Now, as this journalist is also a Christian, the anti-Christian elements of the Blogosphere have leapt all over this story, pointing out the man's hypocrisy of being a Christian and being against moral degradation in society in public and being a pervert in secret. It seems the worst crime a Christian can commit in liberal circles is that of speaking out against moral degeneration and being a moral degenerate himself, and thus committing the ultimate liberal crime of hypocrisy. Which is not so much a crime in their minds as they would make you think it is, but more something they use to catch moral crusaders out on.
In David Farrar's post on this journalist, David added a piece at the end that had been written by the man ten years ago as an example of his hypocrisy:
The Government is using the pretext of helping children who are victims of family breakdown as a lever for continued social engineering.
Along with other legislation, e.g. the Families Commission, the forthcoming Civil Union Bill and the Care of Children Bill seek to replace the primacy of married parents with other types. It’s doing this piece by piece in a process we call ‘legislative creep’. All three Bills promote diversity from different angles and through incremental change. …
‘Creep’ will ensure continued change masquerading as ‘reform’. The social fabric is being re-defined through a few key pieces of legislation. Instead of encouraging diversity of family types, it is better to assist those having difficulties, while advocating and supporting marriage as the best environment for nurturing children.
David's reaction to this was that he didn't believe the man had any concern for children:
"Pardon me while I vomit about the concern he expressed for nurturing children."
Maybe ten years ago, McNeil hadn't yet been drawn into the world of child porn and therefore concern he expressed at the time was real. We don't know and can't presume to know. If you were to have asked me about how important marriage was to raising children ten years ago, I would have had a very different answer from the one I have today. People can change a lot in ten years, and in thiat time, this guy appears to have become a paedophile in training, with the number of pictures he had on his computer and the videos that he made.
A number of commenters on the thread took this inference further, trying to tie what this journalist did to Graham Capill (who also spoke out on moral issues and was a Christian as well), to the possibility that those Christians who speak out about moral issues are all dirty perverts behind closed doors.
Our modern understanding of hypocrisy seems to be that moralism equates to hypocrisy.
The only problem with this very modern view of hypocrisy is that every single person who aspires to live to higher standards fails to live up to them. I myself have failed many times to live up to my own standards of what it takes to be good, yet, rather than deciding these standards are impossible and I should just give up, I go to confession and try again.
Well you know, some Christians may very well be dirty perverts behind closed doors. And I bet some of those who speak out against morality, who crusade for "Marriage Equality", are also dirty perverts behind closed doors. You've got to wonder about the types who wanted to lower the age of consent, for instance. But I digress.
RRM, on the KiwiBlog comment thread, has this to say:
I look forward to hearing what our own Christian Taliban from NZ Conservative have to say about this!I'm glad the man has been caught, especially before he actually physically molested any children. He is also not quite the active paedophile that Aaron Ellmers was, though, given time he very well may have become so. Maybe the shock and the shame of being exposed and charged with crimes will help him change. Maybe it's not too late for him. Let's hope so.
They were very vocal about the Aaron Ellmers case recently.. will it be the same when a Christian values crusader is caught with his pants down?
I just want to finish with moral standards in public and why morality has become divorced from governance and what hypocrisy actually means. For that, I need Peter Kreeft and his article on Michiavelli, who lived five hundred years ago and is the founder of modern political and social philosophy, who many are influenced by now whether they realise it or not:
Machiavelli didn't just lower the moral standards; he abolished them. More than a pragmatist, he was an anti-moralist. The only relevance he saw morality having to success was to stand in its way. He taught that it was necessary for a successful prince "to learn how not to be good" (The Prince, ch. 15), how to break promises, to lie and cheat and steal (ch. 18).All men are hypocrites unless they stop preaching - those that are safe are those that say nothing about morals. Given our fallen nature, the cudgel of hypocrisy can whack anyone who steps out to call for higher standards, even though real hypocrisy is not believing what you preach. That distinction is lost on the cudgel wielders.
Because of such shameless views, some of Machiavelli's contemporaries saw "The Prince" as a book literally inspired by the devil. But modern scholars usually see it as drawn from science. They defend Machiavelli by claiming that he did not deny morality, but simply wrote a book about another subject, about what is rather than about what ought to be. They even praise him for his lack of hypocrisy, implying that moralism equals hypocrisy.
This is the common, modern misunderstanding of hypocrisy as not practicing what you preach. In that sense all men are hypocrites unless they stop preaching. Matthew Arnold defined hypocrisy as "the tribute vice pays to virtue." Machiavelli was the first to refuse to pay even that tribute. He overcame hypocrisy not by raising practice to the level of preaching but of lowering preaching to the level of practice, by conforming the ideal to the real rather than the real to the ideal.
In fact, he really preaches: "Poppa, don't preach!"-like the recent rock song. Can you imagine Moses saying, "Poppa, don't preach!" to God on Mount Sinai? Or Mary to the angel? Or Christ in Gethsemane, instead of "Father, not my will but thine be done"? If you can, you are imagining hell, because our hope of heaven depends on those people having said to God, "Poppa, do preach!"
Actually, we have misdefined "hypocrisy." Hypocrisy is not the failure to practice what you preach but the failure to believe it. Hypocrisy is propaganda.
It therefore becomes crucially important for anyone fighting in the morals arena to have impeccable standards to their own behaviour. Christians especially need to be begging the Lord for help in this area, so that what they believe and how they act and what they call for in others in all in accordance.
Interestingly enough, Whale Oil was rather neutral on the Christian journalist, though had he been a Catholic priest, I would say his post would have been rather different.
Journalist admits child abuse charges
Why just home detention? ~ KiwiBlog
A long drop off a short rope ~ Whale Oil Beef Hooked
The Pillars of Unbelief—Machiavelli ~ Peter Kreeft