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Ministers Respond to Will Smith's Academy Awards Slap Seen Around the World, Giving Non-Violent Advice

03-28-2022
willjadasmith
Will Smith, left, and Jada Pinkett Smith arrive at the Oscars on Sunday, March 27, 2022, at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)

Pastors and authors across the country are responding to the scene that played out on global television Sunday night when actor Will Smith stepped up on the Academy Awards stage and smacked comedian Chris Rock.

As CBN's Faithwire reported, the unfortunate moment unfolded after Rock joked about Smith's wife, Jada Pinkett Smith, who has a shaved head due to struggles with alopecia. "Jada, I love you," Rock said on the stage. "GI Jane 2, can't wait to see you."

While laughs and giggles followed, Pinkett Smith looked unamused, and Smith started walking up on the stage and toward Rock. That's when he assaulted the comedian and walked back to his seat. Smith also reportedly yelled from his chair after hitting Rock, telling the comedian, "Keep my wife's name out of your (expletive) mouth."

While some have defended Smith, saying he was right to defend his wife, others have said he should not have resorted to violence. Several pastors took to social media to respond to the incident. 

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John Onwuchekwa, the teaching pastor at the Cornerstone Church in Atlanta, Georgia, tweeted: "What Will Smith did last night was totally inexcusable AND completely understandable. I think those roads intersect. I'm surprised at how many takes make it seem like we have to pick a side. Maybe that's a product of the polarized age we live in. There's a lot to unpack."

Dr. A.R. Bernard tweeted, "Last night we saw the conflict between the higher and lower self, play out on international television #WillSmith. At our highest moments in life, we are most vulnerable." That post appears to have been removed...

Bernard also tweeted a verse from the Bible's Old Testament. 

"A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger." -- Proverbs 15:1

Mike Edmonson, pastor at New City Fellowship OPC in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and author of the book The Power of Unearned Suffering wrote, "We all just watched a physical assault play out right before our very eyes. And the person who did it was comforted as if he were the victim and talked about it as though it were an act of love. We have to denormalize violence as a response to feeling disrespected."

Edmondson also offered a few ways Smith could have stood up for Jada Smith *non-violently.

"1. Used his acceptance speech to point out how disrespecting black women and disease sufferers is cruel," he wrote. 
"2. Shared his speech time with Jada to restore her agency & highlight her voice in the situation."

"We must prioritize standing up for black women in ways that center and empower black women," Edmondson wrote. 

Jackie Hill Perry, the author of the books Gay Girl, Good God, and Holier Than Thou tweeted, "I went to bed thinking about Chris. That man got open hand slapped (top tier disrespect) in front of the world and remained professional, even humorous. That takes incredible humility and self-control for any man, let alone a human, to not get their lick back."

Other Christian leaders have responded too, including Pastor Greg Laurie. Find their comments here on CBN's Faithwire: Christian Leaders Speak Out After Will Smith Attacks Chris Rock for Joke About Wife

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