Saturday, June 8, 2013
Valedictory Hypocrite in South Carolina
One of the things I've noted over and over again is that Christian fundamentalists are so often hypocritical. That could be due to the fact that most of them are biblical illiterates even though they profess to love and trust the Good Book.
Consider the example of prayer in public schools. Quite often Christianists of various stripes decide that prayer in public schools or other public places is of vital importance for the well-being of the country. God won't bless the good ol' U.S. of A. unless people are pleading to him on a regular basis in public places. And the biggest reason we have so many problems in this country, such as the Boston bombing, is that we've taken God out of the public sphere.
Ironically, neither prayer nor God have been taken out of the public sphere nor have they been removed from the public schools. A student in any public school in our country can pray to God at any time he or she so desires. The only qualification is that, because we are a secular country and we are committed Consitutionally to the separation of church and state, one cannot pray publicly to one's deity at a gathering which includes people of all religions or no religion. One cannot hold an entire student body hostage to a sectarian prayer uttered every morning over the sound system, although I know schools that try to do that!
The hypocrisy comes in here. It is clear from a reading of the Gospel stories in the New Testament that the Jesus figure was adamantly against any form of hypocrisy. He castigated some of the religious leaders of his time for their attention to religious detail while forgetting to live out their religion in daily life. Thus, Jesus noted that those who passed by the beggar, Lazarus, at the gate, will meet a miserable fate in the underworld no matter how "righteous" they pretended to be.
Jesus knew the human propensity for pretention. He knew how some religious leaders liked to stand in the market place and pray loudly so that all could hear and congratulate them on their piety. Jesus said, very emphatically, they have their reward and it's not going to be pretty.
Rather than engage in such hypocrisy, Jesus behooved his followers to pray to God in secret. Go into a closet. Get away from the crowd. Don't flaunt your phony piety in public. You just make an ass of yourself. God knows you're not really as pious as you pretend and he demands action not words!
Roy Costner IV was this year's valedictorian at Liberty High School in South Carolina. He was to give a speech at the school's graduation ceremony. The school, in keeping with the U.S. Constitution, had previously banned sectarian prayers at such ceremonies, a move for which those in charge should be applauded.
Mr. Costner had other ideas. He wrote a speech and submitted it for approval. It met the approval of those in charge of the graduation ceremony. Unfortunately, when it came time for Mr. Costner to give his speech, he stood before the crowd, tore up his pre-approved speech, and proceeded to recite the Lord's Prayer.
For real Christians, this is blasphemy. For Mr. Costner, it was just another exercise in Christianist hypocrisy which often results from following the notion that when it comes to Jesus, "the ends justify the means."
Mr. Costner is a sorry example of what happens when ignorance prevails over human decency; when the need to propagate one's religious views takes precedence over the rules and the rights of others to be spared such propagation!
You're a liar and a fraud, Mr. Costner. But then, as Jesus said, you'll receive your reward and you probably won't like it!