Tag Archives: hypocrisy

Behind Every Great Fortune . . .

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logo@2xHonore de Balzac once remarked, “Behind every great fortune lies a great crime.” I would like to appropriate his comment in a paraphrase to state “Behind at least one growing fortune likes a great hypocrisy.” Anyone who knows me for long will discover at some point in our relationship I hate three things above all others — cabbage, the New York Yankees, and hypocrisy. I would rather deal with a pathological liar than a hypocrite because at least with a liar, you know what you’ve got. I realize I’ve often been cited as having no filter for my opinions, but I prefer to look at it as letting everyone know where I stand. The reason for this particular rant against hypocrisy has its roots in a “direct sales” party Budge attended just before school was out.

I love direct sales parties. Where else can you make rent money by guilting your friends and your friends’ friends into buying overpriced stuff they will never use while they are under the sway of a glass or two of Bi-Lo wine and surfeit of those little cream filled chocolate eclair poofs from Costco? Personally, I’m a Pampered Chef junkie. I have the ice cream scoop, apple corer, a set of utensils, and a sweet, lime green santoku knife. With direct sales, you know you’re getting huckstered, but that’s okay because you’re going to do the same thing to this same group of people at your next “party.”

Still, I cannot abide hypocrisy and to me the worst form of hypocrisy is that which strives to make money or any other form of gain through the use of reference to the Bible, Jesus, God, or any other type of religious iconography. The company which has attracted my ire most recently for this egregious profiteering is Thirty-One.  Oh, let the hue and cry begin. How can I come down on such a wholesome group? Why, the very name “Thirty-One” is a reference to Proverbs 31; a Bible passage which outlines the graces and superlatives of the ideal woman. However, as the son of a real Proverbs 31 woman and the husband of another, I take offense at Thirty-One’s hypocrisy that appears on the little tags inside every piece of Thirty-One merchandise  which say “Made In China.”

Here is the email I sent the customer service department of Thirty-One after discovering all of the items Budge had bought said Made In China:

Dear Thirty-One:

My wife brought home her recently purchased order of Thirty-One product today and as I was looking over her goods, I found to my great dismay that each item was labeled “Made in China.” I hope an organization like yours, which purports to be founded on “Christian ideals and principles” and mentions the name of God several times in your material would have a legitimate reason for purchasing your products wholesale from the greatest persecutor of Christians since Domitian ruled Rome. Child labor, slave labor, human rights violations by the score AND unyielding persecution and outright murder of Christians are daily facts of life in China yet you do business with them. Please, I beg you, spare me the tired saw of “well, it’s the only way we can AFFORD to sell at the price we do,” because the minute you say that, you are out of the realm of God and into the realm of Mammon.

I don’t have an issue with your company if you want to make money. Making money in all throughout the Scriptures and is a linchpin in the passage of Proverbs the company is named for, but I have serious issues with your company if you are using God like so many politicians today — as a marketing tool — all the while filling the coffers of an avowedly atheistic regime, I don’t mind entrepreneurship but I detest hypocrisy in all it’s forms. Dealing with China is as much a deal with the devil as the nefarious bargain Faust struck himself in Goethe’s masterwork.

There is no reason your textile based products cannot be made in America. Certainly the costs would triple, if not more, but again, I must ask whom do you serve? God or Mammon? I will also grant you this nation of ours is fallen far, far from the “Light Upon A Hill” some of our Puritan forebears wished it to be — if indeed it ever really was — but so far, our government does not openly or covertly execute Christians as “enemies of the state” and that is an extremely important distinction.

Perhaps you buy your items from a wholeseller and didn’t know of the origin of the goods, in which case I would think you are poor businesspeople, but at least not hypocrites. Now you know where the textiles originate so the question remains — what are you going to do about it? Are you going to keep treating with a godless and atheistic nation that persecutes people just for naming the name of Christ — whom you claim to serve — or will you buy your goods from somewhere Christians are free to worship as they choose. It doesn’t even have to be the USA, but it certainly mustn’t be the People’s Republic of China.

For the record, I am not a particularly enthusiastic Bible thumper. I am a political liberal, so don’t get the wrong idea, please.

I hope to hear from you soon.
Sincerely,
Shannon Wham

I sent this email June 1st. I haven’t written anything about it because I wanted the company to have time to explain itself. So far, a month later, all I have received is the following email:

Hello Shannon,

Thank you for contacting Thirty-One Gifts’ Consultant Support! We appreciate your concern about our products. I have forwarded your concerns onto our management department, and they will be reviewing them as soon as they can. Thank you again!

Please contact us again if you have any further questions.

Thank you for giving us the opportunity to help you,

Alycia
Thirty-One Gifts
Consultant Support Representative

I don’t have an axe to grind with Thirty-One. They are trying to make money and let other people have a piece of the pie too. What I have a problem with is they passing themselves off as a wonderfully Christian organization while at the same time buying their goods from China.

Folks, I said what I had to say in the email, but not to put too fine a point on it by way of summary they KILL CHRISTIANS IN CHINA! The government has a very sanitized state run church and its members are generally viewed with suspicion, but to be a member of an underground house church is a death sentence. Knowing this, how can a “Christian Company” with a name taken directly from the Bible have dealings with these people?

Maybe you can answer me in the comments.

Until then, love y’all and keep those feet clean.

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TLDR

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clenched-fistThis beach trip recollection wasn’t supposed to take this long to finish, but it is what it is. I’m cutting to the chase to tell the story I wanted to tell all along and you’ll see why my senior beach trip caused a sea change in my life that rolls like mighty waters to this day.

A clumsy stumbling woke me up on Thursday morning. I had a hangover stabbing pain in my neck resulting from an earring I barely remembered getting. At least it wasn’t a missing tooth or tribal facial tattoo. Then the day went to hell and pushed me a little farther down a road I had no idea I was on.

I had crashed on the couch; apparently it was as far as I could make it under a rare heavy load of Jack Daniels. Two other members of our entourage had stayed at their girlfriends’ much nicer digs. That meant the last guy sharing our room had the place to himself. Let me call him Adonis for the sake of anonymity. Just know he’s in this picture. He was pretty much perfect in every way that matters to a high school teen. I am firmly in the hetero camp and have always and forever batted from one side of the plate, but he was a gorgeous guy — tall, flowing hair, built like Michelangelo’s David but twice as cold and half as smart. He also came from money, drove an AMAZING car, and was captain of the football team and the wrestling team our senior year. His sculpted jaw line and dazzling physique cast my own self-esteem into such eclipse I told my first great love while we were still dating if she ever left me for Adonis, I would understand and wish her well to which she replied, “That’s great you feel that way ’cause if he ever asks me, I’m gone.”

Yeah, him. Pretty close likeness.

Yeah, him. Pretty close likeness.

Adonis could have whomever he wanted but he always wanted someone other than who he was currently with. Worse, he was like a grim, cruel Polynesian god who demanded a special kind of sacrifice — young virgins. He came down to the beach for a hunt with one quarry: a sophomore, sweet, naive, drop-dead gorgeous, and — like so many other girls — very into Adonis. I’m clear on this last point because she was a pretty good friend of mine then and Adonis was a frequent topic of conversation. Let’s call her Melpomene.  Adonis wanted little Melpomene in an extremely Zeus-like way. To his sorrow, however, she was a member of the “Christian promise ring wearers.” The beach can change things though. In this case, yesternight, Adonis happened upon her at a spirited gathering in another hotel room, which I too happened to attend. It’s germane to note though Mel claimed Christianity often and adamantly, like many of Southern extraction, Melpomene was a “buffet believer,” and though fornication was of the devil, the Almighty tended to wink at a little drunkenness.

Since all but the most obtuse of you see what’s coming, I need to be VERY clear about something, Adonis did nothing illegal nor strictly “wrong.” He DID NOT ply Melpomene with drink. Her cheerleader “friends” took care of that long before he showed up. Furthermore, he DID NOT “force himself” upon her. She was smitten with him and was playing an intense game of tonsil hockey by the time I took my leave of the soiree and — apparently — kept a date with a piercing parlor. Yes, Melpomene was drunk, but I’d have to say she was competent, if veeerrrryy uninhibited.

BoromirStarkStill, Eddard Stark had nothing on the idealistic boy I once was, and though crisp blacks and whites have blurred into greys on the monochromatic palette of grimdark reality, I cling to a few unshakable beliefs, and one is an honorable man sees no difference between a girl “drunk enough to say yes” and one “too drunk to say no.” Regardless after I left, the freshly minted pair went to our fleabag suite of rooms where Adonis put another v-card notch on his lipstick case. Melpomene stumbling from the room wrapped in a sheet to use our facilities woke me to my previously mentioned hangover. Our eyes met; she smiled a sheepish smile then turned away. Back then, I didn’t know what “The Walk of Shame” was.

I took the opportunity to slip into the bedroom and change clothes. The beds were pushed together and Tywin would have been satisfied had Tyrion and Sansa’s chamber been so accoutred following their wedding night. I changed clothes and pointedly ignored Adonis. While getting fresh clothes, I slid something from the bottom of my bag into my pocket. Emotion roiled my guts in a way I hadn’t felt it since I was a child when waves of impotent rage overtook me when someone bullied me, which was often.

In case you didn't know what a balisong is.

In case you didn’t know what a balisong is.

Out on the porch where the rest of the guys gathered, I sat down on the steps and tried to focus on a crack in the sidewalk. By-the-by, Adonis and Mel appeared, attired for the beach. When they reached the bottom step, I stood and drew the balisong from my pocket. I was spared a knowledge of prison life when, just as I stood up, a guy I’ll call “Big Bob” put his hand on my shoulder to gently but firmly press me back down onto the top step. He looked at me, shook his head and — as scalding rage tears wound down my blistered cheeks — quietly said, “I know, but it’s not worth the cost.”

Instead of riding back Saturday with Robby, I packed, met up with two guys from a town near home who were going back that afternoon, passed out from emotional exhaustion in the back seat by the time they left Horry County, and slept until they woke me up in front of The Little Barn. Mama saw the earring soon as I walked in, put her right index fingernail (she had such beautiful long nails) into the pyrite-plated hoop, and snatched it out with the words, “I prayed for a boy; not a girl.”

I’ve wanted to tell that story for a long time. I don’t know why.

Love y’all and keep those feet clean.

Immigration Hypocrisy Makes Me Sick

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Silence is deafening, isn’t it?

I can tolerate all manner of offensive behavior without much protest, but three things will consistently anger me beyond my ability to remain silent. They are, in no certain order, lying, abuse of animals, old people, or children, and bald-faced hypocrisy. From what I keep reading in the news day after day, I firmly believe many politicians and American citizens are out-and-out hypocrites on the subject of illegal immigration.

The English Pilgrims and Jamestown colonists got off the boat in modern-day Massachusetts and Virginia, respectively, and they would have died to a man if not for the grace of God and the kindness of the native Indians of their regions. How they repaid God’s grace is a matter of debate, but how they thanked the Indians is a matter of historical record. Smallpox infected blankets, lies upon lies, and blatant disregard for Indian culture and natural rights. Down south, the Spaniards were much more direct. A conquistador would simply ask “Do you have gold? Good, we will take it all. Thank you. Now, you are our slaves, carry your, I mean, my gold to the ship.” Then, a wonderfully pious priest would ask, “Do you believe in God? Who is that? He isn’t the real god. Convert and we’ll let you live or cling to your stupid backward ways and we’ll torture you until you convert then kill you so you can go straight to Heaven.”

That was just the 16th Century.

Deemed savages because they didn’t understand or practice ownership of land and didn’t worship the Christian’s God, by that name anyway, they were worthy of extermination. The cry of the public was “the only good Indian is a dead Indian.” By the 21st Century, Indians controlled less than 1% of the continent they once stewarded and tended. Well, folk, karma is a bitch. If the Hindu reference bothers you, then how about a Christian reference from the Apostle Paul in Galatians, “Whatever a man sows, that will he also reap.” That’s where the hypocrisy begins.

We took this land by force in the fervent belief that it was our Destiny and now some of us are pissed off people from all over the world, but mostly from Mexico, want a piece of the pie. We stole the whole cupboard and pantry and we grudge others the crumbs. Our ancestors set out in rickety ships to “find a better life” and they brave burning deserts with no water to do what? “Find a better life.” What made our ancestors so right and the new “illegals” so wrong?

People want to say, “Well, if they want to come here they should go about it ‘the right way.”” Why? Why exactly should they follow any of our laws and customs? We didn’t follow any native laws or customs to take what we wanted from them? Why do we howl so loudly now that what went around has come around? People want to say, “but that was different.” How was it different, exactly? Because they were brown instead of white? Because they weren’t “cultured?” That doesn’t fly.

It’s “different” because THEY AREN’T US.

The big argument people love to use is “They’re taking all our jobs!” Really? Just exactly what jobs are these people stealing? When is the last time you saw an illegal looking Latino individual (whatever that means) working a job you would want to have? Let’s see, landscaping? I’m sure hundreds of good strong Americans are just lined up to fill all the landscaping jobs once we deport the illegal Hispanics. I mean, who among us doesn’t want to spread truckloads of mulch, cut grass, and dig irrigation trenches in 100 degree heat?

The fact is, the only jobs the vast majority of so-called illegals are filling are the jobs business owners can’t fill with anyone else. I have an acquaintance who owns his own full service car wash. It’s not pleasant work. Wiping off cars on a slab of concrete in blazing heat and freezing cold with dampness all around is my picture of misery. He’s in his 33rd year of business. According to him, the first twenty years he filled his lines with college students home for the summer or high school dropouts learning a hard lesson.  The last ten years, though, he can’t get the college students or the dropouts. The work is “too hard.”

So, he fills all his positions with Hispanics and adores them. Both men and women are always neat, clean, prompt, and hard-working. He doesn’t have to do nearly as much supervision as he once did because all his workers are a community. They live together, eat together, and go to and from work together. They police themselves, and as he puts it, “They push a lot of cars through and make me a lot of money.”

Speaking of them being “together,” I have listened to so many good Christian people make fun of some Hispanics because they pack three and four families into a single wide trailer or a ridiculous number of them ride in a single car. Okay, riddle me this then all you stand up comedians, what kind of life and living conditions are these people LEAVING where being packed up like sardines, surviving off whatever they can get in cash, and generally being looked down upon by the people they serve is BETTER? If how they have to live here is BETTER, what in the name of all that’s holy are they getting away from?

The bottom line is this country was founded on the idea you could come here with nothing, work your fingers to the bone for a long time, and eventually “have something”. It’s called The American Dream. Why are we, a country of rebels and entrepreneurs, so incensed at a newer, hungrier wave of people coming in to grab a share of the pie? At least, we can be relatively certain they don’t plan to exterminate us as we did those who were here before us.

Something to think about. Love y’all and keep those feet clean.