Saturday, March 10, 2007


The moral facade further crumbles

A big thanks goes out to Newt Gingrich and James Dobson, who further reminded us this week that the Right is concerned about family values and Christian uprightness only when such highminded standards are applied to the likes of Ted Kennedy and Bill Clinton. Applied to their only favorite sons, conservatives are surprisingly flexible and situational in their sense of morality and ethics.

Exhibit A is Newt Gingrich's admission this week that he was cheating on his wife, even while leading the charge to prosecute President Clinton for lying about his own marital infidelity. But of course, it's not hypocrisy, Newt insists. This time it's different. "The President of the United States got in trouble for committing a felony in front of a sitting judge," Gingrich said, showing a lack of any remorse or self-awareness.

Indeed, Gingrich's interview with James Dobson on the evangelist/psychologist's "Focus on the Family" radio show apparently was a celebration of the swell guy that is Newt Gingrich. The website of Focus on the Family, which ironically champions healthy families and marriages, seemed to have no problem with Gingrich's infidelity. Oh sure, Dobson disapproves of such carrying on, but as I looked at the site's home page crowing about this interview, it was clear that Dobson and his group were quite forgiving and saw Gingrich as sufficiently repentant of his sins and still worthy of a run for the White House. In fact, the broadcast in which Gingrich admits to cheating on his wife is titled "Rediscovering Our Nation's Spiritual Heritage." Apparently, a philanderer like Gingrich is fit to lead us to such rediscovery. It all seemed more as a calculated effort to unload some baggage in a manner timely and expedient for a presidential run than it did an honest moment of self-reflection and remorse.

We won't even talk about Gingrich's two divorces and the shady book deal that led to his 1998 resignation in disgrace from his Speaker's chair. The Right is outraged about shady book deals only when it's Jim Wright's shady book deal in question. As for divorce, take a look at Sean Hannity, who was confronted yesterday by a caller who pointed out that this year's Republican candidates together have more divorces under their belts than those godless Democrats. "I guess I have more compassion than you," Hannity said to the caller, in a rare display of understanding and sympathy toward others. You see, divorce is a pardonable sin to conservatives, partly because so many of their candidates' marriages have failed, even multiple times in the cases of Gingrich and Rudy Giuliani. Also, research has shown us that evangelical Christians are more likely to divorce than followers of any other religious tradition, even atheists. So of course, the Christian Right has oddly flexible views on the sanctity of marriage, but only so long as it's their own marriages that are failing, not the marriages of liberals.

Let's now turn to right-wing hypocrisy Exhibit B, Scooter Libby. Gingrich, who this week restated his outrage over President Clinton's lies, is oddly silent over Libby's conviction for lying in the investigation over the Valerie Plame leaks. The conservative punditocracy was anything but silent, however, this week, engaging in nothing but excuse-making. Local wannabe cool guys Jamie Allman and Smash (You know you're trying too hard when you call yourself Smash) went into a long diatribe about Libby's conviction on their morning show on wingnut fave 97.1 Talk.

Allman, former TV weasle and St. Louis Archdiocese PR hack who turned out to be a bigger horse's ass than Archbishop Burke (who'd a-thought that possible?), quoted heavily from the repugnant Anne Coulter in one of her rants, in essence whining, You think Libby was bad, well what about these liberals? Folks, I teach fifth-graders, and they're famous for deflection, finger-pointing and excuse -making. With a 10-year-old, anything goes to take the focus off of Little Johnnie's bad behavior and put it anywhere else so Little Johnnie doesn't have to consider that he might really be a turd. I expect it from 10-year-olds, but to hear it from adults... Well, I stand corrected. Coulter is anything but adult.

Allman, quoting from Coulter, went at length about how we liberals were picking on OxyContin abuser and prescription shopper Rush Limbaugh, how that mean ol' Democrat prosecutor in Texas was persecuting Tom Delay, the accused money launderer, political boss and friend of Jack Abramoff (Oh wait, I forgot, Delay is truly a fine Christian because his heart bleeds for Terri Schiavo). Allman even wanted to know why Ted Kennedy got a pass for Chappaquiddick. He must really have had to stretch if he's looking back to 1969 for ammo.

Right is right, and wrong is wrong. I'm sure liberals themselves have been plenty hypocritical. I've tried to avoid that here. I've declared my distaste for Clinton's poor morality on this blog many times. Back in 1994, I found myself eating plenty of crow and admitting that the Democrats deserved their terrible defeat for its years of corruption and power-mongering If I make an excuse for a liberal, I'll make sure it's a valid one, not just a gratuitous deflection because I'm not man enough to admit that my side is wrong.

And many conservatives are quick to show the same forthrightness and honesty - just not their leadership, which faces sad times. All their high-minded rhetoric has crumbled, a badly built facade turning to dust. In the end, many of these politicians and pundits show themselves as transparent and hollow. Ralph Reed was a greedy power-broker intent on defrauding Indian tribes. Ted Haggard was a meth-head with a taste for male prostitutes. I could go on. I'm truly sorry for the millions of sincere Christians taken in by these hucksters. It all sounded so good. The church was coming take over Washington. But in end, Washington took over the church, and we have nothing left but excuses. And boy, do we keep hearing excuses.

Can you imagine the idea of President Gingrich ? Ugghhh, I think I'll throw up.
So the Mouth would have us evangelicals NOT be forgiving? Tell me, when will the Left's anger towards its favorite son, Bill Clinton stop being pointed towards the Right in a "no I'm not, you are" fashion?

If Gingrich had of been caught having an affair while in office with an intern and then lied about it under oath, the right would have thrown treated him just as they did Clinton. If Clinton had of come forward and admitted his sin and how he struggled with it, we would have forgiven him just as we do Gingrich. And we DO forgive Clinton now.

As Christians, we seek to have men of high moral character in office that will represent Christian values in office. If we know that someone is acting immorally, supports an immoral agenda, or has such a past record of immorality that his reputation and trust has been ruined, then no, we won't support him. However, we also aren't putting out a sign that says "only sinless candidates need apply" For if we did, we'd have no candidates, or at least only ones that were good liers.

Gingrich's book deal wasn't shady at all, and he didn't resign in "disgrace." Rather, Gingrich was run out of office by the politics of personal destruction of Democrates who couldn't beat him any other way.

Is Gingriches' two divorces a thing to be proud of? No, he'll tell you they aren't. If you LISTENED to the interview, or even read it, you'd find that Newt was, without a doubt, real and sincere in his admission of guilt and his struggle in trying to do the right thing and failing.

What about your assertion that evangelicals are more likely to divorce than any other "religious tradition"? Well, I looked around, including the highly respected and often quoted Barna Group ( and found no such data. Barna did find that Born Again Christians are as likely as pagan folks to get divorced. And, although I couldn't find it, I once read statistics that showed that the divorce rate amoung Christians who went to church weekly droped significantly, and amoung those Christians who went to church frequently and prayed together the divorce rate was in the lower single digits.

Giuliani, is another story. I DOUBT that you'll hear Giuliani on Focus on the Family. Here's a guy that has been divorced 3 times and flouted his girlfriend in the public eye while still married to number two. Still, if Giuliani was repentent, many Christians could get past that. However, the real problem with Giuliani is that he is pro-choice and pro gay - two views that are clearly against biblical teaching. Now, will a lot of Christians vote and support Giuliani? Sure. Will evangelicals? Not many. Will faithful, church going, bible reading, praying evangelicals? No.

Well, I'll have to respond to the rest of this post sometime - very long. What time did you get up to write it?
B from D, you sound increasing frantic in your strained attempts to rationalize such transparent hypocrisy. How nice that you're so forgiving of Gingrich, whose morality you've never once criticized.

How you're able to distinguish Gingrich's moral bankruptcy from Clinton's shows a true boldness, I must say. But please don't insult us with your insistence that you "seek to have men of high moral character that will represent Christians in office." Clearly, you seek nothing of the sort in your support of Gingrich.
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