As Martin Marty’s Sightings column comes back from a summer break, he takes on the recent Ashley Madison scandal and the associated media glee. If you hadn’t heard, Ashley Madison is a website where people (overwhelmingly men, apparently) could share that they were looking to have an extra-marital affair. Hackers stole and then published the Ashley Madison data, exposing these affair-seeking husbands to the general light. And not a few turned out to be pastors or other publicly “moral-minded” men, which the media has taken great delight in exposing and discussing.
While there is merit in exposing hypocrisy, especially among those who trade in attacking the morality of others, this should, perhaps, be approached with more humility. As Marty points out, in our hyper-surveilled society, no one is really free from the aggressive scrutiny and judgement of the mob. We would do well, therefore, to remember that we too are human and flawed before we rush to condemn.