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July 12, 2006

When Ministers Say Goddamned Stupid Things

The Reverend Dr. Bill Lawson compared [Ken] Lay with civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. and Jesus Christ, and said his name would eventually be cleared.

"He was taken out of the world right at the right time," he said. "History has a way of vindicating people who have been wronged."

-- Ken Lay's memorial attracts power elite, Reuters (via CNN), 7/12/06

10 Ways Ken Lay is Not Like Martin Luther King Jr. and/or Jesus Christ

10. When Martin Luther King, Jr., declared that he had a dream, that dream did not include a $200,000 yacht for the missus

9. Jesus' disciples not caught on tape snickering at the prospect of grandma baking to death during an induced power outage

8. Jesus did not blame his downfall on the national media

7. Odds that Ken Lay's birthday will be made a national holiday: really really really low

6. Ken Lay's letters from jail not likely to have been concerned about much aside from bitching that the warden refused to allow him his favorite French-milled soap

5. Jesus crucifed; MLK assassinated; Ken Lay dead of a heart attack in his comfy vacation home in Aspen

4. Jesus threw out the money traders; Ken Lay an inside trader

3. MLK oversaw the Montgomery Bus Boycott; Lay oversaw the California Energy Crisis

2. George Bush's nickname for Jesus unlikely to be "Christy Boy"

1. Neither Jesus nor MLK currently rotting in Satan's duodenum

Hope that clears things up for you, Reverend Lawson.

Posted by john at July 12, 2006 08:48 PM

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Comments

Chang | July 12, 2006 10:30 PM

Man, no one else could have said it better. Sooo well put.

So, uh, how's that deadline coming, then?

John Scalzi | July 12, 2006 10:31 PM

Shut up!

Chang | July 12, 2006 10:35 PM

Heh heh heh.

For what it's worth, I should be sleeping right now. I have to teach at 6:30AM tomorrow. Instead, I am surfing the blog of my high school graduating class and trying to figure out why all the people who moved to London are so good looking. Oh, and then ther'es my usual haunting of th' whatever blorg to get trenchant commentary and assistance in dealing with procrastination.

Ahem... Okay, now I'm really going to bed...

Nance | July 12, 2006 10:41 PM

Lay didn't have the $15,000 umbrella stand; that was Dennis Kozlowski, the Tyco guy.

Although Lay probably wished he had one, too. So I guess that one's close enough to the truth to stand.

John Scalzi | July 12, 2006 10:53 PM

Good point, Nance; now fixed.

Steve Brady | July 12, 2006 11:23 PM

Maybe he meant Republican Jesus.

Annalee Flower Horne | July 13, 2006 01:06 AM

that was some very masterful snarkitude right there.

Cheers.

marrije | July 13, 2006 03:12 AM

Douglas Rushkoff can't believe Lay is really dead. And ever since I read that post, I'm afraid I don't really believe so myself...

Dean | July 13, 2006 08:30 AM

Is there a religious school somewhere cranking out ministers specifically to say stupid things? Founded by Pat Robertson, perhaps?

John H | July 13, 2006 08:41 AM

Mind if I link to this? Excellent snarkage...

Steve Buchheit | July 13, 2006 08:49 AM

"Sure he was a... crook. But he had a great singing voice." - Jack Nicholson as the Joker in "Batman."

One of the ministers (did you know Ken Lay's Dad was a minister?) at the funeral said he touched so many. Touched, put the finger on, same thing, right?

handsomel loser | July 13, 2006 09:02 AM

First time, I've been here. Linked to you via Will Wheaton's favourite blogs on Technorati. Great post. I'll be back for more.

John Scalzi | July 13, 2006 09:26 AM

John H: Link away!

John H | July 13, 2006 09:36 AM

Thanks...

Jon | July 13, 2006 10:14 AM

What surprised me was that Lay died of a heart attack. Who knew he had a heart?

the angry black woman | July 13, 2006 10:46 AM

Stuff like this is why I'm angry all of the time. I think Reverend lawson just violated Tubman's Law. SMH

Mur | July 13, 2006 10:50 AM

I'm not so sure you're right on #2. I can easily hear Bush saying "Christy Boy." I mean, he and God are pretty close, to hear him tell it...

squirrels on snark | July 13, 2006 11:23 AM

Apparently Ken Lay missed his window of time to arise from the dead, so he's not quite up to the standards of Jesus Christ.
I'm still sticking with the conspiracy theory. I figure we've got plenty of Ken Lay sightings, like Elvis, coming up in the next two years.

Jon Marcus | July 13, 2006 11:52 AM

Too bad GW couldn't make the funeral. But at least his dad was there to honor an old friend of da Family. And of course they sent Baker, the consigliore.

Michael Patty | July 13, 2006 12:08 PM

You guys... So snarky. Although a eulogy THAT stupid really deserves it, so more power to you!

JOHN S.: One of the things I like about your writing is that you're funny as hell. Good on ya!

Incidentally, is there a single conservative in this crew? Just curious... :p

Josh Jasper | July 13, 2006 12:23 PM

I was living in CA at the time of th energy crisis. It wasn't jsut Enron, it was about a half a dozen, possibly more, energy comanies that created the energy crisis.

I mean quite seriously that the entire thing was fabricated after deregulation as a way to jack up energy prices and make money. Billions were stolen. It was quite probably one of the biggest swindles in history US, outside of Halliburton.

There is no doubt. NONE. That Enron was at the heart of it, and that Ken Lay knew exactly what he was doing.

"History has a way of vindicating people who have been wronged."

The entire state of California was wronged. By Ken Lay, and thousands of others like him.

John Scalzi | July 13, 2006 12:26 PM

Michael Patty: Lots of conservatives read this site, actually.

Tripp | July 13, 2006 12:33 PM

I think most everbody, including conservatives, thinks Ken Lay was a crook.

In a small town near here they've just discovered a dude who started out good but ended up swindling a bunch of people out of their life savings in some kind of investment scheme that went ponzi. These were people who knew and trusted the guy.

Ken Lay was that guy only bigger.

Jon Marcus | July 13, 2006 01:15 PM

Tripp, do you think Rev. Lawson, and all the people who showed up at his funeral think he's a crook?

A guy who steals a loaf of bread, or runs a small-time Ponzi scheme is viewed as a crook. But when someone like Lay goes for the really big haul, it's a different matter.

Julia Spencer-Fleming | July 13, 2006 01:45 PM

You forgot No. 11:
People unlikely to moan, "Kenneth, oh Kenneth" while in extremes of passion.

Julia Spencer-Fleming | July 13, 2006 01:48 PM

Although now that I think about it, it would be pretty funny to hear, "KENneth FUCKing LAY!" when the printer screws up.

Brian Greenberg | July 13, 2006 02:21 PM

So now you're writing for Letterman too?

Sure, Ken Lay was a crook, but even crooks have family and friends, and if anyone's going to speak nicely about him, his funeral is probably the best time. Only the media (and blog) coverage of what he says turns it from a "don't speak ill of the dead" sentiment in a eulogy into a political statement of some kind.

Also worth noting: Enron, et. al was a good idea - if it were done properly (i.e., without stealing millions from its customers). The villification of Ken Lay as an individual feels good, I'm sure, but probably further delays a true public market for energy, which would ultimately lower the cost of it for all of us.

John Scalzi | July 13, 2006 02:51 PM

Brian Greenberg:

"Sure, Ken Lay was a crook, but even crooks have family and friends, and if anyone's going to speak nicely about him, his funeral is probably the best time. Only the media (and blog) coverage of what he says turns it from a 'don't speak ill of the dead' sentiment in a eulogy into a political statement of some kind."

Oh, bah, Brian. There's a difference between not speaking ill of the dead, and comparing a man whose actions (or lack thereof) lead to the largest bankruptcy in our nation's history to Jesus Christ or MLK. Just because there's a funeral doesn't mean there's a moratorium on calling out patently ridiculous and frankly offensive statements.

the angry black woman | July 13, 2006 04:37 PM

Brian:

What Scalzi said.

John H | July 13, 2006 04:39 PM

Brian Greenburg: Capitalism is only great when the government forces everyone to play nice. Any market left unchecked soon devolves into a den of thieves.

True Believer | July 13, 2006 04:50 PM

How ANYONE can compare this criminal to The Lord and Savior of mankind is an absolute joke. As a born again spirit filled child of The Living God, Im offended to be put in the same catogory as this "so-called" minister. As an ordained minister of The Gospel of Jesus Christ, I, along with all Christians and ministers are called to go into all the world and preach the gospel. To lay hands on the sick, set the captives free, feed the poor, clothe the naked, visit the prisoner, not spinning our wheels insuring political correctness. Mr. Lawson needs to find true salvation, then a job.

Brian Greenberg | July 13, 2006 05:02 PM

Oh, bah, Brian. There's a difference between not speaking ill of the dead, and comparing a man whose actions (or lack thereof) lead to the largest bankruptcy in our nation's history to Jesus Christ or MLK. Just because there's a funeral doesn't mean there's a moratorium on calling out patently ridiculous and frankly offensive statements.

And yet it didn't strike me as ridiculous or offensive until I read about it on your blog. Maybe his (second) mistake was not closing the funeral to media coverage and saving the eulogy for those closest to the deceased (as it should be, IMHO).

John Scalzi | July 13, 2006 05:37 PM

I certainly do agree that if one is going to say ridiculous and stupid things, one should not do it in the vicinity of a reporter, for one's own self-interest, at the very least. Because reporters tend to note them.

Jon Marcus | July 13, 2006 05:41 PM

Brian

For whatever it's worth, his funeral was a small private one in Aspen.

The memorial service in Houston was much more public. I think they did try to keep the press out, but it's pretty hard to ban press coverage when you've got a thousand or so people, including a former POTUS.

Jon Marcus | July 13, 2006 06:26 PM

Oh beautiful. More from the good Reverend:

[Lawson] likened Lay to James Byrd, a black man who was dragged to death in a racially motivated murder near Jasper eight years ago.\

"Ken Lay was neither black nor poor, as James Byrd was, but I'm angry because Ken was the victim of a lynching,"

http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/front/4043620.html

the angry black woman | July 13, 2006 08:06 PM

Brian Greenberg:
And yet it didn't strike me as ridiculous or offensive until I read about it on your blog.

This is a problem, then. And it's yours. You shouldn't need a blog to tell you that this is offensive. This says to me that you need... well, I won't tell you what you need. It would be offensive.

Scott M. | July 14, 2006 05:45 AM

Anyone else reminded of Billy Wilder's comment on Peter Sellers and *his* heart attacks?

"You have to have a heart before you can have an attack."

Yeah, I'm shocked Kenny Boy had a heart, too.

Josh Jasper | July 14, 2006 12:29 PM

BUT WAIT! It gets better!

Lawson likened Lay to James Byrd, a black man who was dragged to death in a racially motivated murder near Jasper eight years ago.

"Ken Lay was neither black nor poor, as James Byrd was, but I'm angry because Ken was the victim of a lynching," said Lawson, who predicted that history will vindicate Lay.

What an asshole.

Nathan Sharfi | July 15, 2006 10:47 PM

Question.

What's loonier—comparing Ken Lay to MLK, or comparing Tookie Williams (proper Fisking here) to MLK?

Jon | July 16, 2006 05:43 PM

I sent a link to this day's blog to a friend of mine who was stuck in Enron's California energy crisis. His, comment, quote in full:

"The Reverend Dr. Bill Lawson is a man of the cloth--cheesecloth."

Leslie | October 27, 2006 12:44 PM

Honestly with everything you stated is nothing but poor judgement to the Lord. I think it is not a great help for anyone to read this, it's just more discouaring to me to see this.......

jennifer | February 23, 2007 04:43 PM

well i dont think that none of yal should juged Jesus christ!!!!!!!!!

John Scalzi | February 23, 2007 04:59 PM

You know, poor spelling and grammar make the Baby Jesus cry.

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