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Kathy M. Dingus

 

 

 

I know some of you are probably "thinking" a lot yourselves about the issues that involve us in our daily lives. I know that I think a lot about a lot of different issues and I discuss them with my Mom and my sister, my friends and God.

Some things that bother me I can usually think them over, discuss them awhile with God and I can put them on a shelf and not worry about them anymore.

Other things can REALLY bother me and they are not so easily sidelined. Let me tell what I've been thinking about.

I went to see the movie "Titanic" this last month and I knew pretty much how the story went. A boat full of people hits an iceberg and sinks into the ocean, and a lot of people die.

I never really thought about all the ramifications of this particular tragic event. The injustices and prejudices of that time period were of no consequence to me, and I must admit I had never really realized the impact prejudice had and still has on society today.

According to the movie, and experts have stated that this movie is very accurate to circumstance and the distinction of class or rank in society played a huge part in whether someone lived or died during a shipwreck and especially one of the magnitude of the ill-fated "Titanic."

There were first class passengers, who paid more for their passage, had the more opulent staterooms, with private sundecks, had separate dining rooms and generally were treated like royalty.

Then there were the second-class passengers who didn't pay quite as much as first class for their passage and their accommodations reflected the fare paid.

Third class passage staterooms, if you could call them that, were far below decks and were generally separated from the other passengers. They dined separately and were most often left to entertain themselves during the voyage.

I have not been exposed to the snobbery of the upper classes, at least directly, and also had never realized or ever thought about this aspect of society during that time period.

I assumed everyone was happily raising their families, and every family had a Mother and Father who worked and all the needs of the family were being met.

The movie "Titanic" brought home to me, in a brutal way, of how snobbish and judgmental the human race can be. The first class passengers were not checked for lice as were the second and third class passengers.

After the iceberg hit the ship and it was a certainty that the ship was going to sink, the movie depicted the third class gates being locked until the first and second class passengers had time to be loaded into the lifeboats.

The lifeboats were filled according to class also, and first class passengers did not wish to be in a lifeboat with second or third class passengers. Therefore lifeboats were loaded with far less passengers than they could have held.

Many more lives of women and children could have been saved except for the selfishness of those who considered themselves superior to their fellow human beings.

I once thought prejudices were held only to racial matters and had never thought about any other implications or circumstances.

Was I naive? Maybe so, once upon a time. Did I - and do I - still turn a blind eye toward others? I must face the hard fact that I do and not even realize that I do.

Another more recent incident raises more questions for me to think about and meditate upon.

Many of you probably have read about or seen on TV the Texas Death Row inmate, Karla Faye Tucker. Karla was a pretty woman, 38 years old, and very articulate.

She professed to be a born-again Christian, and I believed her. She widely proclaimed Jesus' Grace and Love and shared with all her testimony. The 700 Club, Pat Robertson, Jerry Falwell, and even the Pope pleaded that her execution, scheduled for February 3, 1998, be commuted to a life sentence.

Many Christians wrote letters asking George Bush, the Governor of Texas to commute her sentence and the Pardons Parole Board met and denied her appeal, as did the Supreme Court of the United States.

Karla Faye Tucker was executed as scheduled. Many of the people gathered around the Huntsville Prison cheered upon news of her death, many sang Hymns, many said the world was a better place, and many cried.

Regardless of your views on the death penalty, Karla is now in a better place. All that is left to do is for the News Reporters to hash and rehash her case, interview family members and discuss the merits, pros and cons of the death penalty.

Many made statements that the only reason the world at large "knew" about the Karla Faye Tucker case, was because she indeed was an attractive, articulate, white woman, and seemingly was a different person than the one who had committed the violent murders, for which she was executed.

She was already judged by man for her evil qualities . . . capital murder. It's funny that prejudice often works in reverse . . . she was also judged by some for her "seemingly good" qualities also.

I heard a minister on the radio tell this story: A young boy at a local beach walked up to a young woman lying on a towel, sunbathing.

The boy asked the young woman if she believed in God, to which the woman replied yes. Next, he asked her if she was a Christian, to which she replied yes, again.

He then asked her if she went to church every week and the young woman told him that yes she did. Finally he then asked her if she would hold his quarter for him while he swam in the ocean.

Christians are held, by and large, to a higher standard than "ordinary" non-Christians, although I feel we should hold ourselves to a higher standard . . . Jesus' standard.

Jesus loved ALL. No matter the color, gender, class, poor, rich, dirty, clean, moral, immoral, convict or saved. He simply loved.

Karla Faye asked in her final interview that we remember others in prison, just like her. There are five more executions to take place in Texas in the month of February. There are people in this world who need the message that Christ wants us to take to them. Are we ready? Can we put aside our feelings of prejudice, no matter in what form, and do the work set for us to do by Jesus Christ?

I want to say yes! I think I can . . . but how do we accomplish this great task? With God's help, that's how. Only He can be truly unbiased, impartial and full of LOVE. He does not see "class." Arenít you glad?

Please God, rain down more love upon your people so we can do your work.

I think I have a lot more to think about . . .