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.)