Virtual Voices

The necessity of hypocrisy

Faith & Inspiration

"Hypocrisy is a lot more helpful in preserving morality than moral equivalency is." -Rush Limbaugh, June 25

Thus spaketh the radio talk show host whose every breath keeps President Obama's joy from being complete, just as Mordecai's kept Haman's joy from being complete (Esther 3:2,5; 5:9,13). His eloquent quip on the radio program was in response to letters from the moribund section of the Republican choir, in the aftermath of South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford's adultery disclosure, who whine, "See Rush, we told you the Republicans have to give up the moral values issues; they're killing us! Moral issues don't hurt the Democrats because they have no standards."

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"Hypocrisy is necessary," Limbaugh began, leaving us to squirm for a moment, wondering if he's finally gone too far. But a half-decent Bible student would have immediately recognized borrowed capital from the Apostle Paul:

"If it had not been for the law, I would not have known sin. For I would not have known what it is to covet if the law had not said, 'You shall not covet.'. . . For apart from the law, sin lies dead. I was once alive apart from the law, but when the commandment came, sin came alive and I died" (Romans 7:7-9).

Like Limbaugh himself, Paul likes to state relative things in absolute terms, the better to arrest our attention: Of course it is not absolutely true that "if it had not been for the law I would not have known sin." (But our "knowledge" would have been the vaguest and murkiest of things.) It is not absolutely true that "apart from the law, sin lies dead." (We would still be guilty for violating God's holiness.) It is not absolutely true that we were "once alive apart from the law." (We merely thought we were.) The fact that "when the commandment came, I died," is otherwise stated by saying that what died was my vain imagining that I was alive.

It is always good to know that one is dead if one is dead. It is always better to know one's true condition, which is why the burning sensation experienced by a hand accidentally rested on a hot stove is, for all its present unpleasantness, preferable to the absence of touch sensors in the body resulting in the greater unpleasantness later on that one has cooked one's flesh to the well doneness of a porterhouse stake.

Therefore I would have to agree with Mr. Limbaugh that "hypocrisy is a lot more helpful in preserving morality than moral equivalency is." Hypocrisy keeps alive the notion of right and wrong in our recalcitrant hearts, if only in as a faintly flickering votive candle. The doctrine of moral equivalency that calls all actions equal would love to smother morality in its sleep with a pillow. The problem with it is that it is against reality. I personally have never come across of adultery that didn't result in third degree burns.

To hear commentaries by Andrée Seu, click here.

Andrée Seu
Andrée Seu

Andrée is the author of three books: Won't Let You Go Unless You Bless Me, Normal Kingdom Business, and We Shall Have Spring Again. Follow Andrée on Twitter @Andreespeterson.

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