In case you haven’t heard, Michael Jackson died. Yes, it sucks, and I am actually having moments of sadness lately in knowing that Michael will never recover from the scandal that plagued the majority of his career. But alas, life moves on.
Last night I had myself a date, or more of an outing with a friend from the past. This is a girl I met over a year ago, and we hadn’t seen one another for a while so we arranged to get together to hang out a bit. Nothing dastardly, go watch a movie, have some drinks, and basically just kill some time together.
Where the plot thickens my friends is that this girl is a serious Christian. For those of you that know me well, or have been following this blog I know you’re already laughing and looking forward to the rest of this story. God bless you.
For those in the cheap seats, this is funny because I am a very secular guy. I don’t say there isn’t a God, I basically don’t discuss it. I just find its a moot point. As for religion, I’m not a fan. So the fact that this girl and I are friends at all is rather remarkable in its own right, especially since its like she comes to hang out with me just to argue and make snide christ-y comments as if at any moment I’ll break down into tears about how she’s saved me and I’ve seen the light. I find it kind of funny. Like when it comes up that I am not drinking for 30 days, she says (all quotes in this article are as accurate as possible yet not verbatim of course), “Is it because you’ve never given up anything for lent so you feel the need to make up for it now?”
This is where I quite correctly respond, “Or maybe I’m just able to make my own decisions instead of taking orders from the church. Besides, I do give up something for lent every year: church.”
Its this back and forth that is quite possibly why I also enjoy hanging out with her. For the sake of this post, and because at one point last night I called her Sister Mary Agnes, let’s call my friend “Mary”.
Mary and I had some time to kill before the movie so we jumped into a restaurant to have a few drinks. Her with a vodka something and myself with a huge barrel sized mug of soda water and lime. I guess at restaurants if you don’t drink they want to make it known to everyone around you. Thanks Kelseys.
We start our conversation on the benign and it leads into Michael Jackson, not sure how. It might be because it was on the news, or someone was talking about it, or more possibly, because its all I have spoken about since I heard he died. So as we begin, I mention a few of the songs that I like and how I think Michael Jackson is the last great musical icon I believe we’ll ever see in our lifetime. I continue to stating its too bad in the past ten years he’s been dragged through the mud by the media.
At this point, I’m not even sure I was even speaking to her or just speaking out loud to affirm my love of Michael to the world(this must be my grieving process). Then its at this point that the conversation takes a turn for the worst.
“I don’t know how anyone could ever possibly idolize a person like Michael Jackson after what he did to those children” and she said a person as if we had just been discussing Ted Bundy or Osama Bin Laden.
At this point I thankfully thought, WWMJD, and decided against pouring my drink on her and I would instead listen to her point on the matter.
Mary’s position was that Michael Jackson erased all of the good will with his music and charity throughout the world because of what he did to those children. In her mind Michael’s guilt of child molestation was as sure to her as god sitting on a cloud answering everyone’s prayers. She cited this view because of two factors; Michael had the children sleep in the same bed as him when they stayed over, and because Michael decided to settle the matter out of court. This was the basis of her entire argument.
My side of the story, is that there was an extensive and inconclusive investigation in which Michael was violated through a strip search and both the ONE boy who claimed molestation/sexual abuse and his father were questioned. The child’s father Evan Chandler was at one point quoted as saying, “If I go through with this, I win big-time. There’s no way I lose. I will get everything I want and they will be destroyed forever…Michael’s career will be over”. Hardly the statement of a concerned parent.
Yet still, all of this is beside the point. There are many reasons why settling out of court was MJ’s best course of action, but at best there is a 50/50 chance that he was guilty. And though it was very difficult for me, I did concede that yes, it is possible that Michael was guilty. Personally, I don’t think so, but again, that’s just my opinion.
My final point to Mary was that even if Michael was indeed very guilty of molesting this one child, I still don’t think it comes close to undoing all of the joy, hope, and goodwill he inspired throughout the world. And all the good he could have done was cut short and pulled down because of one greedy bastard father (who got $200 million by the way), and a blood thirsty media and society more interested in tearing down their idols than getting to the actual truth.
Now at this point, out of nowhere, Mary decided to somehow start comparing Michael Jackson to Jesus. Seriously. This blew my mind in a “WTF?!?!” sort of way. But once we got back on track, Mary finished off her argument saying that no matter what Michael Jackson had done throughout his career or no matter his own broken life, the fact that he (allegedly) abused this child (“children” to her) he is an evil evil person and she just cannot forgive him.
You really gotta love the black and white opinions of some of these religious people. Never any gray area. Birth control? Bad. Gays? Evil. Abortion? Murder! I guess it does make life easier when you don’t have to think critically about anything outside your own argument. I admit, I’m envious.
However, within Mary’s absolute condemning of the evil supposed child molesting Michael Jackson, there was one massive, and equally hilarious flaw in her logic which I was more than happy to point out to her.
I smiled at this realization, and took a nice long sip from my barrel of water before beginning.
I started, “Mary, so you’re saying, that no matter how much good will Michael Jackson has done for the world, just because he, in your eyes, molested these ‘children’, he is evil and it is impossible to look at him as anything but a monster? Its unforgivable?” I gleefully awaited her obvious response.
“Exactly” she said.
“The only thing that I am now having trouble with, is how you can condemn and shame a man forever who was never proven to be guilty, but you can stand by an organization like the Catholic Church who have, through active choice and deceit, definitely and quite smugly molested and sexually abused young boys for the past century? Not only is it an absolute hard fact that the priests throughout the Catholic Church have ruined the childhood of THOUSANDS AND THOUSANDS of children but they have actively covered it up and protected these vile, disgusting men, effectively allowing them to continue. Michael Jackson allegedly molested one child. The Catholic Church has definitely ruined the lives of thousands of children, and that’s just Ireland”
In all honesty, I’m not crystal clear on what Mary said after that. but she somehow missed my entire point regarding her irony of her unconditional love for the catholic church, and then proceeded to claim that since I thought Michael Jackson was still an amazing icon and worthy of idolizing I was in favour of child abuse.
It was like my entire mention of the connection between the catholic church, child abuse and her idolizing of the Pope and catholicism never happened. It was truly amazing. Now that my friends, along with the fact that Mary and I, managed to watch a movie and still have a nice evening after that discussing was indeed a miracle.
As for Michael Jackson, may he rest in peace, and may the spirit of his music, his memory, and his message of love, acceptance and understanding, continue to inspire all of us.