Wednesday, April 13, 2016

More Equal Than Others

Yesterday morning I was reminded anew how true the above sentiment is. Why? Because Hokey Gajan died.

Likely you don't know who Hokey was unless you are from South Louisiana and an LSU or Saints football fan. 

In my very brief time at Baker High School in Baker, Louisiana Hokey sat very near me in biology class. I didn't know Hokey well or very long, in fact the only time he spoke to me was to hiss at me to let him see my test paper. Yes, yes, the big football hero routinely cheated on his biology tests from looking at my paper.

Towards the end of my miserable and brief time at Baker High he was caught cheating off my exam paper and we were both pulled into the vice principal's office. Hokey got off with a very light punishment, a slap on the wrist and a promise not to it again. Me? I got an F on that test AND a week's detention. But I was not a football hero. I was less equal.

That was something like forty years ago, I've forgiven him, realizing that we wear both young and dumb, prone to all sorts of crazy foolishness. Water under the bridge now. It did reinforce my dislike over unfair treatment of people.

If I had to guess I'm pretty sure that the rest of Hokey's academic career likely was very similar to what I observed in biology class. LSU is notorious for leaning on staff to pass football players and other athletic stars. My Maw in Law had some tussles with the administration over that during her years teaching communications classes at LSU. They even wanted her to pass players that rarely came to class, much less completed assignments. Anything to keep that player eligibility, screw if they are actually learning a thing.

You have to understand that in parts of South Louisiana football is more a damned religion than an actual sport. Tiger Stadium isn't known as Death Valley for no reason. The names Manning, Brees and Bradshaw are still spoken with deep reverence in the state.

But for those of us that weren't high school or university star athletes it was make clear to us by the way the schools continually made things easy for the athletes that we mattered far less.  Everyone is equal but some are more equal than others.

This is something that happens quite a bit in the realm of Fundamentalist or Evangelical Christianity too. Screw up and have an affair as a church member of commit a mortal or venial sin and see how quickly those around you in your faith community forgive and forget. Likely they'll be throwing that perceived sin in your face for years to come. Stopping you from joining this group or helping in this ministry. Whispering.

But.... let the person doing the sinning be in leadership, high leadership and you'll see them 'restored' to their original position within a year, usually maybe six months, without any negative consequences. They are somehow more equal than the rest of us.

Look at the various scandals and restorations of Mars Hill's Mark Driscoll, ATI leader Bill Gothard and the recent outrage over C.J. Mahaney covering up abuse allegations yet still being allowed to speak at the Together For The Gospel Conference.

Why are these guys allowed to do such heinous things much worse than a dumb schoolboy cheating on an exam, and still viewed as heroes, allowed to return without any real consequences?

It's time we stepped forward and protested the return of guys like the ones listed above that are somehow above consequences for their bad actions. As long as the church is allowing some to be 'more equal than others' there's going to be a continued trail of broken people damaged by leadership.

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