~~ Selective Morality ~~
While I covered morality in greater detail in a previous chapter, it's worth mentioning some of the common acts of hypocrisy that we see among Christians every day as it relates to morality. I find that Christians rarely practice what they preach instead picking and choosing the parts of the Bible that they like and disregarding the parts that they don't. For example, tithing has always been important to the church. It's so important that Ananias and his wife Sapphira were killed because they lied about the amount that they tithed. How many Christians honestly give 10% to their church? Leviticus 27:30 tells us to tithe 10% and yet I know many Christians who do not give this amount with varying degrees of guilt. This rule is just not that important to them in the same way that desecration of their bodies is not important. Christians with tattoos regularly ignore Leviticus 19:28.
The evangelical pastor Ted Haggard preached about the immorality of homosexuality but engaged in it himself for years. Bishop Gene Robinson, Bishop Otis Charles, Cardinal Hans Hermann Groer, Cardinal Keith O'Brien, Archbishop Rembert Weakland, Bishop Juan Carlos Maccarone, and Bishop Thomas Gumbleton are just some of the thousands of hypocrites dressed up in official religious garb.
Killing is bad, but in uber-religious places like Texas, executions are encouraged. Murder violates the Ten Commandments, but many Bible-thumping Texans are proud of their state's attitude towards it.
Cannibalism is immoral but Christians will eat the body of Christ on Sunday.
Christians should not divorce nor should they marry someone who is divorced, unless of course one side has committed adultery. If we look at the numbers, 75-80% of Americans are Christians and we have a divorce rate that consistently hovers around 50%. Considering the fact that the majority of divorces are due to irreconcilable differences, how can they preach about the sanctity of marriage? Technically speaking, this amounts to millions of Christian hypocrites.
In virtually every organized religion, sex outside of marriage is a sin, yet how many people of faith are virgins on their wedding night? Christians hold up the Bible as the will of God, so why don't they stone the bride to death for not being a virgin as Deuteronomy 22:13-21 tells us we must?
In virtually every organized religion, corruption would be immoral, yet we have corruption in every corner of a world where the majority of the people are religious.
Most people would be opposed to torture if you asked them, yet they are OK with people of other faiths being tortured for eternity for being guilty of the simple crime of disbelief. A Christian might be opposed to torture, but they have no problem with me burning in a lake of fire forever.
Jesus spoke very clearly and outspokenly against wealth, however many Christians are more devoted to money than to God. Next time you drive by a church parking lot during weekly service, take a look at the brands of vehicles that belong to the faithful. The hypocrisy is even more apparent if you happen to be driving through a wealthy neighborhood.
Jesus encouraged his followers to forgive those who have wronged them. Do you know any Christians who hold grudges? Yes, me too.
Jesus preached that we should take care of the poor, yet Republicans, the political party most closely associated with Christianity, are the first to cut funding for social programs. There are more than 300 verses in the Bible that deal directly with the poor and social injustice, and yet we as a "Christian" society don't seem as concerned about them as Jesus does. During the course of writing this book, we've experienced a recession, people have lost their homes, and more people are living below the poverty line than at any time in the past 50 years, and yet we're cutting programs and turning people away at homeless shelters. The religious right will lobby relentlessly for tax credits for wealthy people and at the same time vote to cut funding for those who are poor. The stench of hypocrisy is overwhelming. What would Jesus say?
As Tolstoy once said, "Everybody thinks of changing humanity, but nobody thinks of changing himself." To those who lift their holy book in the air and preach about the actions of others, you may find your time being better spent by looking in the mirror and starting with that person first.