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Paparazzi again goes too far

By Scott Tibbs, June 10, 2005

Last week, a psychotic stalker intentionally rammed Lindsey Lohan's automobile to prevent her from escaping his obsessive attempts to photograph her. Lohan's car was seriously damaged by the deranged stalker's attack, but she escaped with minor injuries. The stalker happened to be a member of the paparazzi.

That some in the paparazzi could resort to such violence should be of no surprise to anyone. In fact, it could have been much worse. In 1997, Princess Diana of Great Britain was murdered by paparazzi as they chased her at high speeds.

The blame for the assault on Lohan goes much farther than one sociopath. His employers, who no doubt pressured him into getting good shots of Lohan, bear a moral responsibility for this despicable act. An investigation should be done to see if the tabloid that employed Galo Cesar Ramirez bears any criminal responsibility as well. If so, they must be punished to the fullest extent of the law.

Furthermore, our celebrity-obsessed culture is also responsible for this. If the tabloids did not have a significant readership, there would not be the pressure to get photos of celebrities to sell even more copies. It is a simple issue of supply and demand. Every single person who regularly buys The National Enquirer or other such publications is partially at fault for the assault.

Celebrities can reasonably expect to have less privacy than the average person. They have chosen to put themselves into the public eye and they cannot simply turn off their celebrity status. However, it is not anyone's business who is sleeping with whom. We do not need to know every intimate detail of someone's life, especially since much of that is based on rumors. It goes without saying that no one should expect to be put in danger because of celebrity status.

There are two important Biblical lessons here. First is the Bible's prohibition on gossip. (See Proverbs 26:20, Leviticus 19:16, Psalm 50:20, Proverbs 11:13, Proverbs 20:19, and Ezekiel 22:9.) Gossip is destructive and malicious, and Christians should avoid it. Unfortunately, gossip is a huge problem in the Christian church

Second is that modern America's obsession with celebrities is idolatrous. While no one is offering up a sacrifice for the celebrity of the moment, many see celebrities as so important and captivating that those celebrities effectively become gods. It is one thong to enjoy movies, music and sports. But when celebrities become so admired that they take the place of God, a grave sin is being committed.

There are certainly many reasons to admire other people. The dedication of professional sports players serves as a lesson in how hard work produces results. Even God's word puts many heroes of faith before us. The wisdom of King Solomon, the courage and faith of the Apostle Paul, and the devotion of King David serve as lessons for us to implement in our own lives. But God did not put accounts of His servants into the Word so we could admire how great the prophet Daniel was; Daniel instead serves as a lesson to how we can follow Jesus Christ.