I was going to stay away from all things Penn State and Joe Paterno. I’m not that into football, and I’m not interested in having endless discussions about what went down and what it all means and who is really to blame. But after reading a series of ranty blog posts, I’m going to have my two cents.
I think we (the public) need to lay our JoePa bashing to rest. The man has died; whatever he did, or failed to do, cannot be undone or restored. There is no use in continuing to hash out what we think went wrong.
It’s just as useless to try to defend him.
It’s cowardly to hide behind a dead man. Blaming him separates us from the very real people who are still alive. It keeps us from seeing him as a human being with a family who loved him. It absolves us from having to deal with the actual perpetrator of the crime, because we know we can’t. It stops us from seeing the rest of the people in that grisly chain of command, people who are just as culpable.
I’ve noticed that the vast majority of blog posts come from people who have never known any of these people personally. It’s a lot of rhetoric about “speaking out” for victims. It’s a lot of sounding defensive. And, sickeningly, it’s done in the name of Christ. But none of it comes the victims’ families. None.
You want to hate Penn State or its football team? You want to demand that the (living) people responsible get what’s due? Okay. Fine. You want to rail against the evils of child abuse? Even better. But don’t speak ill of the dead and claim that it’s because you’re a follower of Christ. Actually be a follower of Christ, get off your computer, and do something if it wrecks you that much.
Just don’t put yourself in charge of judgment of the dead.