Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Rant about Foley

Spinning Foley: The Hypocrisy of the Religious Right

After remaining silent for several days, the Family Research Council, a right wing religious group on the cutting edge of moral pronouncements on gays, abortion and family values finally figured out how to spin the story about Congressman Foley’s aberrant behavior with the house pages.

Their statement by the organization's president, Tony Perkins, is buried deep in their website and, although dated October 2, it was apparently not posted until October 4. A good spin always takes a little time. President Perkins stated:

“We are all shocked by this spectacle of aberrant sexual behavior, but we shouldn't be. This is the end result of a society that rejects sexual restraints in the name of diversity. When a 16-year-old boy is not safe from sexual solicitation from an elected representative of the people, we should question the moral direction of our nation. If our children aren't safe in the halls of Congress, where are they safe? Maybe it's time to question: when is tolerance just an excuse for permissiveness? Both political parties need to be more serious about protecting children from sexual predators. We need public policy in our country that protects marriage, respects parental authority and aggressively polices boundaries around our children."

It’s heartening to see that the FRC still denounces aberrant sexual behavior along with the rest of the civilized world. But after that there is no moral outrage left for the persons responsible nor any demands for a thorough investigation affixing responsibility or even calls for justice or repentance. Could it be that the perpetrators named so far are all prominent Republicans? Rather than continuing their rhetoric about personal responsibility, the statement blames a society which is too “diverse”, It decries the direction of the nation( Perkins must have forgotten who has been running the country for the past six years), permissiveness (as though society approves of old men hitting on young boys in their employ).

But the real clincher comes when he says, “Both political parties need to be more serious about protecting children from sexual predators.” This was just a clever way of deflecting responsibility from the responsible parties; Foley and the Republican Party. Foley did the acts, Hastert knew about them and didn’t do anything. And the facts were kept from the Democrats on the relevant committee because the potential political problem to the Republicans if the word got out outweighed the ongoing danger to the pages of repeated entreaties to engage in sexual behavior by a prominent Republican. The Democrats had absolutely nothing to do with this, yet Perkins drags them into his rant about immorality while not mentioning the wrongdoers.

The FRC has nothing to do with ethics or morals. It has everything to do with making sure that the Republicans stay in power so that they can remain a force to impose whatever code of morality the FRC decides is best for the nation. It’s time to get rid of not only the party who has wreaked havoc on our nation but also those groups which blindly follow the party line even though it’s not in the best interests of the citizens. I wonder if the FRC took the same position when Clinton had his indiscretion. Get the religious fascists out of government and back in the churches, synagogues and mosques where they can do some good - demonstrating the path to righteousness and leading ethical lives. Their foray into imposing their will on all of the varied citizens in this country just isn’t working. Not only is the government rife with corruption but the religious right who has long been currying favor with the political parties is becoming just as morally bankrupt as our government. The FRC, like other similar groups, has lost their way, which is helping people in need, not dictating their view of morality by supporting politicians. The FRC statement on the Foley matter is an excellent example of how they have been co-opted by the political process. The Founders understood the need for separation of church and state. We just need to breathe some life into it.

Tom Adler

No comments: