Mel Gibson was arrested for drunk driving the other day. The police who arrested him described his uncooperative behavior, his repeated use of the "f**k" word and his making several clearly anti-Semitic statements.
Apparently, this somehow "proves" that Mel Gibson is an anti-Semite.
No it doesn't. All it proves is that Mel Gibson was drunk.
If (let's imagine) Mel Gibson's outburst is proof of his anti-Semitism then the circumstances of his arrest would also prove that . . .
- Mel Gibson is an advocate of expressing anger in public places; that
- Mel Gibson believes that it is good and right to resist arrest; that
- Mel Gibson feels that it is okay to drive while intoxicated; that
- Mel Gibson, deep, deep down, approves of resisting police officer.
No one in their right mind would draw these conclusions about Mel Gibson from his behavior and actions the night of his arrest. In spite of this, otherwise sane people have concluded that his drunken comments about Jews somehow reveals the "true" Mel Gibson!
I don't know about you but, in my experience, "drunken behavior" rarely reveals deep truths about anyone. On the contrary, alcohol removes the self-imposed disciplines of self-control that keep the inner "raging beast" (that lies within most of us) under wraps.
Drunks do and say things they would never, ever, ever say or do when they are sober. They sincerely regret those words and behaviors afterwards.
I am not suggesting that Gibson's drunken comments were not offensive. They were both offensive and disgusting. But what we saw with Mel Gibson was not Dr. Jeckyll but Mr. Hyde... not Robert Bruce Banner but The Hulk.
Which is the real Mel Gibson? Well, I would have to say that the real Mel Gibson is the person who, in his heart, he truly desires to be.
We all know the stories of Mel's father's anti-Semitism. Clearly the son grew up with this along with all the anger that accompanies such beliefs. Such upbringing stays with us the rest of our lives. We cannot purge ourselves of it but we can tame it, subdue it, and hope that it remains dead and buried and beyond recall.
When our inhibitions are diminished through alcohol, rage, stress or impatience those things we had hoped were "dead and buried" find ways to express themselves completely against our will and against our own moral values.
I know this to be true in myself.
Although I am a sincere Christian pastor, with clear beliefs about godly behavior and conduct, I know how quickly the "f**k" word can arrive on my own lips when I am stressed, or allow myself to become enraged (I have never been drunk, by the way, and have not had an alcoholic beverage since 1985). I deeply regret this and I do so immediately. It is not something I believe to be good or right. It is a part of myself that I literally "absorbed" from being around people who swore while working on summer paint crews over a ten-year stretch while in college. I have worked very hard to repress and control this behavior... even during those summers I was working on that paint crew!