I am going to be controversial today and most likely I will lose readers because of what I am about to say. I am bothered by the Bill Cosby issue immensely because of the emotions, the fabrications, the greed, the dishonesty that influence the situation.
In this post I am going to use a text because Mr. Cosby and his accusers are not exempt from Jesus’ message to the Pharisees. His words apply to this issue.
3 The scribes and the Pharisees *brought a woman caught in adultery, and having set her in the center of the court, 4 they *said to Him, “Teacher, this woman has been caught in adultery, in the very act. 5 Now in the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women; what then do You say?” 6 They were saying this, testing Him, so that they might have grounds for accusing Him. But Jesus stooped down and with His finger wrote on the ground. 7 But when they persisted in asking Him, He straightened up, and said to them, “He who is without sin among you, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.” 8 Again He stooped down and wrote on the ground. 9 When they heard it, they began to go out one by one, beginning with the older ones, and He was left alone, and the woman, where she was, in the center of the court. 10 Straightening up, Jesus said to her, “Woman, where are they? Did no one condemn you?” 11 She said, “No one, [a]Lord.” And Jesus said, “I do not condemn you, either. Go. From now on sin no more.”]
One of the problems with modern western society is that the court of public opinion carries more weight and influence than a real court of law. people are vilified and executed on a regular basis simply because a group of people decided to shout loud and long about some event or action they decided they did not like. With the advent of twitter, social media and the internet, this has become a grave problem, especially for the rich and famous.
The court of public opinion has gained a lot of traction but it is not a new invention. It has been around for a long time and is more popularly known as ‘kangaroo courts’ and ‘vigilante justice’. We see in the above passage that those ideas were not new in Jesus’ day and were practiced when needed. How are Christians to look at Mr. Cosby, his actions and his accusers?
First, we need to take the blinders off to see clearly what is really taking place. Those of us who are without sin, can fire a stone at him but I highly doubt that any of us could toss the first stone. So we need to see ourselves as not judges of the man leaping to the defense of a woman’s honor, or in this case 20+women’s honor. But there is a problem with that action as well because women lie. Women are not immune from sinful acts and many are not above lying to get money or ‘hurt’ someone because their sexual experience was bad or their male friend did not have the character enough to fulfill his promises to them.
Women do lie about being raped:
So what’s the answer? Do women lie about rape? According to Joanne Archambault, a former sex crimes unit supervisor, the answer is fairly simple: “[False reports] are not a problem. They happen, but they’re not a problem.” Research has shown that only roughly 2 to 8 percent of rape reports are untrue (http://msmagazine.com/blog/2011/04/07/do-women-lie-about-rape/)
However, in challenging what author and law professor Susan Estrich has called “the myth of the lying woman,” feminists have been creating their own counter-myth: that of the woman who never lies. (http://www.slate.com/articles/double_x/doublex/2014/09/false_rape_accusations_why_must_be_pretend_they_never_happen.html)
In 2009, New Yorker William McCaffrey was released after serving four years of a 20-year prison sentence for a rape his friend Biurny Peguero had made up to explain her injuries from a fight with several women. In 2012 a Michigan man, James Grissom, was freed after nearly 10 years in prison when the woman who accused him, Sara Ylen, was caught making another false allegation (and faking cancer to bilk money from insurance companies and sympathetic donors).(Ibid)
If we are to believe those statistics, and they are from women friendly sites, then maybe we can cut down the list of Mr. Cosby’s accusers to maybe 19 or 20 women but that still seems high given the lack of physical evidence presented by the accusers. This brings up another point for believers. We cannot just blindly take someone’s word for an event. There must be some evidence of a crime before any judging of a man is commenced. As you notice by the last quote, many men have been falsely imprisoned simply on the word of a woman and that is not justice.
Even though we want to give the rape victim justice, we must go according to the rules of justice and honesty or the accused does not receive justice at all and when one person does not receive it, then no one has it. We need to get to the truth and not let our emotions or desires to help the stricken woman interfere with that quest. getting to the truth sometimes means disappointing the accusers, as you see in the passage above.
The Pharisees wanted to trap Jesus into making a mistake but he turned the tables by pointing out the criteria to be a judge. One must be sinless and no human obtains that status which is why we have the verse
Do not judge, and you will not be judged; and do not condemn, and you will not be condemned; pardon, and you will be pardoned (Lk. 6:37)
We are not judges of others. We do not get swayed by the court of public opinion or the amount of accusers. We look for the truth, we look for the real evidence, we do not interpret what evidence we find but search for the truth about it and apply the real meaning. This brings up a problem for the women. Not one to date, has been able to produce one shred of evidence to support their accusations. Mr. Cosby’s admission that he bought drugs to give to women for sex is not evidence that he gave the drugs to the 20+ accusing him nor is it evidence that they did not consent to cheating with him or that he intended to rape them. This point is backed up by Mrs. Cosby’s latest words:
Camille still doesn’t believe that Bill provided drugs and had sex with women without their consent,” said a source employed by the Cosby family. “She’s well aware of his cheating, but she doesn’t believe that her husband is a rapist.” (http://nypost.com/2015/07/12/bill-cosbys-wife-says-accusers-consented-to-drugs-and-sex/)
Believers need to see past the emotion, the stories, the lies and not leap to conclusions because there are 20 accusers pointing the finger. The number of accusers does not make a man guilty of a crime. We believers should be cautious on this issue of justice because one of our beloved figures, Joseph, was wrongfully accused, and their was ‘evidence’ at the time of the accusation. We do not jump on the bandwagon because a majority of people have or because the crime is a very heinous. No matter what the crime, no matter the age of the victim, believers need to side with the truth and go with that.
I am not going to pretend that I know the motivation behind the accusations but one thing that i will say is that the criteria used for believing the women over the truth is tainted with very subjective and immaterial ideas. Case in point is a response I got from a comment I made at the following website:
The response was:
Perhaps she has the respect to believe the women who have spoken out and shared their stories
Well ‘respect’ is not criteria for determining whether or not someone is telling the truth. “Respect’ can get in the way of getting to the truth and it can pervert justice. I am sure many former church members can point to incidents in their lives where ‘respect’ was used to deny them from receiving honest and just results to sins committed against them by ‘respected church leaders.
To prove that Mr. Cosby intended to rape these women is going to be very difficult and here is one reason why:
The women that lie ruin it for those who don’t.
Plus these allegations are decades old and none of the accusations demonstrate intent on Mr. Cosby’s part. Believers cannot afford to be influenced one way or the other, they need to see the true picture if they are going to bring God’s justice to an issue as tough as this. Then they need to learn to apply it to all people, even those who are not as beloved as Mr. Cosby.
Yet there is one more thing to this issue that needs to be pointed out and it is the other underlined verses:
10 Straightening up, Jesus said to her, “Woman, where are they? Did no one condemn you?” 11 She said, “No one, [a]Lord.” And Jesus said, “I do not condemn you, either. Go. From now on sin no more.”]
Mr. Cosby, if he makes it through this mess, needs to go and sin no more. He needs to truly seek repentance and forgiveness from God and allow himself to be made a new creation and then do as God instructs. We believers need to treat Mr. Cosby as Christ would want. We recognize the fact that the past cannot be changed and that if God forgives him then we accept him as he is, a repentant sinner.
The same applies to Mr. Cosby’s accusers. If they are found to be lying then they too must repent and seek forgiveness from God for their role and words in all of this. At no time are we allowed to condemn the man or his accusers. The accusers are not exempt from any sins committed in their pursuit of this action. Nor are their lawyers.
BUT it is up to the believer to stand up and say something for NO ONE else will. They are too busy taking sides and are in need of true leadership as the court of public opinion influences many and that is something we believers cannot tolerate. if we want justice when people accuse us, then we need to speak out for true justice for everyone not just the victims. Justice swings both ways and it is for the lowest of low people as it is for the richest and it is for the most vile offender as it is for the innocent. Both inside and outside of the Church.