Cappie’s vengeful God

Speaking of religion and tragedy in Japan, a lot of celebrities should have spoken a little less. In case you missed it, some people have said some stupid things about the tsunami. And some have dragged God into it.

Cappie Pondexter, a WNBA player, was one of those. On Saturday she tweeted: “What if God was tired of the way they treated their own people in there own country! Idk guys he makes no mistakes.”

She followed by using the racist term “jap” and saying: “u just never knw! They did pearl harbor so u can’t expect anything less.”

The ESPN story giving her apology is worth talking about. After providing the background, ESPN quoted Pondexter’s tweets apologizing. Of relevance, she said:

“I wanna apologize to anyone I may hurt or offended during this tragic time,” the tweet said. “I didn’t realize that my words could be interpreted in the manner which they were. People that knw me would tell u 1st hand I’m a very spiritual person and believe that everything, even disasters happen 4 a reason and that God will shouldn’t be questioned but this is a very sensitive subject at a very tragic time and I shouldn’t even have given a reason for the choice of words I used.

So that raised a big question — it’s actually one of the biggest questions about God. It’s the question of theodicy — a topic that comes up quite often in religion-news coverage and, thus, here at GetReligion. It almost deserves its own category in the archives.

As John Hagee learned, this is a tough, tough subject to deal with in the media. But it’s even tougher when the media totally ignores the issue.

ESPN’s response is weak at best. The reporter didn’t try to interpret what Pondexter was saying; he didn’t make any sort of inquiry into whether Christian theology supports Pondexter’s perspective.

He simply quoted a statement from the Anti-Defamation League that references God but mischaracterizes the premise of Pondexter’s statement. The ADL is an anti-discrimination advocacy organization, which is great, but Abe Foxman isn’t a Christian theologian.

So ESPN leaves readers with the impression that Pondexter’s perspective is offensive but presumably not out of touch with what all Christians believe. In fact, many, maybe even most, Christians don’t believe in a retributive God, and the reporter should have taken a moment to find that out and include it in this story.

Folks, that would have taken one or two telephone calls. Tops.

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  • Paul McCain

    Why can’t a person ever just issue a real apology?

    Here is how that would have gone, “Cappie”

    “I want to say I’m sorry to everyone for my stupid remarks. They were wrong, I ask for your forgiveness.”

    That’s an apology. Not, “If my comments offended anyone because you are too stupid to understand, me, I’m sorry for you.”

    That’s what she actually said.

  • slanehill

    A number of thoughts on this…
    This was not a real apology.
    There is a real debate/discussion that needs to be made here. God, in the Bible, does indeed cause disasters to punish or bring people to repentance. A major issue is that, just as with knowing for sure the eternal destiny of any individual, we are not given that information. But can we speculate? I think so, with caution.

    Not to play the “race card” here, but I have noticed that quite a number of African-American young people seem to have been indoctrinated with the idea that they are the victims of racial discrimination/stereotypes, but that they themselves can never be guilty of that offense towards other groups.
    I wonder if this young lady is a “victim” of this mindset.

  • Dave

    Public figures have in the past tried instant theodicy after a massive disaster and wound up with Foot A inserted in Mouth B, word of which goes around the world because it’s great news. Perhaps there could be a Theodicy Time-Out for, say, a week after a calamity. Those who can’t wait could talk about it with God.

  • Ray Ingles

    Brad –

    In fact, many, maybe even most, Christians don’t believe in a retributive God, and the reporter should have taken a moment to find that out and include it in this story.

    Not a bad angle, but it should also be pointed out that the ones who do believe in a retributive God are at the very least a sizeable and vocal minority. (scroll down a bit)

  • Brad A. Greenberg

    No doubt, Ray. The reporter could have, and probably should have, talked to folks from both camps. At the very least, the reporter needed to provide some context.

  • gail

    As a Jew and a Liberty fan, I am shocked at Cappie’s comments and that the Liberty and the WNBA isn’t doing anything about it.

    I believe in creation, and evolution. I believe all the wonderful things about God. But I also believe, shit happens and that God doesn’t control nature. There is a difference between creating and controlling.

  • Will

    Meanwhile, the governor of Tokyo also asserted that the disaster was “divine retribution”

    (Called to attention by