mad in pursuit journal

DISPATCHED FROM THE CROSSROADS, AT THE intersection OF corruption & godliness

Righteous Corruption: Why Bad People Think They're Good

Here's a pet peeve: evil people who wrap themselves in a cloak of righteousness. The whited sepulchers I've written about before.

I heard a radio program last week that helped explain what sure looks like hypocrisy to me:

Your Good Girl's Gonna Go Bad. When she was 21, Julia Sweeney got a job as a bartender's assistant and stole between ten and fifteen thousand dollars in cash. She describes the thrill of stealing, and how she justified her thefts to herself, and, oddest of all, how she became a more religious Roman Catholic during her crime spree. Julia Sweeney is an actress and writer, a former cast member at Saturday Night Live; and star of her autobiographical movie God Said Ha!. [Listen at This American Life, 7.23.99. It's 14 minutes long.]

Julia knew what she was doing was wrong, but the longer she went without being caught, the more she thought God was condoning her. It was their little secret. He was giving her special permission because... she deserved it.

Her insights helped me get into the heads of people like Congressman Randy "Duke" Cunningham and lobbyist-felon Jack Abramoff. They really are very grateful to God for giving them special dispensation for their corruption -- till they're caught at least. (But then they can just become "born again" and write their bestsellers.)



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