The Bible and the Headlines
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By David Bachelor, PhD
Halloween is still weeks away, but this week’s headlines are already haunting. The subject of these billings is creepy, but that is not the scary part. The fearful thing is that those who are fascinated by this grim subject are deaf to the pleas of their fellow citizens to look away.
On Friday, Hollywood Unlocked, an e-newsletter for celebrity gossip, had the headline “YouTuber Faces Backlash For ‘Living Like Jeffrey Dahmer’ Video.” According to the article, the YouTuber lived like his muse for twenty-four hours and recorded every minute of the experience. In the video, the YouTuber dressed like Dahmer, offered spiked drinks to others, and had a friend pretend to be Dahmer’s youngest victim. In response to the video, many subscribers expressed their disapproval. A subscriber posted, “[T]he video was in poor taste” and “This is foul.” Still, the video has over 180,000 views.
The Friday headline for Foxnews.com was, “Jeffrey Dahmer-inspired Halloween costumes: Twitter, Tiktok Freak Out Over ‘Disgusting’ Trend.” The article blames Netflix’s recent Dahmer series as the stimulus for this year’s leading disguise and says. “[C]ostumes modeled after serial killer and cannibal Jeffrey Dahmer are expected to be hugely popular.” The texts from multiple tweets showed that not everyone is caught up in the craze. Many on Tiktok and Twitter begged their followers to not channel Dahmer.
The Friday edition of the entertainment newsmagazine TMZ proclaimed, “JEFFREY DAHMER-INSPIRED COSTUMES SELLING ON EBAY …Stores Ain’t Havin’ It!!!” The article noted how major retailers are foregoing a huge stream of holiday revenue by not vending short, blond wigs and aviator-frame glasses. These are the signature items in a Dahmer costume. The article noted, “Some of the props for sale are made for children’s costumes.” At least one social media post of a child in Dahmer costume has gone viral. In response, many people on the platform recommend, “[A]nyone in Dahmer gear should be beaten up.” Dahmer was beaten to death in prison.
In the Bible there is a narrative where the public had an unhealthy relationship with a murderer. Just like our present time, they also were deaf to appeals to reason. The conflicted populace was in Jerusalem. At a key point in Pontius Pilate’s decision cycle on Jesus’ fate, Pilate turned to the crowd for assistance (Luke 23:20). Pilate pleaded for the people to recognize Jesus’ innocence (Luke 23:22). The crowd was fixated on putting Jesus to death and releasing a killer. “So, Pilate decided to give them what they wanted. He set free the man who had been jailed for murder and mayhem. And Pilate surrendered Jesus to the will of the mob” (Luke 23:24-25).
It is a mystery why some people would choose to honor a murderer and ignore those who see the gravity of his crimes. Perhaps this behavior can be expected during a season whose watchwords are “Trick or treat.” This is a threat, not a blessing.