Casting Stones at Paula Deen

Everyone’s indignant at the behavior of Paula Deen (and Anthony Weiner and Ryan Braun), but Tim O’Brien, SJ, strikes a note of caution.

In moments like these, I find myself pondering a very uncomfortable question: who or what did I go out there to stone in the first place? In other words, how much this is about the woman taken in adultery, really? Or, as I sit with my cursor blinking in the comment box of a story about Paula Deen, how much of what I want to write is truly about my sense of indignation that she used racial epithets?

More often, I fear, it’s about me. (It usually is, let me tell you.) And more often than I’m comfortable admitting, what I want to stone in “them” is a slim shadow of what I want to stone in myself.

What I deny to others in such situations – mercy, love, compassion – is exactly what I need the most.

Read the whole thing.


  1. It’s always good to sit desk and read how we are supposed to stop pointing fingers (yes I do it). Let’s take this a step further. How do we take your wise words and apply that mercy, love, and compassion to Ariel Castro?

    • My thoughts exactly, Linda, as I read his sentencing and listened to his plea for forgiveness “I’m not a monster I’m sick.” This is one of those situations where it may be best to offer up the individual and all his deeds to God to sort out, as well as to pray for his victims’ continual healing.

      • It appears to me that Deene is a victim of ordinary human thoughtlessness and misplaced intent but I wonder if someone such as Castro, like Hitler and Hussein, aren’t under demonic influence. That surely is a matter for God as we know nothing about those dark powers let alone how to handle them. When there is no mental illness there has to be another explanation and that unfortunately is the only one left.
        I wonder too at any fast healing of victims. Something as horrific as their experience absolutely cannot be ameliated overnight no matter how strong those people be. Ask any former prisoner and s/he will tell you that life on the outside is something they have to get used to all over again. It’s different and scary to someone not used to a simple walk up the street or a shopping trip — those require a decision making process that most of us don’t even think about.
        Healing takes a lifetime and I pray they will take their time with their newly restored lives — and that the rest of the world can leave them in peace.


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