With the flood of criticism that has followed shock jock Don Imus' racist remarks of the Rutgers women's basketball team, many Christians have been expressing their dissatisfaction with the unforgiving comments made towards the radio host.
Prominent religious figures including T.D. Jakes, senior pastor and founder of Dallas megachurch The Potter's House, say Imus' two-week suspension is not enough, and that he should be fired immediately by the show's employer, NBC.
Several Christians have voiced concerns over these statements, however, explaining that the radio host should receive some forgiveness, especially since he has apologized in multiple forums, including his own show and on the Rev. Al Sharpton's syndicated radio program.
"However, dear friends, Imus didn't have to humble himself and appear on that genuine faux preacher Rev. Al Sharpton's radio program and say that his comments were wrong, seeking forgiveness," explained James Sterling, a reporter for the Troy Beacon, in a statement. "Imus further stated he wanted to face those students he commented about, along with their parents, to apologize directly to them.
"Here was an opportunity for a real, born-again, spirit-filled, called-of-God preacher to minister a crucified Christ and a risen Savior who could wash away his sins by his precious blood," he added. "Sharpton [and others] showed no love, no forgiveness, no Jesus – says only that Imus should be fired."
The controversy began when the radio talk show host made an offensive remark last Wednesday about the Rutgers women's basketball team, who had just recently lost to Tennessee in the NCAA women's basketball title game.
"That's some rough girls from Rutgers," he said on the program. "Man, they got tattoos... That's some nappy-headed hos there, I'm going to tell you that now."
The statement drew in a rush of angry backlash from the African-American community as well as non-blacks.
Imus went on to apologize for his comment, but was not supported by many who saw his apology as fake. They called for his show to be completely cut from the air.
"Press statements and public appearances are mere bandages when someone's daughter is called a whore for fun," explained Jakes in a Monday statement. "True healing will come only when individuals honestly address the root of their remarks, rather than making excuses for them, and only when employers and advertisers in our society respond immediately and decisively."
Although most agree that the shock jock's remarks were indeed appalling, many have pointed towards a bigger problem running throughout media concerning racial slurs. They look at Imus' case as only a scapegoat for an overarching problem that needs to be eliminated as well.
"The Imus comments are only the latest symptom of a larger and more concerning problem," said Tim Winters, president of the Parents Television Council (PTC), which monitors offensive content in media. "There has been a shocking volume of racist and anti-Semitic material guised as 'comedy' on advertiser-supported basic cable television. The PTC has noted the use of the 'n-word' over 140 times in the last two years, including 42 utterances of the n-word in one recent episode of South Park alone."
A recent website, SaveImus.com, has even been constructed to support the radio host who they feel has been unfairly attacked. They do not feel that his actions were warranted, but they do feel that he is not to blame for the whole problem.
"Rap 'music' lyrics are commonly far more hateful towards women, the police, and whites than everything Imus has ever said in his entire life, so chill out!" commented Justin Fernandez, a Clifton, Ohio, resident, in a recent poll started by Cincinnati.com. "If you're going to whine about what Imus said, and you don't also whine about what every other shock jock and 90 percent of rap lyrics, you're being a bit unfair."
Instead of continuing to call for the radio personality to be fired, Sterling pointed out that Christians need to forgive Imus, hoping he would learn from the situation and gain a sense of biblical teaching.
"Evidently folks, preachers of today never read, '...forgive us our sins, as we forgive those who sin against us..,' or 'Let him who is without sin cast the first stone,' the reporter concluded in a statement. "Where are the mighty men of God with signs following!?"