On May 11, 2016, Patheos.com reported that Pastor Gene Lingerfelt gave a sermon at Faith Christian Center in Texas a couple of months ago, in which he goes off on men who play Xbox (and presumably all video games), saying that it is the fault of “that retarded spirit” that those men can’t find dates.
“And don’t even get me started on the Xbox. And all of that. If you have callouses on your thumbs, you’re a loser. If you’re more than 18 years old and you’re still jackin’ around with that stuff… [The pastor then makes an “L” gesture with his right hand].
I curse that spirit in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth.
There are young gals in this church. Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful young gals, and you know why they can’t get a date? ‘Cause that retarded spirit got onto young men.”
[Various “Amens” are heard from the parishioners at this point.]
“Some of you women, you have my permission — blame me. He come home — I’m talking about your husband come home, and that’s gone. And don’t just throw it in the trash — he’ll go fish it out — you gotta put in the bathtub full of water before you throw it in the trash. Now don’t do that while it’s plugged in…”
[Laughter from the congregation]
Let’s start with the gaming aspect here… I don’t know about the rest of you, but I’m a guy in his (very) late 30s who enjoys both gaming AND a relatively healthy dating life. I’ve been gaming for the majority of my life, and I’ve usually not had too big of a problem with getting dates – I was even married for just shy of 8 years. All of the women I date have always known that I am a gamer. They’re fine with that. Some of them have also been gamers (it’s important to be able to share a passion with someone if you are in a relationship with them). So there’s that.
Now. Let’s talk about the other elephant in the room. What makes gaming “retarded”, and what gives this supposed man of the cloth the right to use “The ‘R’ Word”? I would be interested to see if he has had any contact with individuals who have developmental or intellectual disabilities, and what they have to say about him. I, being a person with a physical disability, I have been confused with, and called “retarded” in the past; and it’s always interesting to see people’s reactions when I proceed to call them out on their ignorance & talk to them in an educated & cogent manner. I wonder, in that vein, what Pastor Lingerfelt’s reaction would be if I were to quote several studies, which have taken place over the years, which show the medical & psychological benefits of gaming? What would he do if he met the amazing individuals from The Able Gamers Charity and Special Effect, or for that matter, what would he say to a cosplayer, some of whose amazing work draws from video games, and who fought for this country?
For now, I will go on record as simply quoting Matthew 7:1 – 2: “Do not judge, or you will be judged. For with the same judgment you pronounce, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you”.