Praying for Miss O'Donnell
by Joe Hargrave
As I have indicated, I will be happy when dozens of Democrats are swept out of office on Tuesday, and happier still to have played some small part with my vote. Of all the Tea Party challengers, there is one in particular for whom I am praying for victory, and that is Christine O’Donnell. The victory of this outspoken woman who has made no secret of her Christian faith would be icing on the cake as far as I’m concerned. This is all the more true in light of the “Gawker” scandal that has erupted in the last few days. For those who haven’t heard about it, this site published an anonymous account by a man who claims to have had a one-night stand with O’Donnell exactly three Halloweens past.
This absolutely appalling and slanderous piece has been universally condemned on the right and the left, in fact, though the subsequent rationalizations follow from what I would call a left-libertine view of things, for as they state, referring to the alleged incident itself,
Much of the criticism leveled against us is based on the premise that we think hopping into bed, naked and drunk, with men or women whenever one wants is “slutty,” and that therefore our publication of Anonymous’ story was intended to diminish O’Donnell on those terms. Any reader of this site ought to rather quickly gather that we are in fact avid supporters of hopping into bed, naked and drunk, with men or women that one has just met.
They proceed to clarify:
Our problem with O’Donnell—and the reason that the information we published about her is relevant—is that she has repeatedly described herself and her beliefs in terms that suggest that there is something wrong with hopping into bed, naked and drunk, with a man or woman whom one has just met. So that fact that she behaves that way, while publicly condemning similar behavior, in the context of an attempt to win a seat in the United States Senate, is a story we thought people might like to know about.
And they repeat variations on this theme ad nauseum throughout the rest of the piece.
Strange as it may seem, however, I believe that this notion was sincerely held by the editors of this publication. It is reflective of their own moral confusion, which in turn is reflective of the moral confusion that runs rampant throughout our society. And for those readers may find it puzzling that I would refer to the moral confusion of these editors when it appears that it is O’Donnell who is morally confused, I will explain why.
It is certainly true that Christ admonishes the hypocrite who denounces the sins of another while being guilty of the same thing:
Or how canst thou say to thy brother: Brother, let me pull the mote out of thy eye, when thou thyself seest not the beam in thy own eye? Hypocrite, cast first the beam out of thy own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to take out the mote from thy brother’s eye. (Luke 6:42)
However, there are a couple of things to bear in mind. First, Christ is speaking about a person who is speaking to his brother, that is, a person who is a part of their community, one individual to another, one equal to another. Christine O’Donnell, on the other hand, has made very general statements about basic Christian truths regarding sexuality, and as far as I can tell from her public statements, has never judged anyone personally or even spoken of “sinners” in a general and derogatory sort of way, though her comments about homosexuals were interpreted that way – of course, so is the teaching on homosexuality of the Catholic Church, so no surprise there. Secondly, Christ is speaking of a person who cannot see their own faults; once a person does see them, however, it is plausible that he might be able to point out another’s sin.
This is a perfectly sensible teaching, if you consider it. If we were to apply the logic of Gawker’s editors consistently, a mother who had succumb to a drug-addiction would have no moral grounds to try and prevent her children from taking dangerous drugs: this would make her a hypocrite. A father with a sex addiction would have no grounds to try and prevent his teenage daughter from going into pornography or becoming a prostitute: this would make him a hypocrite. A man with a gambling problem would not be able to counsel a friend against betting his whole paycheck at the blackjack table, a woman with 10 cats would be in no position to warn a friend that perhaps 5 is too many, and so on, and so forth.
But we can see that in each of these cases, it is possible, likely even, that one’s experience with the vice or problem puts them in an excellent position to speak on it. Now if any of these hypothetical addicts were completely blind and obstinate in their follies, it would be outrageous for them to tell others that they shouldn’t emulate them. But most people with problems such as these suffer deeply, and even if they have not been able to escape from them, they are moved by compassion even in their degraded state to do what they can to prevent others from following them. How many motivational speakers are themselves barely recovered from the problem that they now speak to high school students about? How many of them slip back into the problem?
None of this, of course, is to suggest that Christine O’Donnell is some sort of alcoholic sex-addict, far from it. But a problem need not rise to the level of habit and obsession to make an impact on one’s life. Perhaps we Christians sometimes take for granted the truth that all are sinners, but Christians who are conscious of their faith, as O’Donnell appears to be, are surely aware of it. Assuming that the story is true – or at least true in part, though I presume innocence until guilt is proven – it is quite possible that she regrets it, as many do regret such things. And to the contrary of the editorial rationalization, it would be wrong if Christine were to stop speaking out against sexual immorality as a public figure.
For in the final analysis, there are far worse things a person can be guilty of than hypocrisy, such as condoning and promoting behavior that is destructive to individuals and society, which this publication apparently does on a regular basis. If it were morally necessary that every person who speaks out against immorality be a saint, there would hardly be a voice left in America to do so. All of us, especially in this age, and this time, struggle with sins within a cultural context that either laughs at the notion of sin or positively embraces it. It is exceedingly difficult to remain pure, but we may loose what little dignity remains if women such as Christine O’Donnell are shamed into silence.