Saturday, March 26, 2005

Tom Delay--God's Man in Washington?

My friend John, whose comments are the best part of Dow Blog, recently directed me to an essay by hackneyed Clintonid sycophant Sid Blumenthal. Blumenthal was discoursing on the potential legal difficulties of the ethically challenged Tom Delay.

Prior to John's prodding, I had ignored the allegations swirling around Delay. In all honesty, after further reading on the matter, I'm still uncertain that the gaggle of charges being tossed in Delay's direction will be materially connected to him. (To read more on the matter, click here and here).

However, a couple items about the story did catch my attention. First were the comments of Paul Weyrich. I haven't paid much attention to Weyrich's musings for years, but I've had a soft spot for Paul since the 1992 Republican primaries when The New Republic reported that Weyrich got in the ever so ample face of William Bennett after America's reigning virtuecrat accused Pat Buchanan of "flirting with Fascism."

In any case, with Democrats and members of the Fourth Estate smelling blood in the water, Weyrich has sprung to Delay's defense. While Democrats shamelessly play the race card and employ Marxian class-war rhetoric, Weyrich has one-upped the Libs by invoking the Prince of Darkness himself. Writing in defense of Delay's tactics and style, Weyrich wrote:

The effort to weaken and punish DeLay is coming from all directions. It is vicious. It saps his seemingly boundless energy. DeLay needs our public support. If we let him hang out to dry how many others in leadership will ever risk trying to accomplish bold objectives? DeLay also needs our fervent prayers. This is spiritual warfare. Make no mistake about it. A Senator who was a close friend for the two terms he served in that body told me he did not want to tackle one of the social issues because "Satan is so strong on that issue that I don't feel I am spiritually strong enough to go there."

Abortion is certainly Satan's work. DeLay's willingness to go where angels fear to tread is commendable but dangerous. It is the courts, not the people or their legislatures, which have mandated abortion, an end to prayer, an end to mentioning God in public places, a completely Godless curriculum in public education, an end to solely recognized heterosexual marriage, an end to God in our pledge of allegiance, an end to the sacredness of our flag and so on. DeLay is being challenged precisely because he is challenging Satan himself in the legislative arena. Please, please my fellow conservatives of the Judeo-Christian tradition: do not abandon this good man. The consequences of doing so are too terrible to contemplate.


Is Weyrich comparing the Democrats to Satan? What about Republicans that might be critical of Delay's ethical transgressions? Are they in league with the Father of Lies as well? I'm at a loss to explain Weyrich's comments, suffice to say his words seem odd in light of Scriptural teaching on spiritual warfare.

II Cor. 10:4
4The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds.

Eph. 6:12
12For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.


Second, the Delay fiasco shows how easily the Religious Right is manipulated into furthering the objectives of the moneyed-interests in the Republican Party. The election demonstrated how easily the Right could be had. Karl Rove waved the bloody shirt of gay marriage and the GOP burnished its "pro-life" message--all of which was lapped up by naive and gullible conservatives who showed up on election day to pull a lever for the GOP.

Here, however, we see that even the "sophisticated" leaders of the Evangelical political movement can be massaged into doing Satan's work (to use a Weyrichism). Writing in the Washington Post, Susan Schmidt detailed the shady inner-workings of government.

In 2001, the Jena Band of Choctaws, a Louisiana Indian tribe, won approval from then governor Mike Foster to build a casino near the Texas border. Another tribe, the Louisiana Choushattas, who already operated a casino in Louisiana, hired Republican lobbyist Jack Abramoff in hopes of thwarting the project and stifling future competition. Abramoff is on Orthodox Jew with close ties to Rabbi Lapin and movie critic Michael Medved. He is also a supporter of Tom Delay, whom Delay once called "one of my best friends." To accomplish his goal, Abramoff paid $4 million to Republican consultant and former Christian Coalition poohbah Ralph Reed to organize local anti-gambling sentiment against the Jenas. To fire up the grass-roots troops, Reed called on James Dobson to run ads against the plan in Louisiana and Texas and fire off a letter to Interior Secretary Gale Norton (the Interior Department has final say on a tribe's gambling aspirations.)

The end result--Reed took home $4 million from gambling interests to pose as an opponent of gambling, Dobson got to test run the ground-game later employed to elect GOP "conservatives," Abramoff and his partner, former Delay associate Michael Scanlon, were paid $32 million, and tribe money boosted Republican causes across the country.

The shameless spectacle on display is a product of the culmination of the pursuit of power by "religious conservatives" who now excuse the corruption of public ethics as a necessary adjunct of spiritual warfare.

3 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hello Darrell,

Just a very first class piece of research and commentary, Darrell. And no less so for the perfectly valid observations made about your friend, John. :-)

Second only to Deal Hudson, Paul Weirich is probably the oiliest of those Catholics currently holding themselves out as spokesmen for the religious right. His apologetic for the Bush stem-cell decision in 2001 was peerless for it's shoddiness, enlisting as he did at the time the curious arguments of one un-named but rather well-known Catholic moral theologian who inexcusably overlooked, inter alia, consideration of the highly relevant Donum Vitae:

"The corpses of human embryos and fetuses, whether they have been deliberately aborted or not, must be respected just as the remains of other human beings....."

Weirich's fondness for Tom Delay, particularly his identification of Delay's cause with that of God, just nausiates. In any case, Delay would not seem in need of such hyperbole, being perfectly able himself to make such an identification. Here's Delay this week to the Family Research Council:

"One thing God has brought to us is Terri Schiavo. This is exactly the issue that's going on in America, the attacks on the conservative movement against me and many others..."

Given the personal tragedy involved, one doubts that a more reprehensible comment has been made in Washington in recent memory.

But the real bell-ringer here is the Ralph Reed, Jim Dobson, Jack Abramoff business. What Elmer Gantry could ever outdo the sleeze involved in this episode? There was a time, fifteen or so years ago, that I considered Jim Dobson something of a Protestant saint-in-the-making. What a mockery he's made and is making of his faith.

Yours In The Holy Trinity,

John Lowell

9:49 PM  
Blogger Darrell said...

Thanks, John. I only wish that a few more people were reading.

I'll take your word for it that Weyrich has been off the reservation for some time. It's a shame, really, but the longer these guys hang out in DC, the worse they behave.

One interesting thing I came across while reading about this fiasco was a comment by Richard Land. Land said that as a member of the SBC, he could never take money from gambling interests. Isn't that funny? He has no problem ignoring centuries of Just War theory--but gambling, now there's a mortal sin.

7:07 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Darrell,

I, too, regret that there aren't more coming here to read and comment on your blog, Darrell. You certainly deserve it. But I'm afraid that there are all-too-few with our perspective on the war and on the closeness of prominent religious figures to Bush and the Republican Party. I can't tell you how pleased I was several weeks ago to have seen your fine piece on the War when it appeared at Antiwar.com. I thought almost certainly that the Christian readership there, although likely small, would be attracted as I was to your blog. But now, a developing but regretable attenuation of interest in seeing an early end brought to the war together with a certain sense of powerlessness in many, make it doubtful that that issue would bring readers here either. I do think that there was a hope among some - those that wrote to the editor, for example - that there might be more from you on the war from a Evangelical perspective. I'd take this opportunity, however, to encourage your submission of something along the lines of your Delay piece to the American Conservative. There, or in some similiar journal, would be your forum, I believe.

As you know, I've pretty well given up on the present pro-life leadership. For whatever good Paul Weyrich - I've been misspelling his name - may have done for a culture of life in the past, his perfectly awful justification of the Bush stem-cell decision placed him beyond the pale as far as I was concerned. Weyrich, Neuhaus, you name it, all of them seem to lose perspective once they're considered spokesmen. They become Republicans first and Christians second and they draw lines in the wrong places. The stem-cell thing was so seminal - play on words not intended - that certainly any knowledgeable Catholic should have had no difficulty whatsoever in renouncing the Bush decision. Everything depended upon orthodoxy at that point and most of these birds went South when it counted most. That jades them as Catholics. There is simply no other way to make an evaluation of them. The human person is person in all of its implications in Catholic theology and there can be no toying about the edges, no failure to grasp meaning, however politically vital. When you stand on the opposite side of a question than does the Vatican, particularly the Congregation For The Doctrine Of The Faith, one needs to be brought up short. There was no such reserve with Weirich, nor has there been any since.

And Richard Land, I think the Yiddish is oi, gevald. :-)

In The Son,

John Lowell

8:51 PM  

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