In the morning when I am getting ready for work I listen to Christian radio. The last couple of mornings I have listened to Walk in the Word with James MacDonald. The subject has been: Hypocrisy, The Opposite of Authenticity. MacDonald makes Matthew 23 relevant to today by explaining the seven habits of highly hypocritical people (ScottAllenLewis.com summarizes MacDonald’s sermon in the Seven habits of Highly Hypocritical people.).
I have borrowed from MacDonald’s sermon. That is in what follows the video.
Note that a description of a disaster relief program in Haiti precedes MacDonald’s sermon.
As WHAT IS A HYPOCRITE? noted, hypocrisy especially tempts those who lead. So it was for the teachers of the Law and the Pharisees, the men who led the Jewish people as the authorized interpreters of Moses’ Law. Because they made a show of devotion to their own legalistic traditions instead of humbling themselves before God, Jesus condemned both. Unfortunately, the legalism of the teachers of the Law and Pharisees remains with us. Instead of what Jesus called blind guides, we have blind Secular Socialists. Instead of appearing to honor Mose’s Law through misguided traditions, Secular Socialists make a display out of their supposed devotion to the Social Conscience. Instead of burdening the lives of the people with absurd traditions, Secular Socialists burden the people with complicated and costly government welfare and entitlement programs. Therefore, we will define the seven habits of hypocrites for secular socialism.
Habit #1: Make government as complicated as possible. (Matthew 23:13)
I heartily accept the motto,—“That government is best which governs least;” and I should like to see it acted up to more rapidly and systematically. Carried out, it finally amounts to this, which I also believe,—“That government is best which governs not at all;” and when men are prepared for it, that will be the kind of government which they will have. Government is at best but an expedient; but most governments are usually, and all governments are sometimes, inexpedient. — Henry David Thoreau (1817–62) (from here)
Why are all governments sometimes inexpedient? That has to do with how we define our “rights.” When we define our rights as God-given, government exists to protect our rights to Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness. When we expect government to give us our rights, we cannot define our “rights.” Government, not God, then defines our rights, and government officials use legalese.
Habit #2: Get what I need from people even if it hurts them. (Matthew 23:14-15)
I cannot undertake to lay my finger on that article of the Constitution which granted a right to Congress of expending, on objects of benevolence, the money of their constituents. — President James Madison (1751-1836) (from here)
When government acquires the power to redistribute the wealth, government officials acquire a huge conflict of interest. Then we give the same people we expect to protect our property rights the right to redistribute whatever we own to others of their choosing.
However, stealing from the people instead of protecting their property rights is not the worst sin of hypocritical Secular Socialists. Their worst sin is to make others thieves like themselves.
Habit #3: Squirm my way out of any promise I don’t want to keep. (Matthew 23:16-22)
Politicians are the same all over. They promise to build bridges even when there are no rivers. — Nikita Khrushchev (First secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, 1894-1971) (from here)
Every time politicians campaign for public office they make promises they do not keep. For decades they have promised to balance the Federal Budget. Now they don’t even produce a budget. Without apology, they just borrow on our credit and spend more money.
Habit #4: Make a big deal of little things and ignore things of critical importance. (Matthew 23:23-24)
The size of the Federal budget is not an appropriate barometer of social conscience or charitable concern. — President Ronald Reagan (1911 – 2004) (from Remarks at the Annual Meeting of the National Alliance of Business, (5 October 1981)) (H/T here)
What is the definition of “social conscience”?
an attitude of sensitivity toward and sense of responsibility regarding injustice and problems in society
When government acts, we take collective responsibly for ridding our society of injustice and various other problems. That is, we make everyone responsible for everybody. Of course, when everyone is responsible, no one is responsible, and nothing difficult gets done.
What happens when nothing difficult gets done? Government officials distract us with silly issues (the WAR against women) and make a big deal out of relatively trivial accomplishments (killing Osama bin Laden).
Habit #5: Exhibit laziness in all matters of heart. (Matthew 23:25-26)
We have been the recipients of the choicest bounties of Heaven. We have been preserved, these many years, in peace and prosperity. We have grown in numbers, wealth and power, as no other nation has ever grown. But we have forgotten God. We have forgotten the gracious hand which preserved us in peace, and multiplied and enriched and strengthened us; and we have vainly imagined, in the deceitfulness of our hearts, that all these blessings were produced by some superior wisdom and virtue of our own. Intoxicated with unbroken success, we have become too self-sufficient to feel the necessity of redeeming and preserving grace, too proud to pray to the God that made us! — Abraham Lincoln (1809 – 1865) upon proclaiming a National Fast Day (30 March 1863) (from here)
Instead looking inward for black spots and streaks of grey on our soul, we too often consider only how we appear to others. We fear to examine too closely our life. We skirt around obvious questions.
- Is what I believe true? How do I know?
- How should I relate to others? What is my role as a citizen?
- Do I have a right to what I have been given? Do I have a right to an education or health care? What is the difference between a right and a privilege?
- Government taxes my fellow citizens in my name. Why and when is it ethical for me to allow my government to tax other people in my name?
- Why do I let politicians, people I do not trust, choose who educates me and my children?
- Why haven’t I sought answers for such obvious questions?
As Albert Einstein observed: “small is the number of them that see with their own eyes and feel with their own hearts” (from here). Because we do not want the status quo disturbed, we as a people actively persecute anyone who asks disturbing questions. Therefore, the number of them that see with their own eyes and feel with their own hearts has always been especially small.
Habit #6: Look good to others, no matter what the cost. (Matthew 23:27-28)
For centuries the ancient Romans also used their masterpieces of architecture to exhibit the slaughter — as entertainment — of their fellow human beings. The ancient caesars used the carnage to make themselves look good, and somes their beautiful buildings were too small. Consider this example.
“Ave, Imperator, morituri te salutant” or “Ave, Caesar, morituri te salutant” (“Hail, Emperor (Caesar), those who are about to die salute you”) is a well-known Latin phrase quoted in Suetonius, De Vita Caesarum (“The Life of the Caesars”, or “The Twelve Caesars”). It was used during an event in AD 52 on Lake Fucinus by naumachiarii—captives and criminals fated to die fighting during mock naval encounters—in the presence of the emperor Claudius. Suetonius reports that Claudius replied “Aut non” (“or not”). (from here)
Just as ancient caesars spent the lives of others, today’s Secular Socialists spend the wealth of others. Even though government-run health care and other such entitlement and welfare programs threaten to bankrupt our nation, the secular socialist Democratic Party will not even discuss spending cuts.
Habit #7: Pretend to be better than others, no matter what the evidence. (Matthew 23:29-31)
When I left him, I reasoned thus with myself: I am wiser than this man, for neither of us appears to know anything great and good; but he fancies he knows something, although he knows nothing; whereas I, as I do not know anything, so I do not fancy I do. In this trifling particular, then, I appear to be wiser than he, because I do not fancy I know what I do not know. — Socrates (from here)
If we cannot humble ourselves before our Creator, we can believe whatever we want to believe no matter what the evidence.
If you were to nominate a man to be “Father of the Year,” who would you select? Would you make this choice?
Former President Bill Clinton will be honored as a “father of the year” by the The National Father’s Day Council this coming June, the Council announced Wednesday.(from here)
Of course, there was also President Barack Obama Nobel Peace Prize which he got for doing what? Nonetheless, just as Clinton is preparing do, Obama accepted the undeserved prize without any shame.