George Graham

The “Whited Sepulchres” of the Religious Right

The King James version of the Bible calls them “whited sepulchres,” while later translations use the term “whitewashed graves,” but I’m sure you know what Jesus meant when he described the Pharisees that way. They looked good on the outside but were rotten inside.

If those pharisees were alive today, I bet they would be leaders of the Republican Party in America.

Republican politicians have refined hypocrisy to a fine art.

I have not earned the right to reproach others for their profligate ways. I sowed my share of wild oats.

But I believe I can in all fairness cry “shame” when degenerates masquerade as champions of morality.

Take Newt Gingrich, for example.

He is pretending to be a hand-wringing, psalm singing penitent who can now sit in judgment on others. Newt Gingrich!

This sleaze bag, who shucked one of his wives while she was in the hospital with cancer…

This creep, who was lambasting Bill Clinton for playing around with Monica Lewinski while he himself was crawling into bed with a Congressional intern…

This perennial presidential wannabe, who uses the pretext of political action to milk money from gullible contributors…

This latter-day pharisee

He claims that it was his burning patriotism and strong work ethic that drove him to adultery.  (You figure it out, I can’t imagine what he means.)

Gingrich is just one of the Republicans flirting with a presidential run in 2012 (or pretending to do so as an excuse to collect money from the gullible).

And he has a lot of company in the “whited sepulchre” category.

But Republican voters seem impervious to hypocrisy. In fact, they seem impervious to contradictory behavior in general.

For instance, some of the Republican standard bearers claim to be Libertarians. They say they want the government to stay out of people’s lives.

There’s a modicum of logic in that position, although I don’t see how a country of more than 300 million people would function efficiently without a strong central government.

What I do not understand is how they reconcile this philosophy with their constant interference in the private lives of other citizens.

The same people who want the government to leave them alone also want the government to take away other people’s rights.

Their justification? Morality.

Perhaps (as the Bible also suggests) they should be removing the wood chip from their own eye before pointing out the speck of dust in the eyes of their fellow-humans.

But that’s just not the way pharisees roll.

Or Republicans.

About the author


I am a Jamaican-born writer who has lived and worked in Canada and the United States. I live in Lakeland, Florida with my wife, Sandra, our three cats and two dogs. I like to play golf and enjoy our garden, even though it's a lot of work. Since retiring from newspaper reporting I've written a few books. I also write a monthly column for