It was a Dorian Grey self-portrait when the Christian Right
felt " honored" that ethically-challenged Tom DeLay would be headlining
their " Justice
Sunday II" event.
Then the Associated Press reported
Federal prosecutors are seeking bank
fraud charges against lobbyist Jack Abramoff, a key figure in investigations
involving House Majority Leader Tom DeLay. . . . The charges stem from the 2000
purchase by Abramoff and his partners of SunCruz Casinos and the alleged use of
a fake wire transfer of $23 million aimed at influencing lenders to provide
millions of dollars for the deal.
This news followed on the heels of a series of articles about the evils
of gambling by another featured speaker at Justice Sunday II, Focus on the
Family's James Dobson.
All this was going on while Louis Sheldon of the Traditional
Values Coalition was again confirming his and " the movement's" hypocrisy,
and as The Rolling Stones' " Sweet
Neo Con" was playing in the news.
In December 2002, New York Times columnist Paul Krugman
reported that House Majority Leader Tom Delay, one of Washington's " most
feared and bare-knuckled partisans," had openly admitted he was " on
a mission from God to promote a 'biblical worldview' in American politics."
DeLay's ethics problems and dirty politics are legendary. That made him a
worthy cohort, as reported by Church and State magazine:
House Majority Leader Tom DeLay
(R-Texas) is helping a controversial Religious Right group raise money to
defeat a so-called " war on Christianity" in America and preserve the
nation's alleged " Christian heritage. . . .
DeLay has endorsed a campaign by the
Rev. Lou Sheldon's Traditional Values Coalition (TVC), which claims in a recent
fund-raising letter that it will raise $12.6 million to " stop the all-out
assault on Christians being waged by our government [i.e., the judiciary], by
America's educational institutions, by the media and throughout popular
DeLay is the perfect corrupt hypocrite to represent the
leaders of the evangelical Christian Right and their agenda. It also explains
why Mick Jagger's lyrics apply to more than just George W. Bush: " You call yourself a Christian, I call you a
hypocrite. You call yourself a patriot. Well, I think you are full of shit."
" It is
not enough to list the things we as a moral people oppose -- so-called homosexual marriage, homosexual adoption,
etc. Now is the time to assert what mainstream
Americans believe and speak the truth
even as we are slandered and maligned by
extremists." [italics mine]
Those are the words Rev. Louis P. Sheldon wrote to promote his new book. Let's start
with Lou's claim to represent " moral people."
Following the 9/11 terrorist attacks, Rev. Sheldon -- founder
and chairman of the Traditional Values Coalition -- argued
against giving aid to the surviving members of gay and lesbian partnerships, many of
whom had children. Is that what a " moral" man would do after
such a horrific tragedy?
Is it moral to encourage intolerance and hate? Is it moral
to oppose programs that would help men, women and children afflicted with HIV?
Is it moral to advocate discrimination? Is it moral to suggest putting some
people in concentration camps? Is it moral to oppose programs and legislation
that would benefit the 8 to 10 million children currently being reared by
same-sex parents? Is it moral to sponsor and support legislation specifically
designed to hurt those same families?
is guilty of all
his self-promo Lou claimed to speak for " mainstream Americans." That
doesn't seem to be the case, increasingly so. According to the new Pew Research
Center for People and the Press/Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life poll,
Today, 36 percent of Americans favor allowing
gays and lesbians to marry, up from 32 percent in December 2004. The percentage
favoring gay civil unions has risen as well. Currently, 53 percent favor
allowing gays and lesbians to enter into legal arrangements providing them with
many of the same rights as married couples; that compares with 48 percent last
Evan Wolfson, executive director of Freedom to Marry, is
correct: " This is exactly what the right wing is afraid of. People have
had a year of legal marriage in Massachusetts to see how ending marriage
discrimination helps gay and lesbian families and hurts no one."
The poll also had another finding that marked America's
movement away from Sheldon's brand of bigotry and hate: " Support for gay
marriage and gay civil unions has increased slightly among most religious
groups. However, support for civil unions has increased significantly among white evangelical Protestants, from
26 percent in December 2004 to 35 percent today" [italics mine].
As for the so-called " homosexual
agenda" that so terrifies Lou Sheldon et
al, it was well expressed by Rep. Barney Frank in his speech on behalf of
the Stonewall Democratic Federation at the 2004 Democratic National Convention:
Specifically, we want all people in the
United States to enjoy the same legal rights as everyone else, unless they have
forfeited them by violating the rights of others. We believe this should
include some things that are, apparently, very controversial.
include the right to serve, fight, and even die on behalf of our country in the
military; the right to earn a living by working hard and being judged wholly on
the quality of our work; the right for teenagers to attend high school without
being shoved, punched, or otherwise attacked; and, yes, the right to express
not only love for another person but a willingness to be legally as well as
morally responsible for his or her well-being.
these " traditional values" ?
but not least is Rev. Sheldon's claim of being " slandered
and maligned by extremists." When it comes to gay Americans and their
families, no one's rhetoric is more slanderous, hateful, immoral, or extreme
than Lou Sheldon's. Perhaps he would do well to remember some biblical edicts: "
you shall reap what you sow" and " do unto others as you would have
them do unto you."
While all these " sweet
neocons" were busy exposing themselves, so was notorious homophobe and
ultra-conservative Rick Santorum (R-PA) in his article for
Catholic OnLine. According to Sen. Santorum, the pedophile sex-scandal and
decades-long cover-up that rocked -- and continues to rock -- the Roman
Catholic Church is the fault of the media and intellectuals:
those in the
media and academia . . . have zealously promoted moral relativism by
sanctioning " private" moral matters such as alternative lifestyles.
Priests, like all of us, are affected by culture. When the culture is sick,
every element in it becomes infected.
Perhaps Rick should have a
talk with the rector of St. Patrick's Cathedral, Monsignor Eugene Clark. This
pillar of the church -- who frequently damned gays for " destroying the
church" and " Catholic family life" -- now finds himself named
as " the other man" in a nasty divorce involving his personal
secretary with whom, according to the suit, he had a
long-time sexual affair. The monsignor resigned on August 11.
senator, there is a sickness in the culture. It's called " neocon 'Christian'
hypocrisy," as DeLay, Dobson, Sheldon, Clark and you so well illustrate.
By the way, Senator, did you ever repay the Penn Hills School District?
In mid-November 2004, righteous Rick was caught bilking the
taxpayers of Pennsylvania. The Penn Hills School District had been paying the
charter " cyber-school" tuition for Santorum's five children -- a
cost of $100,000 over the last four years -- even though they actually lived in
Virginia. When the story broke, Santorum immediately responded, saying he would
withdraw his children from the charter school and home-school them instead. In
his official response, Santorum stated, " I want to thank the
administration of the Penn Hills School District for the courtesy they extended
to me during this time," but said nothing about reimbursing the school
Jagger does have a way with words . . .