Conservative "Christian" men who have all recently been outed as "sexual deviants". Not my terminology of course, but if any of these guys had been asked what they thought of the "homosexual lifestyle" or prostitution and those who engage in it before their own "misdeeds" were publicized, I'm sure you could have gotten any of them to use just those words.
And now add US Senator Larry Craig from the great state of Idaho to that list of inveterate hypocrites. Three months ago, Craig was arrested in a Minneapolis airport for lewd conduct, a charge to which he pleaded guilty to. According to the police report, he solicited an undercover police officer for sex in the men's restroom at that airport. Craig, along with Foley, Vitter and Haggard, enthusiastically supported the impeachment of "naughty boy" President Bill Clinton Larry Craig's words), supported amending the Constitution to ban gay marriage, and opposed anti-discrimination laws that would punish people who discriminated against gays on the basis of their sexual orientation. And, to give you a real sense of who this guy is, when he was being arrested Craig reportedly took out a business card proclaiming his US Senator-ness, handed it to the cop and and asked him, "What do you think about that?"
Tony Perkins, the head of the conservative Christian organization the Family Research Council, was on Hardball today to essentially offer the Evangelical point of view on the Craig scandal. A little surprisingly, Perkins was only too happy to cop to the fact that this arrest reveals Craig's hypocrisy. When it comes to discussing issues with Christian evangelicals, getting them to state the obvious often feels like a triumph in and of itself, which is probably why Hardball host Chris Matthews didn't take it much further.
But at what point do these outings of pillars of the evangelical community cause Christian evangelical voters to question their own personal stance on homosexuality? After men like these are revealed to be homosexual men (Vitter excepted) can they still honestly say that homosexuality is a choice? Do they believe that Reverend Ted Haggard thought being a gay man seemed like a lot of fun and something he ought to try? Or that Larry Craig would jeopardize his career and good name in the world of conservative Christian politics just to try him out some anonymous gay sex? Obviously there's much that these so-called "values voters" believe that have very little to do with rational thought, but when does logic demand a person take stock and question long-held assumptions?
I was watching an episode of "Clean House" on the Style channel (my wife likes the show), and on that show, the "Clean House" crew visited two gay guys whose cluttered house had gotten out of control. One of the men, the younger of the two, told of how his family had disowned him and kicked him out of the house when he'd come out as a homosexual to his parents. Even though I know this sort of thing still goes on, it still kind of surprised me. The idea that something your preacher tells you can have more weight than the love you feel for your own flesh and blood is astonishing to me. I bring this "Clean House" story up because these backward, outmoded beliefs have real and terrible consequences for real people, and when supposed adherents to these harmful beliefs are revealed to be indulging their true selves while damning to hell anyone else who does so, I think that the degrading mugshots and the embarrassing questions are the very least these men deserve.
What's happening to Larry Craig now must be deeply humiliating, and is, in a way, kind of sad. But because this man, who is very probably homosexual, has so actively worked against the interests of those like him, and has so actively promoted the idea that homosexual men and women can anticipate an eternity in hell for being who they are, this public scourging seems much less like one man's story of public shaming and more like a necessary purging of one more dishonest politician.