Forgiveness

There’s a reason I haven’t blogged about the Ashley Madison hack. There’s a weirdly angry part of me that is gratified to see the hypocrisy of such social conservatives as Josh Duggar, who screech “family values” and work to impose their religious mores on the rest of us, while engaging in acts ranging from adultery, to kiddie diddling, to porn, revealed for the world to see. But that’s just my own sense of justice talking. I hate hypocrisy. Add to this Duggar’s sexual abuse against little girls when he was a teenager, and his family’s disgusting failure to seek justice, while oozing the cloying, “perfect family” illusion to the rest of the world, and the side of me that revels in the pain of bigots, charlatans, and phonies rejoices.

The Ashley Madison hack revealed the baser side of quite a few people. Duggar was just tip of the sewage heap. Politicians… celebrities… sports stars… quite a few of them were exposed as paying customers looking for side nookie.

Know what? None of my business. The libertarian in me says, “this is between them and their spouses.” That other me says, “how dare they invade people’s privacy in such a way?” That me says, “what people do in their bedrooms, what they do outside their marriages, and with whom they do it is not and should not be anyone’s concern.

But yeah, there’s that devilish me that says, if you’re a politician who has spent his life trying to use government force to impose your religious values on everyone else, “FUCK YOU! YOU DESERVE IT!”

So I’m torn. Recently a pastor who was outed on the Ashley Madison site as trolling for an affair committed suicide. This is awful. This is sad. This is tragic. His wife came home to find his body and then had to tell her kids that their dad took his own life. The man apparently struggled with depression and addiction in the past, and in the end he just couldn’t live with himself because of what he had done.

No, it’s not up to us to forgive him. I certainly won’t justify his actions in any way. He hurt his family. He hurt his children. He hurt his friends. But in the end, they are the only ones who can forgive him. And even though, that snide part of me is pleased that these people were exposed for the sleazy degenerates that they are, overall, I’m disgusted that their privacy was destroyed in such a slimy manner.

In the end, it’s not up to me to judge them. That’s between them and whatever deity they happen to worship. That’s between them and their families and friends.

In the end, the people on that list have to face what they did all by themselves. Their only victims are their spouses and their children. Their only victims are their consciences. That’s where they need to seek forgiveness.

Me… I’ll just continue to be disgusted with the heinous breech of trust and privacy that led to this burning car wreck in the first place.

20 responses

  1. “social conservatives as Josh Duggar, who screech “family values” and work to impose their religious mores on the rest of us…”

    Just how do the Duggars do that? For that matter, how do any “social conservatives” you can name do that?

    For the record, I’m a conservative Catholic — a “social conservative” by any standard. Do I strive to impose my mores on you? I do not; I don’t BLEEP!ing care who, what, when, where, why or how you conduct your sex life. All I ask is that you don’t impose your mores on me, as I try to live my own life and raise my children as I see fit.

    You style yourself a libertarian. How about allowing those of us who don’t run around with our pants around our ankles, who plead with our Churches not to bend to the tumult demanding the recognition of same-sex “marriages,” and who argue that abortion is the murder of a helpless unborn baby a little of the freedom you claim to champion?

    Oh, by the way, I’m a former libertarian — indeed, a former state LP chair. I left the party when the fringe loonies who see nothing wrong with pedophilia, abortion at any stage of gestation, and completely open borders took over. You might want to think about that.

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    1. Josh Duggar was employed as the Executive Director of FRC Action, the Political Action Committee arm of the Family Research Council. His fucking job was to try and impose the religious mores of FRC supporters on the rest of us through the laws and policies his PAC promoted. Thank dog he sucked at it.

      PS you are absolutely free to not run around with your pants around your ankles, and I for one will defend your right to do so. 🙂

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    2. OK – first of all your tone of offense is completely unneeded here.

      1) Josh Duggar’s entire JOB was as a lobbyist to impose religious mores on others. This does not mean that I think all social conservatives do, and that is not what I said. What I said was “such social conservatives as Josh Duggar…” There is no way any literate person can claim that I somehow mean all.

      2) “Do I strive to impose my mores on you?” Did I say that? Don’t put words in my mouth, please.

      3) “How about allowing those of us who don’t run around with our pants around our ankles, who plead with our Churches not to bend to the tumult demanding the recognition of same-sex “marriages,” and who argue that abortion is the murder of a helpless unborn baby a little of the freedom you claim to champion?” — WHOA!!! Excuse me! Calm down. Have I ever tried to impose my values on you and yours? Have you ever seen me advocate forcing churches to bend to anyone’s standards but their own? Have I EVER tried to take your freedom away or advocated doing so by government force? Or are you knee jerking because you happened to misread what I wrote about Josh Duggar and extrapolating erroneous information? If you look at what I said honestly and without outrage, you might admit you were wrong.

      4) I don’t “style” myself as anything. Those who have read this blog for a while know this. And by the way, one of my closest friends is an Anglican Priest, who comments on this blog periodically. He would disagree with you about your assessment.

      5) And finally, this post was supposed to be about forgiveness it was supposed to be my conflicting feelings regarding the hypocrisy of some people vice the forcible exposure and breach of privacy. It was me talking these conflicting feelings out with myself through my writing and with my readers. And you go and turn that into “OMG! You insulted social conservatives writ large! I’m OUTRAGED!”

      Really?

      Perhaps not knee jerking and closer reading is in order.

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  2. Nicki, I have the same conflicted feelings about this…kinda like the Schadenfreude one gets when bad things happen to bad people.
    However, this wikileak is a whole lot better than exposing our HUMINT in Iraq.

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  3. Charles "Carl" Smith

    I was wondering if/when you would blog about the Ashley Madison list. My first thought when the list came out was, “I wonder if Nicki searched for the Coopers’s names on the list.” I like that your blog on the topic is about forgiveness.
    I believe that rejoicing in other people’s downfalls is wrong. I believe that condoning other people’s evil is also wrong. I believe that true forgiveness is a difficult-to-practice moral high ground between the two. When someone is caught with their pants down (pun intended) the only rejoicing should be when they have seen the error of their ways, corrected their behavior, and seek restitution to, and forgiveness from, those that they hurt. The only condoning should be the realization that each of us is an imperfect human. It is recorded that the deity that I worship displayed forgiveness this way:

    As he (Jesus) was speaking, the teachers of religious law and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in the act of adultery. They put her in front of the crowd.
    “Teacher,” they said to Jesus, “this woman was caught in the act of adultery. The law of Moses says to stone her. What do you say?”
    They were trying to trap him into saying something they could use against him, but Jesus stooped down and wrote in the dust with his finger. They kept demanding an answer, so he stood up again and said, “All right, but let the one who has never sinned throw the first stone!” Then he stooped down again and wrote in the dust.
    When the accusers heard this, they slipped away one by one, beginning with the oldest, until only Jesus was left in the middle of the crowd with the woman.
    Then Jesus stood up again and said to the woman, “Where are your accusers? Didn’t even one of them condemn you?”
    “No, Lord,” she said.
    And Jesus said, “Neither do I. Go and sin no more.”
    – John 8:3-11 (New Living Translation)

    With a few words, He exposed the hypocrisy of the accusers, and with a few more, He accepted the woman’s humanness but not her actions. Since she was the only victim of her sin, there was no restitution involved, and Jesus implied that she could accept her own forgiveness by turning away from her past iniquities.
    While on the topic, I hope that the Coopers are brought to justice, and that you receive full restitution for the evils they did to you. I hope that they realize the errors of their ways and turn from them. I hope that they seek forgiveness from the deity that they profess to worship. But, in the end, I hope that you are able to forgive them.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Carl. I doubt I’ll see a red cent from the Coopers. They will just claim they have no money. Meanwhile I’m out thousands, I can’t sell my house, and there’s no goddamn forgiveness for what they’ve done. None.

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  4. On the suicide thing; I’m told that I need to take responsibility for the phonies who try to bail out because I’ve exposed them. At least two of them in the last few months tried to get out of it that way (neither were successful, by the way). Yeah, I exposed them, like Ashley Madison hackers did, but they made choices that allowed them to get caught in the first place and they compounded that bad choice with one to take their own lives instead of owning up to their mistakes and spend the rest of their lives making up for it to their friends and family. They have weak characters and, no, it’s not my fault, nor was it the fault of the Ashley Madison hackers.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Good point, Jonn. We’re definitely are not responsible for others’ actions. That said, I just feel bad for the families.

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    2. True…and in that same vein, the “pastor” that committed suicide didn’t do so “because he was ashamed of what he’d done.” He did so because he got EXPOSED for doing it. If he hadn’t been exposed, I’d venture that he would be trolling for a hooker as this is written.

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  5. I have to echo Fran Porretto here; however, I will try to minimize the emotional component, and try to use logic. Like Fran, I am a former libertarian, presently a Christian, and hold political views that are freedom-oriented, but allow for the possibility that absolutes really exist. Dunno what to call my political views; it doesn’t matter.

    Though I am a Christian, I don’t claim Josh Duggar. In fact, I and millions of other Christians never even knew who those people were until the molester’s name was in the news. And it’s like that with a lot of other people about whom it’s claimed they are “forcing their religious mores” on society: they are either not known to us, or they aren’t really Christian leaders.

    But somehow, every time someone who is or claims to be a Christian does anything that the secular world considers wrong or hypocritical, all of Christianity is blamed for it, and guilt is imputed by association. What happened to “I’m not those people’s judge?”

    Libertarians claim to a) be critical thinkers, and b) want to “leave people the hell alone”. So, how about giving any random Christian you meet the benefit of the doubt, and not throwing us all out with the dirty Duggar bathwater? At the risk of falling victim to them myself, shouldn’t critical thinkers avoid category errors, and/or the genetic fallacy?

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    1. I would suggest you read what I wrote in reply. At no point did I condemn Christianity writ large. At no point did I even MENTION Christianity in my post, by the way. What I said was that Duggar was a social conservative who worked to impose his religious mores on others. There is nothing false about this at all. If you want to point the “critical thinking” stick, you might want to direct it at yourself.

      I have never condemned anyone on the basis of their religion. So, let’s not ascribe views to me that I do not hold.

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    2. I’m a Catholic. In the United States, that usually labels me as a social conservative, though Catholicism doesn’t fit into the artificial labels du jour very well. If you want my thoughts on such issues to see where I stand and whether I’m good enough to sit at the cool table, you can go over to the Catholic Geeks blog and read all about it. (Nicki, that’s not a plug, just heading off the “not a real X” claims.)

      I have read over this post and its comments. I have one conclusion: stop looking to be offended.

      I could understand taking issue with what Nicki said, if she actually said what you say she said. Unfortunately for you, she didn’t. I have no interest in the Duggers; I frankly don’t have much clue who they are other than reality show stars that got embroiled in a scandal and now are used as a weapon to attack people like me who never heard of them before said weapons were aimed in my direction. Nicki, however, didn’t do that. She named ONE OF the Duggers, the center of the scandal, and correctly identified him as a hypocrite rather than attempting to paint all Christians as just like him.

      It could be argued, based on isolated phrasing, that Nicki attempted to paint all social conservatives like him. That’s a fair accusation, IF the accusation begins and ends with grammatical ambiguity. It’s clear from the rest of her blog post that this was not her intention; she’s only speaking of hypocrites who want to impose their values and yet won’t live up to them themselves.

      Note that I said “won’t”; I know that Nicki knows that the only belief systems worth following, libertarian or otherwise, are the ones that challenge you to be better and therefore will be espoused by people who aren’t perfect. I don’t see her attacking people for being human. I see her attacking people who talk about the need to do one thing while actually doing the opposite in private.

      And yes, I agree with her on attacking such persons. Hypocrites are a problem for anyone. It’s one thing to have a skeleton in the closet; most people do, of one type or another. Usually they’re mistakes, or something that might look like a mistake and so are covered up to avoid lengthy explanations. They usually don’t harm the rest of their ilk the way that a hypocrite does.

      So don’t double down on what Nicki didn’t say and then attack her for writing what she didn’t write. If you want to talk about a hypothetical, then I’m sure she’d be fine with that; to paraphrase Chesterton, she leaves you free to disagree with what she said, but not free to misrepresent it.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thanks, Matthew. And feel free to plug your blog anytime!

        I seriously thought I was going crazy for a brief moment. Maybe I did write what hey accuse me of writing? Nope. Read over it again, and nope. Thanks for providing some sanity!

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    3. Nah, Nicki didn’t condemn Christianity. I do, all the time. I write about it, speak publicly about it, debate it. and expose it for what I believe it to be, deluded. I will also defend your right to be deluded in my opinion.

      I do not single out Christianity. I think all religions are at best the wishful thinking of an immature mind. Islam gets far harsher treatment from me than most other.

      I hope that the Secular world is not the only place where child molestation is seen as ‘wrong’. Nicki did not bring up the topic or even use the word.

      But, since it is now out there I can not resist the urge to ridicule the concept of having telepathic superpowers to communicate to an invisible daddy who created you sick and demands you get well.

      Please forgive me.

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  6. It occurs to me that even Jesus resorted to violence once, with a whip no less, to drive out hypocrites and scoundrels who were using the Temple to cynically make money from their fellow believers…. I am also a Christian by the way, and I really would like to hear what the Lord thinks of some of our celebrity Christians these days…..

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  7. Well, since my Ashley Madison account was made public things have been looking up. I was trolling for midget strippers and willing to compensate them well. My yard is now filled with little people all wanting my attention.

    What is the fixation our society has with their neighbors sexuality. I try to stay out of their sexual endeavors, mostly because I am either frightened to see them naked or I would die of boredom.

    Making a proclamation that you are Catholic but dont force your ideas on other people is obtuse. Millions died every year, mostly in Africa from Aids because the local Catholic Church Quack told everyone God hates condoms. Millions died. You support that Church you helped support that nonsense being forced on people who dont know any better.

    Millions work at Catholic hospitals nation wide. Great, Catholic owned hospitals. Its not like they are donating their services to better humankind. Nah, they compete with everyone else, same price or more. The people who work there don’t have to be Catholic, but they must participate in the religious activities. Forced Prayer is common place. God forbid an employee need to abort a pregnancy even for legit medial reasons. Nope, not legit to them. The thought of having birth control covered by their health care plan, well that is just a joke. Even if the birth control is for other legit medical reasons, nope.

    Nice story about the Adulteress being stoned. It has a rich moral lesson. Problem is, it has been a known forgery for centuries. That story does not appear in any of the earliest copies of John we have. It was added much later. That story, the last chapters of Mark, Titus, 1Tim, 2Tim are all know forgeries. Does that mean there are not great moral lessons in each of them….most certainly not. They are just forgeries.

    If teaching children that eating the flesh and drinking the blood of a dead Jew is somehow a good thing, well I just have to live with that. I wont participate in such a twisted thing, but people have a right to teach their children this nonsense. I believe that any persons right to talk to whatever invisible friend they might want to is more important than my right to convince them they are full of shit.

    The act of mutual respect for your neighbors right to believe different than you do is more important than yours. I do not have any respect for most of what they believe, none. But I do respect their right to have them. How often do we see Christians defending the rights of Atheists or vise versa. I do not need to forgive anything to defend your right to disagree with me and be free to live accordingly.

    It is the sexually repressive nature of the ultra right that sets them up for ridicule. I have no issue with my neighbor exploring their sexual desires within some boundaries. The most sexually repressed groups display the most sexually repugnant behavior.

    I have to go, there are little people looking for me.

    What is the fixation our society has with their neighbors sexuality. I try to stay out of their sexual endeavors, mostly because I am either frightened to see them naked or I would die of boredom.

    Making a proclamation that you are Catholic but dont force your ideas on other people is obtuse. Millions died every year, mostly in Africa from Aids because the local Catholic Church Quack told everyone God hates condoms. Millions died. You support that Church you helped support that nonsense being forced on people who dont know any better.

    Millions work at Catholic hospitals nation wide. Great, Catholic owned hospitals. Its not like they are donating their services to better humankind. Nah, they compete with everyone else, same price or more. The people who work there don’t have to be Catholic, but they must participate in the religious activities. Forced Prayer is common place. God forbid an employee need to abort a pregnancy even for legit medial reasons. Nope, not legit to them. The thought of having birth control covered by their health care plan, well that is just a joke. Even if the birth control is for other legit medical reasons, nope.

    Nice story about the Adulteress being stoned. It has a rich moral lesson. Problem is, it has been a known forgery for centuries. That story does not appear in any of the earliest copies of John we have. It was added much later. That story, the last chapters of Mark, Titus, 1Tim, 2Tim are all know forgeries. Does that mean there are not great moral lessons in each of them….most certainly not. They are just forgeries.

    If teaching children that eating the flesh and drinking the blood of a dead Jew is somehow a good thing, well I just have to live with that. I wont participate in such a twisted thing, but people have a right to teach their children this nonsense. I believe that any persons right to talk to whatever invisible friend they might want to is more important than my right to convince them they are full of shit.

    The act of mutual respect for your neighbors right to believe different than you do is more important than yours. I do not have any respect for most of what they believe, none. But I do respect their right to have them. How often do we see Christians defending the rights of Atheists or vise versa. I do not need to forgive anything to defend your right to disagree with me and be free to live accordingly.

    It is the sexually repressive nature of the ultra right that sets them up for ridicule. I have no issue with my neighbor exploring their sexual desires within some boundaries. The most sexually repressed groups display the most sexually repugnant behavior.

    I have to go, there are little people looking for me.

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    1. Not sure why you felt compelled to post this nonsense…let alone TWICE. Social conservatives aren’t sexually repressed. They just believe that sexual matters are PRIVATE and should be practiced IN privacy. If you want to bugger your Dalmatian dog, go ahead. But do it IN PRIVATE and don’t try to tell my kids that it’s “normal” or “natural”. It’s neither.

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    2. I have no idea why that posted twice. Maybe divine intervention. They are free to be private about their sexuality and “practice” in privacy. Forcing others to do the same is repressive. Just because the rest of us are not ashamed of our sexuality does not mean we want to teach your children about bestiality.

      The states with the highest levels of teen pregnancy and rates of abortion are also some of the most religious by population. If religious conservative practices were effective I would leave it alone. They are not, and provably wrong.

      Liked by 1 person

    3. The data is only “provably wrong” IF you’re willing to accept the “data” published by the left-wing media or the left-wing government bureaucrats as “factual.” Fact is, it’s not.

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