Judging Judges Preaching Against Judging: Smollett Edition

Written by Michael Cummings on March 1, 2019

Of the opinions regarding the whole Jussie “Can-You-Smollett” uber hoax, actor Terrance Howard’s opinion is the one I’ve been nervously anticipating. And by that I mean I stopped going to work, washing my clothes, and brushing my teeth to avoid missing that once-in-a-lifetime press conference (or Twitter feed. Same thing). I honestly do not get how it’s not National Waiting For Yet Another Celebrity To Chime In Day. And chime in he did (emphasis mine):

Actor Terrence Howard is supporting his television son, Jussie Smollett, after he was accused of staging a hate crime attack last month in Chicago.

Smollett plays Howard’s son, Jamal, on “Empire,” a Fox drama about a family dynasty set in the alluring world of hip-hop.

In a post on social media, Howard shared a video of a baby sitting on Smollett’s lap and breaking into fits of giggles when he tickles him.

“All your lil homies got you. We love the hell outta you,” he captioned the video along with a heart emoji.

In one of the comments under the video, a fan criticized him for supporting Smollett, and Howard fired back with a lengthy message defending his decision.

“Sorry you feel that way but that’s the only Jussie I know,” he posted. “The Jussie I know could never even conceive of something so unconscious and ugly. His innocence or judgment is not for any of us to decide. Stay in your lane and my lane is empathy and love and compassion for someone I’ve called my son for five years. It’s God’s job to judge and it’s ours to love and hope, especially for those that we claim to have loved.”

So much to disassemble.

First, be careful assuming anyone is unable to conceive of “something so unconscious and ugly.” Do we not have daily examples on how creative people can get in behaving badly? With respect to the great Iron Man actor – why was he not chosen for the sequels? — I believe he meant “unconscionable.” Gosh, grammar is hard.

By the way, defendants are found guilty or not guilty. A judge or jury does not decide “judgment [sic] or innocence.” Terrance, work on your spelling, and try a bit of logic.

Can we bury the overused phrase of “staying in your lane”? Note how he admonishes people to stay in their lane but doesn’t say he’ll stay in his. Apparently, his lane is better than yours because he has empathy which — as opposed to sympathy — means he has generally experienced the same thing as Smollett. So, Terrance, is there something you’d like to tell us?

Here comes the kicker…

It’s God’s job to judge and it’s ours to love and hope…”

We can thank the 1960s for this “judge not” BS. It’s true that whether a person’s soul is saved or condemned is God’s job, but how can we get by in life if we don’t know (i.e. judge) good behavior from bad? As it turns out, we have this nifty set of rules called the Ten Commandments. We just need to remember Matthew 7:1:

For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.

Feel free to judge Jussie Smollett for his racist, bigoted, and insulting hate crime hoax. Just don’t do what he did, and don’t beat yourself up about it.

Love and hope, y’all.

Michael Cummings
Michael A. Cummings has a Bachelors in Business Management from St. John's University in Collegeville, MN, and a Masters in Rhetoric & Composition from Northern Arizona University. He has worked as a department store Loss Prevention Officer, bank auditor, textbook store manager, Chinese food delivery man, and technology salesman. Cummings wrote position pieces for the 2010 Trevor Drown for US Senate (AR) and 2012 Joe Coors for Congress (CO) campaigns.