How has the Puritan belief that sin cannot be washed away bred hypocrisy in America?

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I think that this is an interesting question in light of the resignation of General Petraeus from the CIA.  The Puritan belief in how sex is to be seen as fundamentally "bad" governs greatly.  General Petraeus felt the need to resign because he felt his position as national intelligence leader would be compromised by the disclosure of the relationship.  In the end, the perception here is that the Puritan belief of sin being unable to be washed away and that some stain is irrevocable is apparent.  There is not a discussion of what happened in terms of why...

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