As I read through the media, I am often disturbed by the double standards that seem to apply to reporting religious news. If a book is written or a movie produced that attacks traditional Christianity or Judaism, the media seems attracted to it. And yet, if the same is done toward any other faith group, we rarely if ever hear about it through major media outlets.
And, unfortunately, double standards are used within the church as well. Take the current scandal in Ireland and Europe with pedophile priests. In any other setting the Catholic Church has urged its parishioners to be law-abiding. But in this case they seem to be shielding people who should be arrested. It hurts the reputation and image of the vast majority of good priests and bishops when some are being shielded from prosecution.
What do you and I have to do with the news media or the Catholic Church? Relatively little. But it underscores how damaging it can be if we set standards and apply them only to some and not to others. This is as true at home, small offices, and individual churches as it is in global churches and national news organizations. Double standards frequently fuel the fire of what is negative in this world.
Can we abide by standards all of the time? Is that the bottom line? No, not always. We’re not perfect. Grace is sometimes needed and should be applied. But to systematically excuse one or some and to convict and prosecute others runs askew our sense of justice which is another value God has placed in our hearts.
So, let us set standards live by them to the best of our ability. It’s more important than we think.
All the best,