2005-08-18 / View From the Middle

Hypocrisy: The Winner In Too Many Battles Lately

View From The Middle
By Charles Rogers

It’s not easy these days. Somehow it seems harder to aim our young people in the right direction than it used to be. Modern advances in the world, even from a societal standpoint, haven’t changed that much in recent years.

Or have they?

It’s defeating, isn’t it? We bring up our children to do the right thing, tell them what is right and wrong and then, perhaps, direct them to try to take the path and examples of those they should admire and re-spect as they grow into adults.

There was a time when we could look, for in-stance, to sports stars with complete admiration. These were real heroes — to me, anyway.

There was a time when those heroes in the movies were certainly people to be admired as they faced danger and won their battles — I thought, anyway.

There was a time when we could depend on the direction our elected politicians would lead us, feeling it was probably the best thing for us at the time — I felt I could depend on them, anyway.

There was a time when we could put our very souls in the hands of the clergy, knowing that, if we followed a certain path, our destiny would be shaped, to a degree, by their paving the way to an eventual Heaven. This is what I was taught — and followed — anyway.

Indeed, it does seem there are marked differences between the past and the present, to be sure.

Oh, there have been scandals that sort of took us aback. But that was because they were unusual in themselves. A scandal, say, committed by a Hollywood actor was frowned upon — and might have even put him or her out of the entertainment business because of disdain by the paying public. However, because it was a person in the performing arts, he or she could get away with it as being possibly no more than an idiosyncrasy. “This is what they do...” was the working term in many cases.

Sports figures were another thing, however. The ideal purity of the baseball player, football star or boxer was to be admired. These were traits that, as we grew up, we came to recognize and wanted to copy. That reflection in the bathroom mirror of the youth flexing his muscles just like one of the top sports figures of the day is something you don’t forget — until you find that those sports figure’s muscles are, essentially, fake, put there as a result of a “magic” potion from a medicine show. The purity factor disappears very quickly, doesn’t it?

Later, we depended on those political figures to lead us in the right direction. They could do practically no wrong in our minds once. After all, that’s why we elected them. Oh, sure, just like actors, they had their scandals, etc. but not so much as to make such an impact on our very morals. There was “Teapot-Dome,” and the ever-scandalous Warren Harding, etc. Nothing we couldn’t laugh off after awhile, even many years — until Nixon and Water-gate came along, and he quit in disgrace. In the same paragraph we can’t forget that epitome of good moral character William Clinton. If you can’t remember what he did, then you might as well stop reading NOW.

But the worst and rudest awakening, I’m afraid, has been the clergy, more specifically those from the Catholic Church. I’ve refrained from writing about the problems, specifically the pedophile/sexual stigma that has attached itself to the priesthood. My reasons for not addressing it are my own because I faithfully held a deep, although sometimes coerced, and certainly naive, respect for those learned men and women who chose the path of the priesthood, sisterhood or brotherhood.

I’m afraid my respect has waned, though. It comes back to the defeatism syndrome because of the effect all the transgressions have had on youth. The Bible tells us (Matthew 18:6) “But who so shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it would be better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck and he were drowned in the depth of the sea.”

And my reasons for the diatribe is not only the obvious contempt for the presumed, alleged and professed acts of the accused, but, unfortunately worse, the impact of those acts and presumptions on others, specifically young people.

Mind you, the contempt is not only for the clergy and their abject hypocrisy, but for all of those to whom the young aspire to emulate.

The world is not what it was. There are still heroes, to be sure.

But now we need more.

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