Should people in official positions be exposed in the media when they do something wrong like cheating on their spouse? A survey by YouGov has revealed that the majority of the UK public do. In fact, it seems as if the general public also have a list of importance as to who should get priority exposure!
The Sunday Times commissioned a survey on the matter after the recent controversy surrounding superinjunctions and the freedom of the press, especially on celebrities and public figures *Ryan Giggs, cough cough*.
People who were surveyed were asked to rank a list of 10 sorts of celebrities and public figures in order of how important it was for them to be exposed for misconduct. The results were surprising:
- a senior politician – 71%
- a backbench politician – 65%
- a local clergyman – 64%
- a local councillor – 62%
- a top professional footballer – 59%
- a senior executive of a major corporation – 58%
- a well-known actor – 56%
- a television presenter – 55%
- a former reality TV star – 51%
- a normal member of the public – 30%
What I was surprised about especially was the ranking of the local vicar. Nearly three times as many respondents wanted to see local clergy exposed in the media as opted to keep the matter private (23%), with 13% unsure what to think. Conservative voters (71%) and the over-60s (70%) especially wanted hypocritical clergy exposed.
BRIN UK had this to say about the findings:
Religious professionals may no longer command the sort of respect in the community which they once did, but it seems that we generally still expect them to be exemplary in their moral behaviour and feel entitled to know about their falls from grace.
I find this all very interesting. There seems to be, as I have said in the past that we Britons DO have a sense of moral direction deep down, no matter how bad society is.
Of course, the only remedy for clergy to prevent getting a bad name in the press is to make sure that they are accountable and to stick to what scripture teaches. We are all hypocrites, and we all sin, but I think the British public know that a clergyman (apart from preaching the Gospel and teaching faith) is called to live a holy life, to be a shepherd to his people, and an example to the community.
What do you think about the results?