Whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine

by f

Tyler Clementi

I’m not one to quote Scripture, but I’ll do it because Colbert has, and it’s fucking important. Tomorrow I will discuss Tyler Clementi. Tomorrow, I will discuss why he felt that life was no longer worth living. Tomorrow, I will discuss why blue-ribbon schools produce sociopaths. And then I will talk about what a dearth of love there is in the world, that such things are allowed to happen.

But in the meanwhile, I’m going to cry my eyes out, because such things should not be happening on my college campus. I understand how high schools could have produced such assholes, but I do not understand why it had to happen at a college, which at the very least is supposed to be an improvement on high school.  I’m in such shock. For people who think it is ridiculous that I should be this shocked about a person completely unrelated to me, I give you the awesomeness that is Stephen Colbert.

When asked by Representative Chin (CA-33) why Colbert devoted his time to the migrant cause, the former Sunday School teacher responded: “Whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.” (Matthew, 25). It was an incredible, quiet moment of testimony that gave the Scripture-loving political bigots a moment of stunned pause.

I would like to think that — given a change of preposition from for to to — the statement would be the same. Whatever was done to Clementi was a grave harm done to everyone who has suffered as he had, powerless and incapable of capturing the attention of others. Instead, Colbert reminds us that whomever we fight for has to be first (and foremost) for the least of our brothers. Because if we don’t, we cannot wash the blood off our hands.

4 Comments to “Whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine”

  1. Oh wow, this really is terrible. I can see why this hits so close to home for you. I’ll be looking for your post on Tyler Clementi tomorrow. *HUG* This really is tragic. :(

  2. Fucking and scriptures have no place in the same sentence. Fuck is way overused and in my opinion should only be used in the bedroom. If you want people to take you seriously, you should refrain from such slang in your writing. I am in no way belittling your message and its importance, but suggesting cleaning up your vocabulary. Many people will be turned off and stop reading and your message is too important to be turning people off.

    Blessings on you and yours
    John Wilder

    • You have a valid point, John. Swearing does turn people off, and it can easily offend. It really would be a shame for someone to turn away from such important ideas just because of the writer’s choice of words. As this post itself is a prelude to a more complete post on the subject, I don’t think we have to worry too much.

      In this instance, I believe F spoke from a place of high emotion. These are issues close to her heart, and it makes her furious. (We’re actually lucky she didn’t throw in more curses. I’m sure she wanted to.)

      I can see that religious people might be offended by ‘fucking’ appearing for close to ‘Scriptures’, but here the shock is intentional. She is angry, and she wants to drive her point home.

      I find it interesting that you think ‘fucking’ should be confined to the bedroom. It sounds like you take the meaning more literally that we do. I know what it means, but every utterance doesn’t conjure up a mental image. For me, it’s an emphatic, bold, satisfying word. The meaning behind it just gives it more oomph–as well as its power to offend.

  3. I just got the link to this story from another source, and I’m shocked, as always, by what people tell themselves is acceptable behavior.

    I think we need to look on the first semester, the first few weeks, of freshman year for these students as an extension of high school. They came from ‘feeder schools’, high schools where a huge proportion of students feed into the same college. It’s hard to make a new beginning for yourself if you’re surrounded by people you knew in high school.

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