Letters to the Editor

Voice of the People - August 2, 2007

Arbiters of morality can be hypocrites

Family values-espousing politicians' soliciting ladies of the night, snorting white powder up their noses, sending sexually suggestive e-mails to teenagers, evangelical preachers who rant against homosexuality being ousted by male prostitutes, the Catholic Church paying out billions for lawsuits because of pedophiliac priests -- ad infinitum, ad nauseam.

What is going on here? Psychologists call it "reaction formation" -- a behavioral tendency that conceals a diametrically opposed repressed impulse. In this case, it describes men who hold themselves up to be paragons of virtue but, in reality, are hypocritical slimeballs.

What can we learn from this? For sure, we can infer that people who publicly declare themselves arbiters of morality are often not what they seem. We can also discern that virtue is not the sole province of any particular religion, political party or ideology. Righteous rhetoric does not define character, only actions do.

Jim Every

Rock Hill