According to the thesaurus built in to MS Word, hypocrite is equivalent to charlatan or fraud. The Encarta Dictionary defines the word as, "somebody who pretends to have admirable principles, beliefs, or feelings but behaves otherwise."
We've never been a big fan of the appelation. The Gospels use it to attack the Pharisees (who wear broad phylacteries to show they are so religious - but behave otherwise - at least as far as the Gospel writers see it). We believe that rabbinic Judaism is an evolution of Pharisaism. So we bristle at the Gospels' broadsides.
Apparently a hypocrite is not just an inconsistent person or an ironic actor. It's also someone whom you dislike, whom you wish to expose as a fraud and a charlatan.
But really. How could any actual society function if every hypocrite wore a big letter H? How could a religion operate if a preacher or teacher had to put and asterisk next to each precept that he did not live up to entirely?
Exposing a hypocrite may be entertaining or even a socially valid action if that person stands for a form of bigotry and discrimination that you oppose.
Is the consistency of moral word and action praiseworthy? We suppose it is. Is being a hypocrite a personality defect? Perhaps. Let the pure among us judge that, whomever they may be. And let them keep it to themselves.
A hypocrite is not a criminal. Chasing after them is a mere sport. Exposing them is mostly a form of gossip, not anything of high and mighty social value. Is it ethical to engage in a deception, perhaps itself a form of hypocrisy, to get a story that exposes a hypocrite. The Minneapolis newspaper ostensibly wants to know. Or do they just want to fill their pages with all sorts of slimy forms of entertainment? And then what about us, writing about them? Aren't we in on the game too?
Here's the non-news story from the Star Tribune.
Outing case: Cries of 'hypocrite' for pastor, magazine
An anti-gay pastor is allegedly "outed" by a magazine reporter who went undercover in a therapy group.
By JEFF STRICKLER
A Minneapolis gay magazine story allegedly "outing" a minister based on comments he made during a therapy session is generating a flood of controversy, both about the minister and the magazine's reporting techniques.
Lavender Magazine published an article Friday saying that the Rev. Tom Brock, senior pastor at Hope Lutheran Church in north Minneapolis and an outspoken critic of gays, has attended a support group for men struggling with same-sex attractions. The magazine said its reporter, John Townsend, joined the group undercover after getting a tip that Brock was a member...more...