I remembered a funny Valentine’s Day story this morning.
One year, a couple days before Valentine’s Day, my friend, Tom, found himself wandering the aisles at Wal-Mart, trying to find the perfect box of candy for his wife when he experienced an epiphany of sorts. He suddenly realized that, rather than buying that large sampler box of chocolates on the 12th, if he waited until February 15th, he could get the large and perfect box of candy for 90% off. I think you already know how this story ended. Not well. His foolish choice, no matter how much it seemed like a good idea at the time, required quite a bit of effort and crow-eating to be undone.
I could not help thinking of the Kevin Swanson debacle of the past week as we recalled my friend’s dilemma. Kevin has made an obvious mistake, actually much more than a mistake, and he needs to make it right. We are still waiting.
Since I blogged about this, along with dozens of others, I have read both in my comments here as well as on my FB page and on several other places around the web, a reoccurring theme that includes these ideas:
Kevin might have spoken prematurely.
Kevin spoke off the top of his head and didn’t mean to say what he said.
Kevin is a pastor and that means we must give him a pass.
We are not to judge
We are not to name names.
“etc, etc, etc,” as the King of Siam might say.
This is what I think:
Kevin writes, records, and publishes a regular podcast. He has the capability, not to mention responsibility, to edit what he or his guests have said to be certain he is clear in what they all say. At the beginning of every podcast interview I do, I explain to my guests what to expect and how to correct something they have said that they would like to reword. I tell them that we are more than willing to edit at their request because we want them to be satisfied with how they come across. Since Kevin is a professional speaker, that is, one who receives money to talk, he knows how important this is. As in the foolish comments Voddie Baucham made about older men “needing the attention of younger women,” there is no room to say “he spoke prematurely” or “off the top of his head;” when something is produced and edited and published for public consumption; the only correct response is to acknowledge it was meant to be said.
It is also not the fault of the listeners; we did not misunderstand. Why do so many people who should know better try to pull this excuse from their hats? When Passionate Housewives Desperate for God was first published, its authors, Jennie Chancey and Stacy McDonald, asked if I would give them podcast time on my blog to correct “my misunderstandings” of what they had written since many people took away from their books things that they claimed they did not mean to say. I had “mischaracterized them” I was told. Apparently enough people responded similarly since a while back they announced that they are rewriting their book to “clarify” those misunderstandings.
I personally think that if you are “misunderstood” so many times, you should find another profession other than “communicator.”
Kevin has a history of making these outrageous statements and I have yet to see him apologize, explain with integrity, or recant them. In fact, someone recently pointed out to me that he seems to enjoy being the “Howard Stern” of homeschooling radio! To support his idea that it is a sin for girls to attend college, he claimed that girls who go to college “will sell their flesh cheap in the market place” and “will have two abortions by the time they are 30.” Regarding same sex unions, he has recently said “What’s happening is they want homosexuals to be able to be involved in adoption and foster care as much anybody else. So picture a nice little home-school family, just trying to do the right thing. An anonymous tip comes in, social services swoops in, they grab the kids in the year 2022, and the kids get remanded into a home with homosexuals, and these particular homosexuals happen to be tied into NAMBLA and other things.” And, of course, he has waxed eloquent about the evils of Sunday school and non family integrated churches, which he believes are not “biblical.” (See my podcast series on the Family Integrated Church movement.) He was also part of the homeschooling “leadership” that organized and shaped the 2009 Homeschool Leadership Summit in Indianapolis where part of the declared agenda is to see that all public schools are closed, DCFS is abolished, all daughters remain at home until given in marriage, and all homeschooling families are members of Family Integrated churches. This latest statement about the birth control pill is only one in a series of irresponsible declarations that could have been edited and can still be repented of…..if he truly wanted to do so, if they weren’t actually what he meant to say. And the fact that he is a pastor in good standing in the OPC makes it even more imperative that he do so!
A couple days ago, Kevin revisited the birth control pill topic on his blog by sharing some information from Randy Alcorn on what the birth control pill’s actual function is in order to prevent the birth of a live baby. Alcorn’s research is accurate in that birth control pills do serve only as a means to prevent conception by suppressing ovulation but they also are potential abortificients in that they do cause the lining of the uterus to thin and change to prevent implantation. A few years ago I researched all the websites of manufacturers of birth control pills and every single one listed this aspect of the pill. This is also the position in a well respected textbook for ob-gyn doctors. I also asked my own gynecologist if this was true and he admitted that it is. There is the potential for break through ovulation and thus a child could be aborted in the process. As one doctor put it, it is like “playing Russian roulette.” To not admit this is just as wrong as the crazy talk Kevin has done. His follow-up statements are not being taken seriously because he still has not given any “original source” information nor has he owned up to the fact that he has not.
Coming back to my thoughts on Valentine’s Day: integrity, honesty, transparency, sensitivity…these are all things I would expect from a Valentine, from someone who loves me. Can I not expect the same from a fellow believer who is commanded to love one another? I think so.