Jay Michaelson suggests other numerous candidates for being the biggest hypocrites ever, like,
What about megachurch Bishop Eddie Long, who, while preaching against homosexuality, sexually abused at least three teenage boys in his charge? And what about megachurch pastor Ted Haggard who, while likewise preaching against homosexuality and drug use, bought crystal meth and had sex with a male escort/masseur for three years? Or George Rekers, who, while preaching similarly, was caught with a rentboy on vacation in the Caribbean? For that matter, what about the entire Catholic Church hierarchy, which, while preaching against homosexuality, covered up the systemic sexual abuse of thousands of boys in Europe and America—and still maintains a “gay mafia” in the Vatican today?
Yes, that and more, like John Paulk, Larry Craig, David Vitter, Henry Hyde, Mark Foley, Bob Livingston, or TV evangelists Jimmy Swaggart, Jim Bakker, and a whole host of others!
So it’s not surprising that for many of us, there’s a profoundly gleeful schadenfreude when hypocrites are exposed. (Along with profound concern for the LGBT people in repressive regimes whose lives are now in danger thanks to the Ashley Madison hack.) Women, progressives, and queers have had to sit and listen to the likes of Duggar, Huckabee, Santorum, and Fischer talk about us, as if the outright lies they spread about our lives are somehow deserving of deference. So you can’t blame us for smiling when they take a fall.
True Dat! But Michaelson isn’t smiling. He’s hoping mad instead, for two reasons.
First, all of the people and institutions I’ve named, while they were lying, cheating, and having lots of illicit sex, were also working hard to demean me and my family, and deny us our civil rights. They aren’t just hypocrites. Hypocrites preach one thing and practice another. But these guys aren’t just preaching; they are actively, and sometimes successfully, restricting my freedom, encouraging my dehumanization, and telling lies about me and people like me.
All true, but here is the kicker:
Second, while it may seem inevitable that exposures like Duggar’s Ashley Madison account will somehow bring about the welcome decline of bad religious fundamentalisms, in fact, it’s not clear that that’s happening at all…It’s not clear who will win this battle, if it does shape up that way. Sure, atheists and progressives have rationality on their side, but religious conservatives like Josh Duggar are usually more fervent. And getting even more so: Fully 40% of Americans, and 77% of Evangelicals, believe we are living in the End Times.
That is a dangerous extremism, especially when it’s combined with policies that might well bring the apocalypse about, like ignoring climate change, provoking war with Iran, or supporting settlement expansion in the West Bank in order to hasten the Second Coming.
Latte-sipping rationalists can laugh at these wackos, but the wackos are increasing in number…
So I’m not actually smiling that much at Josh Duggar’s latest fall from grace. I’m sorry for his wife. I’m sorry for the girls he molested. And I’m mad as hell at the organization he once led, the system of which he is a part, and the twisted version of religion he still professes.
Maybe if they all took their boots off my neck, I’d be able to squeeze out a laugh.