Moral Hypocrisy

June 29, 2011

Whenever there is a political scandal, the moral hypocrisy of both political parties often comes to the forefront. The fall of Representative Anthony Weiner (D-NY) highlighted the hypocrisy of many Republican leaders who quickly called on him to resign even though they had not called on Republicans involved in arguably worse scandals to resign. As a result, a conservative Christian group recently called on Senator David Vitter (R-LA) to resign because of his scandal in 2007 with prostitutes. The group argues that Vitter's continued presence in Congress makes other Republicans hypocrites when they condemn politicians like Weiner. It seems a few years late, but they do make a good point. Others have not taken the opportunity to let moral priorities trump partisan allegiances. I noted in an Ethics Daily article recently that Family Research Council President Tony Perkins made a joke about Weiner at the conference of Ralph Reed's Faith & Freedom Coalition even though Perkins (who is from Louisiana) defended Vitter in the past. Similarly, the Southern Baptist Convention's Baptist Press recently ran two column critical of Weiner (here and here). And yet, Vitter's scandal was never even mentioned by the Baptist Press. Ironically, one of the columns on Weiner was by a Baptist in Louisiana (the state that reelected Vitter last November) and attacked New York voters for saying in a poll that they did not want Weiner to resign. It would be nice if moral principles were applied to political allies and not just those on the other side of the aisle.