Why is the term “hypocrite” considered such a vile insult? Jesus condemned the Pharisees in Matthew 23 as hypocrites.
n : a person who professes beliefs and opinions that they do not hold [syn: dissembler, phony, phoney, pretender]
Here is the origin of the term.
c.1200, ipocrisie, from O.Fr. ypocrisie, from L.L. hypocrisis, from Gk. hypokrisis “acting on the stage, pretense,” from hypokrinesthai “play a part, pretend,” also “answer,” from hypo- “under” (see sub-) + middle voice of krinein “to sift, decide” (see crisis). The sense evolution in Attic Greek is from “separate gradually” to “answer” to “answer a fellow actor on stage” to “play a part.” The h- was restored in English 16c.
Hypocrisy is the art of affecting qualities for the purpose of pretending to an undeserved virtue. Because individuals and institutions and societies most often live down to the suspicions about them, hypocrisy and its accompanying equivocations underpin the conduct of life. Imagine how frightful truth unvarnished would be. [Benjamin F. Martin, "France in 1938," 2005]
When we want to do something we know is wrong, we have three alternatives.
- We can repent of the desire. We can refuse to do that wrong thing.
- We can admit what we want to do is wrong, and we can do it anyway.
- We can mask our desire as something else. We can pretend that that wrong thing we want to do is not wrong at all. Then we can do it and insist that others imitate our “honorable” behavior. That pretense is what we call hypocrisy.
We are all capable of hypocrisy. What makes our leaders “different” is that they face a greater temptations.
- Our leaders’ popularity depends upon the perception that they are righteous. Thus, we often hear our leaders use this phrase: “it’s the right thing to do” (See Obama: (Insert Issue Here) ‘It’s the Right Thing to Do’.).
- Our leaders have power. Our leaders do not have to ask other people to imitate their bad behavior. They can force other people to imitate their bad behavior.
In our country, what is the most outrageous example of hypocrisy? I think the issue is abortion. Here hypocrites pretend that killing babies in the womb is honorable. Consider these two stories.
- Virginia Senate Dems Denounce GOP Senator’s “Indefensible Anti-Choice Bill” by lowkell at Blue Virginia: Here lowkell reports how Democrats attacked Senator Thomas A. Garrett for sponsoring SB 826. That includes this quote.
“As Virginians we have a responsibility to care for the least among us. Senator Garrett would force vulnerable women to bring a child tragically incompatible with life into the world,” said Senator Donald McEachin (D-Henrico). “No woman plans to have an abortion, but every woman should have the option to make the best choice possible for herself and her family, especially in these tragic circumstances. SB 826 would cruelly take that choice away from the poorest women. These are families who already do not have the resources, let alone for a child with huge abnormalities.”
“In the coming Session, we will fight to ensure all women and families have the access to the safe and affordable health care options they need to make the necessary choices for their families. We will fight this punitive measure that just furthers the war on women,” Senator McEachin concluded.
- Senate Democrats: Kill The Retards by By Shaun Kenney at Bearing Drift: Here Shaun Kenney unmasks the Democrats. Think long and hard about what Senator Donald McEachin said. Then carefully read Kenney’s post.