On November 17th, 2016, fashion designer Sophie Theallet committed suicide. She tweeted this open letter to the public on the same day. ABC News reported, “The designer, who launched her label in 2007, won the prestigious CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund Award in 2009. Theallet has dressed many celebrities, including Shailene Woodley, Neve Campbell and Gabrielle Union.”1 For those of you who don’t follow fashion, she is a French fashion designer who, most notably, has outfitted the First Lady Michelle Obama.

Vanity Fair reports, “Michelle Obama has been styled and dressed by designers since she stepped into the White House eight years ago—and has frequented the covers of magazines like Vogue and Essence…”2

How did Sophie Theallet commit suicide? Not in the sense you may be thinking. She did not put a gun to her head, she did not swallow a bottle of sleeping pills, she did not hang herself, (at least not in the literal sense). Theallet broke one of the basic laws of thought, specifically the law of non-contradiction. Greg Koukl, in his book Tactics, calls views that self-destruct “committing suicide”. Let me explain before I share a quote from her Tweet.

The three basic laws of thought are the law of identity, which means something is what it is and nothing else. The law of noncontradiction, which means something cannot be true and not true in the same time and same place. And finally, the law of excluded middle, which means a proposition is either true or false; it can’t be something in between.3

Let me give you an example that can show the importance of all three of these laws, especially if we apply them to what Jesus said. In John 14:6, “Jesus answered, ‘I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.’ ” (NIV) The law of identity holds that it is Jesus who made this statement, not Muhammad, Buddha, or Sophie Theallet. When we apply the law of non-contradiction it holds that Jesus is the only way, not one of two ways, one of three ways, or one of many ways, because He said, “no one comes to the Father except through me.” Finally the law of excluded middle holds that either no one comes to the Father except through Jesus is a true statement or a false statement. Jesus said no one comes to the Father except though Him (Jesus). That statement is either true or false. We cannot find a middle ground, despite the fact that so many claim to have found one.

I want to focus on the law of non-contradiction and give you some examples. If someone says, “There is no truth”, you only need to ask that person if that is a true statement. You can see that statement makes a claim that contradicts itself. Another example would be if someone said, “You can never know any truth about religion”, and you can ask that person how he came to know that truth about religion. Again, you see this statement cannot be true, because it would then be false. How can someone claim you can’t know any truth about religion, but then claim to know a truth about religion?4

So, just how did Sophie Theallet commit suicide? At the end of her open letter to the public she wrote, “As one who celebrates and strives for diversity, individual freedom and respect for all lifestyles, I will not participate in dressing or associating in any way with the next First Lady. The rhetoric of racism, sexism, and xenophobia unleashed by her husband’s presidential campaign are incompatible with the shared values we live by.5
She stated that she is one who celebrates and strives for diversity, individual freedom, and respect for all lifestyles. Yet, she will not celebrate, allow diversity of thought, individual freedom, or respect all lifestyles. Even if what she said were true, that Trump is guilty of racism, sexism, and xenophobia, she is being intolerant of his diversity of thought, individual freedom, and not respecting his lifestyles.

If Theallet really believed in diversity, individual freedom, and respect for all lifestyles, she would not be imposing her own beliefs on others, specifically the Trumps.

Just to be clear here, I have no problem with Sophie Theallet’s decision not to assist the future First Lady in her wardrobe. It is her family business and she has the right to refuse service to anyone. Or does she? The Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, and personal opinion. Personal opinion? No, not really, I just added that in to make my point. If Melania Trump had asked for some clothes by Theallet, it is not clear that she would be in her right to refuse the future First Lady. The lawyers can figure that one out, should it go to court.

With some wry humor, Mary Ham a senior writer for the Federalist wrote, “Friday, fashion designer Sophie Theallet, who has dressed the current first lady Michelle Obama, offered a preemptive refusal to hypothetically dress the next first lady, Melania Trump, should she ask for some of her clothes— presumably not the ones available at The Gap. In her unsolicited letter, Theallet informed the world that a person who did not ask for any of her clothes would not be getting them.”6

The actions of Sophie Theallet should give those who are being intellectually honest, even if they agree with her reasons, pause for thought. Clearly Theallet can’t champion diversity of thought and all lifestyles when she is condemning of someone whose thoughts do not line up with hers and whose opinion may differ from her own.

For years now Christians have been hearing how ‘intolerant’ they are, and how they should be more accepting and embrace the opinions of others. Christians should be examples of tolerance, loving all others regardless of their lifestyle choices. Christians are told not to judge, but to love unconditionally.

Yet Christians, at least the ones I know, are accepting of other points of view, but being accepting does not mean embracing. Is Sophie Theallet embracing Trump’s views? Certainly not, if you read the Tweet she encourages others to also not dress the future First Lady. Christians have been told to be more tolerant, but tolerance means you are putting up with someone you don’t agree with. It does not mean you have to agree with them or endorse their opinions. Is Sophie Theallet being tolerant of Trumps views? No, in fact because her own views run counter to what she says Trump believes, she refuses to do business with the Trumps. Have we heard about this before when it comes to baking a cake? Christians are told not to judge, but to love unconditionally. Everyone I know has to make judgments, especially when it comes to the health and safety of their own family. The judging Jesus was talking about in Matthew 7 was hypocritical judging. Telling someone for example they need to take a bath, when you yourself smell to high heaven.

If you read or watch the news and pay attention to what some people say, you might be surprised how many celebrities or sport figures make statements that on one hand sound reasonable, but are actually foolish. Theallet needs to think more about what she Tweets, and less about fashionable thinking.

Sources:
1. McKenzie, Joi-Marie. “Fashon Designer Sophie Theallet Pens Open Letter Refusing to Dress Melania Trump.” ABC NEWS 18 November 2016. Web. 19 November 2016.
2. Harwood, Erika. “Designer Sophie Theallet Calls for Fashion Boycott of Melania Trump.” Vanity Fair. Vanityfair.com, 18 November 2016. Web. November 19 2016.
3. DeWeese, Garrett J. and Moreland J.P. Philosophy Made Slightly Less Difficult. Downers Grove: IVP Academic, 2005. Print.
4. Koukl, Greg. Tactics. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2009. Print
5. Theallet, Sophie (sophietheallet). “Open Letter Sophie Theallet Noovember 17th 2016” November 17 2016, 2:27 PM. Tweet.
6. Ham, Mary K. “Refusing To Serve Customers You Don’t Agree With Is Suddenly Cool Again” The Federalist. thefederalist.com, 18 November 2016. Web. 19 November 2016.

 

 

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Fashionable Suicide by James Glazier is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.

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