The Devil Needs No Advocate But Here We Are

The devil doesn't actually need advocates but every other minute, we find people volunteering for that job rather needlessly. We have just recently celebrated the birth of Jesus and we are all trying to peacefully usher in the New Year as best as we can. In between those two monumental celebrations, whereas most people are spending this time with their families and loved ones, or sleeping, or eating, or binge-watching TV, a certain young man of the name Kevin DeYoung chose to do something different. He chose to write an entire essay defending an ENSLAVER, John Witherspoon.  Don't waste your time reading that rubbish. I did and I can promise you it's not worth your time during this festive season. Here is the gist of the entire matter. Based on the activism of some folks at Princeton University, there is currently a debate as to whether the statue of Witherspoon (who not only owned slaves but was against abolitionism) should be removed from Princeton. Now, whether or not you think this statue should in fact be torn down is not quite the matter here. 

What is quite unsettling is that this man, DeYoung, a pastor on behalf of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ had no better use of his time than to put pen to paper and defend an ENSLAVER. He thought it wise that the best use of his time would be to defend a person who owned people. Although he acknowledges that Witherspoon had slaves, DeYoung still spends the entirety of that essay talking about how good a person Witherspoon is. He tells us that Witherspoon was so nice to the Blacks (I am not really paraphrasing here. He uses the term Blacks) that we must consider this nuance in evaluating our "heroes". First of all, y'all I gotta take a deep breath cos this lad is about to make me sin yooo. 

Okay. DeYoung says that after all, it was the order of the day during that era anyway. And that most men of Witherspoon's caliber, education, and influence DID own people. But again, after all, Witherspoon was so kind anyway. Y'all...a PASTOR wrote an article singing the praises of someone who owned BLACK people. Someone who, by DeYoung's own writing, thought releasing "Blacks" to their own freedom would surely cause their ruin. 

"In conclusion, Witherspoon allowed that it was not necessary to free man already in a state of slavery because this would 'make them free to their own ruin'" - Kevin DeYoung.

As in, Black people must be so brainless that they couldn't even handle freedom if handed to them on a platter. Jesus Christ, you need to help me take a deep breath cos. Is this a person worth defending? Yet, it is not altogether surprising. The favorite past time of many Evangelicals is this country is to hero-worship depraved, malicious, vile human beings; to malign people; to ridicule the marginalized; and to when given the option, always choose wickedness and unkindness. After all, on the eve of Christmas this year, a Christian Governor transported migrants on a bus in freezing weather and dropped them on the side of the road of the Vice President's residence to "own the libs". Some of the most wicked people in this country are Christians.

To be clear, I am not against nuance. I also don't think all human beings should be flawless. I see the value in examining people in their entirety. I just don't think it is worth it to so degrade people just to defend some long dead moron. Most importantly, I do draw the line when it comes to owning people. I can't imagine how heartbroken the Black congregants at DeYoung's church must feel (if there are of course) to know that their pastor is an apologist for enslavers; to know that their pastor defends a man who upheld an institution of oppression because after all, "he was just a man of his time". 

God have mercy. 

And I know for a fact that if instead of being a slave owner, Witherspoon was gay, or if Witherspoon (was a woman) and had an abortion, or if Witherspoon was Black, or if Witherspoon was a migrant fleeing violence in Honduras, or if Witherspoon (was a woman) and dared to have sex with someone [s]he wasn't married to, or if Witherspoon was Hilary Clinton,  Kevin DeYoung would never have penned an essay defending Witherspoon. 

You know what stings the most? If I should say (as I believe) that the idea of a woman obeying her husband (or submitting, whatever the term y'all choose) or the idea of a woman not being allowed to pastor is nonsensical, then I am the one with bad theology. But this one defending a slave owner? Yup, he's perfect on theology. 

The main difference between DeYoung and me (well, apart from the fact that I would never defend oppression) is that I, at least, have the humility to accept that I could be wrong. Knowing Christians in America, DeYoung would never accept that what he has done is despicable and heartbreaking. DeYoung and his ilk would instead derogatorily call me a snowflake or "woke" for this post I just wrote.

Sigh, and love, of course,


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