I was looking for a proverb or a saying that describes the hypocrisy of a local dictator at a non profit organization who held and managed fake elections in which he was running for the president position which he won. Everybody was laughing at its faulty procedures and the obvious conflict of interest. Interestingly, last week he asked people about their opinion about the color of the new carpet for the building and he had four different samples for the carpets and asked everybody to vote by putting a mark on the carpet sample they liked. He made it transparent and counted the votes and made a big deal out of a trivial issue.

I am looking for something that describes people people being honest with trivial things but being dishonest with bigger matters.

1 Answer 1


'To strain at a gnat and swallow a camel' comes to mind and in a similar context.

The proverb is recorded by Matthew (Matthew 23:24) as the words of Jesus who criticised the religious hierarchy of the day when they gave tithes of herbs, like mint and anise, but neglected the weightier matters of fairly judging unlawful conduct for which they, as moral leaders, were responsible.

Jesus' proverb, and his following words, imply that it is quite correct to pay attention to detail, but it is hypocrisy to do so demonstrably, whilst - also demonstrably - completely ignoring or avoiding much greater issues.

Which I understand to be the very context of the OP's question.

  • Related but not at all the same: 'Penny wise, pound foolish'.
    – Mitch
    Feb 14, 2019 at 19:27

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