By now, if you’ve read the news at all, you know that a company called Ashley Madison, which marketed itself as a way for married men and women to meet people with whom to commit adultery (apparently they weren’t all that good at it), was hacked.
Names, email addresses and other info for the site’s 39M users (some of which use false names, shockingly, or are just fake) is being leaked to the press, which is jumping on it like hyenas on a downed zebra.
The hackers, who call themselves The Impact Team, had more than mere mischief in mind when they attacked the site (the motto for which is, “Life is Short. Have an Affair”). In a statement, they said:
Avid Life Media has failed to take down Ashley Madison and Established Men. We have explained the fraud, deceit, and stupidity of ALM and their members. Now everyone gets to see their data.
Find someone you know in here? Keep in mind the site is a scam with thousands of fake female profiles. See ashley madison fake profile lawsuit; 90-95% of actual users are male. Chances are your man signed up on the world’s biggest affair site, but never had one. He just tried to. If that distinction matters.
Find yourself in here? It was ALM that failed you and lied to you. Prosecute them and claim damages. Then move on with your life. Learn your lesson and make amends. Embarrassing now, but you’ll get over it.
Among the addresses are “hundreds” from Harvard and Yale, and also some from the U.S. government (yep, somebody was dimwitted enough not only to cheat on a spouse, but to use a government email to do it).
There are even some addresses connected to catholic.edu.au, a doman associated with Catholic education in Australia, and about a third of them appear to be verified.
Toronto-based Avid Dating Life and Avid Life Media, the companies behind Ashley Madison, are now the targets of a $578M class-action lawsuit on behalf of the members (the actual human ones, we presume), but the true damage of the hack will be seen through spouses and children — mostly wives, since 86 percent of AM’s user accounts are associated with men.
And Christians are going to take a hit, too, for one of the oldest and most pervasive sins around — hypocrisy (mixed with a good dose of arrogance and male stupidity).
As if he didn’t have enough troubles with the revelation he molested girls (including his own sisters) as a teen, “19 Kids and Counting” star Josh Duggar — now a 27-year-old husband with young children — has been shown to have not only had an Ashley Madison account but also one with dating site OKCupid.
He used a photo grabbed from the Internet on OKCupid, which has caused a lot of trouble for the real man, Hollywood DJ Matthew McCarthy. Duggar also used the inactive Facebook account of a Goldman Sachs employee for his online shenanigans. The Ashley Madison and OKCupid accounts were active until earlier this year, during the time his wife, Anna, was pregnant with their daughter.
And Duggar has admitted being addicted to porn.
In a statement (part of a New York Daily News story with additional unsavory details), Duggar said:
“While espousing faith and family values, I have secretly over the last several years been viewing pornography on the Internet and this became a secret addiction and I became unfaithful to my wife.”
Meanwhile, Christian video bloggers (“vloggers”) Sam and Nia Rader became viral sensations recently with a video in which 29-year-old Sam found a clever way to announce to Nia that she was pregnant with their third child. Three days later, the couple revealed in a heartbreaking follow-up that the pregnancy ended in miscarriage.
After charges that the whole thing was a setup, the couple said that the pregnancy was indeed staged, that it was “all orchestrated by god above and nothing else.”
Shortly afterward, news came out that Sam Rader appeared to be the owner of an Ashley Madison account, launched in 2011 and paid for through November of 2013.
In true vlogger style, the Raders took to video to address the issue, in which Sam Rader said:
She has forgiven me for this mistake that I made in opening the account. I have sought forgiveness from God, and he has forgiven me, so I have been completely cleansed of sin.
Obviously, Catholics — and most all other Christians — believe in the forgiveness of sins. But the best remedy for this situation is to avoid the near occasion of sin altogether, such as staying away from porn and adultery Websites.
After and during their misdeeds, these men became public examples of Christian and family values, so their sins are not just personal — they’re also scandals to the faithful.
Perhaps better than most, Catholics understand what happens when those among us commit horrible sins that turn into scandals that damage or destroy the faith of many. So, I’m not pointing fingers at Duggar and Rader as being unique in this regard.
But the sheer idiocy, the arrogance and the selfishness of their actions are truly epic, and tragic for anyone who has loved and trusted them.
God forgives, but people still get hurt, and that hurt goes on.
A little wisdom, from Twitter:
Do you ? pic.twitter.com/uUiT0CPqDf
— Life. (@WordsTexts) August 22, 2015
Image: YouTube screenshot
For more entertainment and digital-media coverage, visit my Pax Culturati blog at Patheos.com, or like my Facebook page.