In Tartuffe, the titular character represents religious hypocrisy. Who are some modern day figures who have been criticized for religious hypocrisy? Who are some modern day figures that could be...

In Tartuffe, the titular character represents religious hypocrisy. Who are some modern day figures who have been criticized for religious hypocrisy? Who are some modern day figures that could be compared with Tartuffe in these regards?


Asked on by csd1011

4 Answers

mwestwood's profile pic

mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

Jimmy Swaggart, a Pentecostal pastor and televangelist, who was the most popular televangelist in 1983, brought great scandal upon himself in 1988 after he solicited sex from a prostitute, an action not unlike Tartuffe's solicitation of Elmire. Interestingly, his exposure came as a retaliation by fellow Assemblies of God minister Marvin Gorman, who had Swaggert followed and filmed at a motel.

Also, Jerry Falwell, co-founder of the Moral Majority, seemed rather hypocritical when, after vehemently condemning homosexuality, he supported LGBT civil rights.

booboosmoosh's profile pic

booboosmoosh | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Educator Emeritus

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Starting in the '70s, the Bakkers (Tammy Faye and Jim) were just starting out in television evangelism. They were the original hosts of "The 700 Club." During their heyday, they not only had their own talk show, but their own television network and a Christian theme park.

In 1987, it was revealed that Bakker had an affair with a church secretary in 1980, and paid her a quarter of a million dollars to keep it quiet. In 1987, Bakker was convicted of fraud, cheating thousands of followers out of money, and he was sentenced to forty-five years in prison.

Tammy Faye divorced Jim three years after his conviction. The husband and wife team had an enormous following, but Bakker's public persona was based on hypocrisy and lies.

pohnpei397's profile pic

pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

A couple other people who have been accused of religious hypocrisy would be Ted Haggard, the anti-gay preacher from Colorado who was found to have had homosexual relationships himself and Newt Gingrich who talked about the need for better moral and religious values while himself being unfaithful in his marriage.

Off the subject, any Mormon (I'm not one) would object to the characterization in Post 2 of the polygamist churches as Mormon.  They are not recognized as Mormon by the LDS Church because they have chosen not to go along with the teachings of the Church.  So they are a breakaway sect, not a branch of Mormonism.

shakespeareguru's profile pic

shakespeareguru | Teacher | (Level 2) Educator

Posted on

In answering your question, I will point you to some general examples, and also name some individual leaders.  Please use the links below for more information on these examples.

The most current example would be the ongoing scandal within the Catholic Church in this country, which revolves around the alleged and confirmed sexual mis-conduct of many of its priests.

In a similar way, high ranking clergy within the more conservative branches of the Mormon faith have been accused (and some convicted) of sex crimes.  In one instance in recent history, the government invaded the Yearning For Zion Ranch in Texas and "rescued" many children from "abusive" homes.  I place these terms in quotes, since these charges were not wholly proven, and many of the children were returned to their homes.

The 1980s and 90s saw a few famous Tel-Evangelists fall from grace in what is known as the Born-Again community in America.  Jimmy Swaggart and Jim Bakker are two names that spring to mind.  Jim Bakker was actually quite a well-known and wealthy figure, who, since his fall from grace, has made his way back to a position as a Tel-Evangelist once again.   Swaggart also continues a worldwide ministry.

For more on the examples mentioned above, please follow the links below.