Friday, May 13, 2011

With All Due Respect

"If you're not first, you're last!" 
~Ricky Bobby on what happens when you wait a week to publish a current events post

One of Jason's most favorite movies is Talladega Nights. We talk in movie quotes an awful lot around here and this movie is probably in the top 10 of quote suppliers. Ricky Bobby is just a fantastic character.

In one scene, Ricky Bobby is having an argument with the team owner. At some point in the exchange, Ricky says, “With all due respect,” and then proceeds to say something completely disrespectful. He operates in a world where as long as he prefaces the offensive things that he’s about to say with the words “with all due respect,” one has no right to be offended.

This exchange is funny because A) Will Ferrell is a bit of a comic genius and B) it is absolutely ridiculous on its face. Of course saying “with all due respect” doesn’t make what follows respectful. It’s just plain silly.

Except the Church does this to the LGBT community all. the. time.

Last Sunday Believe Out Loud asked a number of sites to run the following advertisement:

One site that was offered the opportunity to run the ad was Sojourners, a progressive Christian site. They opted not to run the ad, citing it as being controversial and outside of their focus. Progressives, who are their primary audience, were not impressed, considering the only thing in the ad that is controversial is that, you know, it’s about gay people.

On Monday, Wallis issued a statement, explaining in greater detail why Sojo chose not to run the ad. And in the process, at least to me, pulled a total Ricky Bobby move.

In point two he wrote:
Sojourners has also encouraged churches to be welcoming of all people, regardless of race or ethnicity, gender, age, disabilities, religious background or denomination, or sexual orientation.
And then in point four he wrote:
Given the time Sojourners is now spending on critical issues like the imperative of a moral budget, the urgent need to end the war in Afghanistan, and the leadership we are offering on commitments like immigration reform, we chose not to become involved in the controversy that such a major ad campaign could entail, and the time it could require of us.
Do you see it?

The only spoken words in the ad are from the minister at the end where he says, “Welcome…everyone.” I’ve watched the ad a number of times and that’s it. It doesn’t make any statement about gay marriage or gay ordination or even that being gay is good. It strictly says that IF a gay couple comes to your church, welcome them. Which is what Sojourners claims that they encourage. Now, if you encourage churches to be welcoming, why is it controversial to run an ad where a minister encourages his congregation to be welcoming?

Unless maybe he’s pulling a Ricky Bobby and prefacing how he really feels with something that sounds like how he should feel. Because it’s easy to say that we need to be welcoming of the LGBT population in our congregations, but actually doing that while holding onto our “it’s an abomination” ideology is pretty difficult.

And I say that with all due respect.


Do you ever find yourself pulling a "with all due respect"? What's your favorite quote from Talladega Nights?


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