The recent Chris Kluwe/Emmett Burns (R-MD) imbroglio, ostensibly about the right of Baltimore Raven’s linebacker Brendon Ayanbadejo to speak his mind regarding gay marriage, got this corespondent thinking. Hunter is intrigued today about the roles that religion and faith play. He thought not about their role in public life, such as in Mr. Burn’s responsibilities as a Maryland House delegate, but in our lives as individuals.
Your corespondent began to wonder: what kind of twisted thinking allowed Delegate Burns to believe he had either the right or responsibility to pop off in typical controlling, Ministerial fashion against Brendon Ayanbadejo? What form of twisted ethic allows Burns to believe that GOD would approve of Burns’ actions?
We are called to love the sinner whether or not we can justify his particular ‘sin’. In writing to the owner of the Ravens, Delegate Emmett Burns sought to shut up an individual with whom he disagreed with politically. If Burns were successful in either forcing ( the implicit threat of political pressure is a form of force) a muzzle on Ayanbadejo or getting him fired (as often happens during public controversies such as these) does Burns believe GOD’s will would have been done – via the noble and moral Emmett Burns?
Hunter will not dare to assume he has a clue what action GOD would or would not have wanted Mr. Burns to take, if any. It is clear that Mr. Burns’ political and moral sensibilities were tweaked by Ayanbadejo’s public support and advocacy for gay marriage. What were Mr. Burn’s – a Christian – options? Hunter knows he himself would not have used a public office so disingenuously and deceitfully.
No doubt the honorable Mr. Burns presumed that, as has often happened in the past in these situations, the recipient of his letter would have ‘kept this just between us boys, no need to stir things up’. No doubt Mr. Burns believed the recipient of his letter would fear the ‘scandal’ of publicity and would act accordingly.
No doubt Delegate Burns understood that the targets of his actions, Ayanbadejo and Raven’s owner Steven Bisciotti, would recognize the influence that Burn’ office holds in terms of ‘investments’ for the Ravens from the State. No doubt that were it not for Chris Kluwe calling out Mr. Burns so publicly – and so eloquently – Bisciotti might well have called Ayanbadejo to the carpet.
No doubt the embattled linebacker might have been tempted to become silent – if his boss did not feel so intimidated as to fire him.
No doubt Mr. Burns knew this and presumed both would act accordingly.
No doubt he feels justified.
After all, it isn’t like he ‘used’ the mechanism of the State – he didn’t, after all, write a law that would shut up a private citizen or control a private business such as the Ravens. The honorable Mr. Burns just ‘chatted’ with another private citizen about the ‘scandalous nature’ of a players comments.
‘Nothing to see here, lets move along to business’.
It isn’t as if Burns took a step out of his role as an elected official and, believing that he had put on his other hat as minister – as a moral influence for the ‘collective good’ – simply let his religion ‘inform’ his political actions.
The right good reverend, remembering his place as an elected official (yet forgetting that pesky freedom of speech of individuals) ironically enough ignored his role as minister. He sought to influence – not convince – two individuals. He did this under cover of darkness in a letter that was nothing short of political intimidation. Aren’t the faithful called to persuade and to evangelize rather than bully?
The Mr. Burns’ of the world are the reason that so many are turned off by religion and fear the affect mixing faith and politics has on free speech. Our founders felt the same way – thus the First Amendment.
The Mr. Burns’ of the world give the faithful a bad name.
Though Hunter would not presume to guess what GOD would have wished for the Burns’ of the world to do, he sure as hell knows that Burns did not walk in Christ’s footsteps when he wrote that letter.
Hunter imagines a scenario: Jesus (or Burns, in Christ’s stead) in loving support of Brendon Ayanbadejo’s right to speak his mind, calls Ayanbadejo or writes to him – personally – from one man to another. He speaks to him as a Man of God about the will and love of the father. Burns encourages Ayanbadejo to form his own judgment on God’s will for him.
In his role ministering to Ayanbadejo Burns suggests to the linebacker he pray for guidance. Burns reminds him that forming judgments, making decisions and, where appropriate, speaking our minds while accepting responsibility for our actions – is what adults do.
Minister Burns took a shortcut and acted as Delegate Burns. The freedoms of Ayanbadejo, the personal integrity of the owner of the Ravens, the informed consent of Mr. Burns’ constituents, and Constitutional principles that protect all of these folks, could have potentially been sacked by Burns’ foolishness were it not for Chris Kluwe.
Pity Burns forgot 1 Corinthians 13:11
When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.
Pity Mr. Burns chose to be so childish as to assume he could sneak around the free speech of two individuals and thought it irrelevant that he very well could have caused one of those individuals to lose his job – a young man he never met and cannot know the heart of – a man who acted in good faith on Constitutional principles.
Burns hardly showed love for the man.
Pity Emmett believed his role as an elected official trumped his role as a man of God.
Chris Kluwe called Mr. Burns out. Kluwe was the adult in the room. Hunter thanks God for the Chris Kluwe’s of the world and prays for the Emmett Burns’.
Pray for Mr. Emmett C. Burns (R- Md). Emmett has much growing up to do.
The citizens of Maryland – and the folks whom Emmett ministers to – deserve adults to lead the way and to guide their steps. Pray that GOD will help Emmett grow and learn.