“There is no good and evil, there is only power and those too weak to seek it.”
― J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone
In Luke 16, the Bible relates the story of a rich man and of a poor man named Lazarus. The rich man, who remains unnamed, has a life of luxury, filled with good things. However, when he dies, he is sent to to hell, a place of eternal suffering. Lazarus is a beggar, a man whose days are spent sitting at the rich man’s gate, sick, hungry, and afflicted, hoping to survive on that which the rich man considers garbage. Lazarus, too, dies, but he is transported by the angels to heaven, to paradise.
One of the very unique things about the Judeo-Christian tradition is its value on the individual. People are individually responsible to follow God irrespective of one’s station in life, however, regardless of one’s ‘lowliness’, each is called to be a valued individual, worthy not just of a name, but also to be called a son of God. From the perspective of a rich person, this may be shocking, but from the perspective of the lowly, this is absolutely life-changing; that one’s worth is figured in relationship to God, rather than in the utility to someone else. The wicked twist this to mean that the masters will inflict Christianity on their servants to ensure compliance, but not see that for those who are weak, obedience is not necessarily to the worldly master, but to God, which is a condition that evil people cannot tolerate. For them, they believe that the world is as described in the Harry Potter quote above, unable to understand that there are many people who are stronger in their ‘weakness’ than can ever be rationally understood.
(Tangentally, these posts touch on similar themes: Challenging a licentious society didn’t imprison women; it freed them. from Bookwormroom and We did the sexual revolution once before. It didn’t go well. byEric Metaxas – via Breakpoint/LifeSiteNews.)
This all brings me to a story in the news the last few days. Last week, somebody came by and destroyed Donald Trump’s star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. It turns out that the culprit was a rich, middle-aged, white man by the name of James Otis. Otis is heir to the fortune of Otis Elevators. While technically, he faces large fines and jailtime for this destruction, he has no problem paying the best lawyers to get him the best deal to avoid any serious trouble. He can smugly lecture the public about his reasons for doing what he did, but in fact, he showed no bravery doing so because he knows there will be few personal repercussions for it.
Contrast this to a poor, homeless, black woman, who, now that the star has been repaired, has taken it upon herself to ‘guard’ Mr. Trump’s star. She has been ridiculed for ‘defending’ a rich, white man, she has been harassed and demeaned for her actions, not just to the point of words, but to the point where people have laid hands on her and have destroyed some of the very few possessions that she has. Who is the one showing courage here? One of the people harassing her even videotaped some of what this woman has been put through, probably to ridicule her even further, to ‘prove’ that she is crazy, then, when faced by a backlash in comments and such, cluelessly posts that he’s closing comments because he’s been lambasted as a bully. Who’s crazy here?
And while I can’t claim that this woman is Lazarus, I am struck by the parallels here, that it is the rich man who can flaunt his iniquity for, but the poor person who suffers for holding the ‘wrong’ opinion. In secular understanding, the rich man is the one who has ‘won’, but for those of us who refuse to submit to secular understanding, we know that this woman, in her filth and ‘ignorance’, displays a dignity and spirit that this rich man could never imagine.