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Reminder for Kobe Bryant and Brendan Eich: ‘Taking a Stand’ Means…Standing

The baying bullies of Secular Progressivism have been hard at work lately and their toil’s been paying handsome dividends (for their rancid causes, that is; not so handsomely for those favoring decency and common sense.) 

In response to LeBron James’ tweeting a picture of his Miami Heat teammates’ wearing hoodies, heads bowed, in support of Trayvon Martin, fellow NBA superstar Kobe Bryant had the effrontery to intimate he felt no automatic obligation to take Trayvon’s side in that blazing societal controversy simply because the slain teen was black: “I won’t react to something just because I’m supposed to, because I’m an African-American,” he said. “That argument doesn’t make any sense to me.”

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Anyone wanna guess what happened? The race-uber-alles bunch came down with both feet on the thirty-five-year-old MVP. Tweeters, bloggers, sports commentators, other professional athletes — all chidingly chimed in. 

Wanna guess what happened next? Bryant dutifully offered public obeisance, tweeting affirmations he wasn’t the clueless, pigmentally disconnected dupe so many were insinuating: “Trayvon was wronged THATS my opinion and thats what I believe the FACTS showed. The system did not work”.

To his credit, Bryant didn’t officially repudiate his broader point — that skin-color alone shouldn’t determine one’s choices. But the chagrined tone of his response was, all the same, pretty unmistakable: the sudden outburst of ingratiating clarifications, the sheepish eagerness to change the subject; it was all too demoralizingly familiar. 

A week or so later, the Lefto-fascists turned their carnivorous attentions on web-browser (Firefox) company Mozilla and it’s newly-christened CEO Brendan Eich. Uncovered had been the morsel that Eich, five years before his elevation to the corporation’s top spot, had contributed $1000 to California’s pro-traditional-marriage Proposition 8 campaign.

Well, we certainly couldn’t have that, could we.

The trendy but prickly Siliocon-Valley types and gay-rights professionals clutched into full, scandalized indignation mode, outrage flourished, boycotts were threatened — and Eich was promptly gone. (He resigned).

His fifteen year’s building up the tech firm since playing his role in its founding? His seminal role in creating JavaScript programming language and contributing to the success of Netscape? Who cares. Half-a-decade ago, Eich gave a grand to an effort upholding husband/wife matrimony in the Golden State — that’s all that matters. Henceforth, the fifty-three-year-old techie is persona non grata among the enlightened “beautiful people” who shape and benefit from his industry. 

In the midst of the imbroglio, hewing to today’s iron-clad pattern, Eich formally deplored any “pain” he’d caused, putting forth a cringing statement in which, while not disavowing whatever support for real marriage he might still nurse, he hyperventilated in an attempt to prove his open-minded, fair-thinking, beamingly tolerant bona fides. The desperate blog-post drizzled gooey boilerplate about “fostering equality and welcome for LGBT individuals at Mozilla”, “[w]orking with LGBT communities and allies, to listen and learn”, “inclusive health benefits”, “support[ing] everyone, regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity”. 

And lots more along those lines.

Pass the insulin. Please.

Unsurprisingly, his pleadings didn’t work. Insufficiently grovelling, no doubt. Eich is history; sexual anarchy’s warriors can spike another “heterosexist” scalp to their lavender lodge pole.

Apparently, Mssrs. Eich and Bryant — and those comparatively few others who similarly attempt the occasional, brash foray into realms of free-thinking political incorrectness — don’t fathom that their well-intentioned stabs at sensibleness, followed by the tediously predictable, shamefaced walk-backs, don’t merely neutralize their effectiveness as spokesman for their respective cause or viewpoint. Far worse, they damage the overall legitimacy of the original cause  or viewpoint itself. The debate doesn’t conclude in a draw — their side actually ends up losing ground as their retreat implies their convictions and principles are somehow disgrace-worthy, sordid, unfit for open acknowledgment. 

Making a stand is supposed to be an ongoing act. Not a flash-in-the-pan impulse, not a bit of fly-by-night, emotionally-fueled whimsy that withers at any backlash; instead, an enduring posture. As the New Testament writer cogently put it, “[W]ithstand in the evil day, and having done all, …stand.” (Ephesians 6:13).

It’s beyond regrettable the obviously thoughtful L.A. Laker or computer industry whiz-kid didn’t simply, respectfully, reiterate his blindingly defensible position: Race shouldn’t be the overriding factor in one’s thinkingI support marriage’s being defined as a relationship between man and woman.

Measured but straightforward, no hint of chagrin or fudging or flinching. Taking a stand.

Not long ago, when Angus T. Jones, youthful star of sit-com Two and a Half Men, announced he was stepping away from his $350,000-per-episode involvement in the hit program because it offended his newly-acquired Christian standards, TV-watching multitudes did a double-take. Many went further,  hooting and mocking  the then-nineteen-year-old’s decision.

Jones stood and is currently doing just fine — a much-in-demand spokesman, in fact, for actively living out one’s Bible-fortified tenets.

Shortly thereafter, Jones’ elder television colleague Duck Dynasty‘s Phil Robertson found himself in the soup for floating the revolutionary proposition that normal men prefer sexual relations with women over those with men. The cable TV universe — well, the universe, period — convulsed. To the stockades with him! 

Robertson stood. His family-member co-stars stood with him. If Dad’s booted off the show, we’re done as well.

Together, they outlasted the hysterics. Duck Dynasty is still airing. 

Some of the rattling consequences of not standing — of being easily intimidated — are apparent internationally in Vladimir Putin’s or the Iranian mullahs’ manhandling of the Obama administration. 

The more localized, cultural iterations of same are showing up — nearly daily, it seems — whenever clear-thinking people back down before fools squawking against them or their concerns. 

Another biblical injunction sternly urges: before launching on any course of action, “count the cost” of that effort (Luke 14:28); bracing for blowback that might follow; pressing on in the teeth of, possibly fierce, opposition.

Otherwise, speaking frankly: those tempted to heedlessly opinionate about or involve themselves in inflammatory issues ought to play it safe from the get-go. By all means, score baskets, invent computer wizardry, whatever. Beyond that? Please, button it and butt out.

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Steve Pauwels

Steve Pauwels is pastor of Church of the King, Londonderry, NH and host of Striker Radio with Steve Pauwels on the Red State Talk Radio Network. He's also husband to the lovely Maureen and proud father of three fine sons: Mike, Sam and Jake.

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