Hypocrisy is rampant in today’s society. The do what I say and not what I do mantra seems to be the accepted behavior in our modern day culture (at last until one’s actions are “unveiled”). As a spiritual person by nature, I have also struggled, at times, to remain principled in all my actions. Matching one’s words and deeds can be quite daunting forcing us all to confront our own humanity with humility (the good, bad and the ugly). But, we all put on an outer “suit” signifying who we might be and what we profess to believe whether done with intention or not. As a fashion lover knows, the idea of using one’s outer appearance to “signal” one’s affluence, personality or interests can also serve as a false mask (fake it until you make it kind of thing). It should also be noted that signaling need not be limited to simply physical appearance or clothing but can include material possessions, occupation, life style, etc.
This rambling introduction came as a result of me musing about some recent events related to sex, religion and the fall of a prestigious organization. Most would agree that sex can be a “hell of a drug” for some and a “thirst trap” for many indeed. But it has its time, place and appropriate circumstances in which most social scientists profess as acceptable within human evolution and dynamics. It need not be shameful as long as the individuals are living and loving in their trUth. Many have questioned why some religions teach that certain relationships and acts are evil yet the creator, has allowed humans to procreate and participate in sexual activities with a range of proclivities since the beginning of time. The only thing that comes to my mind is that the universe makes no mistakes. It is above my pay grade to even begin to judge with whom one should or should not love or experience a sexual act that I could not interject my opinion either way other than to support the freedom of my fellow brethren as long as the acts do not hurt, violate or demean the young, innocent or non-consenting. Our world would be a lot less colorful and wonderful without our diverse tribes of lovers.
So, I must confess being a little surprised when Pope Francis recently advocated for same-sex civil unions which is a major departure from the position held by the Vatican’s doctrinal office. The Church has finally started to catch up with the times definitely ushering in a welcomed sentiment. But, how many of you find this strange? There is no doubt the range and influence of the Catholic Church globally. Just the meer sight of a priest or minister in full religious garb generates compliance and reverence. Yet, we have all been made painfully aware of the “down low” sexual abuse of children within the church that has also come under scrutiny. Perhaps this reckoning ignited a sea change from within the ministry forcing divine judgement as well as an acknowledgement that religion need not police the bedroom of others – – at least not until it gets its own house in order.
We also have non-traditional religious leaders coming under scrutiny for misdeeds including Justin Bieber’s Pastor, Carl Lentz from the mega-church Hillsong. He was fired for “moral failures” after an alleged affair with a consenting adult woman. What I found most interesting about this story was not the affair but the appearance of the minister who one might view as a “millennial hipster” with a certain “swagger“. Nontraditional in his religious garb and teachings, his followers still held the same reverence and respect for him as a religious leader. Yet, in looking at him, I wonder how many would have dismissed him outright simply on his appearance alone. Many of his followers have stated that he did a lot of wonderful things within his community and for his parishioners.
Trusted organizations like the Boy Scouts of America are also coming under scrutiny where at least 92,000 men have filed sex abuse claims against them. This story was heartbreaking especially after speaking with a fellow tribe member and former boy scout. There was no sexual abuse involving him just memories about misogynistic teachings that helped to influence him as a young child. I couldn’t help but picture the Boy Scout uniforms, pressed and clean, signifying a safe place for young boys to explore masculinity. Perhaps, the uniform nulled everyone into complacency without realizing that even within its walls, wolves in sheep’s clothing often lurk as well. I have empathy for the boys but I hope they will find justice and peace while also healing from past trauma and unlearning any form of toxic masculinity that may have been instilled by its leadership.
Besides the obvious reaction of outrage or compassion, what else can possibly be inferred from the stories above? For me, we are experiencing a kind of internal angst in America in many areas related to equal rights and protections, not just for some, but for all of our citizenry. The issues involving sexual abuse and misconduct are intertwined within the very fiber of our society forcing an assessment within every indoctrination system. We’ve also learning the hard lessons that you cannot judge people by appearances alone. Those who have been violated and oppressed have stated their case publicly before the world but it is the support of the “others” that can make all the difference. MEN supporting women’s right to choose, freedom from sexual harassment and rape, and equal pay and opportunity. HETEROSEXUALS supporting homosexual rights to love whomever they choose without discrimination with the opportunity for marriage. NON-BLACKS supporting black lives to live without oppression and fear just like their sons and daughters. And, ADULTS standing up for the safety and the well-being of children is always needed.
We have to also learn to embrace both our similarities and differences as humans too, including our feminine and masculine sides, in order to not fear these energetic frequencies in others. This would go beyond outer appearances which can often be deceiving. A radical kind of unconditional acceptance of “others” is revolutionary. The collective agenda for humanity and our planet has to mean more than the individual self interest, even though one’s SELF interest still matters. It is only through this type of thinking that we really secure the precious gift of freedom that we’ve been bestowed. Perhaps, one day our external “suits” will more closely match the better angels of the human heart.