Hypocrisy: Looking at the Modern Cultural Double Standard


 

Hypocrisy is a rather easy mistake to make. It is human to overstep our understanding with action, or with judgement of others’ actions. Our bias towards our own actions always finds new ways of hiding itself, burying itself beneath layers of good intentions and the inevitable self-righteousness that comes with an unchecked fervour.
 
What I find most interesting is when those who often brandish “hypocrisy” as the ultimate insult, have themselves taken up the yoke.

 
 
Do you believe that the Catholic church has the right to affirm that marriage is a sacrament, received from God, which is expressed between a man and a woman?
 
Do you believe that the Catholic church has the right denounce abortion as a destruction of human life?
 
Do you believe that the Catholic church has the right to exercise its choice to follow Christ’s example in only selecting men for the priesthood?
 
 

There is a mentality that is currently popular, one which I find is expressed in part by a post from a friend on Facebook:
 
“Why do we accept religion as an excuse for homophobia but not racism?”
 
If I pressed the issue it’s owner would probably waver and tell me that the Church can believe what it wants for fear of sounding like he was forcing his beliefs on someone else.
 
Then again, maybe he’d just do it, not seeing the double standard.
 
All the same, the message is clear: anyone who speaks out against “homosexual marriage” is clearly homophobic. As a result, it is understood that beliefs not accepting such a union are intrinsically bad, to be disregarded, and not valid. Not permitting “homosexual marriage” is apparently the equivalent to hating someone because of their racial background.
 
Regardless of their motivation, believers that marriage is uniquely between a man and a woman are either told that they are wrong, or that they should hold their belief in secret, in the home and never in public.
 
A similar story unfolds when discussing women in the priesthood or abortion and Pro-life related matters. The response comes back always the same: either you agree with us, you shut up, or you get out.
 
A friend of mine told me recently that she feels that she cannot be a feminist, because feminists will not allow her to express this desire. Her view of what is best for women is not the popular one, and her way of supporting women is rejected.
 
These agendas are being pushed everywhere in the public domain: the media, our politicians, by university professors, and by our school boards, to name a few.

 

Residential schools were rightly criticized on many accounts. One such criticism is that these schools tried to eradicate the indigenous’ peoples way of thinking, their beliefs, and their way of life.
 
Sound familiar?
 
At my local university anyone who proclaims any of the 3 positions I expressed at the start of this article, risks being verbally attacked, despised, and considered second rate. I have two close friends who manned a Pro-life booth on campus who were screamed at while they watched their property being destroyed by a pack of irate feminists.
 
Are we not free to live our culture in the way we see fit?
 
I recently heard a native women express that she wore her hair long because she believed that it made her more spiritual in a CBC radio interview. The other guests snickered, and belittled her belief.
 
Spiritual beliefs are silly and childlike, didn’t you know?
 
So called “cultural genocides” are not limited to residential schools. They are happening now, in our media and in our schools.

 

European colonialism’s great sin, we are told, was to force their ideals and way of life onto another culture.
 
Meanwhile, in one example, “twelve countries used [the UN’s Universal Periodic Review (UPR)] to pressure El Salvador to change its laws on abortion, removing protections from unborn children and expanding the grounds for legal abortion.”
 
Likewise, “a powerful and controversial UN population agency told the Nigerian government to change its position” on abortion.
 
International Planned Parenthood Foundation set up a center in Nepal following an earthquake in 2015. They experienced what their own website calls “myths, misconceptions and cultural resistance to contraception.” In other words, the Nepalese culture. This culture, clearly, must be eradicated for it is myths and misconceptions.
 
The resemblance to our colonial white europeans is striking, is it not?
 
Let me do a little translating: If only these morally corrupt natives weren’t so stupid and could just be more modern with like us! Bring on the abortions!
 
It may be said that beliefs about sexuality and birth are not culture, so much as food and social etiquette are. This is clearly not true. Culture instills beliefs and values, and what we believe about sexuality is just as much our culture as the nature of ethnic dishes or a particular style of clothing.
 
If colonialism does not come at the end of a barrel of a rifle, that doesn’t mean that it is not colonialism.
 
The truth is, so called inclusiveness and respect for culture only occurs when those cultures can be thoughtlessly defined within preset boundaries. If your culture happens to be outside those boundaries, you will suffer the consequences. Perhaps foreign troops will not come onto your land, but that will not stop these hypocrites from using political, personal, societal, and financial power to force their views onto others.
 

Lessons Learned From Life on the Bus

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Many people when they hear the phrase Public Transit react with disgust or frustration, as though they were remembering someone who had wronged them personally. On the other hand, many praise its value for society (truly it is impossible to do without in larger cities).

 

Raised in a small city, I never used public transport. So when at the age of twenty three I moved into the “big city” suddenly I had an opportunity to use this widely discussed service. As an ex-hitchhiker I found it both effective and extraordinarily useful. True, there are a few situations for which transit leaves much to be desired, like trying to return home while lugging several bags of groceries. Otherwise, I was impressed by the fact that I could get within walking distance of almost every corner of the city, albeit not always in “good time”.

 

There is a second quality of using public transport in the big city that still makes a lasting impression upon me. Our communal transport is an unintentional source of gathering, a place where people who would have no other reason to come together, find themselves face to face, in conversation, and at least if only by proximity alone, sharing a mutual experience. Though there is much pain and discord, I have also seen many truly humbling acts of kindness during my frequent trips on the bus and subway.

 

Ironically, as population density increases, so does our anonymity. Public transit has the potential to be one of the last strong bastions of community between residents. I can’t help but feel a sense of camaraderie when I notice someone I know riding the same bus as me. There is an unspoken awareness of the fact of, “Hey, we’re in this together!”

 

The most poignant and urgent needs of humanity can be seen so plainly while riding the bus: The hunger and fatigue on the faces of those carrying overburdened bags of empty cans onto the bus, or the despair of a drunk and homeless man, riding only to keep warm, or the stressed and belligerent mother who may be using the only skills she learned in a broken home. In our offices, schools, and homes it is easy to bypass the poor, the needy. When we travel only from house garage to parking garage we need never brush shoulders with the homeless, with the working poor. On transit however, it is all but impossible not to encounter the suffering of the disabled, the despair of the addicted, the pain of those who have been mistreated or abused.

 

In this reality lies one amazing and awesome opportunity: every transit rider has the daily opportunity to reach out to someone who needs compassion, to offer a listening ear to a lonely heart, in effect to reach out in so many different ways with small acts of kindness to those who may otherwise receive none. True, many simply shove their earphones in or bury their attention into their cellphones, and pretend that the suffering doesn’t exist, but those who take this route become shrouded to their own humanity.

 

Their is a temptation we experience when we recognize the brokenness of humanity: we try to flee, doing everything to convince ourselves that we are different or somehow above it. In order to achieve this end we must close off our hearts, to allow our compassion to wither away. A psychologist who doesn’t recognize his own capacity for mental illness, will never have the proper insight to profoundly help those who come for aid. As a wise man once said, “But for the grace of God, there go I.” If I don’t see my own vulnerability to end up no different then the homeless or intoxicated person beside me, I am blind to the very reality of human existence and weakness, and thus I cannot be a light to the feet of my brother or sister.

 

On one hand we could look at all the inconveniences of public transit and lament why our fortunes have been so poor as to land us a bus pass instead of a new car, but on the other hand we may recognize that within our common transportation lives the riches of God’s kingdom: jewels, diamonds, souls, beyond reckoning and without valuation. Instead of seeing all the reasons why public transit has made our lives worse, we might instead look at the immense opportunities at how we might make someone else’s life better.