Last Thursday the John Ensign (US Senator) scandal triggered a post about the hypocrisy kids see these days in so-called leaders; not their lies, but their over the top do-as-I-say-not-as-I-do attitudes and actions.
In response, Dan Erwin commented that rather than standards, i.e., set rules, he preferred to teach his kids about covenants, because “Legalism, in all its forms, is really death-giving stuff. I go back to covenant…covenants get renegotiated.”
By definition, a covenant is “an agreement, usually formal, between two or more persons to do or not do something specified.”
But Ensign’s hypocrisy was pushed off the hot seat by the same day when South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford was caught in an affair.
While I think Ensign’s worst hypocrisy ties to his position in Promise Keepers, it pales in comparison to Sanford’s when you consider his historical stances.
I agree with Dan’s covenant approach because I’ve always believed that humans and absolutes aren’t a working or winning combination.
But to renegotiate a covenant, whether with a spouse or constituency, requires at least a modicum of rationality and Sanford’s own words put that in question.
Over a 20-year period, ”There were a handful of instances wherein I crossed the lines I shouldn’t have crossed as a married man, but never crossed the ultimate line.”
Shades of President Clinton, whom Sanford roundly condemned during the same period.
Those times “took place during trips outside the country to ”blow off steam” with male friends.”
All the while preaching and campaigning based on a “family values” persona.
“…he would die ”knowing that I had met my soul mate.”
Isn’t that what his wife is supposed to be?
”I owe it too much to my boys and to the last 20 years with Jenny to not try this larger walk of faith.”
Owe it to what? The last 20 years of lies? Can you find anything rational in this statement?
Out of curiosity I did a completely unscientific poll of young people I know ranging in age from mid teens to mid twenties.
Much to some of their parents surprise they were fairly well informed on the subject.
None seemed either shocked or surprised and most said that the bad part was the stupidity of getting caught.
They said they saw getting caught as the real error in most of the stuff about which they’d read or heard during their lives.
And that is what’s truly sad.
While the destruction and disillusionment caused by leaders such as Madoff, Skilling, Sanford and all their act-alikes is terrible, the level of cynicism bred by this kind of hypocrisy is the truly tragic damage being done to our future.
Image credit: I See Modern Britain on flickr