Sunday, December 18, 2011


These days, it seems like there's a new scandal involving a social conservative nearly every week. From Ted Haggard and Larry Craig to George Rekers and Herman Cain, to the most recent revelations in Mississippi and Minnesota, it's got to be an embarrassing time to be a member of the religious right.

It's hard not to feel a certain amount of vindication when stories like this break, but a far more appropriate emotion is sadness. At the very least, sadness for the families of these public figures, for the spouses and children and other relatives whose lives are turned upside down due to the double lives being lived by these public figures. Sadness for the individuals in question isn't out of place, either; behind the hypocrisy and dishonesty lies a wounded human being who, at the very least, is a victim of the mind job that fear-based, legalistic religion does on its adherents.

For the rest of us who still identify as followers of Christ, there's also sadness for the damage that such spectacles do to the reputation of the faith that in so many ways defines our own lives. Granted, the ugliness that the religious right displays on a daily basis has already tarnished that reputation even without all the scandals, but the blatant displays of hypocrisy only drive the dagger further in.

Still, whatever emotions we may feel when these incidents come to light, one can still appreciate the irony. For a group of people that spends so much time proclaiming the imminence of God's judgment with a solemn glee, the religious right seems quite blind to the possibility that these scandals are, in fact, proof that the judgment they seek has indeed arrived - just not on the 'sinners' they believe to be the ones deserving of punishment.

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