As I listened to radio talkback callers this afternoon on the subject of Joel Monaghan, one word erupted continually in mind like a psychological Mt Merapi: hypocrisy.
Why is is that the outrage is greatest when some variation of sex is involved? In the Monaghan case, for those who don't know, he was photographed simulating intercourse with a dog. His friends, family and rational compassionate strangers, say he is a good person who made a stupid mistake. His enemies and a vociferous minority of puritans say he is the Devil incarnate. Some people are even more worried that the dog may have been mistreated than they are about Monaghan and his family.
Most adults have sex and apparently most of those people do it their bedrooms with their husbands or wives. Every other variation on the theme gets dismissed with the slightly ridiculous statement that people can do whatever their like behind closed doors in private. Unless of course they are footballers, movie stars or politicians then they can still do whatever they like, but the public has to know about it and has to moralize about them and their disgusting behaviour, and they'll have to stop doing it.
My friends and family presumably think I'm a good bloke. But if I gather them all together and confess that I watched a video of a gang rape and found it arousing, what would they think then? What about if said I have sex with prostitutes, and sometimes dogs if I can't afford a decent hooker? Or, suppose I casually mentioned that I was a proud paedophile? Maybe, I just lust after every woman I see, and have been actively plotting to seduce a married woman? Felatio on horses or group sex anyone? Even if I had ever participated in any of the aforementioned variations on a sexual theme, there's zero chance I would tell anyone, and if the reason isn't obvious, then may I suggest you have a brain scan?
Most people's private lives are exactly that: private, but sex has become so twisted and depraved in the way it is portrayed in the media and in movies, including pornography, and the way it is used to sell us all the things we need, that incidents like Joel Monagahan's appalling attempt at humour spark explosions of moral outrage. And before all you God haters start patting yourselves on the back and saying, "I'm so proud that I'm not a hypocrite like all those Christians", I should warn you that hypocrisy is a human disease of pandemic proportions which afflicts the righteous and the unrighteous alike.
The old prophet Isaiah was right on the money when he denounced the hypocrites of his day, as having outer shells of virtue with inner wickedness. We are no different.