The Corner

The Case For Liberal Morality

I disagree with some of this, though there’s obviously some merit and/or consistency here. But without getting into all of that late on a Friday, I’ll just post it in the spirit of equal time, from a reader:

Liberals don’t condemn Haggard’s gay romps, but that doesn’t mean we don’t have a moral condemnation of him. What we find immoral is his denunciation of homosexuality and his attempt to convince his followers that homosexuals are hurting America. The point of highlighting his hypocrisy is to show that he himself is doing what he condemns — and if he’s doing it, then doesn’t it follow that he knows it’s not really wrong?

The immorality in Haggard is in pretending that there’s something wrong with homosexuality, just as Limbaugh is immoral not for using drugs but trying to paint drug users (non-white ones anyway) as evil degenerates. We’re not condemning the hypocrisy per se; we’re using the hypocrisy as a way of pointing up how immoral it is to be against gay marriage or whatever.

Update: Soooo many emails like this:

Jonah,

One of your readers wrote: “The point of highlighting his hypocrisy is to

show that he himself is doing what he condemns — and if he’s doing it, then

doesn’t it follow that he knows it’s not really wrong?”

That is one of the lamer reader comments ever posted in the Corner. Let’s

refer to a somewhat higher authority, the Apostle Paul, on the subject:

Romans 7:18-19: “For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my

flesh; for the willing is present in me, but the doing of the good is not.

For the good that I want, I do not do, but I practice the very evil that I do

not want.”

Every bona fide Christian knows and believes he is a hypocrite because, in

moral and ethical behavior, he constantly falls short in his heart and in his

deeds. Pointing out Haggard’s hypocrisy is therefore to point out that,

yes, the grass is green. It is an irreducible plank of Christian theology

that all persons are sinners, all persons are flawed, all persons require

redemption, and all persons are subject to immutable moral laws. Rejection

of these ideas, and not some person’s failure to live up to them, is why the

Left goes bananas when a pastor stumbles.

Moreover, as your reader seems unable to comprehend, the *reason* Haggard is

indeed hypocritical is precisely because he knows what he did *is* wrong.

What bothers so many, of course, is the very conception that any form of sex

can be immoral. Indeed, the gay liberationist is expressly committed to the

idea that, when it comes to sex, there should be no norms at all.

I’m no fan of Haggard, Rick Warren, or anything to do with megachurches–as I

do not believe God can be marketed, or the Word shaped to appeal to the

culture–but if people are going to talk of the Christian faith from an

evangelical perspective, it would be nice if first they tried to understand

it.

And this:

Concerning your reader’s comment, “…and if he’s doing it, then doesn’t it

follow that he knows it’s not really wrong?” I laughed so hard I almost fell

out of my chair.

I’ve done plenty of things in my life that I certainly knew were wrong, and

I’m sure your reader has too. There’s a reason why every language in the

world has words for “I’m sorry”: We’re all sinners and sometimes find

ourselves in need of those words.