Tuesday, November 16, 2004

in defense of Bill Bennett

The Maximum Leader offers a quasi-defense of Bennett ("quasi" because the ML concedes that Bennett's gambling habit isn't admirable) here. He finishes his post with a question:

But is the Big Hominid contending that in order to be qualified to speak on moral issues one must be completely without fault?

Luckily, the answer to this has already been written, but gets routinely ignored by everyone, including yours truly:

The scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in adultery; and making her stand before all of them, they said to him, "Teacher, this woman was caught in the very act of committing adultery. Now in the law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?" They said this to test him, so that they might have some charge to bring against him. Jesus bent down and wrote with his finger on the ground. When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, "Let anyone among you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her." And once again he bent down and wrote on the ground. When they heard it, they went away, one by one, beginning with the elders; and Jesus was left alone with the woman standing before him. Jesus straightened up and said to her, "Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?" She said, "No one, sir." And Jesus said, "Neither do I condemn you. Go your way, and from now on do not sin again."

--Jn 8:1-11 (NRSV)

Maybe this means I should go easy on Wild Bill. Maybe it also means Wild Bill needs to watch his own judgmental streak. The above passage indicates, pace current arguments that allow us to forgive ourselves our own faults, that we need to practice a great deal more self-criticality than we usually do, before we can begin to even think about taking on the role of moral pillar in society.


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