A Silicon Valley pastor has resigned from his church after discovering that his area’s rich liberal residents are interested in virtue signaling — but not the actual virtue of charity.
The revelation prompted the pastor, of the First Baptist Church of Palo Alto, to fire off a series of angry and vulgar tweets. As SFGate.com reports, “On his public Twitter account, which has since been removed, the Rev. Gregory Stevens called the city ‘an elitist sh** den of hate,’ and ‘disgusting.’ Stevens also lambasted the city's ‘social justice’ on Earth Day, calling it a ‘f****** joke’ and criticized the church’s elderly community.”
The outburst prompted an uproar that led to Stevens, 28, resigning to “help minimize the negativity focused on the good community work being done at the First Baptist Church of Palo Alto,” as he put it. The pastor also apologized, calling his tweets “unprofessional” and “hurtful,” and, supposedly being a Christian, he should be mindful of Jesus’ admonition, “Not that which goeth into the mouth defileth a man: but what cometh out of the mouth, this defileth a man.”
Yet insofar as the vulgarity inspired the uproar, this itself illustrates leftist hypocrisy. After all, liberals aren’t exactly known for pure tongues, and in Hollywood and elsewhere, they’ve infused entertainment with all manner and form of vulgarity. (This problem is systemic today, and I addressed it last year in the magazine essay “Cussing & Cultural Decay.”)
Yet while packaged profanely, Stevens did express a truth that’s also a common conservative lament: Liberals are long on preaching and moral preening but short on practicing. The pastor himself, however, is no conservative, as his commentary evidences. As The Guardian reports:
In emails to the Guardian, the 28-year-old minister detailed his “exasperation” with Palo Alto, a city in the heart of the technology industry, surrounded by severe income inequality and poverty.
“I believe Palo Alto is a ghetto of wealth, power, and elitist liberalism by proxy, meaning that many community members claim to want to fight for social justice issues, but that desire doesn’t translate into action,” Stevens wrote, lamenting that it was impossible for low-income people to live in the city. “The insane wealth inequality and the ignorance toward actual social justice is [sic] absolutely terrifying.”
He later added: “The tech industry is motivated by endless profit, elite status, rampant greed, and the myth that their technologies are somehow always improving the world.”
Evident in Stevens is the shock of someone who, still at a relatively tender age, learns what leftists’ favorite versions of charity and virtue actually are: respectively, outsourced and signaled. They will happily give you the shirt off someone else’s back — and research has vindicated this assessment.
Study after study has found what even the New York Times had to admit in “Bleeding Heart Tightwads”: Conservatives give far more to charity than do liberals — perhaps twice as much — despite having lower average incomes.
Moreover, leftists who do donate money are less likely to give it to the poor, about whom they claim to care, but instead finance liberal political causes.
Writer Peter Schweizer exposed more inconvenient truths in his 2008 piece, “Don't listen to the liberals — Right-wingers really are nicer people, latest research shows.” As I summarized the findings in 2016, the studies he cited indicated that liberals relative to conservatives are:
More money-oriented and greedy. As Schweizer wrote, leftists are even more likely to agree with the statement 'there are [sic] no right or wrong ways to make money'.”
• Less likely to donate to charity and help the poor.
• Less likely to care for an ill parent.
• Less likely to say they derive happiness from putting others’ happiness before their own.
• Less interested in getting married (they sure like manipulating marriage, though).
• Less likely to have children.
• Less likely to believe they should place their children’s well-being before their own.
• Less likely to hug their children (Schweizer says that his wife “thinks they're too busy hugging trees”).
(Actually, they’d probably be more apt to support a federally funded tree-hugging program.)
These are yet more examples of how leftists don’t have principles but preferences — and one preference is that they not sacrifice for their own faux principles. Consider also liberals’ recent defense of vicious gang MS-13, their opposition to President Trump’s travel bans affecting terrorist-spawning nations, and their lust affair (because new socialist voters are exciting!) with immigration in general. Rich leftists talk a good game.
But they never actually live in neighborhoods plagued by MS-13, jihadist leaning newcomers, or unassimilable immigrants of any stripe. They put them in blue-collar areas. Their neighborhoods still look like the Mayfield of Leave it to Beaver.
For Diversity™ is, in the leftist world, “for thee, not for me.” Just ponder how wealthy progressives in posh NYC neighborhoods were up in arms in recent years at proposals to put poorer minority children in their kids’ 1950s-demographics schools. One Dumbo parent (meaning, from Dumbo, Brooklyn, of course) actually said of his opposition, “It’s more complicated when it’s about your own children.”
Or your own career — if leftist Senator Elizabeth Warren is any indication. While Warren certainly supports affirmative action, far be it from her to actually sacrifice for it. Instead of joining blue-collar whites at the back of the jobs bus, she claimed American Indian status so she could benefit from affirmative-action-fired career advancement at Harvard Law School.
But this isn’t unusual among university faculties: They look like 1950s Mayfield, too — if you can picture Beaver, Wally, and Eddie Haskell all grown and teaching “Gay and Lesbian Studies.”
As for Gregory Stevens, he has learned the hard way that his fellow leftists care more about appearances than action. For it’s easy to be idealistic when you don’t have to live with your ideals.
Photo of Palo Alto: Wikimedia