Saturday, May 28, 2011

Loathsome people

Do loathsome people deserve prayer?

Some of you may have heard of a man named Larry Flynt, publisher of the porn magazine Hustler. He was shot and paralyzed from the waist down in 1978 during a court battle on obscenity. He has spent much of his life well beyond the boundaries of taste and decency.

In conformance with his lack of scruples, during a recent interview Flynt said the following about Sarah Palin's refusal to abort her son Trig, who has Down Syndrome:

"She did a disservice to every woman in America. She knew from the first month of pregnancy that kid was going to be Down's Syndrome. It's brain dead. A virtual vegetable. She carries it to all these different political events against abortion; she did it just because she didn't want to say she'd had an abortion."

Beyond the obvious hypocrisy of spewing filth about a handicapped child when he himself is handicapped, there is no possible defense against his loathsome words.

I don't know if he actually believes what he said about Trig -- remember, this is a person who will do anything for attention -- but there's enough evil in his heart that he just might.

Needless to say, the reaction to Flynt's interview has been strong. But after reading it, my husband took a different take.

"How sad," he noted. "Here's a man so separated from God -- by his own choice -- that he has no humanity left in him. He even produces a product, so to speak, that he can't take advantage of. He has sunk so low the only thing to do is pray for him."

I see his point, at least in theory. I just find it hard to pray for someone so loathsome... which just goes to show what a flawed Christian I am.  We are instructed to pray for our enemies, so I'll try to change my tact.

(Husband of the Boss addendum: I'm not so saintly as Patrice seems to be implying. My first thoughts on reading about Flynt's comments included a number of words I learned in the Navy that now appear in my vocabulary only when hitting a finger with a hammer -- and then only if it's a really good hit.

But really. Look at the source. How sad a "man" he is. How frightened he must be. See how many walls he has built to separate himself from the free gifts of God. He's lost so much, mostly due to his own actions. And he's refused (at least till now) the only thing that can return him, at the end, to the perfection that God desires for us all.

So I say, "Pray for Larry Flynt. Pray for Stephen Hawkings, the incredibly brilliant, yet equally handicapped physicist who just publicly denied God's existence. Pray for all the lonely, frightened, foolish people who spurn a free gift already paid for. These men and women are not perfect. Neither are we who know Jesus. But we know that for us death is only a beginning. For those others, nothing awaits but the abyss. And they do believe that.)


  1. Patrice, you are SO right, it IS hard to pray for people like him. BUT that IS what we are called to do in Scripture. Like many things we are called to do, it's not an easy task sometimes. One thing I have to remind myself in cases like this is that God does not have a "sin scale" like man does. He looks down on all of our dirt and it is all at the same level...none greater, none lower...SIN IS sin, your sin, even Larry Flynt's sin. Yikes, if God puts MY sin at the same level as Mr. Flynt's, I have no room to NOT pray for him. Hard as it are right, we must. We are no better than he is, in God's eyes. Still a creation of the King....ALL have sinned.

    Thanks for the reminder!

  2. Different people believe different things, it is what makes us human. Nobody can really say for sure what God is really looking for in a person. Who knows Stephen Hawkings could ask for forgiveness before he dies and he could be up in Heaven with you. No one is actually "lost" until God decides.

  3. I think I might have you beat in the "flawed Christian" department. I'm working on it. It's really hard to pray for someone so despicable, until I remember my own depravity. And it's still hard.

    But I will do it.


  4. Interesting perspective of you, Don!

    It is never too late for both of these men to make an acceptance of the G-d of the Heavens and Earth and to chose to live in a righteous manner.

    It is unfortunate that they both of these men have instead chosen to honor some false deity. One has made millions in scandal sheets and now he is immobilized in his earthly chariot.

    The other man is likewise earthly bound to his his techno-chair, and envisions science as his creator.

    I pray that all men who are bitter,self-centered, angry, confused, and frustrated here on earth, to open up their self-centered hearts, long enough to shout out for help for themselves! Shout and cry out for the only ONE that can heal their souls and heart and earthly loneliness. And G-d, isn't money, job, fame, government, or science!


  5. @Valerie,
    You are so right in what you said. There is no worse or greater sin, in God's eyes a lie is just as bad as murder, because we have broken a law of God with both. I have people I should be praying for, but don't as much as I should because of what they have done to me, my family or others. But with this topic brought up today, I have no excuse not to.

  6. There, but for the grace of God, go I...

  7. I think God wants to see Christ in me and that I become more Christ-like every day. In order to become Christ-like I guess the only way to change me into his image is to put me in a position where I see my own inability to love and forgive; and I have to ask Jesus to be in me what I can't be in myself. I need the eyes of Jesus and I need the heart of Jesus because in myself I have no ability to truly love and care for and pray for anybody and least of all a man like Mr Flynt. If somebody asks me to pray for him/her I could say "yes of course" as a good Christian but I know if my heart isn't in it I will soon forget or loose interest despite my promise; so before I promise to pray for others I need to pray for myself
    "Lord, give me YOUR love and compassion for this man/woman; give me your eyes give me your understanding because I know in a while I will lose heart and lose patience and eventually forget my promise. You have to remind me of this person again and again and please tap on my shoulder when he or she needs special prayer because I know I will fail you in perseverance; so please Lord place this person in my heart as he is in your heart, in Your Name Jesus Amen"

    Ida in Sweden

  8. we have a son with Down Syndrome ... he was the first child with Down Syndrome to meet Sarah on the campaign trail in 2008 ... she wept when she met him, picked him up and played with him for five minutes

    she sees what we see in him when we look in his eyes - God looking back

    Flint gets what he looks for ... hell on earth personified

    do I feel sorry for him? no,

    do I pray for him ... no, I am not that good

    I pray for a world that champions children like my son ...

  9. I'm with you Patrice (and Don). Perhaps my greatest difficulty in being the Christian Jesus would have me be is that my first reaction to evil is pretty much ALWAYS to condemn it and wish for many creative and painful things to befall it. Prayer is a distant second.

    becky3086, you hit the nail on the head, but didn't drive it home. Yes, one of the difficult to swallow aspects of God's grace, as best we understand it, is that no matter the depths of the evil that has ruled you, you will be forgiven of your sins if you accept Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior. And not just lip service - God knows your heart. But for anyone - Mr. Flynt, Mr. Hawking, or myself - to operate on the principal that they might have time to repent at the moment of their death...I'd wager that's a losing strategy. In truth I don't believe any such change is in their cards. Doubt is one thing. Profoundly turning your back on God is something else again.

    Jeff - Tucson

  10. I forwarded your website and column on to a good friend in another state. She suggested that cases such as this fall under Imprecatory Prayer. Imprecatory prayer has long been an issue, in the theological arena, that seems to conflict with Jesus talking of praying for our enemies. Yet, we are warned in the New Testament to shun evildoers. The Old Testament is very clear on God's viewpoint of those who choose evil over faithfulness.

    If we consider the fact that we are given free will and choice it is apparent that the two men in your article have chosen. They have chosen to deny God, to mock believers, and to dismiss the value of God given life.

    However, their true goal, as emissaries of Satan, is to destroy the believers and to attempt to dismantle God's kingdom on earth. So, I guess I'm not sure people such as these are actually classified as enemies or as evildoers; there is a difference.

  11. i try to pray for the generally depraved population just like i pray for anyone else..but i do not believe that mr.flynt or mr. hawking are non - believers. i know what they have said publicly, but no one will really know what they believe until they are on their deathbeds..or think they really are gonna die. then, it is quite common for their first utterances to be "oh, God" my thought is why would someone say those two words if they are non-believers?

  12. Look at that! All except one think they know exactly what God wants. I am sure God is up there laughing.

  13. Don, bless you. You see what Christ sees - people who desperately need Him. It IS right to speak against evil and actions that are evil, but God sees beyond the actions to the individual.

    I had a strange revelation one day that really gave me chills. I realized that all of us are the recipients of God's grace and provision in one way or the other, whether He is believed in or not. Like the parable of the wheat and the chaff, those who rebel against God or deny Him totally, are here on earth with those who have a relationship with Him. That means that for this time on earth, we all get metaphorical "water" and "sunshine" and "fertilizer" which is provided by the Creator. Nonbelievers benefit from being among believers. But there is going to come a time when those who say, "I want no part of God. I do not believe He even exists" are going to get exactly what they demand. No God. No relationship, no creation, no provision, no love, no compassion, no nothing. And at that point, they will be crying out "I've changed my mind!! I've changed my mind!" It will be too late. Yes, we need to be praying for the likes of Larry Flynt and Steven Hawkings that they might recognize that every good thing does come from God.

  14. Jake, I remember hearing about that incident on the campaign trail when Palin met your son. If I recall correctly, she was thrilled to meet her son's "future" -- meaning, what Trig would be like when he was your son's age. Bless you and your son for being the ambassadors.

    - Patrice

  15. "So I say, "Pray for Larry Flynt. Pray for Stephen Hawkings, the incredibly brilliant, yet equally handicapped physicist who just publicly denied God's existence. Pray for all the lonely, frightened, foolish people who spurn a free gift already paid for. These men and women are not perfect. Neither are we who know Jesus. But we know that for us death is only a beginning. For those others, nothing awaits but the abyss. And they do believe that."

    @Husband of the Boss:
    Did it ever occur to you that maybe, just maybe, Stephen Hawkings (and the rest of us who think logically like he does) are NOT lonely, frightened, foolish people in spite of your insistent, self-righteous belief system?

    I'm an engineer. I think logically and deal with facts. I do not for the life of me understand those of you who believe so strongly in the existence of an unproven, unprovable, being. All of you remind me of the "Cargo Cult" islanders during WWII who, having never seen an airplane before, began worshiping a facsimile of an airplane believing it was a god that delivered manna from heaven. (

    They taught their children to believe the same way much as generations of Christians, Jews, Muslims, etc. brainwash their children. Religions have been at the root of more trouble on this earth than just about anything else.

    It disappoints me to no end that otherwise decent, hardworking, apparently intelligent, people such as yourselves continue to propagate this delusion.

    There are millions of non-believers on this earth who are decent, kind, compassionate human beings (Larry Flynt definitely being an exception) who behave a whole lot better than many of the people who profess to believe in a supreme being.

    I fully expect to get slings and arrows tossed my way by your similarly brain-washed readers as they will not like the logic they are forced to confront - that's assuming, of course, that you post my comments.

  16. You shouldn't waste your time praying for Larry Flynt or anyone unless it makes you feel good. Various scientific studies have shown it has no discernible effect on the person prayed for.

  17. Sam:
    Often those who say they are modern and scientific and hard to fool believe just as strongly in something unprovable or even already proved false, as those they mock for their unprovable beliefs.
    Judaism and Christianity have within them rules of behavior which have allowed those following them to survive for a lot longer than the modern world has existed. You say that religion has been the root of trouble. Perhaps this is true. I would say, rather, that people have been the root of trouble, and religion has been as much a tool for them as has been the sword. But some religions and the rules contained within have also been the source of much of our progress. There are reasons that the Bible is opposed to certain practices, such as cannibalism and human sacrifice. That is because in the time they were often practiced, and those tribes that adopted prohibitions prospered. Some might say that the modern world has come about because of the minds and habits created by the philosophies in Judaism and Christianity. Some may be dogmatic about their religions, but I suspect that the nonreligious or irreligious also do not apply a game theory analysis to every moral choice. We may all be somewhat brainwashed, but some of us wash in cleaner water than others.

    You say you expect slings and arrows, but you yourself have slung stones and shot arrows.

  18. Actually, we DO know exactly what God wants. It says so in the Bible. Don't listen to the misinformed and misguided, read the Bible for yourself. John 6:28-29 says: "What shall we do, that we may work the works of God?" Jesus answered and said to them, "This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He sent." The Bible very explicitly tells us exactly what God expects of us. The wicked and sinful try to make it a mockery. There's nothing "scientific" about this, because it is a SPIRITUAL thing, not physical. You either believe and trust in Christ, or you don't. Your reward will come in the next life. Those who won't believe already have their reward: a hardened, arrogant heart full of hate and hypocrisy, with little room for forgiveness and consideration for others.

  19. Sam - I too am a logical person with a love for science. I don't see science & faith as incompatable. I am inspired by the fact that many Judeo-Christian practises where 'science based' long before they understood why these things were necessary. Basically they were given a 'GOD-given set of survival skills'. ie: separating milk from meat, separate tools for both, washing, etc. I have so many other great Bibical science examples I could go on about but so many other people have said it much better than myself (try reading up on scientists of faith) Faith gives me hope, and the knowledge that God has given us the tools, the brains, the smarts to do some amazing things. I know that the doctors who save a child's life are celebrating God's gifts and talents. We have a purpose. I have seen too many smart people who drift without a purpose and I find that sad. The ones who understand they have a God given gift tend to use them towards good!

    Science is a beautiful thing. It's discovering all that God has laid out for us in His creation!


  20. Stuck in CaliforniaMay 29, 2011 at 7:00 AM

    It's difficult to pray for people like this. I remember when I was pregnant with our daughter. I was 40 yrs and my husband was 45yrs. She was a miracle gift to a couple that thought it couldn't happen. When I refused to go through some of the test to see if everything was alright with the baby so "I could make an informed decision" I received mixed responses. One co-worker practically verbally assaulted me. How dare I think about bring an imperfect child into the world, after all it's just a lump of cells. She couldn't/wouldn't even think of doing it. I informed her that one doesn't question God and the gifts he gives. God gave us this child to love and take care of, who was I to question him. Besides, God doesn't give us trials we are not capable of. Is our daughter perfect? Yes, she is! She is physical well, but has high-functioning autism. She is who God wants her to be. Who is am I to question that!
    People like Larry Flynn are so far from God that they cannot see his gifts and miracles. Pray for him? I know I'm suppose to, but when I look at my beautiful daughter and think about people like him that don't think her life is worth anything, I'm not sure I'm that good of a Christian. He is evil and evil is evil, do not call it good and good evil! I'm still working on praying for people that behave like him. May God have mercy on them. I still need more to get where I can.

  21. Patrice

    it was picked up by many news outlets and papers ... folks wrote in about that miracle-moment for months to CO Springs Gazette

    and Sarah said that exactly "this is what Trig will be like! ... he is amazing!" through her tears and happy smiles

    I think it was a far better moment for her than even her acceptance speech

    that event was also marked by many of us Vets passing out flags that the DNC had thrown away after the coronation (DNC nomination in Denver) ... I still have some and would gladly send you one



  22. Patrice & Don - I thank God that you are one more family passing on the reality of the dignity of every single human being to your children. This was a great topic - Jennifer

  23. Just for a moment, I thought Sam & Quedula were one in the same. My mistake, they are apparently of different genders.

    Delia I. of Brighton-by-the-sea

  24. I was raised to understand that faith and reason go hand-in-hand. I think of them as a pair of lenses through which you can see the world. When you look through both of them at the same time like a pair of glasses, the world comes into much greater focus.

    Its funny how logic can actually involve a great deal of faith in the fact that a certain set of steps will produce the exact same result every single time. But, what if there happens to be that one time that it doesn't, even though nothing changed? Or, here's another more common issue; what would happen if you add another step? Will it all come crashing down, or will it create something entirely different? Or, how about using an entirely different set of steps to produce the same result? Just saying...

    Sam, go ahead and live in your uber-logical world, and I will live in my so-called uber-brainwashed one. If we're both happy and productive in the end, does it really matter?


  25. "God is a spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth." (John 4:24) "Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life." (John 5:24) " are unwilling to come to me, that you may have life." (John 5:40)

  26. WOW. Had not heard of this interview. How very sad. Thank you for sharing. Thank you also for being an example of how Christian families are to react to this type of ugliness. :) --S