Weaponized Sanctimony: What to Make of the Piety Police (and How Not to Join Them)

There’s a pretty famous saying that goes “Judge not, that ye be not judged.” You’ve probably heard of it.

You probably also think it means that you should accept everything that everyone, everywhere does without so much as a thought of disapprobation.

But there’s more to it. As with most things, context is key:

Judge not, that ye be not judged.

For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.

And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?

Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye?

Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye.

So besides the comical imagery of a guy walking around with a gigantic beam of wood sticking out of his eye, the takeaway here is a warning against hypocrisy: don’t accuse others of doing what you yourself do.

I think about this when I pay attention to current events. I don’t write about politics here unless it’s in a big-picture, conceptual way, mainly because (1) there are plenty of political blogs out there, and this isn’t one of them; (2) politics is actually really boring; (3) I talk about it enough on Twitter and Gab to get it out of my system, and (4) I don’t want to alienate any readers who might otherwise want to hear what I have to say.

But the media in this country, which has been derelict in its duty to both inform and hold the government accountable, continues to sink to new lows, and the lesson of the day is one in abject hypocrisy.

I don’t care who you’re voting for, but the furor over dirty words spoken about a certain candidate before their presidential run is both hilarious and astounding. I’m not talking about valid concerns that such words raise–it’s important to know everything about a potential president. I’m talking about the media’s hyperventilating over them.

These same people who, whether it’s in news, entertainment, or other areas of pop-culture, who push all kinds of lewdness, impiety, degeneracy (apologias for pedophilia, anyone?) are now incensed that somebody said rude words, and they expect us to take them seriously?

 

The same people who defend certain types of naughty words and behaviors actual actions towards members of a certain sex are now pretending to be the Church Lady from Saturday Night Live, and we’re supposed to believe they’re being sincere?

The same media establishment that, let’s be real, does not like religion, God, and particularly Christianity, is now appealing to our sense of morality about things?

Please.

They’re trying to shape a narrative using whatever tactics are available. The trick is to recognize that, if they’ve been lying to you in the past, there’s no reason to take anything they say on face value.

Whether or not you are bothered by the #TrumpTapes–and I am not arguing that they aren’t worth reporting about, because they are–the spin from the news and entertainment world has been staggering in its hypocrisy.

We’ve had pretty squeaky clean people running for, or being elected to, office before, and this same media tries to destroy them. Sometimes they succeed.

Morally upright and virtuous politicians are “creepy,” “out-of-touch,” “pushing they’re religion on everybody,” “racist/sexist/homophobic/bigoted,” “phony hypocrites.”

And they wonder why “good people” don’t run for office.

The beam sticking out of these people’s eyes is so massive, I’m surprised they fit in their offices. But they don’t care, and they don’t expect you to care either.

You have to watch the watchers. You have to be careful about what you see and hear and read and believe. There is nothing wrong with getting news from multiple sources, and indeed that is a good thing. But the danger is imbibing opinions and feelings from people who are being insincere, inaccurate, or are flat-out lying.

At the end of the day, when it comes to the media, morality is a weapon used to bash whomever is their opponent du jour. It’s weaponized sanctimony.

I always find myself asking if the people who wrote or said a certain thing actually believe what they say, or even live like that themselves.

There’s another famous saying about glass houses and throwing stones. I’m sure you see how that metaphor applies here too.

So what can you do to avoid being like the media and head off hypocrisy in your own life? There are two big things I try to kee in mind that have help me. Maybe they can help you as well. 

  1. Acknowledge imperfection. Humans are messy individuals. We all fall off the bike, so to speak. Expecting other people to be perfect is as ridiculous as expecting yourself to be perfect. People will disappoint you, and that’s okay, because you will disappoint other people yourself. Accepting and being aware of this makes it easier to recognize that your own behavior might not live up to your own standards. So think about what other people would say about you if you were being held to your own standard by an outside observer. I guarantee you’ll think twice about throwing the proverbial stone. 
  2. Forgive. This is corny, but it helps. Forgive yourself and other people. If you need to rebuke somebody or show “tough love,” do it and then move on. There’s no value in kicking somebody when they’re down. Someday you might be in the same position, and that person you bashed with your piety isn’t likely to forget and will be all too eager to return the favor. 

Yes, I know I’m dreaming. But I’m speaking from experience. If anything, look at how the media acts and do the opposite. That might be the very best piece of advice you’ll ever get. 

Follow me on Twitter @DaytimeRenegade and Gab.ai @DaytimeRenegade

And check out my Instagram here

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