"The fatal trait of the times is the divorce between religion and morality."
-Ralph Waldo Emerson
Yesterday I got my Google News Alerts in my email inbox. One of the terms that I have an alert set for is the word “Pastor,” mostly for my own amusement. Each day I invariably get about ten articles in that email, and invariably at least a few are about some pastor somewhere that committed an ‘immoral’ act that has gotten him into trouble.
Yesterday it was four out of ten articles. Five actually, but two were about the same (Newark) pastor molesting girls. Three is about average.
Here are the articles that were notable:
PASTOR OF AURORA CHURCH BILKED THREE OUT OF 475K
LONGVIEW PASTOR GUILTY OF SEX CHARGES
A NEWARK PASTOR ACCUSED OF KIDNAPPING AND SEXUAL ASSAULT
PASTOR SENTENCED TO FIFTEENYEARS PROBATION FOR MOLESTING YOUNG RELATIVE YEARS AGO
I see this sort of thing every day, in my news alerts and on television. It would seem that there is more to it than just random chance. After all, being a pastor brings with it moral responsibility, or so it is advertised. A pastor is a leader of the people, with a congregation that looks up to him. It is a position of moral leadership requiring people of high moral fiber, so one would assume that morally they would be superior as a group. Not so. If pastors as a group were actually more moral than average, this would be reflected in reality by them not being in the news so often for moral turpitude. So for some reason, a group of people that is supposed to be more moral than average, is clearly less moral than average. For some reason the position is attractive to the morally flawed.
My question is this: Since everyone knows what being a pastor is and what it entails, is there anything in this description that would attract a morally defective person to become one?
What type of person would be attracted to a position of moral leadership, a position where one is looked up to by many people and thought of as possessing a sterling character just because he is in that position?
Yes, of course, such a position would attract the type of person that was morally flawed, simply because in such a position they can masquerade as someone of impeccable character with little effort. They know instinctively that most congregations are on the whole rather gullible and are essentially only looking for the good and not the evil in their leaders, so by becoming a pastor or priest or church leader, or even just loudly proclaiming themself a good and faithful Christian with all the trappings, they can pretend to being that which they already believe (or perhaps hope) that they are: a moral person destined to go to heaven. Someone that is loved by all, holy and revered and respected, and thereby superior to others simply on the merits of that. Also, being a leader of any sort puts them above the congregents as well, even though they share the same faith, so the most self-centered of the believers will rise to the top like cream.
It's like Purina Ego Chow. Irresistable.
In Christianity in general, homosexuality is deplored, so if you happen to be gay and in a Christian family or church, you are intensely ashamed of it. Basically the Christian position is ‘if you are gay, pray it away.’ Of course at the end of all that, you’ll still be gay, jut deeper in denial about it. You’ll even pretend to yourself that you’re not. You’ll do anything to escape the truth about yourself. You might say to yourself for instance “I am not a gay person; I am a straight person because I can successfully resist my lust for another man…’ I’ve heard that one several times coming from Christians so it can’t be an anomaly. Of course the same holds true for being heterosexually lustful and unfaithful to your wife. These people who believe themselves to be truly righteous, who must be seen as righteous, simply cannot accept the fact that they are not, that they are just normal human beings with lusts and desires. Or in many cases, such as the pederasts, an abnormal human being with abnormal lusts and desires.
Becoming a priest or pastor or church leader or even just being very public about your Christianity is an excellent way to hide your darkness from the world. Dennis Rader, the BTK Killer, was caught when he used his church’s computer to create a floppy disk message to the police. He was hiding for years, by being a leader of his congregation. For the truly evil man always looks for ways to masquerade as good, and what better place than a church?
We also see this phenomenon on a lesser arc with politicians who claim to be devout Christians just to throw off the dogs of morality, as it were. How often do those who speak out the loudest against some form of moral flaw later proven guilty of that precise failing? On and on, over and over again, we see them fall one by one. Mark Foley, Ted Haggard, Larry Craig, George Rekers… The list goes on and on.
It makes so much sense, common sense, that a person with a huge moral failing (or just the belief that they have one, such as being gay) would be attracted to a position whereby they can pretend that they do not have it and be believed. Religion provides such an escape since it encourages blind belief, even tries to make it into a good thing by re-naming it 'faith,' so the people will believe in the pastor without looking too closely at him. It's their nature.
Of course, not to harp on it too much, but this is all traceable back to the flawed Christian moral system itself, based in coercion and not in empathy. We’re all victims of it, even those of us that are not religious. It permeates the very fabric of our society. It’s inescapable. Most of us were at the minimum raised by parents steeped in it, so most of us have memories of the incredible unfairness present in the Christian home. “Because I said so” and “Do as I say, not as I do” and “do it or else” are not ways of successfully bringing up a child in this world, unless one is aiming at bringing up a hypocrite.
They are however, almost exactly direct quotes of the Christian God in the Bible. This is God’s parenting style. How blind are we as a people that we cannot see that what we’ve been taught to believe is the ne plus ultra of moral systems, is in reality a totally defective sham that actually leads us down the path of iniquity, all the while believing that it’s the path of righteousness?
The blindness is due to the selfsame Christian religion, in that it actively discourages people from educating themselves in the ways of the world and only sees fit to teach them about an ancient text riddled with huge flaws. If the people weren’t blinded, they’d be able to see what they are falling for, and the religion simply can’t be having any of that.
Here’s an excerpt from a different book. Oddly this one is a metaphysical text on Kaballah:
“The evil within one’s self usually poses as the good as well. It has truly been said that ‘the road to hell is paved with good intentions.’ –The paving stones are more often the good intentions we carry out than those we do not.
The human mind is capable of incredible subtlety in the dodging of the facing of its own iniquity, though if one is very self-observant one can sometimes detect the qlippoth (demons) within through the manifestation within one’s self of any strong irrational dislike. The hidden maggots of one’s own soul are usually projected in righteous indignation upon others. The beam in another’s eye is usually the reflection of the mote in one’s own. (…)”
-Gareth Knight, ‘A Precise Guide to Qabalistic Symbolism’
I see a lot of truth in that quote.