Friday, April 18, 2008

Should you be in the Public Eye?

Should a person has been involved in something scandalous be in the public eye talking about religious and moral issues?

What if there are accusations that they have been neither admitted or denied, but sidestepped?

How should we, as people who care about the things this person says, treat such a person?

Would it make a difference if the incident was before they came to their current moral/religious position? If it is after, would it make a difference if the person came clean?

Would it make a difference if it was something totally agregious like taking advantage of someone who is vulnerable (young, drunk, at a low point), or if it was just a moral slip up (like Mitch in The Firm)?

Would it make a difference if the person were totally no judgmental?


Anonymous said...

Provacative post. I am still mulling over some of this kind of thing in my own mind.

Some jump on publications for writing about public Catholic figures when they fall and pointing out his or her hypocrisy. I don't know, though. If someone is in the public eye, he probably deserves to be scrutinized just as much as any unorthodox Catholic politician, etc. Maybe the publications should be careful in how much of the sordid details they print, though.

Anyway, still thinking about this one....


Maureen said...

I will say this: orthodox Catholics are often quick to rake liberal Dems over the coals for moral transgressions but make excuse after excuse when someone "who talks the talk" does the same thing.


Double D said...

Hate to be coy with my answer but it depends. How serious is the offense? How likely is it that he or she is guilty? How public is the forum? What is this person's background?

When a person does not assert their innocence when accused they are most often guilty. Nevertheless Christ Himself at times stayed silent or or sidestepped accusations.

On how to treat this person, I would say when uncertain one should err on the side of compassion.

It does make a great deal of difference if the incident was before the person's religiou conversion. The sins Augustine committed before his conversion did not keep him from becoming a saint.

Obviously the circumstances surrounding the sin make a difference. For instance premeditation is more serious than acting in anger or frustration. By the way, what is Mitch in the firm?

Not being judgmental does make a difference. Doesn't Jesus say something like as you show mercy you will be shown mercy? I need to look this one up to be sure.

Civis said...

Double D,

I agree totally about being compassionate.

RE being in the public eye. You brought up more factors I guess. I guess the general answer is, as you say, "it depends."

To answer your questions, let's say that the place in the public eye is national, the lapse was post conversion, it involved sexual relations with a much younger person who was vulnerable (barely an adult, previously abused, a ward of the state, and about 30 years younger) and so drunk she could barely tell what was going on (if the story checks out, it could even be rape under the law), and the only thing close to a denial is "I will not respond to those rumors"