Sunday, February 19, 2012

Despite an unforgiving political context, the council's resident reverend preaches forbearance for Brady Banks

There has been practically no backlash at CM Brady Banks' arrest during a prostitution sting coming from the Courthouse elite. Typically council members have done far less than soliciting sex and still raised righteous indignation Downtown. Opposing the Mayor's capital plans or yelling at each other in the parking garage has gotten council members labeled opportunistic, out-of-order or inappropriate by fellows in Metro government.

But the Banks affair has prompted little response outside Reverend CM at-Large Jerry Maynard preaching love and forgiveness in a letter--based on the gospel of John (the question of casting stones at the woman caught in adultery) and on the Apostle Paul's letter to the Romans (the strong showing restraint toward the weak)--responding to District 4 criticism:

I hope that at this time you will pray for the Banks family and not throw stones at Brady .... There will come a time to address whether he can continue serving your district .... But, now is not that time. For those of us who believe in the Holy Word of God, the Bible says when a man finds himself fallen down in sin, those of us who are strong must bare the infirmities of the weak and not please ourselves.

What I find interesting is that the preacher totally ignored the context for both Christian passages, and in so doing applied the prescription for apples to the problems of oranges.

In the case of the woman caught in adultery, she had no power whatsoever to fight for herself due to the gender double standards of the period. Jesus's challenge to the men to cast the first stone was turning the power equation on its head. Brady Banks (who himself has a divinity degree) worked for 2 governors and this mayor; now he is a Metro Council Member with a campaign war chest of $14,000 according to the Election Commission. His power status bears no resemblance whatsoever to the woman about to be stoned in John.

It is a similar context for the Paul's letter encouraging the strong bearing the infirmities of the weak: Jews, including Jewish Christians, were being persecuted by Rome, and Paul encouraged the Jewish Christians and the Gentile Christians to put aside their differences and support the weaker members who faced persecution and animosity. Once again, Brady Banks may be facing some criticism, but he is hardly persecuted or weak in terms of real power equations.

That is some tortured exegesis on Reverend Maynard's part.

And the thing is, Jerry Maynard has not always modeled self-restraint and forbearance for people weaker than him in the past. Take his attacks on inconvenient questioners on a North Nashville call-in show last year.

Despite the selective application of Christian forbearance, CM Maynard serially claims that he fights for North Nashville. It seems to me that fighting for North Nashville in the current context is holding one's influential colleague accountable for pursuing criminal activity here.


  1. You're way off here. To say that Jesus' teachings ONLY apply to their specific historical context would make the gospel effectively irrelevant in the 21st century. Your basic argument is that - had that woman been rich - Jesus himself would have been throwing stones? Yes, Jesus was upending the political contexts of his day... but the biggest revolution was the context of the heart. That's why he taught in parables. Your "letter of the law" approach pharisaically forsakes the spirit of the law that Christ was calling us towards.

  2. "Context of the heart" = overspiritualizing, hyperindividualizing the political context of the writings. Your argument is just silly.