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.