Background Probability

The Agnostic Popular Front has moved to its new home at Skeptic Ink, and will henceforth be known as Background Probability. Despite the relocation and rebranding, we will continue to spew the same low-fidelity high-quality bullshit that you've come to expect.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

The Most Dangerous Hypocrite

Does our society suffer more on account of “hypocritical pretenders to religion or by the openly profane?" Given the relatively recent resurgence of the religious right in all branches of government, this question is no less relevant now than when it was originally posed.

Here are a few (mildly paraphrased into modern English) of Benjamin Franklin’s thoughts on the matter, excerpted from Albert Henry Smyth’s collection of Franklin’s writings:

[A] public hypocrite every say deceives his betters, and makes them the ignorant trumpeters of his supposed Godliness: They take him for a Saint, and pass him for one, without considering that they are (as it were) the instruments of public mischief out of conscience, and ruin their country for God’s sake.

* * *

[T]he most dangerous Hypocrite in a Commonwealth, is one who leaves the Gospel for the sake of the Law: A Man compounded of Law and Gospel, is able to cheat a whole Country with his Religion, and then destroy them under color of Law: And here the Clergy are in great Danger of being deceived, and the People of being deceived by the Clergy, until the Monster arrives to such Power and Wealth, that he is out of the reach of both, and can oppress the People without their own blind Assistance."

I wonder what Franklin would say to Huckabee's grassroots groundswell, or Obama's faith in faith-based programs, or McCain's explicit conflation of Church and State?

No comments: