (1) covers all the cases that the regime wants to identify as “racist,” and (2) is clearly a description of a violation of the ten commandments. But if (2) is lacking, then Christians should stop calling it “sin.” They are simply playing into the hands of their enemies.

timothy
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timothy

Pastor Wilson wrote: he first point is what Mark Cuban noted — that this in fact is a very slippery slope. Suppose, in a grand thought experiment, we substitute somebody else in for Sterling. Let’s make it an evangelical family man, true blue to his wife, faithful church attender, and a man who donated $10,000 toward the passage of Prop 8 a few years ago, the anti same-sex mirage measure. Can anyone around here envisage a scenario (within a year or two, at our current pace) where the same thing could happen? Pastor Wilson’s time horizon is way to long.… Read more »

Moor
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Moor

Ah, thanks Tim H. I appreciate the explanation.

Andrew Lohr
Member

Notice again how ‘egalitarianism’ blows up in its own face. This adulterer wants blacks and whites to be a tad less equal than is socially popular. He’s fine with them working for him, fornicating with his paramour, voting and ruling the country and going to school with white kids I suppose, but he doesn’t want them coming to NBA games with his paramour. (Not sure about the “amour” bit. Maybe I should say paralegs.) Just a tad of inequality here. And the Equalizers come down on him like a ton of bricks; he may have the power a zillionaire has,… Read more »