Beliefnet
Everyday Ethics

I scared myself a bit today – while I’ve always prided
myself for being independent enough to see past the ol’ Republican/Democrat
divide, I’ve never actually
experienced a time in which my gut (as opposed to my head) agreed with an
outspoken Republican.

I’m referring to New York Representative Peter King, who finds it
repugnant that so much media and fan attention is being paid to Michael
Jackson’s death. King went so far to release a YouTube video calling Jackson a
pedophile and pervert, 
asking why the media was concentrating on Jackson rather
than the men and women serving in the military. 

Intellectually, I strongly disagree with his statement.
Jackson was acquitted once and settled in another instance. Legally he was innocent (Update: a commenter below corrected me that legally, he was simply “not guilty”. I concede this point, though I stick by the intended message), something King would do well
to remember. 

My gut, however, is uncomfortable to say the least. I’m uncomfortable with the circus of celebrity worship surrounding Jackson’s funeral and memorial, and worse, I’m uncomfortable with my discomfort! I believe in that whole “innocent until proven guilty” thing. Yet I’m conflicted.

Possible pedophilia aside (though that’s generally a pretty tough thing to put aside), my gut agrees that it is just plain disturbing to see the level of celebrity worship our society has reached. And it breaks my heart because there are so many men and women working to improve horrific conditions around the world who garner no recognition – not that they do it for the fame.

These two sets of emotions make it hard to distinguish if my gut is thinking ethically when I hear it cheer on King’s statement. (Sidenote: Hillary’s recent post, “Morality: Does It Come from the Heart or the Head?” tackles this very situation.)

In case you couldn’t tell, it seriously disturbs me to discover this part of me that’s in agreement with King, especially because my gut also knows it’s wrong to slander the dead.

Unfortunately, if I’m acting as my own judge and jury here, I think I have to accuse my gut of being quite unethical.

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