Stop me if you've heard any of these before:
...a popular television minister exhorts his audience to sacrifice their money and resources for
God--only to be revealed as a sickeningly wealthy fraud guilty of pocketing the money himself.
...a pastor extols the virtues of morality each week to his congregation--while he cheats on his wife on the side.
...a once-respected religious leader resigns in disgrace, hounded by rumors of scandal and corruption.
Hypocrisy--pretending to believe in something you don't. It happens in all walks of life, of course, but when it happens in the church it is particularly upsetting. And if you think that you can't stand hypocrites, listen to what Jesus--usually characterized by his patience and gentleness--had to say about them: "You hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of dead men's bones and everything unclean... You snakes! You brood of vipers! How will you escape being condemned to hell?"
Those are harsh words, and they tell us in no uncertain terms that hypocrisy, whether it's demonstrated in the life of a prominent minister or a lowly churchgoer, is an offense to God. Most of us aren't famous preachers, but all of us must be on guard against the temptation to exempt ourselves from the standards to which we hold others.
Sometimes, even the best-intentioned person fails to meet the expectations of man and God. In fact, the Bible tells us that if we try to live a perfect life on our own, we'll never measure up (Romans 3:23).
It's a good thing that we don't rely on humans--few of whom can honestly claim to have always practiced exactly what they preached--for our hope! Because there is a truth strong enough to shine through even the darkest of hypocrisies--it's the message that God, who loathes hypocrisy, is willing to forgive our failures, to wipe them away as if they'd never existed, to transform two-faced deception into honesty and integrity.
Defamation: When Careless Words Can Be Costly
Most of us are familiar with reports of Hollywood movie stars suing tabloid publications for printed articles containing false information. Business owners may be surprised to learn that they too can be sued based on the same legal principles, known as defamation law. Exposure to such claims may arise when employees, perhaps unwittingly, make false statements about another person or business. In fact, a private person can prove such a case with a lesser standard of proof than is required when a "public figure" sues. As with any potential claim, knowledge of the rules is the key to loss avoidance.
Defamation refers to a category of civil claims based on false statements which are "published," meaning spoken or expressed in writing, to a third party. Though defamation claims are frequently asserted against commercial publications, such as newspapers, defamation can also occur in a private setting, arising out of a letter or a conversation. In the business setting, it is therefore important that the content of communications, particularly those which are written or circulated to a wide audience, be accurate and fair.
Georgia's tort law of defamation includes claims for libel and slander. A libel is a false and malicious defamation of another, expressed in print, writing, pictures, or signs, tending to injure the reputation of the person and exposing that person to "public hatred, contempt or ridicule." "Malice," as used in the foregoing definition, means ill-will, hatred or charges calculated to injure. This is a lesser standard than that required to show "malice" when constitutional, free speech rights are at issue, the standard to which newspapers are held when discussing public figures. "Malice" in this latter context means knowledge of falsity or reckless disregard of whether a statement is false.
Slander, or oral defamation, occurs when a statement is uttered to a third party which is false and malicious. Some statements are considered so offensive that malice is implied and need not be affirmatively shown. Statements in this category include imputing to another person a crime punishable by law, or making charges against another in reference to that person's trade, office or profession which are likely to injure that person in his or her business. The crime need not be a felony; it is sufficient that a person has been accused of being guilty of a misdemeanor. Statements in the categories discussed in this paragraph do not require proof of actual damages either, contrary to most civil claims for money damages. The reason for this rule is that damage to a claimant's reputation can be presumed when the statement is sufficiently offensive, and also because reputation damages are difficult to prove.
Georgia law treats libel slightly more seriously than it does slander, because a libel involves the deliberate act of expressing defamation in writing, a relatively permanent form. Consequently, certain statements are considered actionable libel without a showing of damages, when the same statements would require proof of damages in a case of spoken defamation. Claims in this category include false statements that a person has engaged in acts of dishonesty or immorality.
In recent decades, some aspects of state defamation law were held unconstitutional by federal courts, to protect constitutional guarantees of free speech from being over-ridden by individual state laws. There is a continuing federal standard which applies to all states with respect to statements about public figures, based on the notion that politicians and other persons who choose to become widely known voluntarily subject themselves to public scrutiny and thereby forfeit a certain degree of privacy. However, the federal courts have deferred to state law in recent years with respect to claims involving private figures. Under Georgia law, a private figure can recover damages for defamation upon a showing of simple fault or negligence. This is contrasted with claims against public figures who must make a showing that the statements alleged to be defamatory were known to be false or made with reckless disregard as to their truth or falsity.
In the business context, defamation claims can conceivably surface in many ways. For example, letters to the editors which are published in a local newspaper have been the source of suits in Georgia against the author of the letter. Personnel departments may also have exposure for this type of claim if disparaging statements are made concerning former employees. It is important to have a policy requiring careful consideration of statements which are released to any third party concerning a former employee. Adverse statements can have a significant impact on a former employee's livelihood, and, for that reason, such statements can be particularly injurious. There are certain absolute defenses to defamation claims, most notably truth and privilege. If the person making the statement can prove that it was true, no matter how unflattering or derogatory, it is an absolute defense to a defamation claim. Certain other categories of statements are absolutely privileged, such as statements made during the course of legal proceedings. Georgia law also provides for certain conditional privileges as a defense to defamation claims. One such privilege is a good faith statement made on a subject in which the party making the statement has a significant interest. Conditional privileges will not apply, however, if they are merely used as a cloak for venting private malice. Consequently, the issue of conditional privileges, like most issues in defamation cases, is usually a question for the jury. In a case where jury questions are presented, the defendant can look forward to years of litigation before getting his or her day in court.
In light of the potential for defamation claims, businesses should implement appropriate policies and procedures to reduce exposure to such claims. Depending upon the nature of the business, it might also be appropriate to evaluate whether adequate insurance coverage has been purchased for potential defamation claims, and, if not, whether such coverage should be acquired.
What is prejudice?
Prejudice (say pre-joo-dis) is a word that means judging someone or having an idea about them before you actually know anything about them.
It can also mean having an opinion about something without knowing anything about it.
It seems a bit silly to have an opinion on something or someone you know nothing about!
Unfortunately, we don't always see that we are being prejudiced.
We don't always see that we have strong ideas about certain people, their culture or their religion.
Unfortunately, we don't always see that we have been influenced by family, friends and the media to have ideas about something or someone that we have no personal experience of.
In the 'olden days' maybe it was understandable that people would be afraid of another group of people who looked different, had a different religion and did things in a different way, because most people lived and died in the place where they were born.
People who always lived in the same place with others like them might fear that people who looked or acted differently may want their land or may want to hurt them in some way.
Nowadays, because people travel a lot, or go to live in a completely different country, or go to school with lots of people from different places, we should learn to respect each other's differences.
But sometimes these fears from the 'olden days' are sort of passed along in families, and a kid may find that he is being prejudiced against someone of a different race, even though he doesn't know that person.
If some people watch something on the news or in a movie which shows someone of a different race or culture doing something bad, then they may choose to think that all people of that race are bad people. How silly is that? There are good and bad people everywhere in the world.
Do you sometimes find yourself saying, "Oh, it's not fair the boys always get to…" or "The girls always get to…" ? Well be careful, because that is gender prejudice.
What do you want to do when you grow up?
For a long time there were some jobs that were only for boys and some jobs that were only for girls.
But that has changed now. Lots more girls are going into jobs in engineering, medicine, science, sales and just about anything you can think of that girls were never given the chance to do.
Boys wouldn't go into 'girls' jobs, like nursing, teaching, hairdressing, modelling because they were thought to be not jobs for 'real' men!
Why? Well, it was thought that it would be a waste of time and money for girls to do any job that needed a lot of time to learn, because girls would get married, have children then stay home to look after them.Nowadays anyone can do any job if they have the training and the strength to do it.
In many countries, everyone can choose what they want to do, and employers choose the best person for the job whether that person is male or female.
Of course there are still some countries where females are not expected to work outside the home, but not in Australia.
As you learn more about the world we live inand especially about the wars that have been fought, you learn that many of these wars were about religion.One lot of people was trying to make another lot of people believe in the same god or gods that they believed in.Some countries are still fighting about religion. How sad it must be to be friends with someone when you are both in another country yet be unable to admit that you even know each other when you are in your own country.
As soon as you hear people making comments like, all men, all people of one race, all girls, all boys, all people with one ear bigger than the other, or whatever, then you can tell that there is some prejudice there.How can anyone know all people who….?If you catch yourself thinking stuff like that, then think.