This blog is supposed to be, as much as I can, my daily journey through life as a Christian. I hope it to be my thoughts and feelings on life but be as grounded in the Christian message as it can. My intention is not to create a daily readings or bible study guide but to look at my life in terms of a Christian trying to find and follow God's mission using his Life User's Manuel AKA the Bible.

Matthew 10 19-20

And don't you worry about what you'll say or how you'll say it. The right words will be there; the Spirit of your Father will supply the words. - Matthew 10 19-20

Tuesday, May 06, 2014

Jeremy Clarkson - Tried and Judged?

You may or may not be aware of the controversy surrounding Jeremy Clarkson in the British media at the moment over and alleged incident of him using racist language. Now anyone who knows of Jeremy Clarkson knows that his style and humour is always very close to the bone. He often uses terms and language that is intended to provoke a response and borders on causing insult. 

I don't want to role in on the circus surrounding the rightness or wrongness of anything he has, will or has supposedly done, more than enough people have done so already. What I do want to talk about is the trial and judgment meted out to this celebrity by the media solely based on the fact that he is a "celebrity" and therefore fair game. 

The first point which I want to make is that the word in question was never actually broadcast, was edited out in order not to cause offense, and if you believe the statements it was rerecorded and edited out on the say so of the so called racist Mr Clarkson. 

The second point is that the media has taken it on itself to go on a witch hunt in order to unearth something that it knows will sell, a story they know they can profit out of. To do this they have gone digging around searching and seeking for some slip up, a mistake, that they know they can build a controversy around. There has been a planned strategy behind this in order to discover, publish and follow up on something that they can tell the unsuspecting public is in their interests and instructing the public to be outraged by this.

As I said, I neither support or condemn Jeremy Clarkson for what he did or did not say or for his behaviours. Although I will admit to enjoying Top Gear with its irreverent sense of humour and school boyish approach. However I do feel that here we have someone who is being victimised for something he knew to be wrong after which he took steps to correct. Here we have a man not guilty of racism, but someone who having being brought up in a particular time period has grown to understand that what may have been acceptable in the past is no longer so. Here we have someone who knows that he skirts the boundary with controversy, but has obviously tried hard not to purposely cause offense on such a sensitive subject.

I don't know how anyone else feels, but I do object to being told time and again by the media about what I should be feeling offended by, I like the millions of other people in this country and around the world have a brain and I am capable of using it to make my own judgements and decisions. The number of people who felt it necessary to lodge official complaints about this issue a long time after the event in my mind shows a culture of people who are looking for what the media is trying to feed it, an excuse to be outraged. It was the same with Russell Brand and the Andrew Sachs debacle, how many of these incensed people were even aware of the original episode? How many of them actually watched that or any episode of Top Gear? Are we guilty of having the media that as a society we deserve? Lets not forget the recent scandals that the media industry has been involved with recently, are they using this and other "outrages" to try and hide from their own dirty past?

So this brings me on to the point I wish to make. Where should we stand on this situation and others like it? Do we weigh in and lay our voices with the camps of support or condemnation? Do we sit in the court of public perception and the media and pass judgment on all who are brought before us to be metaphorically stoned? Looking to scripture we know how Jesus chose to deal with such situations, when he said "He who is without sin may cast the first stone". We know not only from scripture but from our own life experiences that the rule you use to judge others will be used to judge you. I know that I myself even as a Christian live a life that is far from sinless, can we afford to live lives where we sit in judgement of others? I would hope that others could be forgiving towards my failings.

We know that what was said by Jeremy Clarkson was wrong, he has admitted as such himself. So where does that leave us? 

For me I feel we should be offering support to Jeremy Clarkson for the situation he is going through. We should make it known that we do not judge him or find him more guilty than anyone else for using abusive language. We should also make it known that neither do we support what he said or racism, hate, derogatory terms or any other kind of sin. We should be giving support to those affected by racism, those who suffer it in their daily lives and who face not only verbal abuse but physical and emotional abuse due to race. We should be educating our children and friends that all forms of hate and prejudice are wrong, including the hate and prejudice of those who are themselves guilty of hate and prejudice.

We can not live in a society that claims to be anti racist but yet is happy to be prejudice against people for other reasons such as celebrity. We need to let the mainstream media know that while we abhor the use of racist language, while we detest hate in all forms, we do not want to be guilty of what is essentially the same sin under another name by persecuting people for other reasons.

Society would be a much better place if people were more loving towards each other, more understanding and caring. If instead of looking for flaws and error we looked for opportunities to teach, learn and grow, if we looked for opportunities to love rather than hate. 

In closing this slightly ranty blog post (and I know it is the first in a very long time, recent traffic to the site has prompted me to get back on the blogging wagon again) I want to share some verses with you from Luke's gospel. If these don't tell us how to act with each other then there is very little that will.

Luke 6:41-42

‘Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, “Brother, let me take the speck out of your eye,” when you yourself fail to see the plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.

So in future, before we become obsessed and incensed by the latest newspaper frenzy lets think about how we should be acting and what we should be doing. In the end it all comes down to one word;


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