If you haven’t seen it yet, I am sure you will if you can through any major news source of the past week. There is a woman in the northeast who has been going to tanning booths so much that her skin is darker than a Hershey bar. And the story has made the rounds from mainstream news sources to late night pundits to Saturday Night Live skits. The more serious coverage asked the question of whether the tanning industry has any responsibility to protect its customers from self destructive behavior but that has not been the bulk of the stories. Most of the stories range from the gawking type to the down right mocking type.
The issue though should be, “When did it become ‘cool’ to make fun of the mentally ill?” Take someone acting bizarrely and society tries to correct them social pressure. This is a good thing if the person is healthy and capable of making rational decisions. We put a spotlight on people to to shame them into making better decisions. But when we put the spotlight and laugh at someone who is unable to make good decisions we are shaming ourselves, not them.
Jesus didn’t go to the outskirts of town to mock the ‘demon possessed’ in his world. He went out to heal them and make them whole.
Any person who would sit in a tanning booth that long clearly has mental issues. She will likely suffer the rest of her life physically from what she has done to herself. Let’s pray for her. Let society step in to help her recover physically, mentally, and spiritually. We should be asking ourselves what led her to have such low self esteem to do this and how many others are like her.
But laughing at her is not a quality in us. It is a fault.
What do you think?