Sunday, November 05, 2006

Ted Haggard Shows the Virtue of Hypocrisy

Democrats talk about hypocrisy as if it is a bad thing. They think that by proving Republicans are hypocrites, they will win the election. And so they have embarked on a campaign to out gay members of Congress who oppose gay rights and gay marriage. They revealed that Mark Foley, who wrote a bill outlawing the solicitation of minors on the Internet, was actually soliciting minors on the Internet himself. And now it turns out that the leader of the National Association of Evangelicals and an advisor to President Bush, Ted Haggard--who preached that homosexuality is condemned by the Bible--was actually having methamphetamine-fueled sex with a gay prostitute. But does any of this really matter? Liberals seem to think it is important for preachers to practice what they preach, but I think they are just trying to distract us by making us pay attention to the man behind the curtain instead of the important things he is saying.

Conservatives set very high moral standards for others, which they are not always able to meet themselves. When they invariably fall short, liberals call them hypocrites. Liberals set very low moral standards and believe that when they uphold them, they should be congratulated for that. Neoconservative commentator and former Special Assistant to President Bush David Frum, one of the early cheerleaders for the War in Iraq, recently provided an excellent example of the difference between the moral values of conservatives and liberals: "Consider the hypothetical case of two men. Both are inclined toward homosexuality. Both from time to time hire the services of male prostitutes. Both have occasionally succumbed to drug abuse. One of them marries, raises a family, preaches Christian principles, and tries generally to encourage people to lead stable lives. The other publicly reveals his homosexuality, vilifies traditional moral principles, and urges the legalization of drugs and prostitution. Which man is leading the more moral life? It seems to me that the answer is the first one." In other words, isn't Don Sherwood, who reportedly tried to strangle his mistress but has a perfect voting record according to the Christian Coalition, morally superior to Democrats who believe there is nothing wrong with strangling your mistress? "Instead of regarding hypocrisy as the ultimate sin, could it not be regarded as a kind of virtue--or at least as a mitigation of his offense?" Frum says, referring to Haggard.

Where did this strange idea that hypocrisy is not a moral virtue come from? According to Glenn Reynolds the "moral relativists" are to blame, which he illustrates by quoting this passage from science fiction writer Neal Stephenson's The Diamond Age: "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 criticize 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 criticize 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 criticize 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 behavior -- 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."

Hypocrisy is a traditional American value, which is why liberals are opposed to it. Although my father smoked and drank, he always made it clear that smoking and drinking were wrong and that he had higher standards for me. I can still feel the sting of his slap when I pointed out that he smoked after he caught me with a cigarette. I have passed on these very same values to my own children. When my kids catch me sneaking a cigarette or smell alcohol on my breath, I repeat the words my father said to me, which his father said to him, "Do what Daddy says, not what Daddy does." And someday my children will instill these same values in their children.

Liberals believe that we should lower our ideals and standards since it's almost impossible to live up to them. They don't believe that people should get credit for trying and they refuse to acknowledge how difficult it is for a gay anti-gay members of Congress or the clergy to resist temptation. "Christians constantly are being watched, and rightly so," says La Shawn Barber. "Any little thing we do that appears hypocritical, unbelievers jump on it." There are bound to be many who fail to uphold the high standards they set because, as La Shawn so eloquently puts it, "We are all perverts."

As difficult as it is for most Christians to live up to the values they want to impose on others, it is even more difficult for church leaders and members of Congress who are subject to greater temptations than the rest of us as Pastor Mark Driscoll points out. Driscoll apparently has scores of worshippers throwing themselves at him and he has had to hire two "heterosexual male assistants" to ward them off. One of the reasons many preachers give in to temptation, which he has so far valiantly resisted, is because "it is not uncommon to meet pastors' wives who really let themselves go; they sometimes feel that because their husband is a pastor, he is therefore trapped into fidelity, which gives them cause for laziness." Pastors like Driscoll who constantly have women slipping their phone numbers in his shirt pocket and sending him topless pictures of themselves, really need to be vigilant in making sure their wives don't let themselves go. If Mrs. Haggard had followed her husband's Jerusalem Diet, he might not be in the mess he is in now.

Liberals think that America should let itself go and not continue to espouse the ideals it professes just because we don't live up to them. America has become a beacon to the rest of the world by preaching the values of freedom and democracy and trying to spread these values to the rest of the world--by force if necessary. But that doesn't mean we are always able to uphold these values ourselves. In fact, we have had to curtail some of these freedoms to fight the terrorists. And sometimes in order to spread the values of freedom and democracy we have to support oppressive regimes. But even if we don't always live up to the values we espouse, most people around the world appreciate that we at least have ideals and would hate for us to abandon them.

When Americans go into the voting booth they will have an important choice to make between Republicans who don't live up to the values they espouse and Democrats who barely have any values at all. I think most Americans will agree Republicans have proven that they are the most hypocritical party and this is why they deserve to win.

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Carnivals: Carnival of Fatherhood, Carnival of the Godless

28 comments:

Mary Eveleth said...

I think people are incorrectly labeling Ted Haggard as a hypocrite. A hypocrite teaches something, but doesn't think the rule applies to himself. I know a lot about Ted and am sure he knows what he did was wrong. I would call him a sinner, not a hypocrite. I teach my children not to deceive, but I do it myself. Am I a hypocrite? No - I'm a sinner. I believe the teaching applies to me, but I fall short of living up to the teaching.

Dan McGowan said...

Your comments about Haggards wife and the Jerusalem Diet are out of line, cruel and evil. You owe her an apology. And if it was a joke, it's not very funny - especially in light of how this man's life - NOT YOURS - had been completely shattered. A word in season, eh?

clocke said...

Evidently, some of your readers don't know who "Jon Swift" was. Well, let them eat Irish babies!

Zac Bickerstaff said...

You're correct, Eveleth.

Ted Haggard is just an erotic, gay, drug-addicted Christian who simply preaches to his many followers against homosexuality and altering one's mind.

What self-respecting Christian doesn't enjoy the same lifestyle of Ted Haggard, enjoying the plentiful and wondrous gifts of nature? Besides, just because something is spoken against by practitioners doesn't mean it's hypocritical, especially when everyone already does it, anyway.

You're a bright role model in this intricate practise for your children, teaching them not to deceive, yet you, yourself, inherently make use of this most useful of myriad tools that was provided for us. It is precisely intelligent people such as your good self for whom I hold deep respect and why I hold a great deal of faith in the future of humanity.

Shame on you, Jon Swift, for extruding -- nay, mutilating -- the definition of hypocrisy well beyond its original intent.

Reasonable Liberal said...

JESUS on HYPOCRISY (New Int'l Version):

on giving to the needy, Matthew 6:2

"So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the HYPOCRITES do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you."

on prayer, Mathew 6:5

"And when you pray, do not be like the HYPOCRITES, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him."

on fasting, Matthew 6:16:

"When you fast, do not look somber as the HYPOCRITES do, for they disfigure their faces to show men they are fasting. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, so that it will not be obvious to men that you are fasting, but only to your Father, who is unseen; and your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you."

Psalm 26:4

"I do not sit with deceitful men,
nor do I consort with HYPOCRITES."

James 1:26

"Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. But the man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it—he will be blessed in what he does."

Matthew 23:1

"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.'"

For further reading, see Matthew 23.

Anonymous said...

The Lord works in strange and mysterious ways.

MistahCharley said...

I agree with you, Jon. Ted Haggard was a good influence on others, UNTIL HE WAS FOUND OUT. I blame the homosexual prostitute drug dealer for that. Those who despise all values and want us to wallow in the gutter of unrestrained debauchery have a lot of nerve to quote Jesus against those who try, even if they fail, to live up to the ideals they speak in favor of. The public defense of morality requires that "what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas" - otherwise, those who might continue to struggle against their vile impulses may just give up - which is Satan's plan, not God's, as far as I can tell.

BenMerc said...

Anonymous (above) says it best, but I will have to dish up a secular version:

I wonder how many families and lives Haggard's damning rhetoric and finger pointing crept into and ruined? Enablers, chew on that one a while.

At any rate it is yet another column collapse of a cheap, rotten rationalization of an excuse for a socio-political (oh yeah, economic) movement that is face first in the ditch. Tuesday will be an intervention, not an election. Goodby, neocon-theofascist-corporatist...jerks

The Truffle said...

Answer this question for me: why is Haggard wearing a lei?

David said...

*heh*

Of course, comparing the hypocrisy of libertines who call themselves conservatives to reactionary would-be dictators who call themselves liberals is akin to trying to score points in a mudslinging battle between the pot and the kettle.

IOW, about as difficult as untangling that mixed metaphor.

Rick and Gary said...

I think the traditional conservative value here is personal responsibility. With Mark Foley, it's not the fault of seductive teens, MSM, gays, or Democrats. With Ted Haggard, it's not the fault of prostitutes, a fat wife, MSM, gays, or Democrats.

Mary Eveleth said...

It depends on how you define hypocrisy. But the larger point is we are ALL sinners and we ALL put up false images. Rather than lashing out at Ted, we should look within our own hearts and evaluate how each of us is doing! Am I hiding sins in my heart? Am I deceiving anyone about anything? Careful and honest examination will humble us and make us realize none of us are any better.

Also - look at the 10 Commandments. God's command to be straight isn't even listed among his top 10 commands! Why do we put so much energy into hating this particular sin?

This should be a reminder to keep our eyes on Jesus and worship HIM -not any of our leaders.

Ron said...

my God what kind of rationalization are you trying to pass off here you guys!!*@#
Say one thing and do another?? Be honest and humble about who you are.....seems to me you guys lack any sense of the word humility. You guys are SICK and why I don't claim the Christian religion anymore. You talk about moral relativism and can't see it when you look in the mirror. I would be ashamed to be associated with you guys.

Mary Eveleth said...

Ron - I'm not trying to rationalize anything. What he did was wrong - dead wrong. But rather than judge him, which would make me a hypocrite since I too am a sinner, I choose to look within my own heart and take a moment to examine my own sins. None of us are perfect and we all need forgiveness and grace.

julia said...

I dunno, Mary. Haggard's mess of pottage for his increased influence this last four years has caused an awful lot of dead people. I think we get to disapprove of that.

I also agree that people need to lay off Gayle Haggard.

John T said...

Judging by the comments, this is your most mistaken-at-face-value post ever. That says something, don't it?

Angie said...

Bunch of sheep. That is all I have to say.

Jae said...

If you say someone shouldn't judge, then you are judging what the judger did and you are a hypocrite. If you respond to this positively or negatively then you judged my comment and you are a hypocrite unless you decided it was ok to judge in which case you're okay but watch out for those who tell you otherwise. They are hypocrites.

Anonymous said...

This blog is completely sarcastic. Didn't y'all figure that out?

Gwen said...

Mary: the difference is, I *don't* think that we are all sinners, because I don't believe in sin. (I do believe in right and wrong, however.) I also am not head of a huge organization of evangelical Christians, and I don't destroy lives by preaching that homosexuality is a sin. Nor, in fact, do I do methamphetamine, cheat on my wife (well, I'm single), or use the services of a prostitute.
I'm pretty sure Jesus didn't exempt himself from his "no man is not a sinner"; note that he didn't cast the first stone, as he would have done if he had felt himself to be without sin. Yet he did judge the *behavior* of other people (not the people themselves). And the number one behavior he condemned--way above sodomy, for example--was hypocrisy. Praying on street corners, going around pointing out the motes in your brother's eye without noticing the beam in your own, et cetera.
Ted Haggard was acting as a hypocrite when he preached against behaviors he had himself. (Me, I think that being unfaithful to his wife was the major sin if anything--what was that about not committing adultery? And destroying lives and families by teaching that homosexuality is wrong ranks pretty high up there on the list of "bad things Ted Haggard did".)
How much more effective would his message have been--assuming he believes in it, because if he didn't, he'd be a worse hypocrite--if he had come forth with the truth *first*, admitted that we're all sinners, including himself, resigned, submitted himself for counselling, et cetera? Slightly more than continually lying about it when confronted by the male prostitute telling the truth, and only after knowing about the voicemail evidence finally admitting it, no?
Now that it's all finally caught up to him, well, at least *he's* not hiding behind the "everyone's a sinner" defense that doesn't count for the people he preached against. He's even asked for forgiveness. But to hear some people talk, he doesn't need to ask for forgiveness, but we should all forgive him anyway, and because, according to them, everyone's a sinner, we shouldn't condemn sin when we see it. Um, no. Mercy *with* justice, remember? Not just one or the other.
It's just a matter of trust. I'm more likely to trust people who admit that they've sinned than people who claim to be perfect. "Yes, I tried pot when I was a teenager, it messed my lungs up bad, I got asthma and never could do sports again", or "yes, sometimes I don't tell the truth, and I'm working on that, and I want you to point out to me if you notice me lying" is going to have more credibility than "don't do it, ever, we don't, because we're perfect." Isn't it?
"But rather than judge him, which would make me a hypocrite since I too am a sinner, I choose to look within my own heart and take a moment to examine my own sins."
I don't think that it would make you a hypocrite. Acknowledging bad behavior on your own part, attacking it, and attacking bad behavior on others' parts, is not hypocrisy. Judging him *and* judging yourself, both publicly, vs. him judging homosexual people and maybe in private thinking to himself "yeah, maybe I shouldn't have snuck out, done the meth, and bought myself a male prostitute"--see the difference?

Zach said...

You hit the nail on the head with that one Jon.

Masonic Traveler said...

I just wonder, did the drugs make it harder to do, or just harder to think about? And CNN didn't say anything about his drug addiction. So, is he a recovered gay drug addict now, who wants to study psychology?

Becky C. said...

I don't know why my fellow conservatives have felt the need to embrace the whole agenda of folks like Ted Haggard and Focus on the Family. It is not a politically conservative thing, in a classic sense.

It has become a very politcally expedient thing with the Rove strategy, with the president who is the biggest spender since LBJ, engineered the biggest federal instrusion into local control of education imaginable, and proposes that the federal governemnt supplant the states in determining domestic relations laws.

That aside, Ted Haggard is a goofball. I have no problem with people who sincerly believe homosexuality is an abomination--whether on religious or just a traditonalist or "natural way" argument.

I do have a probelm with those who are vehmently working to deny rights and privlieges to that section of the population--all the time they are getting a little on the side from some sleazy male hooker.

Regardless of political affiliation that be a hypocrite.

And it is just absurd for him to come out and say all the gayness has been sucked out . If he wants to be honest and say he is going to be celibate or suppress any homosexual urges that is one thing. And if he is doing this because he believes homosexuality is a sin that is fine too.

But, he is not now a 100% "cured"--he just looks goofy saying so.

My ferverent hope is that the Republican Party quits kow towing to this segment of the population. It is hateful and raises expectations that they can not really pursue without the compromise of REAL conservative political values. I don't think this is politcally fatal--many Evangelicals are politcally conservative anyway--and would vote for them even if they were not on the homophobe bandwagon.

~Becky

Tim Mantyla said...

You write: "I can still feel the sting of his slap when I pointed out that he smoked after he caught me with a cigarette. I have passed on these very same values to my own children."

Jon the hypocrite
No wonder you still smoke: your father showed you his true values by his actions. It's ALWAYS about what you do, not about what you say.

If you want to show a moral example, and expect your kids to learn from you, quit smoking and drinking so much! Put your VALUES where your mouth is! To fail to do so is hypocrisy, and hypocrisy confuses and disturbs children, who seek the simple truth.

Also your father showed you a morally repugnant example--actual child abuse by slapping you--then expecting you to do the opposite of him drinking and smoking in response to him scolding and hitting you.

It's likely you were emotionally abused too
No wonder you are so messed up! No wonder you still smoke and drink, and no wonder you love and defend and practice hypocrisy!

Anyone, especially a child, as you were when so abused, would be confused by this. Looks like you internalized the confusion, because it is morally repugnant to preach to others one thing, and do the opposite. It is equal to lying, which is against the Bible and also a morally reprehensible act. For your father to hit you while lying that way would confuse and hurt and upset anyone, let alone a child! It was unequivocally wrong, regardless of how much you respect your father's intentions or so-called (obviously twisted) morals.

God bless you, you need help
I hope you see a therapist! A good one can help you sort out the confusion.

I wonder what other abuse your parents dished out? Have you come to terms with that, or internalized it, as so many victims do, as "good for you?"

Here are some good websites to find out if you were abused as a chil. Many who were abused often initially deny it--only to discover symptoms of it and make a shocking discovery later in adulthood.
http://www.co.marion.or.us/DA/victimassistance/Child+Abuse/
http://www.helpguide.org/mental/child_abuse_physical_emotional_sexual_neglect.htm
http://preventchildabuse.com/physical.htm

Here's something that strikes me as appropos to your situation, from one of the sites above:

"In addition, many forms of child abuse arise from ignorance. Sometimes a cultural tradition leads to abuse. Such beliefs include:

- Children are property.

- Parents (especially fathers) have the right to control their children in any way they wish.

- Children need to be toughened up to face the hardships of life."


Other Christian Conservative hypocrites
It's also very sad that many Christians vilify gay behavior, which is only natural (and a part of the entire animal kingdom, by the way) as immoral--while supporting a war that has blown the heads off mothers in front of their children and returned veterans with no legs, no arms, or in some cases, no consciousness left!


Love Thy Neighbor--From Behind
Joking aside, isn't it better to "love your neighbor," be he gay, straight, bi or gay Republican, than to kill him? Look at the hypocrisy there! And this kind of sin kills as opposed to creating pleasure and a human bond out of normal (sexual) human need.

The only things Haggerd did wrong were 1) use drugs that are self-destructive--probably self-medicating to cover his inner shame about his gay leanings-- 2) lie about it to his family and his congregation, and 3) condemn it while doing it. The inalienable right to the pursuit of happiness, as reflected in our Declaration of Independence, should apply here. He was acting out of his inner self's need to express his true desires and needs, while being crushed by his community's anti-gay, anti-human rights sentiment and so-called values. (So-called because a value that devalues nature and natural desires is in fact an "anti-value" or a repression of value. I would have to define value in this usage as "that which comes from life, and which people value.")


I wonder about another conservative hypocrite and Bush supporter, Mark Foley, the Congressman who solicited email sex with congressional pages? This leader worked on legislation to protect children from Internet predators--and he ended up being one!

The man admitted he was molested by a clergyman (New York Times, Oct. 4, 2006), hid it and failed to seek treatment, and ended up acting out as so many of those abused do unless they reconcile the shame and guilt and pain within.


Bush: AntiChristian and Hypocrite
Back to the subject of values: Why is President Bush acting against family values--again?

Wasn't it Jesus who said "Suffer the little children?" Meaning, let them come to him, they aren't a bother...

Note the hypocrisy of Bush's veto on a child health insurance bill, effectively saying "Let the little children suffer."

Now, forgive me for asking you conservative Christians to do some thinking on the following question, because blind belief without thinking is more your forte: Would Jesus veto a health care bill for children?

Even if the bill is "too expensive," where is Bush's counterproposal? Nonexistent. He puts money over people, pure and simple, every time, in virtually every situation that requires good moral judgment. Why do Congress, the president and the Senate have great health insurance, while poor children suffer?


Christian "Values": Money over People
And why is child’s health insurance too expensive, but a trillion-dollar-and-rising Iraq war (as comedian Borat rightly calls it, our “war of terror”), with very few concrete results other than dead people, is not? (Isn’t this “big government” spending Bush is doing, the kind Reagan said he opposed when he built up the national debt to record levels?)

I see pure hypocrisy in the whole conservative "family values" claim with this issue. How can anyone support "family values" yet allow poor people and children to get sick and fail to obtain proper health care simply because of income? This shows we live in a society that values keeping one's money far above the Christian value of helping the poor and sick.

Christian conservatives are largely about getting and keeping money, not about truly loving their neighbors or helping those in need.

Again, please put on any thinking caps that remain intact after being decimated by blind belief: According to the facts listed above, would you classify standard modern Christian actions as truly Christ-like or AntiChrist-like?

Follow the money: who benefits? The rich, like Cheney, the sales consultant and former CEO for Halliburton, the biggest benefactor of the Iraq War. The NeoCons, who espouse any conservative ideology that wins them votes�then act as though evil, graft, corruption and anti-family values were written into the Constitution, as long as they profit from the "big" government they made--and paid for with constituents� tax money!

Christian Conservatives: Misguided and Led by Pure Evil
Leave it to conservative Republicans to play AntiChrist while talking up Christian values! This is why real Christians--those who do their best to act as Christ would--laugh at and often cry over the destructive actions of false Christian idols (led by the three-headed AntiChrist "Rush Dubya Cheney"--composed of "Rush Windbag," "Dubya the Retarded" and "Darth Cheney") of the Christian "Right."

This is the "Right" that proves itself invariably wrong and often simply evil. The Christian "Right," and their chosen leaders, are simply destroying our nation and others much faster than any Democrat or liberal possibly could. Many such leaders are Christian Corporate Terrorists (CCTs), out to overstuff themselves and their friends at the expense of any who get in their way. They think and act just like Muslim terrorists, using radical Islam to justify what Mohammed never preached, but under the cloak of another religion.


Liberal and Progressive: Humane and Truly Christian
Liberals and progressives, opposite of the Christian Wrong, support efforts to nationalize healthcare (protect the "meek"), prevent war and promote honesty and the value of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

What will you ever do with leaders so misguided, or as realists prefer to see them, AntiChristian in their actions? I hope you vote them out of office and into therapy!

--Tim Mantyla


Please visit my blog on community, ecology and social justice! Read about the newest Republican AntiChristian actions, coming soon to: http://tmantyla.blogspot.com/

Ben said...

Thanks for taking part in the Carnival of Fatherhood. I've published it a day early.

Fat Al said...

Are you an idiot? I hope this column is some kind of joke - with statements like "Democrats....believe there is nothing wrong with strangling your mistress" you have lost all credibility.

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