Justin Lookadoo ticked off the wrong people – a professor of theology and a bunch of teens with smartphones.
The youth speaker showed up last week to give a presentation on dating and character to students at a Texas high school. He was met by members of the media. (He must be a big deal to draw in that kind of press attention for a high school assembly.) During his presentation, a few curious kids sent out live tweets such as, “Are we allowed to ask questions at this assembly? If so, is “f_ck you” a question?”. When it was over, the braver ones approached him (with media and smartphone videos in tow) to confront him about his views on gender roles and dating.
The students did their research before Lookadoo’s arrival and learned he was one of those barbaric Christians who believe in traditional gender roles when it comes to relationships and dating. He had written a book in 2003 on “dating rules” and conducted seminars for church youth groups.
The media reported Lookadoo said girls need to shut up and be more feminine. Oh heck no! I remember my time on the dating scene. God gave me a mouth in addition to a uterus, and there was no way I was shutting up to attract a man. Be more feminine? I was not sticking a bow on top of my head and acting dainty just so I could have someone buy me dinner at Applebee’s.
The media ran with it. Within a few days, outlets all across the country were berating this guy by mocking his hairstyle, called him creepy, insulting his family and so much more. Serves him right.
No, it doesn’t. This is wrong. Very wrong. A man has been made a target because his beliefs didn’t match a disrespectful mini-mob who turned a high school assembly into a press conference and public hanging. There is no room for mature disagreement and intelligent debate. Don’t waste time talking one-on-one. Go ahead and tweet live so the world can see you’re not taking any crap from a speaker who dares to have a different point of view. Go for the jugular and take this guy out. We don’t need him spreading that trash to impressionable teens. That’s a job for the entertainment media.
Rev. Dr. Jaime Clark-Soles, a professor of theology at Southern Methodist University, wrote a column for Huffington Post in which she expressed her outrage when she discovered Lookadoo was going to be speaking at her daughter’s school. “Justin Lookadoo is in no way qualified to address children in a public school setting. Mr. Lookadoo is a religious speaker who has published religious books with a religious press,” she wrote. “He has also published many of his religious beliefs regarding gender roles (all based on a heterosexual model in which boys and girls are to pair up) on his website.”
(Just curious. Does that mean teachers who support traditional gender roles through their synagogue, temple, church or mosque aren’t qualified to lead children in a public school setting? Should they be fired if they are public about their beliefs?)
There are a few inconvenient facts you won’t see in many of the media reports. The comments that are widely circulated in the news and the blogosphere came from the 2003 book, not the 2013 presentation. Lookadoo didn’t use the assembly to talk about his religious beliefs. The guy knows the difference between a school and church audience. He didn’t slam anyone for their sexual orientation. None of that mattered to Clark-Soles. She wrote, “Some reporters have said to me: “Justin says he didn’t mention his website or his rules during the actual assembly so you have no grounds for being upset.” My response is this: Would a school dare to bring in a speaker with well-publicized controversial views on race or a track record of disparaging a particular ethnic group? Of course not! So why would they invite someone with similarly outrageous views on gender? Some views on gender roles are just plain dangerous.”
Here are a few other pesky facts. This presentation was optional. Students chose to be there. No one was forced to attend. No tax dollars were used. Lookadoo spoke at the high school in 2009 and was invited back. He’s done thousands of these things for both public schools and faith-based organizations.
Clark-Soles offered praise to the students who spoke out. “I am inspired by and proud of all of the students who have rejected these unjust, sexist convictions that are damaging to all people, no matter what their gender,” she wrote. “Students, you are intelligent, courageous, and mature. Keep up the fantastic work!!!”
What? Praise for the same mature and intelligent bunch that showed no respect to an adult and christened him with the vulgar hashtag – #lookadouche?
I took a deeper dive into Lookadoo’s seemingly outrageous views on dating. When I first heard the news reports, I was very angry, but my journalism instincts suspected something was missing from the story. On the surface, the views promoted by the media can be quite inflammatory; however, they are excerpts taken from his book. Excerpts. One or two paragraphs taken from a book that goes into a whole lot more detail and context. He has a brash way of getting attention, but it’s not oppressive and hateful stuff. This guy is a former juvenile probation officer who has seen kids suffer the consequences of poor life choices, and he’s trying to give them a different perspective in hopes they can be spared unnecessary pain and heartache. (Of course, we all know it is highly judgmental for anyone to suggest poor choices and behavior can have crappy consequences.)
Some women are upset Lookadoo pointed out females can be a vicious bunch. Are you serious? Ladies, do you remember middle school and high school? Do you remember what the dating scene was like? Yes, females can be as vicious. Want proof? Talk to Rebecca Sedwick’s family. The 12-year-old committed suicide this fall after a pack of girls ruthlessly bullied her – over a boy.
Justin, I am so sorry you were ambushed like this. These people weren’t interested in hearing you speak; they were looking for the opportunity to take you down.
News media, I am so sorry you are missing the real stories behind this: a small group has manipulated a school assembly to destroy a man just because of something he believes and our society is calling this bunch “heroes” because they “stood up to a bully.” No they didn’t; they are the bullies. They took his beliefs out of context and portrayed them as “dangerous,” created vulgar names, defamed the guy and pretty much told the 3,000+ other venues where Lookadoo has spoken that they were idiots for allowing him in. They created a media firestorm.
Maybe I don’t know Christianity as well as a professor of theology like Dr. Clark-Soles does, but something tells me Jesus wouldn’t be celebrating what happened. I also get the feeling the crusade doesn’t mesh well with the whole Jesus thing about “love thy neighbor as thyself.” However, I do know one thing for certain – Jesus loves and forgives. Perhaps love and forgiveness – and basic manners- are better tactics than social media smears.(You can find the original Dallas Morning News story about Lookadoo’s appearance at www.dallasnews.com/news/community-news/richardson-lake-highlands/headlines/20131113-motivational-speaker-at-richardson-school-criticized-for-gender-stereotyping.ece. The link may not be accessible for long.)
I welcome your feedback, but I will not tolerate personal attacks against me, my family or another commenter. It’s okay to disagree, but be respectful. Attack the issue, not the person. Vulgarity, racism, religion bashing, slams about sexual orientation, name calling, advertisements and generally being a jerk to others will send your comment to the trash bin.
So play nice.