Exploring the Bible / Faith / New Testament

The SAE Debacle and John 8:7

So when they continued asking him, he lifted up himself, and said unto them, He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her. John 8:7 KJV

If you follow the news at all, you’ve likely heard about the video of some SAE frat boys at Oklahoma University singing a racist song. The video prompted the twitter hashtag: #SAEhatesme and it seemed like everyone was jumping on the bandwagon to express their outrage at the behavior. The HATE in the video was outrageous.

sae

Soon after, many twitter users started pointing out the sorority girls in the video who listened to the hateful songs (and might have videoed it) and a #trideltahatesme hashtag ensued.

I have a confession to make. During my undergraduate years, as a member of a sorority, I listened to many a totally inappropriate fraternity song and said nothing. I also didn’t cut ties with the fraternity members, some of which I considered friends, who I heard sing these songs. One particular song that haunts me to this day is one of the most degrading sentiments towards women that I’ve ever ever heard. Trust me, it’s awful. My brain feels dirty even allowing the contents of that song to be pondered.

There is no excuse for the level of hate in that video but I want to spread some understanding. These boys “pledge” a fraternity at one of the most vulnerable times in their lives. They are 18 year-olds, on their own for their first time suddenly free from the support system they’ve always known (friends, parents, families, teachers, communities, etc.). They are offered a room full of “brothers” that is supported by hundreds of years of tradition. Being accepted into this brotherhood is contingent on submitting to many of its practices and they cannot question in order to determine which practices are tradition and which are not actually compulsory. So, what happens? For the most part, they make the trade off and deal with the bad to get the good (I know I did).

Luke 8:17 says “For there is nothing hidden that will not be disclosed, and nothing concealed that will not be known or brought out into the open.”

The internet has brought the horrible and hateful practices of some fraternities to light. I’m glad it did. Greek life does a huge amount of good but my memories of Greek life are tainted by the hate and negativity that also took place. To this day, I’m hesitant to admit that I was in a sorority.

The hate is at all levels. It’s at the national level, it’s at the chapter level. It’s everywhere. It’s a disease. Even healthy parts of the organization (members who know these practices are wrong) are deeply affected by the hate.

I can imagine that Greek life is missing out on some amazing members who have the capacity to discern that (for them at least) the benefits do NOT outweigh the costs. Additionally, people who do join Greek life and are somewhere on the fence of integrity may end up falling on the wrong side of that fence because of what they’re exposed to as a sorority or fraternity member.

I believe the exposure of the SAE at OU video has the opportunity to be a catalyst for change to eradicate the disease that has infiltrated Greek life. I wish I had had the strength to stand up and say “THIS is wrong. Let’s not stand for this. Let’s change this.”  I’m praying that this incident motivates current members to do just that.

In order for that to happen, the rest of us need to channel John 8:7 and not cast stones at the people involved. The public apologies made in the wake of this event were, in many cases, met with hostility and cries of “they’re only sorry they got caught!”. But that mentality will only perpetuate hate, which motivated this song in the first place. Hate is hate. The only way to eradicate that hate is through love. And since God is love (Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love 1John 4:8), the only way to overcome this hateful disease is with God’s love.

When a cancer is discovered in someone’s body, the only outcomes are to fight and overcome, fight and die, or not fight and die. Now that social media has exposed this disease and we know that God’s love is the only potential way to successfully combat it, I hope that Greek Life will fight the hate and overcome. There’s a chance they may still lose and Greek life (and all the positives that it implies) may die and cease to exist but I’ll pray that, if that happens, they’ll go down swinging.

You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you. Matthew 5:43-44

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