A friend of mine is the fan of a popular runner. The runner is a folksy and low-key guy and seems simply to try to promote the sport. The two planned to meet up during one of the marathons, a plan that failed to materialize. However, the runner still reported the meeting on his blog, complete with colorful embellishments. Now everything the runner ever says will be tainted in my friends eyes – is this the truth, or just a convenient story to promote his folksy personality?
One event has tarnished this man forever if my friend’s eyes.
It can be worse than that, however. The doping scandals of the athletic world have tarred not only the guilty, but brought into question the integrity of all the athletes who compete there. Did the world’s greatest bicyclist use drugs to become what he was? There’s never been any evidence, but because of the recent doping scandals, people will always wonder. With no credible allegations against him we ought to presume him innocent. We cannot.
So let’s think of associations: “Catholic priest?” How about pedophile. Are all the priests pedophiles? No! But those who are have tainted those who aren’t. “Evangelist?” That provides a lot of fodder over the last decade or two – we have infidelity, prostitution, extortion, fraud, and of course drugs and homosexuality that have tainted the term. “Politician” should be an honorable word, but instead we associate with with brazen lies, arrogance, graft, and more lies. And again, “Christian politician” carries its own meanings, borne of our experiences – intolerance, hypocrisy, child molestation, mercilessness, unlawfulness, torture.
The final word is “Christian,” and with that we can associate “hypocrite.”