Forgiveness & the Imago Dei: Mike Vick as a Case Study


Michael Vick in a locker room interview follow...
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Coming from me, I should be the very last person to defend Eagles starting quarterback Mike Vick.  He broke my heart when he led the Atlanta Falcons to the very first playoff victory at Lambeau by a visiting team. That accomplishment alone made him a legend.  As a Cowboys fan, fate would have it that my least favorite team see on television or hear about is the Philadelphia Eagles, especially prior to the 2009 when Dallas could not get that Philly ghost off their back.  But as a human being, and Christian, I have become disgusted by the law & order hard-heartedness of right wing commentators,  S. E. Cupp and Tucker Carlson, two persons who claim to speak in the interest of Christians.

To them, and their like, I would like to say this: Don’t quit your day job anytime soon and please, for gosh sakes, find a new religion to be favorable to. No, I’m serious, and here’s why.

Recently, both of these commentators have desperately tried to rally conservative (white) Christians against this man. He has already done his time. Vick should be executed because of what he did to some dogs, even after he spent a year in prison? Really? There is a serial rapist playing quarterback for another team, and we are talking about the lives of dogs? Are dogs more valuable than women’s bodies? Really?

As Christians, Cupp and Carlson expect us to forgive Rush Limbaugh and others for every racist comment they make, but hey, let’s keep crucifying Mike Vick.

But then Jesus said,

“Not seven times, but seventy-seven times.”

Matthew 18:22, NRSV.

Wait, what? Our God is not a god of second chances; the Triune God is the God of the seven-day ordering of creation, the God of seven times seventy chances.

Let me break down the problem this way, in layperson terms:

It is easier to imagine that Mike Vick will be sentenced to death because he is black, and that is what capital pun is for today; a penalty reserved for the poorest and darkest of our kind. In the racial imaginings of death penalty proponents and so-called law & order “godly” folks, subconsciously, the electric chair or lethal injection is meant for only a particular population.

As an atheist, I would not expect S.E. Cupp to recognize the doctrine of the Imago Dei, the notion that every human being is created in the image of the divine.  Therefore, I would expect her to affirm that Mike Vick is a human being, and as  a member of the human race, is made a little bit lower than that of celestial beings, as Psalm 8:5 declares.

Yet, as a Christian, I affirm the Imago Dei, that every human life is of ineffable value in the site  of the Creator.  Therefore, forgiveness, rather than retribution should be the norm, rather than the exception to the rule.

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0 thoughts on “Forgiveness & the Imago Dei: Mike Vick as a Case Study

  1. Jason S

    I am a white man who believes in capital punishment for the crime of murder, because man is made in God’s image. That should be across teh board, regardless of what one’s color is.
    The issue of cruelty to animals is a bad one, I’m sure, but execution?????????? That’s out of the question.
    People who make statements such as Carlton did are a blight on Christ’s name. They don’t understand grace and mercy, which means they don’t understand Christianity.
    In the end, that statement was probably related to President Obama more than anything/anyone else. If former pres. Bush had made the call, he would have been praised for it.

    1. Rod of Alexandria Post author

      Yeah, S E Cupp is an admitted atheist, and according to my sources, Tucker Carlson is Episcopalian, but I think that is just a label he carries.

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