WATCH: Pastor Says Women Can’t Get Dates Because Men Are Possessed With ‘Retarded Spirit’
Full disclosure: I hate the word “retarded.” I have no issue with swearing or vulgarity, but something about insulting a person by invoking a word that insults a whole bunch of other people who did nothing to deserve it really rubs me the wrong way. The English language is full of words that could be used with even more accuracy to describe someone or something that is bad, so taking that needless swipe at handicapped people seems spiteful and, well, trashy.
Look, I’m not the P.C. police. I’m not here to strike through the First Amendment. I’m just saying that if a person uses that word instead of the hundreds of others that could be used instead, I think it tells me more about them than it does about whatever they were trying to disparage. I’m not alone in finding that particular word abhorrent, either; a pastor named Gene Lingerfelt used it in a rant against video games that was posted to his church’s website and promptly deleted when enough people took notice of his flippant use of some very colorful phrasing that involved the word and started complaining.
Here is the video, courtesy of Hemant Mehta, who saved it just in case it got taken down:
Here is what he said in his address at Texas’ Faith Christian Center:
And don’t even get me started on the Xbox … If you have callouses on your thumbs, you’re a loser. If you’re more than 18 years old and you’re still jackin’ around with that stuff… [makes “L” for “loser” gesture]. I curse that spirit in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth. There are young gals in this church — beautiful, beautiful, beautiful young gals — and you know why they can’t get a date? ‘Cause that retarded spirit got into young men… [makes jerky motion of playing games with tongue sticking out]. Amen.
He went on to advise wives to soak their husbands’ Xboxes in water and then throw them away, which doesn’t sound at all like something Jesus would be on-board with.
Naturally, this has caused a stir online, not least of all because the pastor pulled a Donald Trump and made a few motions that could be interpreted to be a jab at handicapped people. The backlash isn’t unprecedented, of course; Ann Coulter stirred up a similar controversy with her use of the word to describe President Barack Obama. Mediaite was calling people out for using the word years before I arrived on the scene. Lingerfelt should have known that his use of the slight would bring attention, especially since he isn’t even the first Texan to draw public ire for it.
Finally, it is worth pointing out that men are not the only ones interested in video games. In fact, women are a powerful force in the gaming and geek communities, as evidenced by the fact that Abrams Media has an entire website devoted to the interests of those women.
We have reached out to Lingerfelt for a statement and will update this post if he provides one.
[image via screengrab]
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