5 God shall likewise destroy you (evil man) forever;
He shall take you away, and pluck you out of your dwelling place,
And uproot you from the land of the living. Selah
6 The righteous also shall see and fear,
And shall laugh at him, saying,
7 “Here is the man who did not make God his strength,
But trusted in the abundance of his riches,
And strengthened himself in his wickedness.”
It is amazing to me the adulatory craze that is being lifted for Kobe Bryant. Now, granted, sudden deaths of anybody on the younger side of life is a sad event. However, it is not healthy for a culture to mourn the wicked except as the mourning represents a sadness that someone has gone into eternity apart from knowing Christ. If we, as Christians, were to take Psalm 52 seriously we might well be laughing at the news of Mr. Bryant’s death. However, here the Psalmist and Scripture is clearly counter-intuitive to our modern sensibilities.
Lets keep in mind that while Mr. Bryant as an athlete excelled on the Basketball court he was hardly a role model by any standard. His own wife accused him of multiple illicit liaisons with women not her. There was also the well known rape allegations against Mr. Bryant which, while not pursued in criminal court, did result in a settlement as a result of civil action by the Colorado woman assaulted. Let’s remember the description given of this violence,
When asked about bruises on the accuser’s neck, Bryant admitted to “strangling” her during the encounter, stating that he held her “from the back” “around her neck”, that strangling during sex was his “thing” and that he had a pattern of strangling a different sex partner (not his wife) during their recurring sexual encounters. When asked how hard he was holding onto her neck, Bryant stated, “My hands are strong. I don’t know.”
This wasn’t a comparatively polite”date rape.” This was gorilla violence in the extreme as a perusal of the account will explain in detail. Let’s be polite and just say it was a few weeks before the victim could sit comfortably for very long.
They used to call Mr. Bryant’s pursuit of multiple paramours “whore-mongering,” but that is no longer polite.
Now, some will object to my mentioning these realities on a few counts. First some will object that “none of us should want to be remembered when we die for our sins,” and, on the whole, all things being equal, who could ever disagree with that? I know I don’t want to be remembered for my sins in life — secret or public.
But not all things are equal here. What is happening via the adulation is that a serial adulterer and rapist is being elevated to some kind of secular saintly status. I object to that strenuously. My objection is augmented by the fact that those media trollops who are spilling all the adulatory ink attempting to elevate Mr. Bryant into a Cardinal in the church are the same media trollops who went apoplectic upon hearing a decades old tape of Trump talking about grabbing females by their femininity! (Kudos to Lea Land for that last sentence.)
Let’s keep in mind, concerning the objection that protests, “none of us should want to be remembered when we die for our sins.”
1.) Kobe if he was Christian was Roman Catholic — ergo not Christian.
2.) If he was repentant I wouldn’t note what is noted above but as lots of rapists die daily I don’t get the adulation of this rapist apart from acknowledging his crime.
3.) If Stalin had confessed Christ after all his mass murders would that mean upon his death it would be unseemly to mention his mass murders — especially if praise was the sound going up upon the news of Stalin’s death?
4.) The guy excelled at putting pigskin as inflated through a circle. He’s a hero for that reason?
I would rather not be remembered for my sin either … UNLESS, the adulation upon my death (I know … unlikely) was so great Christ gets lost in the adulation.
A second objection is that “now is not the time for theological reflections, but rather for allowing people to grieve and to process the death.”
I just disagree that there is ever a time that isn’t proper for theological reflections. The time to stop misdirected adulation is when the adulation is happening. Again, as I said earlier. One can admit that there is always a certain sadness in death. Further, one can acknowledge that such sudden death bring us all face to face with our own mortality. (I suspect a good deal of the public grieving might be connected to this.) However, these realities must not stop us from suggesting, with whatever tenderness and winsomeness we can that it is not proper to praise the wicked dead.
A third objection is that, in terms of the rape case, the female involved was just asking for it and she got what she deserved. Allow me to concede that women can be flirts and that kind of flirtation can lead to all kinds of bad things. However, having said that, even a loose woman who flirts can be raped and at the end of it all rape is rape.
Now, I can hear through the screen, people yelling at me saying the only reason I’m going on and on about this is that I am a racist. On that score, all I can offer is that I would be typing the very same thing if the athlete in question had been named Ben Roethlisberger instead of Kobe Bryant.
Our heroes are a reflection of our culture. Mr. Bryant was no hero.