November 03, 2006

ANOTHER EVANGELIST SEX SCANDAL: I don't think I'd ever even heard of this Haggard guy, but you'd think the picture would be enough to tip people off about the gay part. . . .

Anyway, La Shawn Barber has a roundup and thoughts, including this:

Hypocrisy is mightier than the sword. When you preach/teach/nag against something and people find out youíre doing the thing you preach/teach/nag against, you are a hypocrite who deserves ridicule, especially if youíre high profile.

Having said all that, I have to say this: No Christian should be surprised that Haggard may have given in to his perverted thoughts and turned them into perverted actions. Itís a temptation we all face. . . .

Christians constantly are being watched, and rightly so. Any little thing we do that appears hypocritical, unbelievers jump on it.

Christianity, of course, is not about perfection. Nonetheless. . . .

UPDATE: This puts me in mind of something I wrote a while back, drawing on Neal Stephenson's Cryptonomicon. And reader Mark Shepard notes an even more on-point passage from another Stephenson book:

"You know, when I was a young man, hypocrisy was deemed the worst of vices," Finkle-McGraw said. "It was all because of moral relativism. You see, in that sort of a climate, you are not allowed to criticise others -- after all, if there is no absolute right and wrong, then what grounds is there for criticism?"

"Now, this led to a good deal of general frustration, for people are naturally censorious and love nothing better than to criticise others' shortcomings. And so it was that they seized on hypocrisy and elevated it from a ubiquitous peccadillo into the monarch of all vices. For, you see, even if there is no right and wrong, you can find grounds to criticise another person by contrasting what he has espoused with what he has actually done. In this case, you are not making any judgment whatsoever of his behaviour -- you are merely pointing out that he has said one thing and done another. Virtually all political discourse in the days of my youth was devoted to the ferreting out of hypocrisy.

"We take a somewhat different view of hypocrisy," Finkle-McGraw continued. "In the late-twentieth-century Weltanschauung, a hypocrite was someone who espoused high moral views as part of a planned campaign of deception -- he never held these beliefs sincerely and routinely violated them in privacy. Of course, most hypocrites are not like that. Most of the time it's a spirit-is-willing, flesh-is-weak sort of thing."

"That we occasionally violate our own stated moral code," Major Napier said, working it through, "does not imply that we are insincere in espousing that code."

Stephenson's position as a moral thinker is underrated. Of course, that's an advantage of writing science fiction -- you can slip that stuff in without being overbearing.