I have previously posted on the way the tabloid press has successfully rebranded the clergy as frequently grossly immoral, which is one reason among many for why I do not wear a dog collar.
Another reason I do not wear one is that people don’t mask their sin when I first meet them because they don’t know I am clergy. When they find out that I am a vicar, it causes shock, apologies and great looks of guilt when they’ve said or done something in front of me that they know is wrong.
I once visited a parishioner in a care home. During my visit, two nurses were talking about him behind his back in disparaging language thinking that he couldn’t hear or understand. I have played golf with people who happily swear on their way around the course until they ask what I do. I am treated like a normal customer at various counters, until I write down my address or give my job title.
But why should people think that they need to behave well when near a man with a piece of white plastic in his collar yet not in anyone else’s company?