Apology Not Accepted: Mike Huckabee, James Dobson, and A Pastor’s Apology.
John Pavlovitz, self-appointed leader of the Evangelical Church (in all its permutations, including parachurch ministries), has apologized for me. For you, too, if you happen to be a Christian. Take a look at his blog post, Mike Huckabee, James Dobson, and A Pastor’s Apology.
I am not sure how he got the job. I voted in November for President of the United States, but never saw his name on the ballot. Maybe because he has a blog. No, no. That can't be it. I have a blog. I'm not in charge.
I'm looking more carefully at his post. Yes. Silly me. I see it right there at the top: "I am a Christian. I am a pastor. I am a father. As all three of these things, I apologize to the world (and to the victims of the Sandy Hook shooting), for Mike Huckabee and James Dobson."
Because he is a Christian, a pastor and a father, he has earned the right to apologize to the world, on my behalf, for things said by Mike Huckabee and James Dobson. I see. I see. It is clear.
I get Pavlovitz's point. People I am affiliated with say things I disagree with. It might be he was asked by Dobson and Huckabee each to apologize on their behalf. That can happen. I suppose. But it didn't. Back to word self-appointed.
This is not a blog post getting into what Pavlovitz thinks he is addressing. Rather, I am using his claim to apologize to point that, in his attempt, he, in my opinion, dismisses the depth and importance of the issues, and disrespects the families hurt or killed in the Sandy Hook tragedy.
By apologizing for something he didn’t do is disingenuous and arrogant. It is as if he has the right to apologize by proxy, somehow representing Christians. He does not have it. There is no position to do so. Only God could, and He never sins, so that would not happen. The evangelical world, which includes both Dobson and Huckabee, is not a cleanly drawn line, with a leader telling followers what to believe. There are many denominations, and many diverse viewpoints.
Just as I cannot, on the behalf of white people, apologize for the KKK, slavery and other racist actions, he simply does not have the right or responsibility, creating only a hollowness that is as meaningless in direct opposition to what I think he intended. These kinds of blanket apologies injure the genuinely hurt by putting a Hallmark Card spin on a very serious matter.
When President Clinton apologized for various things the American government did to Africans here in the 1930-1970s involving syphilis testing, no one took it as a real apology. It was, at best, symbolic. Genuine? I think so. Heart felt? I think so.
Wikipedia says: "The Tuskegee syphilis experiment (also known as the Tuskegee syphilis study or Public Health Service syphilis study) was an infamous clinical study conducted between 1932 and 1972 in Tuskegee, Alabama by the U.S. Public Health Service to study the natural progression of untreated syphilis in rural black men who thought they were receiving free health care from the U.S. government."
What President Clinton said: The United States Government did something that was wrong, deeply, profoundly, morally wrong. It was an outrage to our commitment to integrity and equality for all our citizens. We can end the silence. We can stop turning our heads away. We can look at you in the eye and finally say on behalf of the American people what the United States Government did was shameful, and I am sorry.
I agree 100% with President Clinton on this. He was saying to the nation, "I, as leader of this nation, and part of a long line of presidents to be followed by others, and therefore as a representative and spokesperson for the nation, want all of America and the world to know such testing is wrong, was wrong and always will be wrong. I cannot undo what was done, but I can say we will never do it again." Those are my words, but that's my take on what President Clinton said.
But it was not an apology. Clinton had not done the wrong himself. Had he skipped, "I am sorry," at the end, and no one would call it an apology. They'd just say, "Right on, Mr. President." But, Clinton was President. What the American government did was wrong. He tried, did so publicly, and outside of those three words, it was a perfect statement.
I have no idea who John Pavlovitz is. I know he said in response to things Dobson and Huckabee have said, "This week, these “representatives” of Christianity in the American media, have done what they seem bent on doing and content to do in times of tragedy; they have stood on top of someone else’s pain and grief, while preaching a message of dreadfully misplaced, fear-infused hatred and horribly dangerous theology."
Which exactly what he has done.