by Gloria Dulan-Wilson
This past month has seen the reputation of a man I admire, an Icon, and a brother who has spent his life doing good things for people, trashed in the court of public opinion. The social media has locked on to the multiple allegations of rape against Dr. William H. “Bill” Cosby, and are having a feeding frenzy on it.
In in the fact of all the jumping on the bandwagon from females coming from out of the woodwork, under rocks, and out of the shadows, as it were, shows, contracts, interviews have been canceled. Though not a shred of concrete evidence has been presented, Bill Cosby is being lynched in the worst possible way. Interestingly enough, Whoopi Goldberg nailed it when she said, on The View, aren’t you supposed to produce a rape kit, when the allegations or charges of rape are involved?
And as far as I’m concerned, Bill Cosby is a good man – in fact a Fine Black Man – at least in my eyes, and through my experience of knowing him, having interviewed him, being around he and his lovely wife, Camille, at many an event. No, I didn’t say he was a saint; nor did I say he was “perfect.” But he’s no rapist, either.
But definitely over the great scheme of things, Bill Cosby has spent his life in the service of and helping others – primarily Black people – but people in general – through sharing his largess with universities, via scholarships, through developing and underwriting educational program; doing charitable shows; and what the late Maynard Jackson would call “Good Works.” He’s helped thousands of aspiring actors, writers, producers succeed in their careers, giving them opportunities they would never otherwise have had – showcasing their talents in ways that made it possible for them to go forward on their own and continue to succeed.
Not only has he been “America’s Dad” he is also a Dad and a Granddad, one who’s raised his family, along with his wife and partner, Camille, to be, do and have great things.
So when the ersatz comedian deigned to target an Icon, to further his career, no one really saw any serious cause for alarm. He wouldn’t be the first person to take a bit of gossip and use it in jest against someone of note. It’s been done over and over countless times. Political satire is made of innuendos and controversy turned into comedy. But, owing to the tenor of the times, the opportunity to see how far down one can drag an icon – especially one so highly placed as Bill Cosby – this one grew legs and began to take on the size of a leviathan – to the point of now, here we are, with several women claiming to have been “raped” by Bill Cosby. And the more information is published, the more they come out saying the same thing. And now, a man who was enjoying the pinnacle of success is looking being accused of heinous behavior, totally uncharacteristic of the man we’ve all come to know and love.
And I had to ask myself “WHY???” Why is this happening to Bill Cosby? Why now?
And as I rode home the other evening, riding the bus and listening to some ignorant people “talking loug and saying nothing” mention Bill Cosby, for some reason the Book of Job suddenly popped into my mind, as a comparison to what he is going through. And I remember that one of the main things in that story was why bad things happen to good people?
If you don’t know the story of Job, or are fuzzy about it, let me “refresh your recollection” as the late Johnnie Cochran used to say. I’m paraphrasing from a post by Jack Wellman on December 31, 2011, entitled: Job Bible Story Summary with Lesson:
“The Accuser: All was going well with Job. He had it all: A large family, wealth, and blessings of every kind imaginable. At that time, Job may have been the richest man on the face of the earth. Job 1:2-3 describes his wealth as “He had seven sons and three daughters, and he owned seven thousand sheep, three thousand camels, five hundred yoke of oxen and five hundred donkeys, and had a large number of servants. He was the greatest man among all the people of the East.”
“Clearly, Job had it all. This must have bothered Satan because he came to God. What did God say to Satan about Job? God bragged on Job in 1:8, saying, “Then the LORD said to Satan, “Have you considered my servant Job? There is no one on earth like him; he is blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil.” Can you imagine the God of the Universe bragging on Job from heaven? Might He also brag about you and your righteousness found in Jesus Christ? It is entirely possible however Satan was not convinced and said to God, “Does Job fear God for nothing?” Satan replied. “Have you not put a hedge around him and his household and everything he has? You have blessed the work of his hands, so that his flocks and herds are spread throughout the land. But now stretch out your hand and strike everything he has, and he will surely curse you to your face” (Job 1:9-11).
“Satan’s name means “adversary” and he has been called the “accuser of the brethren” (Rev. 12:10). God sets out to prove to Satan that Job is not righteous just because he is being blessed. God challenges the Devil telling him, “Very well, then, everything he has is in your power, but on the man himself do not lay a finger” (Job 1:12). Job lost just about everything; his sheep, his oxen, his camels, his servants, and all of his sons and daughters – but remarkably he did not lose his faith in God. What was Job’s response? “Then Job arose, tore his robe, and shaved his head; and he fell to the ground and worshiped. And he said: “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return there. The LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away; Blessed be the name of the LORD. In all this Job did not sin nor charge God with wrong” (Job 1:20-22).
“Here we can plainly see Job’s reaction: he worshiped God, he said that he came into this world with nothing and will return with nothing, the Lord has taken away all he had except his wife – and his wife told him to “curse God and die” – and Job also blessed the name of the Lord. In all of this, “Job did not sin nor charge God with wrong!” He blessed God’s name, he worshiped God, and he did not sin. Satan must have been angry at Job’s response. Job suffered unjustly and yet he did not blame God or say, “why me?”
“Fair Weather Friends: Job’s friends tried to console him but they soon started to blame him for his own troubles inferring that he must have sinned in order for all these trials to come upon him. That is something that is far too easy for believers to do. When they see a Christian suffer, they unfairly assume that there must be sin in that believer’s life. But suffering is not always a result of sin as we see with Job. In many cases, those who are sinners suffer little while those who are saints suffer much. Many people see this as a stumbling block for Christianity and ask why God allows suffering. Instead of asking “why” they might be better off asking “what”. What is God up to? What is He trying to produce in us? Like the refiners fire, God often uses suffering to produce righteous character in believers. Sometimes He wants those who suffer to be more dependent upon Him. It may be that He is trying to get our attention. We might even be sinning; however we can not always equate suffering with sin in a believer’s life as we see with Job’s experience.
“At first Job’s friends try to help Job but they quickly turn to accusing him of some sort of hidden or known sin. Job knows that this is not the reason and tries to justify himself against their accusations. But his justification quickly turns to self-righteousness and that is sin before God. Job’s friends say, “Is not your wickedness great? Are not your sins endless? You demanded security from your brothers for no reason; you stripped men of their clothing, leaving them naked. You gave no water to the weary and you withheld food from the hungry, though you were a powerful man, owning land– an honored man, living on it. And you sent widows away empty-handed and broke the strength of the fatherless. That is why snares are all around you, why sudden peril terrifies you” (Job 22:5-10). This brings God’s righteous indignation upon Job’s friends (Job 42:7-17).
God Answers Job: “Job is not guiltless as no man is without sin (1 John 1:8, Romans 3:23). Job becomes discouraged, partly because of the blame game played by his friends. Job begins to question God Himself and this is when God answers Job out of the whirlwind (tornado?), He says, “Who is this who darkens counsel by words without knowledge? Now prepare yourself like a man; I will question you, and you shall answer Me.“ Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth? Tell Me, if you have understanding” (Job 38:2-4). God puts Job in his place and in effect tells Job, who are you to question the God of the Universe? God never does answer Job’s question on why He allows suffering. God, in His sovereignty, chooses not to tell us everything. That is God’s prerogative. Also notice that God spoke to Job out of the “whirlwind” which is the terminology for a tornado or great and destructive windstorm. This could indicate that God is in all things going on this world. He is sovereign and nothing happens that is not within His perfect will. This things include natural disasters and calamities. God is never caught off guard or by surprise.
“God Restores Job If Job had known that God would have restored to him more than he had in the first place, would he have questioned Him at all? God rewards Job for his faithfulness and his endurance through such suffering. This story has an incredible ending.
“Job 42:10-17 “After Job had prayed for his friends, the LORD restored his prosperity and doubled his [previous] possessions. All his brothers, sisters, and former acquaintances came to his house and dined with him in his house. They offered him sympathy and comfort concerning all the adversity the LORD had brought on him. Each one gave him a qesitah and a gold earring.
“So Job ended up much better off than he was in the beginning. He had considerably more than when he began his suffering and even though God did not answer Job why he was allowed to suffer so terribly, in the end Job had more blessings than any man or the face of the earth at that time. The application for Christians today is that God will bless those who endure to the end and that someday, God will reward us with unbelievable blessings that can not compare with what we have today (Rom 8:18, 28). We will all suffer in this life. It is appointed to mankind to suffer. It is a fallen world. We may not know the “why” today but some day we probably will. Instead of asking “why”, we should ask “what”. What is God up to? What is God trying to do in me? The “why” will have to wait for someday in eternity. Until then, we can not fully grasp the purpose of God but we know that He will not allow us to suffer into eternity. One thing that is important is that Satan could not lay a finger on Job, nor can he us. God will not allow this (Job 1:12. I John 4:4).###”
Bill Cosby has maintained his silence throughout this ordeal. He’s not trashed his accusers, nor given in to the taunts and controversy. This is admirable in a day and age when most people would have been all over the media bad-mouthing and hurling accusations across the board, making threats and filling the meanstream media with headlines. No, Bill’s silence is aggravating to the meanstream because they can’t take his words and distort them, or use them against him. He’s keeping his own counsel, and, by not dragging friends and associates into this melee, he’s also showing his confidence in the truth prevailing in the end.
So, in that way, he is also very much like our hero, Job, who continued to struggle and move forward despite the “slings and arrows of outrageous ‘mis’fortune.”
Cosby’s even offered to refund monies to those who had paid to see him perform at his annual December event at New York’s famed Apollo Theatre. There’s much to be said for this kind of demeanor – valiant, steadfast, honor bound – something very few of our youth, or our contemporaries – know of in this day and age. With the advent of the so-called reality TV genre, you’re more likely to see people standing toe to toe calling each other m-f’s and other negative names, than taking the role of not rolling on the ground in the mud with the swine.
Frankly, I don’t know what Bill Cosby’s religious beliefs are. I remember him saying once that Camille was brought up as a Catholic – but I don’t think he would be as beloved or insightful, or dedicated as he is, had he not had some spiritual background and underpinning to carry him through. He more walks his talk, than talks about it. By his works he has been known. And they stand on their own.
And, as Job was made whole and restored by the Divine, Cosby will likewise be vindicated. Taking a departure from the Bible, I had a Grandmom, Cornelia, who used to say that just when the enemy thought he had you by the shorthairs, “the worm do turn.” I’ve witnessed it in the worst of situations; I’ve witnessed it in my own life, as well. And Cornelia’s message is as valid in this case as it has been in others.
As in the case when Cosby wanted to buy NBC-TV, New York, and his fair weather friends betrayed him, this may be a period of housecleaning as well. It’s also a test of the faith of people who have been admonished to judge not lest you be judged; and when you do judge somebody, make sure you’re doing it with righteousness.
Look at motives on the part of the accusers – what is there to gain from such accusations? Money, fifteen minutes of fame? Is there a vendetta that’s being fed by this? Possibly. Why would a man with the mega millions money and chocolate good looks of a Bill Cosby (especially 30 to 40 years ago) need to rape anybody – when women, who were falling over him to be noticed, would have cheerfully jumped into bed with him at the slightest invitation or provocation? Makes you wanna go hmmmmm? Is there a secret bet going on between the equivalent of God and Satan to see who can tear down an icon? And are we playing into their hands?
It’s not so outlandish as you may think – the movie, TRADING PLACES – with Eddie Murphy, Jamie Lee Curtis and Dan Akroyd was based on this same premise.
Please note, I didn’t mention, and don’t intend to, the names of any of the accusers in my Blog – nor the ersatz comedian who made this a part of his comedy routine, because he lacked originality. I’ll leave that to the purveyors of gossip and negativity to do that.
I am and will remain an admirer of Bill Cosby -You certainly do have to have spiritual underpinnings to successfully make it through 50 years of marriage; to lose a son and continue to move forward; to put together wonderful programs; be gracious when you’re falling out on your feet. He has indeed been blessed.
Perhaps somebody doesn’t like that, and started a “what would happen if……?” campaign. Machiavelli, in the Prince, spoke of the “big lie.” A lie so big that even though it was a lie, the more the person tried to prove his or her innocence, the more people believed the lie. After all, why would anyone go to the trouble of doing something like that, most people would think, using logic as their basis. Most regular people would never think that deviously. It takes someone with big stakes to tell the big lie and see if it mushrooms they way they want. The fact that Bill Cosby has not engaged in the mind game partly thwarts the purpose of the rumor mill. The shadow of a reasonable doubt should be something the public would stick to – it’s part and parcel of our justice system. And when a man, especially Black man of the caliber of Bill Cosby, is suddenly excoriated and raked over the coals, there is something very sinister going on.
Whether or not this matter is ever cleared up in the court of public opinion, there is a law in this country that a man is innocent UNTIL PROVEN guilty. And it most certainly would not be the first time that a Black man has suffered massive character assassination only to be found totally innocent of the charges at a later date. Supposedly reputation, once trashed, can never be resurrected. So I would caution all who read or watch the meanstream media to be very careful about how much of this you swallow, or how much you repeat to your friends – you may have to eat those words.
My prayers and support go out to Bill and Camille Cosby, the Cosby family, friends, relatives and supporters during this madness.
Stay Blessed &
bullet Columnist Gloria Dulan-Wilson Is a veteran New York City Journalist. Her experiences, perspective & sense of history are an invaluable combination. “check out my blog:” www.gloria-dulan-wilson.blogspot.com