Whatever happened to sin? (updated)

0312084kristen5I have no idea if there is a religion ghost somewhere in the sad story of Ashley Youmans Rae Maika DiPietro Alexandra Dupre — the 22-year-old “escort” better known as “Kristen” in the icky story of Gov. Eliot Spitzer of New York.

I do know this. There are times when it is hard to cover the news and avoid the word “sin.”

Read the whole New York Times report that pulled her out into the spotlight. Doesn’t this leave you asking some questions? Is this whole story a parable for the post-feminist age or what? Has there ever been a responsible male in this young woman’s life? Would she know one if she saw one?

Her story is full of painful passages, but here is one that gets to me:

Ms. Dupre said by telephone Tuesday night that she was worried about how she would pay her rent since the man she was living with “walked out on me” after she discovered he had fathered two children. She said she was considering working at a friend’s restaurant or, once her apartment lease expires, moving back with her family in New Jersey “to relax.”

Or how about this?

On MySpace, her page says: “I am all about my music and my music is all about me. It flows from what I’ve been through, what I’ve seen and how I feel.”

She left “a broken family” at age 17, having been abused, according to the MySpace page, and has used drugs and “been broke and homeless.”

“Learned what it was like to have everything and lose it, again and again,” she writes. “Learned what it was like to wake up one day and have the people you care about most gone.

“But I made it,” she continues. “I’m still here and I love who I am. If I never went through the hard times, I would not be able to appreciate the good ones. Cliche, yes, but I know it’s true.”

Or how about this snippet of lyrics from a stereotypical song from her work as a dance-club singer?

I know what you want.
You got what I want.
I know what you need.
Can you handle me?

And on and on and on. Her side of the story is — naturally — unfolding on MySpace. Where else would it be?

But there are no issues in this tale linked to marriage, family, sexuality, sin, guilt, abuse, lust, greed, abuse of power or anything else. If there isn’t a religion ghost in this story, then there should be. Hypocrisy is just the starting point.

UPDATE: The Washington Post says that these kinds of public scandals used to be about sin. But that was a different America.

clinton lewinskyNo more. The major advice from the Style gods to women today. Do not trust politicians. Why? They are wired for this kind of thing.

Think Clinton. Bill. Or Hart, as in Gary.

One reason is because they’ve got the ideal personality for it. Psychologists believe that certain types of personalities are more likely to engage in infidelity — and that those traits uncannily overlap with traits common to politicians.

“Extroverted, prone to be socially dominant, those are traits associated with infidelity and with good politicians,” says David Schmitt, a professor of psychology at Bradley University. “The ability to compartmentalize — not necessarily to viciously lie, but to hold back some truths in one context and then tell those truths in a different context, that’s almost the definition of a politician.”

So there. Still no ghosts around here. Nope.

Top photos: From The Smoking Gun

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About tmatt

Terry Mattingly directs the Washington Journalism Center at the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities. He writes a weekly column for the Universal Syndicate.

  • Tom Stanton

    Sin – destroying people, careers, and news stories everywhere, all the time.

  • Stephen A.

    Yes, the absence of sin – and shame – in this story is astounding, but only to those of us who are old enough (over 35) to remember when these concepts mattered to society.

    For the past decade or more, mushy-headed schoolmarms have been pushing the idea into impressionable students that “judgementalism” is actually the only sin out there with which we need to be concerned. It might, the ‘thought’ process goes, hurt someone’s feelings if we were to point out that they were engaging in destructive behavior. And feelings are far more important to these folks than facts.

    Ashley, as beautiful as she is, has the same “I’m a victim” mentality as the rest of her generation. Contrast that with the millions of young women around the world who grew up without fathers after the devastating world wars of the past century, for example. They didn’t all turn to prostitution. That’s a rather lame excuse, and I have no sympathy.

    Media should be holding up a mirror on this devastating mindset that all things are “okay” and that judging actions as sinful and destructive is the real sin. The problem is, they come from the same educational gene pool.

    Oh, and wait for that song of hers to hit the charts within two weeks. Beside the fact that it’s actually not bad compared to the OTHER schlock out there right now, her Celebrity will launch it to the stratosphere. That’s the way sin works these days.

  • http://www.tmatt.net tmatt

    A question: Was working as a high-price escort part of “keeping it real” in terms of street cred?

  • http://groups.yahoo.com/group/NonDualBibleVerses/ Eric Chaffee

    Woman manipulates, and man dominates — or so it has been observed, ever since the Garden of Eden. (In this case “Kristen” manipulated for cash, and The Gov dominated with cash. Nothing new here.)

    But Terry’s question, why is there no mention of sin, is big. And I am somewhat of a witness to the facts. I was at Harvard Divinity School about the time The Gov was at Harvard Law School. I was studying ethics, and chose to audit a course required of all freshman: Moral Reasoning. Due to a schedule conflict I was unable to take the section offered by Harvey Cox, of the Div School. (See his book extracted from this course, here: http://tinyurl.com/2ysmnb — an excellent book!)

    Instead, I enrolled in the course taught by a law professor. He was openly gay, and was teaching that postmodern malaise, justifying anything one wanted to do. And herein is the reason there is no longer any sin. (It isn’t even a ghost anymore!) And I wouldn’t be surprised if our former Governor caught some of that flu while in law school, perhaps even in that same professor’s class. How sad.

    Spitzer had a vision of a just community, and did much to advance towards it; but he couldn’t find a seat there for himself. I voted for him, and he broke my heart. (Elliott, I’m praying for you and your family. I don’t condemn anyone in this scenario. But the ideal can only be attained by living there, trying, failing, and trying again.) Most importantly, we need to revise our notion of our nature. If we believe we are sinners, we will practice sin. What is needed is a new birth — re-conceiving ourselves as made in the image and likeness of God. Adam & Eves sin cannot derail God’s plan for his people. That’s simply ridiculous.

    ~eric.

  • stoo

    So what’s the “press doesn’t get religion” angle here? Do you just want some religious commentary thrown in?

  • http://www.tmatt.net tmatt

    Stoo:

    This is the rare post in which I openly state that I am not sure what the ghost is. However, when you consider the topics, it is interesting to see all of this discussed without a religious element. The words hypocrisy, sin, repentance, shame, etc. just seem to be in there.

    I mean, count the real deadly sins in here.

  • Stephen A.

    It occurred to me after my post here (post 2) that the “ghost” that is missing is usually the religious angle, but in this case, I wonder what that ghost is. Kind of along the same line as Stoo’s comment, the fact that religion isn’t thrown in there is irrelevant. I don’t care, for example, if her parent brought her up Methodist or Catholic or whatever. Clearly, it has made little impact on her life. As with most Americans, I bet it was irrelevant that she was sprinked with water as a baby. So throwing her background in is not important to the story.

    From the tenor of her comments, I expect religion is either some vauge notion of “spirituality” or nonexistent, but I’m guessing here, and that’s bad journalism, of course.

    In a broader sense, the fact that sin, shame, repentence, etc. are missing here is probably just about right, since they are missing from Western society as a whole. Therefore, this PERFECTLY reflects society.

    We have to look elsewhere than the NYT and other MSM sources, towards religious publications, for deeper analysis, or comments like what I said above. The average New Yorker is NOT a devout Christian, and they’re not going to be seeing this as a “sin” issue, but perhaps as a “betrayal” and a “he got caught being naughty” issue.

    Sadly, religion reporting is not ‘mainstream’ because the consumers don’t want to hear about how sinful they are. I guess this is a major theme of the blog, but I’d paraphrase our tagline here and say “society doesn’t get religion.”

    It also occurrs to me that the social liberals who comment on this blog will see NO ghosts in this story. Only those who see this as ‘sinful’ (as opposed to simply ‘unfair to the wife’ or ‘naughty’) will be upset that these stories are lacking. And holding a mirror up to THAT fact is important, too.

  • http://bethaniqua.blogspot.com bethany

    I don’t get this post. Do you think its the role of reporters to judge strangers on who sinned when that led to horrible repercussions? Sure, Ashley Dupre made bad choices, in spite of her limited options. Gov Spitzer had a lot of options and made some really bad choices. I’m willing to say that both of those situations are the wages of sin in the world, but I don’t think it’s the role of the press to decide what is and isn’t sinful. I don’t think Spitzer thinks what he did was right, but I’m not certain political theatre is the time to parse “wrong” and “sin” – he needs to speak also to those who don’t “get religion”.

  • Jerry

    It also occurrs to me that the social liberals who comment on this blog will see NO ghosts in this story.

    Wrong.

    There used to be a stereotype that when Democrats sinned it was a lustful sin and when Republicans sinned it was a greedy sin. No longer. But there is a more significant point to be made.

    From more than one religious tradition, the #1 sin above all others is hypocrisy. We’ve seen moral crusaders of all stripes from Evangelical to Catholic to, in this case, a liberal Democrat exposed as hypocrites. I don’t think you’ll find anyone defending that sin.

    As a “card-carrying” social liberal, I do try to be understanding of other people’s weaknesses, having more than my share of them myself. But God grant that I avoid hypocrisy.

  • Tom Stanton

    bethany said: “I don’t get this post.”

    Stoo said: “So what’s the “press doesn’t get religion” angle here?”

    Unless I’m mistaken, tmatt is feeling (excuse the rhyme) the gravity of the depravity. It isn’t that there is necessarily (or ought to be) a religion ghost in the story, but that prostitution and hypocrisy are linked in the Spitzer story as such drastic examples. Shouldn’t – in a story of such revolting depravity – there be some mention of wrongdoing, sadness, or the general societal grief that a yound woman can be bought by a powerful public figure.

    Maybe the ghosts are the ghosts of shame, grief, self-loathing, and loss. Have these all been lost; are they purely “religious” and therefore excluded from the public discourse?

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/00368463715994694203 FrGregACCA

    The sin element is clearly a ghost here; however, after Bill Clinton’s misadventure with Monica was exposed, he, indeed, spoke of having “sinned”. For whatever reason, the former President felt the need to that word.

    Another angle: what percentage of women who become prostitutes (or are otherwise promiscuous) have been previously sexually abused, especially as children or adolescents? I’d bet the number is pretty high.

    Yet another bizarre hook: what will “Kristen’s” future career path be? I suspect we have not heard or seen the last of her.

  • Martha

    I think the comments on here perfectly illustrate the point tmatt was making.

    “Why should sin be mentioned in the story? It’s not about sin, it’s about hypocrisy/politics/money/power/exploitation/victimhood! Our culture has no sense of sin anymore, this report is just reflecting that!”

    And that’s exactly the point: our culture no longer has a sense of sin. *That’s* why the religion angle is the ghost in the story. The revenant glimpsed out of the corner of the eye, denied and explained away as imagination, because ‘there’s no such thing as ghosts’.

    Whether or not our culture acknowledges it, sin still exists. I have no opinion on who is the greater sinner here, or what sins exactly were committed, or anything of that nature.

    But sin is involved, no matter in what terms we may frame the story. Yes, you can invoke psychology. And yes, that may be relevant. But alongside all the social and psychological and cultural influences, the brokeness of a fallen world is still there and still active, no matter how old-fashioned, judgemental, or irrelevant we may think the very notion of ‘sin’ is.

  • Deacon John M. Bresnahan

    To listen to the accounts on the news channels there was one big sin (though they never used the word sin) and it was labelled “hypocrisy” which I did hear frequently. Another angle was to zero in on all the various laws possibly broken other than the prostitution laws.
    And to see Alan Dershowitz (looking like the proverbially pathetic prune-faced dirty-old-man) damning the U.S. for being so puritanical and for not legalizing prostitution was truly sad.
    He couldn’t even get his facts straight. He said “sophisticated” Europeans weren’t interested in such stories (Wrong! the story was on the front page of most European newspapers) and such stories don’t bring down European politicians (Wrong! That very morning the Spitzer story broke our Boston Globe had run a story about French president Sarkozy’s steep drop in popularity that polls showed was largely attributable to his dumping his wife and very quickly marrying someone else.)
    And Larry King’s calling a prostitute he interviewed a “sex worker” was almost laughable.

  • Brian

    Deacon Bresnahan: Sarkozy did NOT dump his wife. He was the dumpee. It was by all accounts extremely humiliating.

  • Julia

    Not much mention by the media of the issue of “scandal” as classically understood. That’s the demoralizing and disheartening of more innocent folks upon suddenly seeing that a respected figure is breaking society’s rules – worse if they are the very rules they are supposed to be upholding. It’s what happens when the veil of hypocracy is stripped away. The shock to ordinary folks’ belief in a moral order safeguarded by trusted and admired authority figures undermines their own commitment and determination to lead good lives. An example that immediately comes to mind is Spitzer’s three teen-age daughters. What is this going to do to their view of the world?

    It seems that a bigger story might be what has been progressively stripped away from young people’s belief in a moral order in the past decades. The recent news that 1 out of 4 teen girls have an STD is certainly indicative of something going on. What effect do all these public “scandals” involving prominent adults have on young people’s changing behavior?

  • Dave

    Julia wrote:

    The shock to ordinary folks’ belief in a moral order safeguarded by trusted and admired authority figures undermines their own commitment and determination to lead good lives.

    Elected officials aren’t expected to keep the average citizen on the straight and narrow by example. That’s the job of the individual’s moral compass as informed by their religions and, when they were forming, their parents. Elected officials are expected to keep the wheels of government turning.

    I don’t for a moment exculpate Spitzer or “Kristen” in saying this. I’m commenting on the assignment of moral role model tasks to people not selected for that job.

  • Stoo

    Tom Stanton says:

    Unless I’m mistaken, tmatt is feeling (excuse the rhyme) the gravity of the depravity

    Right yeah, I get that. It just seems to be broadining things a bit beyond the scope of this blog’s mission statement.

    “the world…isn’t as religious as we want” or something like that

  • Stephen A.

    Jerry says:

    There used to be a stereotype that when Democrats sinned it was a lustful sin and when Republicans sinned it was a greedy sin. No longer. But there is a more significant point to be made.

    O-kay. Hmmm. I guess you’re right, since there are surely greedy Dems (Rep. William Jefferson) and lustful Republicans (Sen. Larry Craig) so yeah, it does seem like a ridiculous strawman.

    From more than one religious tradition, the #1 sin above all others is hypocrisy. We’ve seen moral crusaders of all stripes from Evangelical to Catholic to, in this case, a liberal Democrat exposed as hypocrites. I don’t think you’ll find anyone defending that sin.

    Wrong. The “#1 sin” has never been ‘hypocrisy.’ Please let me know which religion says this, other than the modern-day mainline denominations. Christ uses the word in the sense that immoral people shouldn’t preach morality but then turn around and do immoral things. Moderns believe hypocrisy can be dealt with by dispensing with that ‘pesky’ moral preaching altogether. Huge difference.

    As a “card-carrying” social liberal, I do try to be understanding of other people’s weaknesses, having more than my share of them myself. But God grant that I avoid hypocrisy.

    Better to ask God to grant that we don’t fall into immorality, like Mr. Spitzer did, isn’t it?

    Thanks for making my case, though, that liberals fear the appearance of judging others more than anything else (including immorality) with those last few words.

  • Dave

    Stephen A writes:

    [...L]iberals fear the appearance of judging others more than anything else (including immorality)

    This kind of sweeping stereotype has no more place on this board than the venting about atheism did a few days ago. Stephen doesn’t know a thing about my personal life or that of any other liberal contributor. The charm of these comments is the different points of view expressed, not the exchange of prejudices.

  • Jerry

    Thanks for making my case, though, that liberals fear the appearance of judging others more than anything else (including immorality) with those last few words.

    I was offering as much of a judgement as I felt comfortable with making given Matt 7:1-5. But maybe you interpret those verses differently than I do.

  • Jimmy Mac

    “And Larry King’s calling a prostitute he interviewed a “sex worker” was almost laughable.”

    In this country and in this day and age, people choose how they want to be identified. Catholics stick with that rather than the generic “Christian” because of all of the negative connotations currently surrounding that term.

    We accept that African Americans choose to be called that.

    Ditto on Hispanics/Latinos.

    And gays.

    So what is wrong with addressing someone as a sex worker if that is what they consider themselves to be?

    Or are we pharisees the arbiters of how people should identify themselves? Would you be happy if the press started calling Catholics papists, etc.?

  • Julia

    Dave said:

    Elected officials aren’t expected to keep the average citizen on the straight and narrow by example

    I’m commenting on the assignment of moral role model tasks to people not selected for that job.

    Elected officials take oaths to support the constitution and the laws of this country. In the case of Spitzer, he was a prosecutor who actually relished going after rings of prostitution. I’d say he was elected to uphold the moral/legal order; moreso when he was a prosecutor, but also as a governor. Lawyers, like Spitzer, are also required to avoid crimes of moral turpitude. I wouldn’t be surprised if Spitzer loses his license to practice law – the same way Clinton did. Judges are held to even higher standards. A judge in my town was almost kicked off the bench recently after a DUI.

    Elected officials are supposed to be good examples as law abiding citizens or the public loses confidence in them and our system. The effect on citizens as to their own behavior is a by-product, but important none the less.

    By the way, my use of “moral” doesn’t just refer to bedroom stuff, if that’s what you’re getting at. I’m from Illinois where our governors keep being sent off to jail for various moral/legal failings having nothing to do with the bedroom. It looks like there may be a third one, judging by what’s going on in the Rezko trial.

  • rob reynolds

    How many thousands of dollars did she get for sex? And she says she can’t pay her rent? I’m a little suspicious of her story.

    I couldn’t care less about the whole sin angle. This country needs to move beyond its Puritan roots.

  • danr

    Ah, the resurfacing of those old strawman arguments, “better a liar/cheat in his own house than the statehouse”. Some of us old-fashioned folk still believe that a person cannot be dichotomized in their public and personal lives. If you can lie and cheat on your spouse (whom you supposedly love and are committed to), why should I trust your integrity in serving and representing the citizens you’ve largely never met? Similarly, if you flout the law yourself, why should I trust you to uphold it for others?

    It’s not about passing eternal judgment on the individual (God’s province). It’s about passing judgment on the suitability of retaining public office, after violating public trust (the people’s province). The common thread between the two is the dreaded m-word (moral), the religious connotations of which are truly hard to extract, as hard as our increasingly postmodern culture tries.

  • Dave

    Julia wrote:

    Elected officials are supposed to be good examples as law abiding citizens or the public loses confidence in them and our system. The effect on citizens as to their own behavior is a by-product, but important none the less.

    I agree with the first sentence, which is more modest than the one I cited earlier. I dispute the second. I don’t expect citizens’ morality to wax and wane with the latest political scandals, though their interest in politics may.

    “The president shall provide a moral example to the citizens of the United States” does not appear in the Constitution, though thousands of preachers and hundreds of Congress members (usually from the opposition) seem to think it does.

    I’m from Illinois where our governors keep being sent off to jail for various moral/legal failings having nothing to do with the bedroom. It looks like there may be a third one, judging by what’s going on in the Rezko trial.

    You have my sympathies. I’m from Ohio, where the commonest sin of politicians is incompetence.

  • Dave

    danr wrote:

    If you can lie and cheat on your spouse (whom you supposedly love and are committed to), why should I trust your integrity in serving and representing the citizens you’ve largely never met?

    Because examples of history show that alpha male leaders do it repeatedly.

    Similarly, if you flout the law yourself, why should I trust you to uphold it for others?

    A much better question. And a better constructed one, too; it doesn’t pivot on the word “supposedly.”

  • MJBubba

    Stoo, …the press just doesn’t get…sin.

  • http://www.bridgeway242.org danr

    Dave – English major like my mother, who felt similar need to critique my style? :)

    examples of history show that alpha male leaders do it repeatedly

    Talk about awkward construction – it’s their “doing it repeatedly” that makes headlines. And lots of other alpha male leaders have done a beta job than that.

    True, the citizens’ own morality doesn’t necessarily ebb and flow with that observed in their leaders. Rather, it’s precisely because they are operating from a certain moral vantage point that when leaders morally fall, citizens’ confidence and trust in them accordingly falls. That’s true even when that failing is “merely immoral” and not technically illegal.

    Is it “morally wrong” for people to react that way, and why? What’s the origin of that mysteriously reactive moral center? Again, that’s the “ghost” I think some find conjured up in these stories.

  • http://bethaniqua.blogspot.com bethany

    danr – I understand that that is a weak argument, but I don’t think it’s a straw man. Straw man arguments are when you set up those you oppose to believe something extreme and then point out how stupid they are.

  • Stephen A.

    Dave & Jerry: The fact that values-free liberalism is being reflected in the press is definitely fodder for this board, and for the media to expose, when it occassionaly, and perhaps accidentially, decides to.

    And when liberals make idiotic, off-topic statements here, such as:

    I couldn’t care less about the whole sin angle. This country needs to move beyond its Puritan roots.

    They are GOING to be commented upon. Sorry if you’re not used to being challenged.

  • http://www.tmatt.net tmatt

    A quick comment after listening in.

    What the press seems to want is a secular definition of sin.

    The gov sinned. He confessed his sin. He needs to repent, using rituals of public repentance. The language used in these stories is religious, but the words have no meaning, no context. Why?

    Sex outside of marriage is not sin or not always sin or something. He broke secular laws, but the public always wants to judge him on the basis of other laws. Laws that then haunt the coverage.

  • http://www.bridgeway242.org danr

    Bethany:
    Strawman: The author attacks an argument which is different from, and usually weaker than, the opposition’s best argument.

    So when someone says (as someone above did), “At least such-and-such politician is just personally immoral and not publicly/politically so (i.e. just an philanderer and not a warmonger)”, others could legitimately respond, “We’re not arguing that political morality isn’t at least as important as personal morality. We’re saying that both matter, and they actually can’t be so neatly and conveniently separated.”

  • Dave

    danr writes:

    English major like my mother, who felt similar need to critique my style?

    Physics major, and I was critiquing your content, not your style. The criticized assertion depended on something “supposedly” true, a weak pivot.

    [...I]t’s [alpha male leaders'] “doing it repeatedly” that makes headlines.

    But it doesn’t. FDR did it, Ike did it, JFK did it, and nary a headline emerged about it.

    True, the citizens’ own morality doesn’t necessarily ebb and flow with that observed in their leaders.

    Thank you. That is what I was asserting, contrary to your earlier statement.

    Rather, it’s precisely because they are operating from a certain moral vantage point that when leaders morally fall, citizens’ confidence and trust in them accordingly falls.

    Quite plausibly, but not necessarily universally. Lots of Democrats’ confidence in Bill Clinton as president was unaffected by the Monica Lewinsky scandal.

  • Dave

    Stephen A writes

    Sorry if you[ liberals a]re not used to being challenged.

    Liberals? Not used to being challenged? After decades if liberalism being denigrated as the “L-word?” *snickers up sleeve*

  • Jerry

    Dave & Jerry: The fact that values-free liberalism

    That’s pure propoganda – there is no truth whatsoever in that statement. Liberalism has values. They are not your values, but that is a different question. For example, see: http://www.elroy.net/politics/liberal.html

    Reductio ad absurdum: If liberals have no values, then I guess cannibalism is just a lifestyle choice so I won’t have have any issues if you’re put in a stew pot and eaten for dinner.

  • http://www.catholicradiointernational.com/ Thomas A. Szyszkiewicz

    But, tmatt, this was all explained in this column in the L.A. Times. It’s evolutionary biology. I mean, what do we want – a worm or a man? (“But I am a worm and no man, scorned by men and despised by the people.” Ps. 22.6; “How much less man, that maggot, and the son of man, that worm!” Job 25.6) So really, it’s the public who are at fault for expecting our pols and other leaders to be better than their evolutionarily biological instincts. Of course, we shouldn’t expect our pols to be better than that since they aren’t assigned to be moral role models for us. But since we’re byproducts of evolutionary chance, anyone who expects any sort of moral behavior from anyone at all is simply nuts.

    Interesting that in the same paper there was a story about women-only buses in Mexico developed because the men couldn’t keep their paws off the women (pun intended). What’s wrong with those women? Don’t they know that men can’t help acting that way? So what’s wrong with us? Don’t we know that Spitzer couldn’t help acting that way? Just like Clinton and Hart and everyone else who has ever done likewise? And since we know they can’t help it, why do we call it sin or even make it a crime?

  • Maureen

    Re: addressing someone as a “sex worker” –

    So… does this mean we are now to address burglars as “property removal experts”? And why is Larry King interviewing an admitted criminal anyway, instead of calling the police?

    I have to say, a lot of talkshows would be greatly improved by the police arriving halfway through the first segment. Jerry Springer, for example. :)

  • Emcee

    Listen to the lot of you. So busy pointing your crooked fingers at the failings of others. Must feel pretty good to look down from above. I also realize that by highlighting this behavior, I am guilty of the same. So I will stop and point my high-powered lens inward: Self examination, self improvement, non-judgmental analysis, not “Stone Throwing.”

  • Stephen A.

    “Listen to the lot of you” is just what we’re doing, and we’re witnessing the reason why the media doesn’t seem to *grasp* the concept of sin because many in the MSM, and in society, don’t even know it’s sin. Perhaps they know it’s “mean” to do such a thing to the wife, and that it’s “hypocrisy” but only because he convicted others of doing it. If he had been a cheater and user of whores before entering public life, even that “wrong” thing would go away.

    Again, the religious/moral vacuum in society is actually pretty well reflected by its absense in the story, sadly.

  • Jahngra

    Religious leaders have shown themselves to be at least as prone to such ‘sinful’ behavior as politicians. Paul Crouch, Ted Haggard, Earle Paulik, countless Catholic Priests, and many other clergy members have been hypocritically engaging in ‘sinful’ activity too.

    When in glass houses….

  • Stephen A.

    Jahngra, thanks for yet more evidence that most people see “hypocrisy” as a greater sin than the actual sin – perhaps the greater of the two, actually. This kind of turns morality on its head, dontcha think?

    And if Christians think their leaders are going to be perfect, they need to check into the theological underpinnings of their religion a bit more. (hint: original sin.)

    It’s obvious that the media has bought into this “the only real sin is hypocrisy” mindset, too, and as I said before, maybe most christians and secular folks in the media-consuming public have this mindset as well, so perhaps they’re “in tune” with the age.

    But if this is so, I have to wonder why the consuming media so disgusted with media like newspapers.

  • Molly

    Stephen A.

    Jesus sat and watched a poor woman put all her worldly possessions into the collection box in the temple and saw the hypocrisy inherent in the fact that she had to give everything because the powers that be refused to assist her as the law stated they must. Hypocrisy.

    Jesus waited for the first person without sin to stone the lone perpetrator of adultery brought before him and when they all realized their own hypocrisy and left the woman alive, he commanded her to change her own behavior. Hypocrisy.

    If Jesus saw the hypocrisy and condemned it for the abdication of moral authority that it was, why is it so wrong for so many others to do the same? It would seem to me that the charge of hypocrisy against Gov. Spitzer is right on the mark.

  • Man Ray

    Sigh. Perhaps there is no mention of sin because so few people see sin in what has gone on here. Many have called prostitution a victimless crime. I tend to believe that most women who are prostitutes don’t have accounting or English degrees and can’t go off and find an office job. I’m sure some are in it for the glamour associated with the high-end clients — travel and jewels and clothes. I’m sure others are just grateful they have pleasing looks because they don’t have much else to bank on.

    People have said that because of the large amount of money this woman received, she was hardly a victim (she took home half from what I understand, and some of it was a down payment for the future). Of course, in a few years when she is not 22 anymore and looks a little older and beaten down, her source of income is gone.

    The governor had a habit of asking for unsafe sex practices (later revealed to be sex without a condom). I’m of the opinion that if this is what he prefers and some viral matter got passed around, there are potentially a lot of victims here, including the wife at home. People in the age of “Just do it” don’t want to see this. Sin’s an old-fashioned word and the words “me” and “what I want” have much more weight today.

    The only punishment I would like to see the governor receive is that he needs to send 5 or 10 prostitutes to college. Find women who don’t want to be in the business but don’t have an education and then educate them. Like he would his own daughters. People have looked at me like I am nuts to say this. But he wanted to clean up the state of New York — that is what he always said — and this would be a way to start.

  • Stephen A.

    Molly, et al, I’m not casting stones here, nor do I advocate it.

    The solution to hypocrisy being touted today is not the kind mentioned by Jesus, who, after all, said “go and SIN NO MORE.” Today’s solution that simply dispenses with the concept of sin, therefore eliminating the need to call it what it is: sinful. Ignoring it is the new way. That’s a huge difference that I hope folks can grasp.


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