Today Relevant Magazine posted an article questioning why Christians aren’t giving more of a commentary on Bill Cosby and the rape allegations that have surfaced again recently.
Normally I really respect Relevant in its ethical, fair journalism and gospel-centered values, but I was really disappointed this time.
I really like the author’s intentions and I definitely am not saying Relevant totally sucks now. Rape is a huge deal and should be dealt with accordingly, especially by the Christian community. But Mr. Cosby? That’s a different story.
All the women may very well be telling the truth. The Cosby we’ve grown up with and loved for decades may not be the man we thought he was. And that would be tragic.
The problem I had with the article was not about the judgment of sexual crimes. Again, that’s a huge deal.
My problem was the approach. Instead of approaching these allegations with grace and an open mind, the author came in a cloud of fiery judgment, and then seemed to indicate the Christian community should respond the same way.
I’d like to argue that our silence is not supporting Bill Cosby, the rapist. No, our silence is respecting Bill Cosby, the innocent until proven guilty. Our silence is respecting Bill Cosby, the man Christ died for. Our silence is respecting Bill Cosby, the cute old man. (Okay maybe that’s just me.) The point is, I don’t think silence is a bad thing when we actually don’t know what we’re talking about.
I don’t know any facts are these allegations, nor do I personally know the alleged victims, nor do I personally know Bill Cosby. Until such facts come out, my words are better placed in prayer rather than in the already massive crowd of condemners on social media.
If social media were a jury and justice system, Cosby would rot in prison. A lot of terrible things would probably happen to him actually. The article calls for us to acknowledge the horror of Cosby’s crimes, and that would be fair if I knew for sure all of this was true. It might be. But there is a better approach.
What if we discuss rape culture as a whole in this country and across the world? What if, instead of condemning the already accused, we teach men (and women) not to rape? What if we teach respect for fellow humans? What if we teach the gospel?
How the world could change.
The Relevant article finishes with this: “And if Cosby does come forward and admit the alleged crimes, it doesn’t mean we can go back to mindlessly watching The Cosby Show. Grace does not mean silence. We may choose to forgive, but we cannot forget.”
Honestly, I could probably still watch The Cosby Show. It’s a good show. I saw Bill Cosby do stand up a few weeks ago in person and it was hilarious. I would look at him a little differently, yeah. It would be impossible not to. But sometimes grace does mean silence. Silent prayer. Silent acknowledgement of sin. Silent confession. Silence is not always wrong.
As for forgiving and not forgetting… Well, with all due respect, that is in no way a biblical concept. Remember how I mentioned we as believers should be teaching the gospel? The gospel is that our sins are actually forgiven and forgotten. We are wiped clean. We are not reminded of our fallouts and mistakes. We are constantly renewed by the knowledge that Jesus Christ took care of every single sin of every single person on a dark day many years ago by sacrificing himself on a cross.
If Bill Cosby ends up being guilty, I’m not saying he should go unpunished. I’m just saying the community of believers is not here to remind him (aka never forget) the things he did wrong. The community of believers is here to lift him back up and point him right back to Christ. That’s the gospel, friends. And that is how we must live.