Outing hypocrites? Be careful what you ask for!

I rarely give over my space to a writer that does not have the last name Burchett. But faithful and long-suffering reader Steve sent me a link to an article by Wheel of Fortune game show host Pat Sajak. Pat may need Vanna’s help to turn letters but he does a really nice job of arranging them into a thoughtful piece posted at his site.

There is much debate in the gay community on the subject of “outing”; that is, disclosing someone’s homosexuality without his consent. As with most debates, there are two extreme positions and a middle position. On one extreme are those who think anyone is fair game, and no one has any business keeping his true sexuality under wraps. The other extreme believes it’s a very personal matter, and “outing” is absolutely wrong. Besides which, many of these absolutists find the practice counter-productive in their quest for gay rights. There is, however, a growing in-between position which says “outing” is justified if the person being exposed is a hypocrite. For example, if a crusading moralist or an anti-gay marriage Congressman is leading a secret gay life, it’s okay to make that public.

I would be in favor of that middle position if we could apply it across the board. In other words, if we’re going to “out” hypocrites, let’s go all the way. If a Congressman opposes school choice for his poorer constituents while sending his own kids to private schools, let’s “out” him. If a politician or celebrity complains our taxes aren’t high enough while he hires the most aggressive accountants to minimize his own taxes, or takes questionable deductions to do the same, by all means, let’s “out” him. Minimum wage? Illegal immigration? Does their public stand match their private actions when it comes to their own domestic help? If not, “out” ‘em.

What about those who want to legislate diversity in our schools and clubs and organizations and work places? Great, but let’s check out their offices and club memberships and circles of acquaintance and make sure they don’t need to be “outed” as well. Let’s take a close look at our rich members of Congress (and there are a lot of them) who speak out about a middle class crisis, and let’s be sure they (and their family business entities) treat all their employees with the same generosity they would demand of others (salary, benefits, health care, etc.). Otherwise, “out” they go!

Let’s make sure Second Amendment opponents (or their bodyguards) don’t own guns. Let’s be certain those who complain about executives’ wages apply the same standards to themselves. Let’s change the rules to make every law Congress passes apply to its members as well. If not, “out”, “out”, “out”.

Let’s “out” the Hollywood star who lectures us on the environment while living in multiple homes, flying in private jets and riding around in limousines, or the athlete who rails against government neglect of the poor while lending his name to $100-plus basketball shoes marketed at that same audience.

Most people keep more than their sexuality in the closet. So, if we’re going to open that door to root out hypocrisy, let’s open them all.

Pat Sajak nicely summarizes our amazing ability to deceive ourselves. That is why Jesus was so harsh with the “religious” types of His day.

  • “You’re hopeless, you religion scholars and Pharisees! Frauds! You keep meticulous account books, tithing on every nickel and dime you get, but on the meat of God’s Law, things like fairness and compassion and commitment—the absolute basics!—you carelessly take it or leave it. Careful bookkeeping is commendable, but the basics are required. Do you have any idea how silly you look, writing a life story that’s wrong from start to finish, nitpicking over commas and semicolons? You’re hopeless, you religion scholars and Pharisees! Frauds! You burnish the surface of your cups and bowls so they sparkle in the sun, while the insides are maggoty with your greed and gluttony. Stupid Pharisee! Scour the insides, and then the gleaming surface will mean something.”  Matthew 23 The Message

I am still learning not to deceive myself. I am quite capable of shining the exterior while covering a maggoty interior. So I will out myself. I am a recovering hypocrite. I will never be fully healed. And that is awesome! Because if I could be healed I wouldn’t have to depend on my relationship with Jesus and the daily inspection of the Holy Spirit.

So, in honor of Pat Sajak, today’s puzzle is about deception. And the question is simple.

H Y P O C _  T E S

“Jesus, is there an “I” in there?”