My friend, Ernie, was asking me yesterday why I hadn't commented on the ongoing American congressional scandal involving Republican congressman Mark Foley and his virtual hanky panky with young male congressional pages.
I told him that there's a such a huge pile-on right now, that I felt like a blind man in a snow storm and just couldn't figure out what to say about it. All the spinning, shouting, defending, running, fighting, positioning, excusing, ranting and blaming is maddening.
Driving around town the past few days, I have to admit that it's been riotously fun to listen to Rush Limbaugh spinning and spinning like a top in a hurricane. First he was saying that this was all a Democratic trick, then he was quoting closet-case conservative Matt Drudge who insisted that these 16 years old were the actual predators, preying on poor, defenseless congressmen. Then he blamed it on Joycelyn Elders, Clinton's Surgeon General, for "telling everyone to masturbate." Then, he said, "Well, it was just safe sex, wasn't it?"
I don't think I've ever heard so much bullshit come out of one mouth so quickly in all my life. I was literally laughing hysterically. Then over to O'Reilly who was proclaiming how "moderate" he was politically and blasting "ultra left radical" Rosie O'Donnell for destroying The View and how Air America was "hate radio." (Poor Bill O'Reilly, under such extreme assault and all he wants is to defend us all).
Meanwhile, Mark Foley is in some Betty Ford Clinic, claiming to be an alcoholic despite the fact that no one ever saw him drink very much. And today, reading the L.A. Times I read that he actually has a life partner. Imagine what that guy must be going through.
Meanwhile, over in the religious political world, the so-called "experts" on homosexuality at virulently anti-gay groups such as Focus on the Family and the Family Research Council (who are only pro-family as long as there isn't a faggot in the woodpile) are insisting that ALL homosexuals are pederasts and that this is evidence that homosexuality is evil and needs to be expunged from the earth.
The gay groups are pointing out that this is what happens when you suppress your natural sexuality. It gets twisted and bent out of shape. That you can't shove a lid down onto a pressure cooker and not expect it to explode. They compare this issue to Catholic priests which has a historically high number of gay members (though the church has always pretended otherwise).
Today, also in the LA Times is an article about how gay Republicans have been virtually terrorized into the closet because the Republican Party decided to use homosexual marriage as their main get-out-the-vote mechanism, funding the so-called "exgay" groups to make their miniscule and statistically insignicant numbers look, well, significant.
The cable and TV news outlets are running the Foley scandal 24/7, looking for every last little bit of "news" that might dribble out on the issue. Faux News is trying to help the Republican all they can, but the American public has this habit of understanding sex scandals better than any other kind.
Andrew Sullivan keeps pointing out that, although Foley's actions are unforgiveable in light of his position as a congressman, these pages were "of legal age." These are not 10 year old children and this scandal has nothing to do with pedophilia or homosexuality. He also points out that anyone with an email account has a spambox filled with ads for "Barely Legal," "Hot Teen Chicks," and how old are the girls in "Girls Gone Wild!" Hmm, straight guys who think teen chicks are hot? Who ever heard of such a thing?
What I fear is that, because Foley hit on these teenagers, all gay people are going to be tainted. The so-called "Christian leaders" like Dobson and Falwell and Robertson will take all this scandal and, rather than examining the fact that they are little more than another political wing of the Republican Party, will use it to demonize the vast majority of healthy, out gay Americans.
I also had another thought. Today in the NY Times there is a story about how evangelicals are losing their teenagers these days. In the article, they naturally blame pop music, rap music, MTV, etc. But maybe they should go one step further and look at the fact that their church has been in a lockstep political campaign with the Republican Party, the party that has put us in Iraq, has a President no one trusts, a Defense Secretary who is little more than a joke in his feckless disregard for the lives of teenage soldiers being sent to a war no one believes in.
The church they belong to has signed up as little more than another branch of the most corrupt, weak, helpless, warmongering, ineffective political party one can possibly imagine. In their minds, the evangelical church and the Republican Party are one and the same. And who does this generation listen to the most for their news? Jon Stewart. The one voice of reason and sanity in the media. The one voice who seems to be telling the ACTUAL truth of the hypocrisy of the news and the politicians.
Maybe the reason these teens are turning their backs on this church is because this church betrayed its own principles by following the bloody road of loyalty to a political party rather than standing for a set of principles and looking at each leader individually. They have allowed themselves to be duped by political operatives like Ralph Reed, who recently fought an Indian tribe over gaming (saying he was against gambling) because he was bribed by another Indian tribe who wanted a gaming monopoly.
I know this: Teenagers HATE hypocrites. If the evangelical church wants to retain any sense of its own integrity, it will turn its back on the Falwells, Bauers, Robertsons and Dobsons and find a way back into a state of holiness.
The most significant piece of news I heard this week was the reaction from the Amish parents of the little girls who were murdered by a psychopath earlier this week. Their reaction? To take up a collection for the murderer's family.
In this world where being an "evangelical Christian" means you have to be a Republican, support Bush's call for torture of prisoners, where civilian casualties are just an "oops," and where we wage war with anyone who we think "might" attack us, the only thing I can't figure out is why any teenager would want to go within a mile of an evangelical Christian church.
Maybe it's time for individual pastors and ministers to look again at these so-called leaders they've hitched their church to and think twice about the damage they are doing to their own spiritual credibility and to the lives of their children.
TAGS: Mark Foley teenagers evangelicals limbaugh O'Reilly spirituality Republicans
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