EDITOR’S NOTE – I am on sick leave and I saw this very interesting and compelling post concerning Bill Cosby, who is certainly in the news headlines, and for many in my age group, we “grew up” watching him on I Spy and famously, The Cosby Show. I want to interject this perspective from a young man that I watched developed in ministry in his formative years in San Diego. His father, the late Dr. Willie James Smith, and I pastored together in San Diego – just a few short blocks apart. We were in the same district (Progressive), state (California Missionary Baptist State Convention) and national (National Missionary Baptist Convention of America), and share pulpits for many, many years. I want to introduce him to you and his unique perspective of this news event. A dynamic young minister and I’m sure you’ll be challenged by his point of view!
INTRODUCTION – Kristian Smith was born February 23, 1984 to W. James and Toni Smith in Oakland, CA and spent much of his adolescence in San Diego, CA. He received his Bachelor of Arts degree in telecommunications in 2006 as well as his Master in Business Administration in 2009, both from Alabama A&M University where he was an all-conference performer and team captain of the SWAC Champion AAMU football team. During his college years he was also an active member of the Alabama A&M Gospel Choir. In 2005, Kristian received one of the highest honors of his life, when the National Football Foundation & College Hall of Fame named him a National Scholar Athlete for his athletic prowess and academic success. He was only one of 18 student-athletes from across the country to receive this honor.
He’s had a sincere desire for the word of God from his childhood and acknowledged his call to preach at the age of 22. As a preacher and worship leader the primary aim of his ministry is to remain faithful to God’s word and see people’s lives positively impacted as a result of his obedience to Christ. He has served in many areas of ministry including worship leader, conference planner and facilitator, bible teacher, and youth worker. His ultimate goal is for God to be perpetually glorified in his life and through his ministry. Kristian is a fitness and fashion consultant and he is currently a studying at McAfee School of Theology at Mercer University in pursuit his Master of Divinity degree. He is an assistant worship leader at the House of Hope, Atlanta in Decatur, GA where Dr. E. Dewey Smith Jr. is his pastor. Kristian is also married to the former Ms. Pamela Merritt.
Cliff Huxtable vs. Bill Cosby
by Kristian Smith
I am not, nor do I claim to be a blogger. I’m a entrepreneur/minister who feels compelled to share my view on the Bill Cosby rape allegations.
Today I preached a message entitled “Cliff Huxtable vs. Bill Cosby: Living in a Dichotomy between your reputation and your Character.” I didn’t share the message with the intent of vilifying Bill Cosby, but rather the opposite. I believe we as Christians should check ourselves before we start throwing stones at Bill Cosby, while we are comfortably perched in our glass houses.
I do not in any way excuse the heinous nature and troubling pathology of the crimes for which Cosby is accused. They are terrible crimes, and if he is guilty he should be held accountable.
But, the fact of the matter is, many of us, in our personal lives, have lived like Cliff Huxtable in the public and acted like Bill Cosby in private. If his crimes are legit, WE are the ones who overlooked them for years because we were so enamored with the idea of Cliff Huxtable that we ignored the fallibility of Bill Cosby. “Surely Cliff, America’s favorite TV Dad for the past 30 years, wouldn’t rape someone.”
Whether he did or he didn’t is not my judgment to make. But I do know that I am in no position to sit in the seat of judgment, with all of my shortcomings. We have all done some things we don’t want to come to light. We just don’t have the fame, fortune, wealth, power and influence of Bill Cosby. And whether you agree or not, the fact of the matter is, the aforementioned factors only intensify your vices. So, imagine your current vices multiplied by 1000 because you have unthinkable wealth and power. I don’t know about you, but that is a scary thought for me.
I’m saying this to say we cannot discredit Cosby’s entire legacy because of his misdeeds. As a Christian, I am directing this post specifically towards other Christians. If you can’t compare Cosby to yourself, then consider our beloved King David, the most powerful and successful king in the history of Israel. He’s one of the most talked about and beloved biblical characters in the Christian tradition. Yet, if we read his whole story closely, we will find that David was guilty of adultery, deception, murder and possibly rape (if you don’t think it’s possible for King David to be guilty of rape, go back and read 2 Samuel 11. Tell me where Bathsheba consented to having sex with him. I’m not saying it’s a guarantee that he raped her. I also can’t say, for sure, that he didn’t rape her. He saw her; he sent for her; he had sex with her. Did Bathsheba have an option to say “No” to the king? We don’t know because the text was written in a patriarchal society and it has been interpreted through the lens of a patriarchal society. So the writer of the text gave Bathsheba a name, but he gave her no voice. Ultimately, when chapter 11 ends, the writer says God was only displeased with David).
So, with all of these charges against David, have we removed the 23rd Psalm from out Canon? Can we no longer say “The Lord is my shepherd. I shall not want?” Have we stripped him of his legacy because of his misdeeds? No, we recognize that although he did some foul things in his life, he was a “man after God’s own heart.”
So, before we discredit and scrutinize everything Bill Cosby had ever done, let’s remember that we have some issues of our own. Also, let’s remember that David wasn’t always a model citizen but we constantly celebrate his good deeds and inspirational works.