Have you heard the audio tapes?
It’s likely that I don’t even have to mention the name of the particular movie star who I’m talking about. Every media outlet has been all over those tapes like a tabloid on a photo of Britney or Lindsey’s lady bits. And of course, our voyeuristic tendencies take over, and we eat up every second of scandal.
So now Christians are taking up the task of asking themselves the question, “What to do with Mel Gibson now that he is bonified insane?” Just a few years ago, he was the champion of our cause with the horrifyingly accurate violence of The Passion of the Christ. But now that it’s clear he has a real life violent temper, it’s kind of hard to embrace him as a brother in Christ.
However, as we all know, Mel is hardly the first to stain the name of Jesus by being a sinner. From priests to televangelists to Henry VIII, Christians just can’t seem to clean up their act for long. Yet, every time it happens, we always act surprised. There’s so many scandals that have long since been forgotten. Maybe before we decide how to react, we can put Mel’s situation in perspective with a little history of bad behavior among famous Christians.
Ten Other Badly Behaving Christians
You likely have had some piece of trash placed on your windshield from Tony Alamo, self described “World Pastor” in the last several years. It’s hard to tell with guys like Alamo if he’s sincere or not, because every word he publishes smells like a scam artist (not to mention the absolutely enormous ego it must take to call yourself “World Pastor.”) Well, old Tony got what was coming to him when charges of child abuse came up. He’s currently serving the maximum penalty of 175 years, or until Jesus returns.
A Baptist preacher, politician, and conservative activist in North Carolina can be a pretty impressive resume and enough to keep a man busy. But apparently, Coy needed some sugar on the side. He was convicted of “aiding and abetting prostitution.” Sounds like he was a pimp to me.
This guy is a Kenyan pastor who claims to have supernatural powers to make infertile women pregnant. Now I know what you’re thinking he might have done, but it’s worse. The illusion of his powers was completed by stealing babies and giving them to the infertile women. I guess Kenyan sex ed doesn’t cover where babies come from, because these women seemed to miss the key fact that babies don’t actually show up on your doorstep, delivered by a pastor.
This guy was doing almost the exact same things as Ted Haggard, at the same time, and in the same state. Lucky for him, Haggard is way more famous, so no one knows the name Paul Barnes. Sometimes, obscurity is a good thing.
Like a spoiled kid who dumps the money out of a birthday card without reading it, this guy never read the prayer requests that were mailed in. He just collected the 80 million bucks included with the prayer requests. What a tool.
James Frey, you should’ve known better when you decided to spice up A Million Little Pieces with a little fiction. Mike Warnke just wanted to add some flair to his conversion story, you know, so he could sell more books. Problem was, he never actually was a Satanic high priest or a drug dealer as he claimed. But while he made these embellishments, he also glossed over his multiple affairs and tax fraud. Tsk tsk.
Aimee Semple McPherson
One of the most famous evangelists of the 1920s was…a woman? Well, she wasted this extremely progressive opportunity by having an affair and then faking her own death to cover it up. Seems a wee bit melodramatic. When she was discovered alive, she claimed she had been kidnapped. (She was not kidnapped.) Wow. We don’t get scandals that creative or interesting anymore. Can anyone remember the last time anyone faked his own death?
A homeless woman, an adulteress, and a slave woman were the first to be accused by two preteen girls of being witches. That’s what you get for sleeping with your butler, not owning a home, or being the property of someone else, I guess. Think about that the next time you see a gaggle of giggly teenage girls furiously texting in the movie theater. They are not to be trusted.
He had the totally un-Christian idea that the Earth went around the sun. What a jerk. The church called him “vehemently suspect of heresy.” So he was kicked out. Four-hundred years later, Pope John Paul II officially exonerated Galileo of any wrong-doing. That’s the gears of justice turning, people. By the standards of the Catholic church, that’s a pretty quick turnaround.
You don’t even want to know. I’m just glad there aren’t tapes.
Mel Gibson doesn’t need my forgiveness. He hasn’t sinned against me. It strikes me as self-righteous to talk as if we should forgive Mel for what he’s done. He’s not mine to forgive. We don’t own him because he made The Passion. It’s kind of feeble to worry about my reputation as a Christian being in any way affected by Mel’s behavior. Any of my non-Christian friends who would assume I endorse his behavior because he and I are Christians are absurd and don’t know me very well. That’s like assuming that all Christians hate gays because Fred Phelps hates gays, or assuming that all Muslims are terrorists. Anyone who thinks that way is too narrow minded to hear the gospel, or really much of anything.
Mel Gibson doesn’t need my forgiveness, he needs my prayers. I react to him the same way I react to other Christians who appaul me. I throw up in my mouth a little bit, and then I feel pity for them.
How do you react when a Christian goes nuts or does something really embarassing? Are you concerned that we need to tell everyone that, “he’s not one of us?” or is it enough to ignore it and pray for him?