By Raynard Jackson
I have been delaying writing this column for more than a year, but in light of recent developments, I have finally decided to address the issue of Christianity and celebrity.
Last year, actress Meagan Good created a controversy when she wore an extremely revealing blue dress at the BET Music Awards show. The dress was low cut and she was wearing no bra. Let’s just say, her “twins” were having a moving experience and were filled with excitement, if you get my drift.
I must admit, she looked exceedingly gorgeous in the dress. I have always viewed her as one of the few actresses in Hollywood who carried herself like a lady. I often tell girls, “You are a woman because of your age (18 or 21, depending on the state), but you are a lady because of your behavior.” Meagan is definitely a lady in my eyes.
BET asked Good to present the award for best gospel artist during the show, so I assume she wanted to get attention for her outfit, which is pretty common in Hollywood, and attention she did get. Meagan has always professed her Christianity in public and had recently married Devon Franklin, a Sony Pictures executive and Seventh Day Adventist pastor.
Her attire set off a firestorm of criticism on social media, with many saying her dress was inappropriate for someone who claimed to be a Christian, married to a preacher, and presenting a gospel award.
Good went to her Instagram to respond, “…I’m not any less holy because the dress I wore—I may not be who people think I should be—but I’m morphing into exactly who God wants me to be… My excuse is never ‘I’m going to do me’ and I don’t feel that I need to make an excuse or defend or what I wore .. I know I have a responsibility—and I’m working daily to fulfill the full potential of all God has created me to be…”
A similar controversy is brewing about Christine Vest. She is a wanna-be gospel singer who recently had a baby by Dwight Howard, center for the Houston Rockets of the N.B.A. Her only claim to fame is getting pregnant by Howard. Howard is rumored to have up to five children by five women over six years (no one really seems to know the real number). So much for his Christianity.
People have been calling her out for having a kid out of wedlock while calling herself a gospel singer. As with Good, Vest didn’t take too kindly to the criticism and lashed out at her critics. She vented on her Instagram, “I’m sorry, but I just have to address all the…people…that consider ‘having a child out of wedlock’ a ‘sin.’ Having fornication is the sin, people. FORNICATION…If you want to rebuke me for fornicating, thanks, but I have repented already.”
Allow me to proffer some unsolicited advice and counsel to Good, Howard and Vest as a fellow Christian and graduate of Oral Roberts University.
If you publicly profess to be a Christian, then people automatically and rightfully expect you to comport yourself in a certain manner. It has nothing to do with judging you or about degrees of sin (fornication vs, lying, etc.). Proclaiming to be a Christian used to conjure up a lot of very positive images—trustworthy, loving, caring, modest, etc. Now we have gangsta Christian rap music, we have Christian punk rockers, and Christian nude models, etc. It’s hard to distinguish Christians from sinners.
Mrs. Good, how do you justify appearing in public in a dress where everyone can see your twins in a state of arousal? Mr. Howard, how do you justify all these babies outside of marriage? Ms. Vest, how do you justify being a gospel singer and having sex without a condom if you just want to keep it strictly on the health tip?
In a way, they are paying you all a compliment because the public’s reaction to your behavior is a testament to how the world used to view Christians and Christianity. They expected certain behavior that was beyond reproach.
Each of your reactions show how far Christians and Christianity have fallen from the standards of the past.
Meagan, “Let not then your good be evil spoken of (Romans 14”6);” Dwight, “There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death (Proverbs 14:12);” Christine, “All things are lawful unto me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any (1 Corinthians 6:12).”
Meagan, yes, you have a right to wear whatever you choose, but remember you have a responsibility to represent the best of Christendom. Or, as Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 13:11, “When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.
Dwight you came into the NBA talking about being a witness for Christ to your teammates; maybe now it’s time for someone to be a witness to you.
Christine, I don’t think people are trying to judge you rather than to remind you that just because you feel you can doesn’t necessarily mean you should.
Each of you injected your Christianity into the public arena, therefore is it not reasonable for them to expect you to live up to what it means to be a Christian?
Raynard Jackson is president & CEO of Raynard Jackson & Associates LLC., a Washington, D.C.-based public relations/government affairs firm. He can be reached through his Website, www.raynardjackson.com. You can also follow him on Twitter at raynard1223.