The hypocrisy of some Christians is damning.

Good Faith Media’s Executive Editor and Publisher Johnny Pierce wrote an excellent article this week defining “performance Christianity.”

Pierce defines performance Christianity this way: “Being seen as Christian sure seems more important to many than just being Christian.”

He went on, “With the political winds at their backs, these invigorated showmen of Americanized Christianity take the stage in search of a brighter spotlight, a more commanding performance and a wider captive audience.”

Carl Jung once wrote in his New Paths essays, “Every individual needs revolution, inner division, overthrow of the existing order, and renewal, but not by forcing them upon his neighbors under the hypocritical cloak of Christian love or the sense of social responsibility or any of the other beautiful euphemisms for unconscious urges to personal power.”

The hypocrisy we witness throughout history, and even today, is about exerting personal, religious, economic and political power over others who are depicted as less than or inferior.

It is hypocritical to speak about God’s boundless love, as many Americanized Christians do in their songs and sermons, but then place limits on their own love.  The agape love found in the Scriptures is unconditional, unwavering and unaltered.

A hypocrite is defined in the Greek translations of the New Testament as “an actor or pretender.” Listen to the words of Jesus in the Gospel of Matthew 15:7-8, “You hypocrites, rightly did Isaiah prophesy about you, by saying: ‘These people honor me with their lips, but their heart is far away from me.’”

Over the last two weeks, we’ve witnessed three public actions highlighting the hypocrisy of performance Christianity and hypocrisy.  These three actions all come from men claiming to be Christians.

The first action came on July 19, when Rep. Glenn Thompson (R-Pennsylvania) joined 156 Republican colleagues in voting against the Respect Marriage Act that would codify same-sex marriage. After the U.S. Supreme Court decided on the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health case that overturned Roe v. Wade, some justices openly questioned overturning other precedents ruled on by the court.

The hypocrisy of that moment came to light when it was discovered what Rep. Thompson did the weekend before his vote. He and his wife attended their son’s same-sex wedding, adding, “Congressman and Mrs. Thompson were thrilled to attend and celebrate their son’s marriage on Friday night as he began this new chapter in his life. The Thompsons are very happy to welcome their new son-in-law into their family.”

How can someone celebrate the love of their son’s same-sex wedding but not vote to ensure all same-sex couples have that same right?

Don’t get me wrong; I am thrilled Rep. Thompson supports his son and husband. However, why is the right for them to marry more important than others? This reeks of “rights for me, but not for thee” thinking.

The second action was revealed last Thursday evening when the January 6 Select Committee held its eighth public hearing.

As they worked through the events of that fateful day, they laid out the evidence of what former president Donald Trump did and did not do for the 187 minutes during the insurrection in the U.S. Capitol.

For a politician claiming to love and support law enforcement, it was disgusting to hear that the president did nothing as he watched Fox News reporting on Capitol police being beaten, maced and disrespected. He continued with his inaction, even as threats upon the vice president and other lawmakers were made.

The third action came later in the hearing when the committee revealed the actions of Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Missouri) after he raised his fist in solidarity to encourage those protesting the election certification, many of whom would later participate in the insurrection.

Video was presented at the hearing, showing Hawley running through the hallways in an attempt to avoid the very crowd he had encouraged.

All three of these instances are examples of how politicians can be hypocritical regarding their public and personal personas.

At this time, it needs to be stated that Republicans and conservatives are not the only guilty parties when it comes to hypocrisy. We’ve witnessed plenty of examples of Democratic and progressive hypocrisy as well. For example, Governor Gavin Newman (D-California), a professing Catholic, broke his own state’s COVID-19 policies during the pandemic.

It certainly seems evident that we would all be better off if we heeded the words of Jesus when he declared in Matthew 5:27, “But make sure your statement is, ‘Yes, yes’ or ‘No, no’; anything beyond these is of evil.”

Brené Brown wrote in her book The Gifts of Imperfection, “Authenticity is a collection of choices that we have to make every day. It’s about the choice to show up and be real. The choice to be honest. The choice to let our true selves be seen.”

With the world seemingly spinning out of control right now, we need fewer hypocrites and more authentic, honest and real people.

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