The Silence of the Hypocrickets
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Tue Oct 03, 2006 at 02:12:45 AM EST
At Frameshop, Jeffrey Feldman presents a pair of startling images that present an even more startling parallel.

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Fifty years from now, when historians write about the social problem of sexual predators in early 21st Century America, they will put a photo of Cardinal Bernard Law next to a photo of Republican Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert.

These are men who had the chance to protect our children, but chose to protect a predator instead.

They did more than just fail as leaders--they endangered our families.

Like Cardinal Law, Hastert was the most powerful man in his Archdiocese--in this case, the United States Congress.  

Like Cardinal Law, Hastert learned that a sexual predator was working for him--in this case a Congressman from Florida, not a parish priest.  

And like Cardinal Law, Hastert chose to help the predator to protect the image of his organization instead of exposing the predator to protect America's children.

What do the customarily outspoken leaders of the Christian right have to say about the predatory practices of GOP Congressman Mark Foley, who -- while serving as Chairman of the Congressional Missing and Exploited Children's Caucus -- engaged in predatory sexual behavior targeting a still unknown number of teenaged pages?

As has already been remarked, we are hearing little except the sound of chirping crickets. In fact, the uncharacteristic reticence of the powerhouse organizations of the Christian right can rightly be called the silence of the hypocrickets, who "go silent whenever the light of truth shines."

Only a month ago, numerous leaders of the Christian right signed a letter to George W. Bush that made their stance on the sexual targeting of minors irrevocably clear. This is only part of what they said.

Dear Mr. President:

We are writing to you on a matter of great importance, one on which we know you agree with us. That matter is the widespread availability of illegal, obscene material and its effect on our culture. ... It contributes to the destruction of marriage, the demeaning of both women and men, and the sexual exploitation of children and adults. We are compelled, then, by this ongoing victimization to ask you to expand the Administration's crackdown on this scourge. To discuss this issue further, we respectfully request to meet with you at the earliest opportunity.
:::
Your help is essential because pornographers and sexual predators are increasingly targeting America's most vulnerable citizens: our children.
:::
Thank you for considering the importance of this issue. We value the Administration's accomplishments in the fight against illegal obscenity thus far and trust that we can discuss ways to partner with you on this crucial endeavor to further protect children and families. God bless you, Mr. President.

The signatories included James C. Dobson, Ph.D, of Focus on the Family; Tony Perkins, President of the Family Research Council; Donald E. Wildmon, Founder and Chairman, American Family Association; Jan LaRue, Chief Counsel for Concerned Women for America; and Rod Parsley, Founder & President of Center for Moral Clarity.

So great is Tony Perkins' zeal to sniff out the predatory sexual abuse of minors in all its forms that, in his headlong rush to judgment, he has even been known to confuse statutory rapists with physicians specializing in OB/GYN care. But Perkins waited for several days to formulate the FRC Statement on Mark Foley.

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting"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 hard to be certain, but it sounds as though Tony Perkins actually said that it's all the fault of the "homosexual agenda."  It's enough to make one wonder what Perkins could have found to say if the pages had been 16 year-old girls ... well, besides urging them to "choose life."

During his appearance on Monday night's Situation Room on CNN, Perkins said little to disabuse anyone of that notion.  He began by acknowledging the importance of "any mother or father thinking about their 15, 16-year-old daughter or son that goes to Congress to get an experience of a lifetime. People will look for this opportunity as a chance of a lifetime to work in the halls of government, the most powerful country in the world and the thing that they have to be concerned about most is being sexually harassed or potentially molested by a congressman. It's outrageous. It shouldn't happen."

But that perfunctory lip service to common decency merely served as his segue into an encore of the same old song.

Well, I would like to know what was exactly said to the speaker and why he did or did not do something. Was it out of fear of pushing something too far, overreacting and that because of the orientation of Congressman Foley, they would be seen as being gay bashing? You know was that a part of the decision not to act?

That's what I think we need to know. I do think that the speaker should have paid closer attention to this. I'm not prepared to say that the speaker should resign. I would like to see all the facts.

Not to worry, Tony; you will.  Because no one is turning loose of this one anytime soon.

Only three months ago, Focus on the Family urged its fan base to help eliminate the threat of online predators.

Photobucket - Video and Image HostingThe Deleting Online Predators Act got its first hearing today before the House Energy and Commerce Committee. It would also require the Federal Communications Commission to establish an advisory board to review and report commercial social networking sites like MySpace.com and chat rooms that have been shown to allow sexual predators easy access to personal information of, and contact with, children.

Support this effort to promote the family in the public policy arena.

And what thunderous condemnation does Dr. Dobson have for years of online sexual predation by the Republican Chairman of the Caucus on Missing and Exploited Children?

Even though internet safety for children and adolescents is a major issue for FOF, don't even bother looking, since of course there's nothing there.  And why not? Because, as Dobson told the crowd at a recent get-out-the-vote rally for Sen. Rick Santorum, "Whether or not the Republicans deserve the power they were given, the alternatives are downright frightening."

And that staunch defender of American Values, Gary Bauer, doesn't seem to be watching the news these days, either. Maybe he's just too worn out to pick up his TV remote control, after all the strenuous cheerleading for the GOP he did in Washington, DC, last week.

The latest Updates page at Rod Parsley's Center for Moral Clarity makes an adamant statement about the church's imperative role in politics.

Photobucket - Video and Image HostingStay out of politics. That was the demand Americans United for Separation of Church and State, an advocacy group, issued to evangelical pastors last week.

"Dragging churches into partisan politics is just plain wrong," proclaimed the Rev. Barry W. Lynn, executive director of Americans United.
:::
"That's a ridiculous statement," said Pastor Rod Parsley, founder and president of the Center for Moral Clarity. "The Bible says that government is God's idea, so His people should be a part of it. The Bible tells Christians not to be silent about issues of righteousness and issues of justice. Americans United is clearly trying to intimidate Bible-believing Christians into silence, and it won't work."

But since days have passed without a single word from Rod Parsley and CMC about a powerful GOP congressman's pursuit of adolescent pages, it appears that Rod Parsley has enough clarity of mind to know when it's in the interest of his church's politics to keep quiet.

And while the Christian Coalition is currently promoting an Agape Press story bemoaning the uninvolvement of most churches in politics, Don Wildmon's American Family Association is headlining major news stories trumpeting the trespasses of Madonna versus the Biblical purity of Veggie Tales.

Photobucket - Video and Image HostingBeverly LaHaye's Concerned Women for America considers the sexual abuse of minors to be an important issue, whether perpetrated by the very real predators lurking in cyberspace . . .

Alberto Gonzales, Attorney General of the United States, today called on "all responsible Americans and corporate citizens--down to every last parent, teacher, and minister--to educate themselves about the problem" of "child exploitation and pornography and see how they can help out."
:::
Gonzales wasted no time getting to his first point about online enticement of minors. "The threat is frighteningly real. ... [I]t is growing rapidly, and it must be stopped," he said.

Media coverage has shown the ease by which "priests, teachers, doctors, and lawyers, all of whom thought they were going to have sexual contact with children," are lured when they think they are talking with children in a chat room.

. . . or by the imaginary variety in the "abortion lobby" who are conjured in CWA's ever-fertile imagination as potential purchasers of over-the-counter Plan B.

Sexually abused minors need adults to detect and rescue them from their abusers. Doctors would have an opportunity to ask questions if a girl seeks - or someone sends her for - Plan B. If the drug can be obtained easily, it removes what may be the best chance of freeing her and catching her abuser.

But oddly enough, not this time. No, according to CWA, la affaire Foley isn't about a middle-aged, politically powerful sexual predator targeting teenagers under the benign eye of the GOP party leadership at all. What it's really about is -- you guessed it -- the lurking and persistent evil of  the "homosexual agenda."

Over the weekend, news broke about Rep. Mark Foley's (R -Florida) predatory email exchanges with teenage Congressional pages. It took a full news cycle for mainstream news organizations to specify that those pages were teenage boys. While many are in shock, Peter LaBarbera, President of Americans for Truth, says that Congressman Foley's sexual orientation was no secret in Washington, D.C. LaBarbera uncovered this news for CWA in 2003.

(http://www.cultureandfamily.org/articledisplay.asp?id=4008&de partment=CFI&categoryid=cfreport)

While questions remain about whom in Washington might have been guarding Rep. Foley's secret, there is no question that the Log Cabin Republicans are now actively distancing themselves from him.

So CWA seems to have figured all along that something like this was bound to happen someday, but since none of the boys involved could have tried to obtain Plan B or (God forbid) an abortion, there's simply no need to comment any further. And that's all they have to say about that.

As Max Blumenthal reported in The Nation and here at Talk to Action, the Christian right leaders who attended last week's Values Voters Summit believe that a victory in their all-important "culture war" depends upon a Republican victory in November.

Without any immediately scheduled congressional debates on social issue legislation to energize its base, the Christian right has adopted President Bush's messianic "struggle for civilization" as a central feature of its culture war rhetoric going into the midterm elections. Perkins framed the issue by linking liberal evildoers with Islamic extremists, warning that "we are facing threats from within and from without." Bauer described how the passengers of Flight 93 heroically ran toward the cockpit on 9/11, reminding the audience, "All you have to do is run to the voting booth."

Having been instructed on their motivation, Summit attendees headed to a series of breakout sessions for their marching orders. At one session, "Getting Church Voters To The Polls," veteran Christian right operative Connie Marshner distributed an 18-page pamphlet to participants she said was originally prepared for Santorum's 2000 senatorial campaign. The pamphlet advises church members to use their church directory to organize calls to fellow parishioners from a phony company called "ABC Polls" in order to create a data bank of "pro-family" voters. Only those voters should be reminded to vote on Election Day, Marshner said. She added, "Even if you have a pastor like that who doesn't want to do politics, you can use this plan."

Marshner's plan is an essential element of the Republican ground game for November. It might be deceptive, sleazy and possibly illegal. But that doesn't matter to the "value voters." As White House Press Secretary Tony Snow, who officially blessing the gathering, said in his speech, "What matters most are the victories we forge together."

So Shhh! . . . you'll have to be very, very still, but you can hear it: the silence of the hypocrickets.

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting




Display:
is still flogging the "homosexual agenda" like a rented mule. Today's Washington Update from FRC carries the headline Pro-Homosexual Political Correctness Sowed Seeds for Foley Scandal.

Democrats seeking to exploit the resignation of Rep. Mark Foley (R-FL) are right to criticize the slow response of Republican congressional leaders to his communications with male pages. But neither party seems likely to address the real issue, which is the link between homosexuality and child sexual abuse. Foley, an unmarried 52-year-old representative, had always refused to answer questions about his sexual orientation. Now that his emails and messages to teenage male pages have been revealed, it appears clear that Foley is a homosexual with a particular attraction to underage boys.

While pro-homosexual activists like to claim that pedophilia is a completely distinct orientation from homosexuality, evidence shows a disproportionate overlap between the two. Although almost all child molesters are male and less than 3% of men are homosexual, about a third of all child sex abuse cases involve men molesting boys--and in one study, 86% of such men identified themselves as homosexual or bisexual. Ignoring this reality got the Catholic Church into trouble over abusive priests, and now it is doing the same to the House GOP leadership. They discounted or downplayed earlier reports concerning Foley's behavior--probably because they did not want to appear "homophobic." The Foley scandal shows what happens when political correctness is put ahead of protecting children.




by moiv on Tue Oct 03, 2006 at 02:25:46 AM EST

about the response from Faithful Democrats, where a group of clergy and academic Christian leaders have joined to write this letter to Dennis Hastert, with more signatories expected.

October 2, 2006

The Honorable Dennis Hastert
Speaker of the House of Representatives
235 Cannon House Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20515-1314

Dear Mr. Speaker:

We were deeply saddened to learn of the appalling behavior of Congressman Mark Foley.  His sending sexually explicit instant messages and emails to numerous congressional pages - underage high school students - shocked America.  We offer our prayers for the affected families, Mr. Foley himself, and all victims of child sexual abuse.

Unfortunately, the latest reports suggest the problem is far bigger than the disturbing actions of one congressman.  Evidence is mounting that House leaders and others knew of Foley's behavior for months, some for more than a year, yet let him continue his tenure in Congress - including his chairmanship of the House Caucus on Missing and Exploited Children.

The bitter irony is that the leaders of a political party that emphasizes family values may have deliberately betrayed those values for political gain.  This is a moral failure - and a symptom of a Congress that has lost its moral compass.  

After all, protecting children is a biblical responsibility.  "Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin," Jesus said, "it would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck, and he were drowned in the depths of the sea." (Matthew 18:6)

No matter how much some politicians talk about moral values, protecting sexual predators at the expense of children is nothing short of sinful.

We therefore call for the repentance and resignation of all members of Congress who knew about Mr. Foley's misdeeds yet failed to stop them.  Investigations into this scandal must be immediate, independent, bipartisan, and mindful not only of Mr. Foley's crimes, but also of the possible efforts to hide them.

In this time of moral crisis, we pray that the entire faith community - regardless of political party - will unite in demanding accountability from anyone who has helped cover up these despicable acts.  The victims deserve no less.

Sincerely,

Rev. Romal Tune
Co-Chair, FaithfulDemocrats.com
Founder & President, Clergy Strategic Alliances
Washington, D.C.

Dr. Randall Balmer
Professor of American Religion, Columbia University
New York, New York

Dr. Shaun Casey
Professor of Christian Ethics, Wesley Theological Seminary
Washington, D.C.

Rev. William Chrystal
Pastor, First Congregational Church
Former Military Chaplain
Reno, Nevada

Dr. Wayne Croft
Professor of Preaching, Easter Theological Seminary
Pastor, Church of the Redeemer
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Dr. Paul de Vries
President, New York Divinity School
New York, New York

Dr. Robert Franklin
Professor of Social Ethics, Emory University
President, Regional Council of Churches
Atlanta, Georgia

Rev. Dr. Obery Hendricks, Jr.
Professor of Biblical Interpretation, New York Theological Seminary
Author of The Politics of Jesus
New York, New York

Dr. Major Jemison
President, Progressive National Baptist Convention
Cincinnati, Ohio

Rev. Peter Laarman
Executive Director, Progressive Christians Uniting
Los Angeles, California

Rev. Robert Maddox
Executive Director, Briggs Center for Faith and Action
Bethesda, Maryland

Rev. Stan Moody
Pastor, North Manchester Meeting House Church
Manchester, Maine

Rev. Dr. Otis Moss, Jr.
Pastor, Olivet Institutional Baptist Church
Cleveland, Ohio

Rev. Otis Moss, III
Trustee, Samuel DeWitt Proctor Conference
Pastor, Trinity United Church of Christ
Chicago, IL

Rev. Dr. Robert Parham
Executive Director, Baptist Center for Ethics
Nashville, Tennessee

Rev. Dr. Staccato Powell
Pastor, Grace AME Zion Church
Raleigh, North Carolina

Rev. Tim Simpson
Executive Director, Christian Alliance for Progress
Jacksonville, Florida

Rev. Stephen Thurston
President, National Baptist Convention of America
Chicago, Illinois

Ms. Patty Wetterling
Child advocate
Saint Joseph, Minnesota

Dr. Patrick Whelan
Executive Director, Catholic Democrats
Pediatric Specialist, MassGeneral Hospital for Children
Boston, Massachusetts

Rev. Dr. Jeremiah Wright
Senior Pastor, Trinity United Church of Christ
Trustee, Samuel DeWitt Proctor Conference
Chicago, Illinois

CC:     House Majority Leader John Boehner

            NRCC Chair Tom Reynolds

            Representative Rodney Alexander

            James Dobson, Focus on the Family

            Tony Perkins, Family Research Council

            Donald Wildman, American Family Association

            Jerry Falwell, Falwell Ministries

            Pat Robertson, Christian Broadcasting Network



by moiv on Tue Oct 03, 2006 at 03:17:50 AM EST
How long has this been going on with girl pages? And they have 20 or 30 legislators to watch out for, not just one or two. You are quite right - girls count only if they get pregnant, and then it's the girl's fault.

by NancyP on Tue Oct 03, 2006 at 10:26:12 PM EST
Parent

< chirp > < chirp >

by Bruce Wilson on Tue Oct 03, 2006 at 02:57:43 PM EST
Parent


TPMCafe contributor Greg Sargent reported yesterday:

Dobson Statement On Foleygate: No Mention Of House Leadership

So an official statement about Foleygate has just landed in our inbox from James Dobson's powerful evangelical organization Focus on the Family. The statement demonstrates plenty of mercy, and very little fire and brimstone. There's no word in it about the House GOP leadership, no word on whether it had a moral obligation to act sooner on Foley, and no word on its current conduct. It notes that "if" Foley is guilty of what he's been accused of, then it's right that he resigned and it's right that "authorities" (it isn't specified which ones) are looking into whether "he" committed a criminal act. And it says that "this is not a time to be talking about politics."

From Focus on the Family:

Colorado Springs, Colo. -- Focus on the Family Action Senior Vice President of Government and Public Policy Tom Minnery issued the following statement today about the scandal involving ex-Rep. Mark Foley, R-Fla:

"This is not a time to be talking about politics, but about the well-being of those boys who appear to have been victimized by Rep. Foley. If he is indeed guilty of what he is accused of, it is right that he resigned and that authorities are looking into whether criminal charges are warranted.

"This is yet another sad example of our society's oversexualization, especially as it affects the Internet, and the damage it does to all who get caught in its grasp."

As Paul Krugman noted today, in February 2001, Dobson wrote the following about Bill Clinton:

"When assessing the legacy of Bill Clinton, we can't overlook his shameful sexual behavior in the Oval Office, and then, his lies under oath to the American people to cover it up. Indeed, it is my belief that no man has ever done more to debase the presidency or to undermine our Constitution -- and particularly the moral and biblical principles upon which it is based -- than has William Jefferson Clinton."

Oct 2, 2006 -- 06:33:54 PM EST




by anomalous4 on Tue Oct 03, 2006 at 09:55:24 AM EST

In his book, Good Muslim, Bad Muslim: America, the Cold War, and the Roots of Terror, Mahmood Mamdani argues--with considerable evidence--that "Jihadism" (he prefers the descriptive label "political Islam.") was created by secular politicians, not religious leaders.

This sort of behaviour in a crises makes it strikingly clear that the same is true of the "Christian Right," and that it remains a secular political movement, despite the confusion of its followers, without which it would, of course, never exist in the first place.

by Paul Rosenberg on Tue Oct 03, 2006 at 01:04:44 PM EST


from their collective Holinesses of the Roman Catholic Church?!?

How uncharacteristically reticent...

(BTW - What denomination proudly claims Foley as a member?)

by Pierce R Butler on Tue Oct 03, 2006 at 11:21:34 AM EST

The Catholic Church has its own child-molestation coverup scandal to attend to.

by Bruce Wilson on Tue Oct 03, 2006 at 01:49:38 PM EST
Parent

Foley is Catholic, according to his bio.

by LynneK on Wed Oct 04, 2006 at 07:36:12 PM EST
Parent
In the Catholic Church.

by Bruce Wilson on Thu Oct 05, 2006 at 12:28:52 PM EST
Parent




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