Posts Tagged ‘hypocrisy

24
Mar
12

Where’s the Outrage?

You know one of the things that most pisses me off about the murder of Trayvon Martin by George Zimmerman in Florida?

The response from conservatives.

Where’s the outrage?

Most of them only got publicly outraged about President Obama’s words of empathy and sympathy for Trayvon’s parents, accusing him of opportunism and fanning the flames.

So far, the only one I know about calling attention loudly to the injustice of Trayvon’s killing is U.S. Rep. Allen West of Florida, a high-profile conservative and one of two African-American Republicans currently serving in Congress, who lambasted local authorities for their mishandling of the Trayvon Martin case thus far. Other conservative folks seemed too intent on trying to suggest Trayvon was a “bad kid” even days after it became clear he wasn’t one…or they’ve been too busy trying to defend Florida’s insane laws that helped make this killing happen…or they’ve been blaming Trayvon for wearing a hooded sweatshirt.

But you know what? Trayvon did the kinds of things conservatives keep telling black folks that they need to do to “be safe” and “fit in” and “be respected.”

He did all those things and got good grades and had big dreams and laudable goals for his future adulthood. George Zimmerman, disobeying police instructions and making himself judge, jury and executioner, took all that away.

Why aren’t conservatives outraged that a “good” black kid who did “all the right” things was murdered? Why aren’t they mad that they lost one of the potential “respectable” black people who might grow to appreciate the GOP? Why aren’t they angry that a promising young person had his life stolen away? Why are they more interested in defending a vigilante who was out of line instead of a kid who did “what he’s supposed to”?

I’m sure it isn’t racism. Or hypocrisy. Or pig-headed lack of compassion. Or maybe even just plain evil.

No, it isn’t any of those things.

It’s ALL of them.

If you aren’t taking Trayvon’s side in this matter, fuck you…fuck you hard…and fuck you forever. You’re as dead to me in spirit as Trayvon is corporeally.

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16
Jun
11

And…Tony Goes Limp

So, New York Rep. Anthony Weiner has backed off his assertion that he would not resign, and is now resigning over the whole “scandal” of tweeting flirtatious pictures of his man parts.

I’m not surprised. Dismayed, but not surprised.

But let’s clear up some things.

The media continuing to harp on the debacle is not, I believe, an example of right-wing, greedy, GOP-friendly corporate businessmen who own the media outlets purposefully sinking Rep. Weiner.

They don’t need to. Look, liberal and moderate members of the media feel the stings every day of being called “left-wing” and being told that there is a clear “liberal bias” in the news media, and so they don’t need any prodding to bend over backwards to prove that they aren’t liberal but are instead balanced, and they often do so by giving conservatives a pass and piling on the liberals. It’s not a conspiracy. It’s human nature and a dash of cowardice.

Much like the Democrats not making stands against Republican crook, liars, cheats and killers and instead shredding one of their own to make a point that “See, we take morality and ethics seriously.” They keep doing so thinking that the Republicans will return the favor, but it ain’t gonna happen. That also isn’t a conspiracy. It’s mere stupidity.

Now, on to another issue: Hypocrisy.

Yes, I totally feel you, my fellow moderate and/or liberal friends, real-life and virtual, who are venting your spleens on Twitter and in person to lament how war criminals (like former President George W. Bush and former V.P. Dick Cheney) can lie through their teeth and bankrupt the nation to go to war, but face no charges, while a Democratic politician is forced out of office for sexting.

Yes, I agree that Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas isn’t just an asshole but also a crook and liar who’s hiding money and has been covering up conflicts of interest that should get him impeached and tossed off the bench. While a legislative sex scandal gets blown out of proportion and no one can work up the interest to investigate or care about the bigger problem on the judicial side.

I agree with all these things.

But it changes nothing about the fact that Weiner is a cowardly little dick and an obvious, transparent liar.

There, I said it.

His lies are smaller than those of Bush, Cheney, Thomas or a host of others. But still, he brought this on himself.

Many thought (and some still do) that Bush and Cheney were being honest when they went to war. Thomas apparently kept his conflicts of interest quiet enough not to draw attention. Because of that, the onus of anyone wanting to take them down is not only to plow through a political jungle but also to prove that those guys broke the law.

Weiner, however, did something stupid and then lied about it. Lied about it even though it was abundantly clear, or certainly SHOULD have been, that he was going to be revealed as having done just what he said he didn’t do. And he should have known it was going to happen very soon.

So, instead of fessing up, he evaded questions, did some fancy wordplay, made up excuses about being hacked, and basically put all the tinder and firewood all around him for his own immolation at the stake.

What’s worst is that it was obvious almost from the start that he was hiding something (and probably lying outright) and possibly even more was happening than we knew. The very day shit was going down, I had serious doubts about his veracity. By the next day or two, it was abundantly clear he was lying, and continuing to lie even though we were all pretty much telling him, through tweets and other means, “Dude, the gig is up.”

So, yes, what Weiner did was really between him and his wife. Yes, what he did had not material effect on how he did his job compared to anything else that any other legislator does, moral or not, on his or her own time. Yes, it is a stupid thing to blow into a “scandal” when we’ve had far sleazier Republicans who got a pass.

But none of that changes that fact that Weiner should have known he couldn’t maintain the lie for more than a handful of days and should have stepped forward from the get-go to admit it was him and offer an apology, explanation or whatever.

Yes, it’s worse to have a life of crime and hide the evidence for years as you ruin lives. But people get viscerally offended when you lie right to their faces while doing things that clearly show you’re lying about something you JUST did.

A man who plots to ruin my life and take my family and home and destroy my career is far worse than a guy who punches me in the face. But the guy who punches me in the face is the one who will get put on his ass right away, without question, as a logical reflex response. The other guy who ruined my life? It may take years for me to find out he did, and to make sure he did it on purpose, and justice against him may take longer…or possibly never happen.

If I embezzle money from a company, it might take a long time to figure out I’m doing it, and then a long time to get me convicted for it, assuming you can. But if I steal some treats from the convenience store and there’s video evidence, I will to to jail right away. The latter crime is less serious, but it will carry immediate penalties because of my carelessness and stupidity.

So, in the end, the media didn’t do Weiner in and neither did the Democrats. He made the wrong moves from the beginning and made sure that he had no stable ground on which to stand in the end.

Lesson: If you’re going to do questionable shit, be a lot fucking more discreet about it.

13
Apr
11

Screw You, Arianna Huffington!

So, I heard yesterday that a lawyer is suing on behalf of the some 9,000 people who produced content, largely for free, for The Huffington Post, to get some recompense subsequent to Arianna Huffington selling the site to AOL for $315 million.

Now, many would say (and many actually have) that the writers knew they were writing for free and were doing it for the exposure and shouldn’t expect any kind of payment.

Well, as much as I respect Huffington’s efforts to balance out increasingly insane conservative nonsense with somewhat less crazed ideological shouting from the leftward end of the spectrum, they do deserve something and she’s a greedy wench if she doesn’t give up some money.

Yeah, that’s right, I’m slamming a liberal. I’m not lock-step when it comes to that. I may lean left but I’m not a brain-dead zombie-like follower.

The fact is, Huffington would have had nothing to sell if not for the content produced by those writers.

Nothing.

She built her site on their backs, which was fine when she did it, but when she decided to cash in, they should have gotten consideration as well.

I mean, would it kill her to take $10 million or $20 million out her windfall (less than 10% of the total take) just to hand out $1,000 to $2,000 (on average) to each writer, based on how much he or she contributed?

The notion that she’s going to just walk away with the money and give no regard to those who did the bulk of the work is shameless. Simply shameless.

Not to mention an example of how shallow, self-centered and greedy people can be whether they are right-wing or left-wing (or in between).

26
Sep
10

Long Comes Up Short

I have no opinion or commentary about Pastor…oh, sorry…Bishop Eddie Long and the allegations he coerced young males in his mega-church to engage in sex with him, while also openly opposing gay marriage and decrying homosexuality as a sin.

However, I have a lot of opinions about his adherence to biblical principles, most especially Jesus’, as he rolls around in fancy clothes and cars and rakes in big bucks, advocating that Jesus was wealthy and wants all of his followers to be wealthy, too.

But why share all of those opinions when I can keep it simple and just say that Eddie Long needs to re-read the New Testament.

Because in my opinion, Bishop Long is going to have, as Jesus noted, nearly as hard a time getting into Heaven as a camel has of getting through the eye of a needle.

22
Feb
10

Crazy Angry

I’m sure virtually all of you among my readers already know about the guy who crashed his little plane into a federal building because he was mad at the IRS, to which he owed a lot of money (and yet was able to afford owning a plane; go figure).

You’ve probably also heard the debates, quite cogent in fact, about how few people are calling this guy a terrorist, even though he would have been if he weren’t white.

But that’s not what bothers me at the moment.

What bothers me are things like this series of tweets (the tweets don’t bother me; its the problem they identify that concerns me) by BlackGirlInMaine, who notes:

Ok, I’m late to the party but there are actually folks who think Joe Stack is hero and a patriot? Man flew into a building…Seems like the cowards way out and then he took another life with him..a man who had done tours in Nam..sorry but Joe was not a hero…The thing is these folks who cheer and support this stuff walk along side of us..they look normal and you need to be concerned.

Or this comment by Thordaddy, whom I hate to even give space to after banning him, who at this post by Big Man at Raving Black Lunatic posted about the IRS-crazy plane-wielding white terrorist this little comment:

The difference between this disgruntled white guy and underwear bomber is that the former might actually increase your freedom while the latter has already decreased it AND HE DIDN’T EVEN SUCCEED in his martyrdom.

I always knew Thordaddy was crazy, but to even suggest that Joe Stack’s actions, murderous and anarchic though they were, might increase our freedoms by teaching the feds a lesson is beyond the pale.

I’m tired of people who scream that every brown- or tan-skinned man who straps on a bomb or flies a plane in anger is against our way of life and wants to kills us when he attacks a federal building or a bunch of innocents, but the citizen who’s angry at the government for something that’s his own fault is a hero.

You cannot have it both ways, people. The government today is almost exactly the same as the one we had under George W. Bush. If it was the innocent victim then, it still is now. If it’s a justifiable target in your eyes now, then it was then, and Dubya was as deserving of your ire as Obama.

Embrace terrorism or decry it. Don’t do both at the same damn time.

10
Mar
09

Two-fer Tuesday: Blindness by Deacon Blue

eyes-1Blindness is an all-too-common ailment in this world. And no, I don’t mean vision impairment. I don’t mean literally blindess. I mean the way we blind ourselves to suffering, blind ourselves to truth and blind ourselves to good paths that present themselves to us and that we ignore in favor of what feels better but is ultimately emptier.

More importantly, perhaps—and I harp on this because I so dislike hypocrisy, in myself or others—we blind ourselves to our personal failings and the blatant contradictions we foist on those around us. The lies about our motivations and the judgments we make of others while letting ourselves off the hook every time.

In politics and social commentary, I’ve watched left-wing folks cry that characters in movies or words that are part of our daily language are demeaning. (Really, are any gypsies really bitching that the phrase “to gyp” paints them as a thieving ethnic group? Does the “full retard” schpiel in Tropic Thunder really insult people with developmental disabilities? Must people who can’t walk or otherwise have a physical disability be called “differently” abled?). I’ve seen them cry that we must stop using such words and we must call for an end to such things in media. We must purge bad words and bad habits (like drinking and drug use) from all movies so that we don’t poison the minds of the young.

…Right after they’ve talked about the need for freedom of speech.

On the right-wing side, I see people crying out that Barack Obama will make us a socialist nation, stipping away our rights and our property and making us into mindless automatons that serve the state…all while ignoring the GOP’s handouts to the rich and to industries for so many years. While ignoring the fact that people in the armed forces have been forced to remain in service past their agreed-upon time and been forced to do longer tours of duty than they should. They’re fine with an authoritarian state, as long as the privileged and rich are calling the shots and the middle class, working class and poor mind their places.

Recently, right in my own backyard, a preacher is crying out that he’s been wronged, and his ministry taken from him. No matter that he was doing some sketchy things and engaging in shady behavior. No, he cries that he was wronged, and that he must pray for the strength to forgive. And as the same time he is doing this, he is calling out all of his “oppressors” for their sins and failings. Publicly. He is saying he’s being judged, though no one has said publicly why he was stripped of his duties, and then he goes and judges others while saying he will pray for the ability to forgive.

Sorry, God doesn’t give us the power to forgive. We are required to do that ourselves. It’s part of what God expects of us if we want the same kind of treatment from Him. If you are striking down people while praying for the ability to forgive, then you don’t want to forgive. Simple as that.

I’ve been guilty of defending behaviors that I engage in and I’m not sure I should be. I try to keep a balance of rational vs. spiritual and I try to maintain a balance between what I want and what is right, but I’ve been guilty of veering to one side or the other. When I do, I try to correct my position. I don’t stubbornly stick to the notion that I am right and everyone else is wrong.

We shouldn’t choose blindness. Because to be perfectly honest, even when we don’t like what we see, it’s better to go through life (temporally or spiritually) with our eyes wide open.

22
Dec
08

Slippery Slopes

caution-slippery-slopeSo today’s topic…skiing? A sweaty pair of 36DD’s? Hilly streets that my piece of shit little Sentra can’t climb after a good snowstorm?

Nah, just going to talk about those proverbial slippery slopes where one thing “inevitably” leads to another.

I’ve been thinking about slippery slopes a lot because plenty of people are still talking about the passage of Proposition 8 in California, or Barack Obama’s decision to let pastor Rick Warren (who doesn’t anything nice to say about homosexual marriage) give the invocation at his inauguration. And because these things are being talked about on the blogs and elsewhere, myself and plenty of others have to address the real or perceived slippery slopes on both sides of the issue.

Mind you, I believe there are times in life where you have to draw a line, lest people walk en masse right down a treacherous slope. Don’t get me wrong. But in the end, I find the whole “slippery slope” concept to typically be questionable and often laughable. I mean, wasn’t our failed War on Drugs, which I believe Ronald Reagan initiated (and which still puts too many people in prison for too long for no good reason) founded on the idea that we needed to stop those drugs before little Timmy got a taste of pot and then went on to snort coke and then inevitably to shoot up heroin and then steal all the family’s belongings and perhaps rape his little sister Susie too? And haven’t we waged many a war on the idea that if we don’t stop [insert political system/ideology/group of your choice] here, it will spread everywhere, even to our own borders?

So, let’s talk about some of those slippery slopes that Christians get so bent out of shape about and why I’m sick to death of groups of Christians who raise up their standards and march off on an ideological war to put some grit on those slopes or, better yet, blow up the whole hill so no one slides into depravity.

Homosexual marriages. Because you know, we all know if we allow gays and lesbians to marry, next it will be the polygamists demanding their rights and then the incest-lovers, and then the pedophiles, and finally the people who are into bestiality and want to marry Fluffy. I mean, how can I argue with logic like that, right? Because people who commit incest just really want everyone to know, and there are soooo many of them. And of course, we’ll just forget about age of consent and maturity issues and abuse concerns and just let folks marry kids, right? Look, the only reasonable expectation in that list is that maybe, just maybe, polygamists will want their say. Well, let’s deal with that bridge then, eh? And let’s remember that multiple partners is a whole different issue than homosexuality with many more potential societal complications.

Abortion. Ever since Roe v. Wade, we’ve been on a Crisco-greased slide to murdering our babies, right? I mean, any day now, it will be legal to kill your full-term baby in the womb or on its way out the birth canal if you have second thoughts at the very end. In fact, we’re just around the corner from six-day “lemon laws” that will allow you to bring a baby back to the hospital to have it euthanized if you find it cramps your style too much. Give me a freakin’ break. No, I’m not a fan of abortion. And I know late-term and “partial bith” abortions are particularly gruesome thoughts for many people, myself included. But they do have a place for some people in the secular world, as much as my Christian soul doesn’t like it. Such practices are performed rarely and usually for very specific reasons, yet they are often wrapped up by zealous Christians in a package that suggests (a) the mothers are all irresponsibly doing this and loving it and (b) that somehow a viable, kicking screaming crying baby is being yanked out of a woman and hacked to pieces. To make a strong case, the truth is buried under a lot of visceral and bloody hype by many in Christian circles. And why not? It sure makes the slippery slope argument seem more logical, doesn’t it, so that you can go back and argue that any abortion should be illegal, right?

I’m not going to continue any more of that. You get my point. Slippery slopes are often overstated by Christians who wish to force their ethics into the law books for everyone else to follow.

But instead of decrying the illogic of some of the slippery slope mindsets, how about we imagine a world where Christians continue to have the kind of success they did with Proposition 8 in California, and imagine some of the slippery slopes for those successes?

OK, so we outlaw homosexual marriage. Now what? Hey, you know, let’s make it illegal not to have kids if you’re married. Or, maybe we prevent infertile people from marrying because, like gays, they can’t be fruitful and multiply. Or maybe we should allow a spouse to instantly and without recourse divorce the other spouse if that spouse is unable to provide a child. And hey, since we’re already at the bedroom door, let’s criminalize adultery. Or outlaw blowjobs and anal sex.

Or, let’s say abortion gets outlawed. Great! OK, so do we allow it in cases where the life of the mother is in danger? No? OK. Well, what if there are multiple kids in the womb and one kid is putting all the others in danger and removing that fetus, which might have minimal chance of survival anyway, will save two or more others? No? Or, maybe if a child is already dead in the womb we should remove it? No? Oh, yeah, because maybe there will be a miracle that causes it to return to life. Hey, and while we’re at it, let’s outlaw birth control methods, because aren’t they really just the same as abortion? And same for masturbation, too.

“But,” say the fellow Christians I’ve just offended, “those are ridiculous! Some of those assumptions would never happen. And we wouldn’t want them to nor would society in general!”

So, maybe you see my point now.

I’m not saying that Christians shouldn’t engage in causes in which they fervently believe. What I am saying is that the temptation to justify it by being so arrogant as to say “We know where this will lead” instead of simply focusing on the act itself that repulses you, is the kind of thing we cannot afford.

Nor, by the way, can we simply say “the Bible says so, and that’s why it must be outlawed.” This isn’t a Christian nation; only a nation where Christianity is the largest religious bloc. Our laws must be based on the societal good and on secular foundations, not religious ones. To argue that something should be prohibited by law, you must be able to provide a real argument as to why your way is the better way for society.

Because as often as I’ve read the New Testament, I still haven’t found that part where Jesus, the apostles or any early church leaders said, “Yeah, it sure would be cool if we forced Christianity on everyone else at the point of a sword…or under weight of law.”

19
Nov
08

Wild Wednesday: Conspicuous Christianity

OK, so I messed up. Miz Pink e-mails me yesterday with something along the lines of: “Uh, Deacon, I have a third kid. Could you maybe tell me what the Two-fer Tuesday topic is BEFORE Tuesday?”

So, yeah, I forgot about Two-fer Tuesday. All my fault. So, to make up for it, we’ll mash me and Miz Pink into one post (seriously, Mrs. Blue, it’s purely platonic; more like playing Twister than anything sexually scandalous). We’ll call it Wild Wednesday (stupid, I know) and we’ll take turns on the topic of:

Conspicuous Christianity

Deacon Blue says…

christian-bumper-stickersThere is, sometimes, a fine line between proclaiming Jesus and wearing one’s Christianity proudly, on the one hand, and being a complete douchebag on the other hand.

I live in a town that is large enough to technically be a city (I guess) but small enough that I see the same folks over and over. And the same cars over and over. There are some notable ones that are festooned with bumper stickers and windshield stickers and sometimes big painted signs that proclaim that driver’s devotion to Jesus.

These visible reminders of the person’s piety remind us to follow the ten commandments, keep God as the co-pilot, to revile Charles Darwin as a godless heathen bastard who pissed in our collective Christian Cheerios, value life, honk if we love Jesus and so many other things.

God help me, I just want to smack many of these people.

It’s not that I’m against letting people know you’re Christian. By all means, we should be proud to follow Jesus Christ. It’s not that I’m against sharing your feelings. I have a bumper sticker that supports the value of unions and another one that proclaims the mistreatment of farm workers.

But moderation and tact are useful here. I think two bumper stickers is plenty. Three tops. But I see vehicles that sport five, six, eight, ten stickers. One car I see nearly every day has so many sticker about pro-life stuff and some very Catholic sentiments that the driver might just as well have one bumper sticker that says: “Follow the way of the Roman Catholic Church or ye shall suffer eternally!”

There is a truck I see every few weeks in the grocery store parking lot near my house that has so many signs protesting the practice of abortion, most of them huge wooden signs with big painted diatribes that are attached to the sides of his vehicle, that he might just as well have a couple that say what he really wants to say: “I hope all of you bitches who’ve ever had abortions burn in hell!”

It’s not just Chrisitians who do this. There are some obnoxious pagan-oriented bumper-sticker crazed drivers and a few “guns are great and we should raze the forests to the ground” oriented cars. But I’m talking about the conspicuous Christians today, so those other folks don’t matter.

I guess what I’m saying is that we need to determine if we are really lifting up Jesus, or if we are screeching so loud that we turn people away from him. Bumper stickers can be cool, but only in small amounts, and they are highly unlikely to make anyone consider becoming born again.

Miz Pink says…

pink-crossIf I am doing my job right as a Christian…as someone who’s supposed to spread the gospel…I shouldn’t have to tell you I’m Christian. You should be able to see in my actions that there is a peace and a strong center in my life and see the “light of Christ” shining from me. If I’m doing what I should be doing.

And when you see that light, you should be able to notice some little thing, like a simple little gold cross around my neck or some small religious oriented trinket on my desk…or whatever…and be able to know that I follow Jesus.

Or, if you are having troubles in life…something that faith and being born again might begin to fix, you should be able to see that I get through nasty things in life with some sense of peace and humility and be able to ask me what keep me going…so that I can tell you who and what it is that does keep me going.

If I have to shout from the rooftops that I am a Christian or if I have to wave my faith in front of your face, I probably haven’t done my job right.

Instead, I’m probably like those priests in Jesus’s time that had the long robes and phylactries on their arms and said loud prayers so that people could see how devout they are.

That’s so wrong. That’s not doing the job God set out for us.

12
Nov
08

Of Two Minds

dual-personality-cyberAs I’ve noted before, the heated nature of this political season has caused me to have some disagreements (mostly polite, I think) with fellow Christian bloggers at times regarding what I see as blantant hypocrisy (at worst) or a simple blindness to one’s own prejudices (at best).

The latest post to fire me up a little about this issue, titled “Post Election Response,” is at Evangelicals Anonymous, and you can click here to view it.

I would be less bothered by people calling upon fellow Christians to take a bold stand in political circles for Christian principles if it weren’t for a couple things:

  • Most politicians, even those who publicly profess their Christianity, aren’t carrying out their jobs by Christian principles any more than secular politicians, from what I see, except on very specific touchpoint issues like abortion or gay marriage.
  • Our nation is pluralistic and our government is secular, so picking politicians who promote Christian-specific doctrine doesn’t make sense to me.

What truly pisses me off when fundemantalist Christians call for taking a firm stand (and taking sides in politics along religious lines) is that they don’t acknowledge that they are picking the lesser of two evils in many cases, just as I often do. It’s just that they are picking their candidate based on biblical issues that cut closer to their hearts. The notion that Obama is probably an evil man lifted up by God to this position for a specific purpose (as Recovering at Evangelicals Anonymous seems to me to be saying in the post I link to above), and criticizing Christians like me by suggesting that we have sided with evil or are actually secular progressives in disguise…well, it bothers me. A hell of a lot.

I know that I have hypocrisy in my own life. I know there are areas in which my personal beliefs conflict with my Christian ones. For example, I don’t like abortion, but I also don’t believe it is my place to restrict a woman’s right to choose. I don’t think God particularly wants us to be in homosexual relationships, but I will not put same-sex couples into some special sin category, nor do I see the point in fighting against same-sex marriage. But why do so many on the right-leaning side of Christianity refuse to acknowledge their own dual-minded natures?

For example, why decry efforts toward universal healthcare or a tax system that expects those who make more to contribute more as socialism and say that it’s going to destroy our nation’s political, moral and social structure? Didn’t Jesus and his followers call for selling what they had and helping the poor, the widowed and the sick? Wasn’t their lifestyle promoting elements of socialism and even communism? And Jesus didn’t call for the government to outlaw things he found distasteful (gambling, prostitution, lying, etc.) but instead hung out with and reached out to people with lifetstyles he disagreed with, purely on a personal, one-to-one-basis.

And yet, these are the people who say they want government to step back and go away and get out of their business because it’s “socialism” or it’s “liberal overtolerance.” Candidates are to be reviled for not advocating the outlaw or sharp restriction of abortion or for proposing that the government should tighten up environmental regulations (instead of, I guess, just assuming that God wants us to waste and misuse his planet right up until the End Times). The right-leaning Christians want politicians to step forward on outlawing gay marriage or imposing religious standards on when life begins, but they want government to step away the moment it moves toward social issues that Jesus himself advocated, like helping the poor. Most of what Jesus did was about helping the poor and downtrodden, and yet somehow our government is supposed to drop those people from its radar and let them fend for themselves or hope that we Christians will pick up the slack (which we pretty much don’t do).

It’s somehow government’s job to uphold the biblical value they hold dear, and to avoid those that others hold dear.

Again, I’m not saying I’m perfect. I am filled with contradictions and conflicts. But I try to admit them and I try to see why others feel the way they do. It distresses me when I don’t get the same consideration from the other side in so many cases. Instead of saying, “I understand where you’re coming from,” I more often get what seems to me to be a thinly veiled (or not veiled at all): “You are going against the word of God and you have failed Jesus.”

Almost all of us who are born again pick and choose what parts of God’s Word we will champion and what we won’t. What irritates me is when someone on one side or the other claims that they know which ones God considers most important and then tells the other side they are wrong, wrong, wrong.

I may think you’re wrong, but I’ll rarely suggest that you are an idiot for being that way, and you’ll almost never see me suggest that you’re against Jesus because you disagree with me or, worse yet, that you are supporting Satan’s plans.

*Sigh*

02
Nov
08

Do As They Say, But…

So, today we’re going to talk about one of the things that most pisses me off in religious circles: Hypocrisy.

I got into it a bit recently with another blogger about how he “wondered about the souls” of people who would vote for Barack Obama, particularly if they knew he had been against a bill that would have guaranteed medical care for fetuses that survived the process of late-term abortions. What got me mad wasn’t that he was troubled by the practice of late-term abortions (which are pretty freaking rare, by the way)…because frankly, I’m not really a big fan of abortion either, though I stand by a woman’s right to choose. I wasn’t troubled that he thought this particular decision by Obama was perhaps morally wrong. I wasn’t even bothered that much by the fact he is firmly in that McCain-Palin is good and their opponents are evil camp, because I expected it.

What cheesed me off was when I point out to him that plenty of right-leaning politicians have made decisions related to the environment that allow toxic crap to be spewed out and cause all sort of health-related harm, included lethal cancers in children and their families, and in larger numbers than are affected by late-term abortions. He basically brushed me off with a comment that environmental controls are bullshit and I was being a fearmonger about bringing up fantasy scenarios about the environment while ignoring the plight of the unborn.

That pisses me off because I wasn’t ignoring the plight of the unborn but pointing out that all politicians have stains, and many of them have at least one pretty severe stain (if not many) in their pasts. I was pointing out that it’s easy to focus on an issue you feel close to and ignore the fact that people you support have done things equally harmful in areas you don’t consider valid. I was pointing to hypocrisy.

And the hypocrisy point was reinforced for me today at church when my pastor preached from the Gospel of Matthew, chapter 23, verses 1-12:

Then Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples: “The teachers of the law and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat. So you must obey them and do everything they tell you. But do not do what they do, for they do not practice what they preach. They tie up heavy loads and put them on men’s shoulders, but they themselves are not willing to lift a finger to move them.  “Everything they do is done for men to see: They make their phylacteries wide and the tassels on their garments long; they love the place of honor at banquets and the most important seats in the synagogues; they love to be greeted in the marketplaces and to have men call them ‘Rabbi.’ But you are not to be called ‘Rabbi,’ for you have only one Master and you are all brothers. And do not call anyone on earth ‘father,’ for you have one Father, and he is in heaven. Nor are you to be called ‘teacher,’ for you have one Teacher, the Christ. The greatest among you will be your servant. For whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.

What really got me about that passage from Matthew was this part:

The teachers of the law and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat. So you must obey them and do everything they tell you. But do not do what they do, for they do not practice what they preach.

In other words, do as they say, but for God’s sake, do not do what they are doing.

It is interesting, because it is so close to that comment so many of us have gotten from our parents and/or say to our own children: “Do as I say, not as I do.”

That’s an important sentiment. It is not, however, a hypocritical one in many cases. It is a often recognition by the person saying it that they know they are doing wrong, and they want the person they are chastising to be a better person. There is a lot of positive value to that.

Likewise, when Jesus told his disciples and others gathered around him to listen to the words of the Pharisees and scribes, but not to emulate them, he was giving good advice. The Jewish church was teaching things according to God’s will, and those teaching were valuable. But at the same time, many of the priests and others in the temples and synagogues were dirty and sinful to the extreme. They were full of themselves and not full of the spirit of God.

How does that apply today? For you? Simple: There’s a good chance that what folks might tell you from the pulpit or sometimes even from religious blogs has at least a kernel of truth or goodness to it, but try to focus on the real message and on the Word of God, and not on the person giving you the message.

The blogger I argued with was right that we should question Obama’s judgment and motives on that legislative decision. But where he was wrong was to suggest that somehow supporting Obama (especially if you knew about that decision) was something that put your salvation in jeopardy. Hell, it wasn’t even appropriate for him to suggest that Obama was evil for that one decision. That blogger had an agenda, and a perfectly good respectable message about considering the sanctity of life was utterly corrupted as he carried out an agenda instead of trying to raise awareness.

In churches, preachers sometimes preach from their own motivations and beliefs and let that cloud their sermons. They also might act in ways that are counter to what they preach. That doesn’t mean what they have preached is wrong. But it might be skewed. It is incumbent upon us to be in the Word of God ourselves, and to use our brains, to sort out the message from the messenger.

Because the words given to us by those who are in religious circles might be good ones, but the people themselves might be hypocrites. And the worst hypocrites sometimes twist those good words to foul purposes.

Don’t be led by men. Be led by prayer, by the Word of God, by Jesus, by the Holy Spirit. You may still get it wrong or misinterpret or misstep, but at least when you do, it will have been because you made a mistake or got lax. But if you just let people force-feed you your dogma, and don’t ever question the value of the source, you are letting God down. Connect to Heaven, not to earthly agendas. Get in touch with your soul, and not other people’s prejudices.




Deacon Blue is the blogging persona of editor and writer Jeffrey Bouley. The opinions of Jeff himself on this blog, and those expressed as Deacon Blue, in NO WAY should be construed as the opinions of anyone with whom he has worked, currently works, or will work with in the future. They are personal opinions and views, and are sometimes, frankly, expressed in more outrageous terms than I truly feel most days.

Jeff Bouley

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