Sheath Your Hypocrisy, Dear Moral Anarchist (Weka Condom Mpangoni)

This is a response to Mr. Clay Muganda’s article which was published in DN2 (26 March, 2013) titled “Sheath your hypocrisy, dear religious leaders”. I’d like to remind him that recognizing/acknowledging a moral standard does not make one a hypocrite for personally failing to meet that standard. I am not a hypocrite simply because I can recognize counterfeit money and yet I happen to be broke. In his article, Clay said:

“When did the condom start falling on us? When did it start coming between us and our morals? When did it start turning stable families in to dysfunctional ones? These are questions many of us cannot answer…”

Mr. Muganda, do you know why many of us can’t answer those questions? Because none of us is even asking those questions, at least not in that attitude. You are responding to your own pitiful straw-man. The “condom” is not the issue. The message implied in the “condom advert” is the issue. Is infidelity immoral? Yes. Is infidelity prevalent? Yes. Infidelity remains immoral, no matter how prevalent it gets. And as long as it remains such, we must remain vocal in pointing this out. The rightness of an action is not determined by its popularity.

You may not have noticed this, but all previous condom adverts focused on the possibility of your “legal” partner cheating on you and how you may protect yourself. Those adverts were acceptable because they implicitly presupposed an underlying moral law, beyond the HIV/AIDs considerations. But this particular advert (weka Condom Mpangoni) focuses on the possibility of your “illegal” partner cheating on you. It dismisses any moral presuppositions as irrelevant and only magnifies the HIV/AIDs issue. That’s what’s new. That’s what’s scandalous. That’s what causing all the buzz. That’s where the rubber meets the road (no pun intended).

Consider this: When we put padlocks on our doors, we are admitting that thieves exist, and maintaining that stealing is immoral, no matter how prevalent it is. But if we begin tailoring adverts that explicitly target thieves, telling them to put padlock on their doors to guard their stolen goods, we begin erasing the immorality of stealing. We are implicitly saying that the thief has a right to the stolen goods. That the thief shouldn’t suffer for losing what is not legally his own. Of course, the thief has every right to buy a padlock and protect his “stolen” goods, but nobody crafts adverts with thieves as the target audience.

This is only the first of many steps to complete moral anarchy in our society. This is what the clergy and any other Kenyan with any semblance of a moral conscience is reacting to. Let us not let our biases against religion or the failures of the clergy cloud our vision for the greater social good.

In his book, ‘Ends and Means’, Aldous Huxley confessed that his reasons for arguing against the message of the Bible were not unbiased and objective philosophical reasons. He had ‘a moral agenda’, and he confesses:

“I had motives for not wanting the world to have a meaning; and consequently assumed that it had none… For myself, as no doubt for most of my friends, the philosophy of meaninglessness was essentially an instrument of liberation from a certain system of morality. We objected to the morality because it interfered with our sexual freedom. The supporters of this system claimed that it embodied the meaning – the Christian meaning, they insisted – of the world. There was one admirably simple method of confuting these people and justifying ourselves in our erotic revolt: we would deny that the world had any meaning whatever.”

Claiming that a moral standard exists doesn’t make me a hypocrite simply because I personally fail to meet that standard. But denying the reality of morality (and seeking to silence the voice of moral activism) makes you a hypocrite for having any personal moral standards. Despite its reality and prevalence, we will not condom condone this moral erosion, Clay (pun intended).

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