No, we shouldn't crucify the irritating Christian vlogger who was keeping an Ashley Madison account

Yes, he should have practiced what he preached - but there's only so far our schadenfreude can go before it becomes deeply sinister

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The Independent Online

It was a crappily-ever-after ending to the hacking scandal for users of ‘cheat on your spouse, because life is short’ website Ashley Madison as details of their adulterous curiosities were leaked for the world to see this week. Anonymous hackers known as the Impact group released the data for more than 33 million users under the moralistic premise of targeting companies profiting from the “pain of others, secrets and lies,” and the individuals who utilise the service.

One such couple the hackers were likely delighted in exposing are Christian vloggers Sam Rader and his wife Nia: the epitome of all things sacred.

I mean, how juicy can you get? An uber-Christian couple who shot to fame with millions of hits to a family video called “Good looking parents sing Disney’s Frozen” have their father figure, self-confessed child of God, Sam, outed as a potential adulterer. It practically screams: “Crucify him!”

So should we?

When those who sit on their high horse - bopping to corny pop music being the proudest perfect pearly white, squeaky clean, all-American Christian family - fall, there’s an overwhelming sense of joy that these precious little snowflakes of virtue have melted in the pressure of our tempting world and all its attendant vices. While the phrase “Practice what you preach” seems appropriate in this case, that’s not actually where the buck stops.

For Christ-fearing/God-loving individuals, the stones cast by the hack and subsequent myriad of articles exposing users may not break their spirits but it might crush their souls. Whether you believe in a higher being or not, it’s hard to sit back and rub your hands with glee as people are so publicly degraded. But as much as cheating is undeniably a breach of trust, I find it hard to rejoice in schadenfreude as people - as lustful as they may be - are punished for being human.

Within hours of the big reveal, Sam Rader released a video called “Forgiven” addressing the cheating rumours, declaring he had an Ashley Madison account but had never used it. “I have sought forgiveness from God, and he has forgiven me, so I have been completely cleansed of this sin,” he said. Nia was at his side.

Never one to shy away from sharing their entire lives by video-link, the couple then continued to attend public events - and those ever eager to hurl stones were waiting. Comments from a blogging conference over the weekend expressed disgust at their lack of morality and perceived abundance of ego. When Rader eventually reacted aggressively - threatening to punch his critics - he was escorted out. How the mighty hath fallen.

In the last twenty four hours there have been two reported suicides of people associated as customers of Ashley Madison. Meanwhile enterprising cyber criminals are seeking a profit from extorting users threatening to expose their details to wider forums.

As individual reputations and lives are plunged into despair, the power of vigilante justice rises. In dancing on the metaphorical graves of high profile hacking victims, we might just be opening the gates to a hellish new era of internet witch hunts.

These Christian vloggers may be less than divine, but, after all, who are we to judge? Does it make our faults and sins any less?

In the beginning, after God created the heavens and the earth, he said, “Let there be light” - and there was light. In the end, after the Ashley Madison hack revealed the users and their details, they said, “Let there be truth” and there was truth - but at what dark cost?