As We Forgive?
By Patrick F. Cannon
“Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.” You may remember this noble sentiment from the Lord’s Prayer. It’s a concept ingrained in Christian theology. No less a personage than Jesus Christ taught that if the sinner repents, and promises to sin no more, he can be forgiven.
In this supposed Christian nation, God may still forgive the sinner, but almost no one else does. In a recent instance, 27-year-old Alexi McCammond – herself an African-American — was forced to resign as editor of Teen Vogue for tweets she had posted 10 years before as a teen-age student. Some of them involved snarky remarks about Chinese fellow students and teaching assistants, so were deemed racist. Apparently, 17-year-old girls cannot be forgiven for being immature, even if they apologize later, as Ms. McCammond predictably did. Maybe Christianity Today will give her a job. She can forget about the New York Times.
By the way, that august newspaper is among those calling for New York Governor Andrew Cuomo to resign. No more hypocritical than most politicians, Cuomo is accused of making unwelcome advances to young women, including some on his staff. Instead of giving the old coot a hearty slap on the face, or just telling him to act his age, they apparently make mental note of his transgressions until a braver woman comes forward publicly, then come out of the woodwork to pile on. By the way, Cuomo is a 63-year-old divorced man, old enough, I guess, to be considered a dirty old man.
So far, he has refused to resign. If he does, it should be for fudging Covid nursing home death figures, not for being an idiot with women. After all, the country was happy to elect two serial sex offenders – Bill Clinton and Donald Trump – to its highest office. Talk about hypocrisy! I would guess that some of my readers voted for at least one of them in full knowledge of their sexual proclivities.
Man’s inevitable sexual urges are now an issue in many now unforgiveable acts. Poor Charlie Rose was accused of luring women to his lair for immoral purposes and has all but disappeared from view. One day, the Charlie Rose Show; the next, reruns of Mister Rogers. Then there’s comedian Louis CK, who got his jollies by exposing himself and masturbating in front of bemused and/or appalled women. Pathetic, surely. Career ending? Why? He has apparently gone back to work. If he’s still funny, it should be OK to laugh at his jokes, just as people seem to enjoy Picasso’s work, despite his appalling treatment of women.
As far as I can tell, none of these men committed an illegal act. If they did, why haven’t they been handcuffed and hauled off to the pokey? Being boorish and stupid has only ever been against the law of good taste, which is violated every day in every way by both sexes. Men who have crossed the line – Harvey Weinstein and Bill Cosby come to mind – have ended up in prison, as they should have.
In the spirit of forgiveness, I’m even willing to offer absolution to Donald Trump, provided he admits his many sins, and promises to be better in the future. I concede I’m unlikely ever to be required to honor my generous offer. Who have you forgiven lately?
Copyright 2021, Patrick F. Cannon
5 thoughts on “As We Forgive?”
I have forgiven many throughout my life and I see where you are going with this post. Only God is our ultimate judge and only his forgiveness matters in my eyes. As a sexual assault survivor and victim of other abuses at times during my work life, I cannot forgive the people that hurt me. Try not to think of it as canceling as it will remain in the cosmos for eternity as nothing is truly canceled. What I don’t get is these sympathizers that cry out about Cancel culture when they themselves are the same people trying to cancel peoples right to choose…Thank you for sharing your thoughts with the world. Have a great day.
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To err is human, to forgive divine.
At least, that’s what Alexander Pope said, and he wasn’t even a pope.
I forgive him.
Ability and character rarely go hand in hand. Sometimes people lacking in ability try to make up for it with proper behavior. And no doubt, people with ability try their best to behave themselves.*
(*Amusing reflexive construction. Whom did you behave yesterday? I behaved myself.)
But being good must be a repressive experience, judging by how rare character and good judgment are in public life. As rare as Mike Pence, former Vice President. He dined with no woman unless his wife was present. He became an object of ridicule in the press. Something must be wrong with him. Maybe he lacks ability. Maybe he needs her to cut his food.
This reminds me of a Trump joke. Someone asks him how he can sleep at night, after his harmful decisions. He replies, “Naked and with a super model.”
Each of us is born with the capacity for bad judgment. Some of us live up to our potential more than others. Most times, a wrong choice or surrender to impulse just makes those of us with a conscience feel ashamed or ridiculous. Other times, yielding to instinct makes some of us feel justified and fulfilled. We read of such people daily.
The Christian ethic defines right and wrong. Humans err, but God forgives. And so should we, to the best of our abilities. We should treat others as an end, not a means. But without the ethic or a higher court, as Machiavelli noted, an act is judged only by its result. This is the case in politics, and commonly in business (where it is known as “maximum legal ripoff”). Win an election by cheating, or make billions of dollars by destroying your competitors? You are a success.
Whether it is a personal wrong or a national one, people can forgive. But they don’t forget, and when the right moment comes around…..gotcha!
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Despite our best intentions, most folks have some things they just can’t forgive. I can understand that. I have a few myself.
And I thought only Italians held vendettas, haha.
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How about the Corsicans, but I guess they’re actually Italians. And who holds longer grudges than the Irish?