The cross of hypocrisy

The Washington Times, of all places, is reporting (in the news section, not an op-ed) that social conservatives have fallen from the moral high ground. The most recent example, of course, is Mark Sanford, the Republican governor of South Carolina who went missing for six days when he was visiting his mistress in Argentina. Last week it was John Ensign of Nevada. And before that David Vitter of Louisiana. And Larry Craig of Idaho. And Mark Foley of Florida. And Henry Hyde of Illinois. And Bob Livingston of Louisiana. And Ralph Reed of Georgia. And Bill Bennett of…America?

All Republicans. All values crusaders. All busted.

The article’s point, of course, is not that sin is bad. It’s that politically speaking, hypocrisy is worse.

Conservative values maven Gary Bauer is quoted as pointing out (correctly) that sin is not limited to the Republicans. President Bill Clinton, New York Governor Eliot Spitzer, and New Jersey Governor Jim McGreevey all had well-publicized trysts. No reasonable person would claim that sin is the sole domain of one side in our political debate. The issue, rather, is that politicians who run on values risk losing on values.

Or to appropriate a phrase from St. Paul: where sanctimony abounds, hypocrisy abounds much more.

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