Sunday, May 07, 2006

Republican Values and the Religious Right

Recently a 50th District pastor received a letter from a group calling itself the San Diego Christian Coalition. The letter urged the pastor to share with his congregation the urgent need to elect a congressional candidate with the right family values perspective. The pastor was given a specific litmus test for determining if a candidate met those criteria.

“One thing we do that has been helpful to voters who aren’t knowledgeable on the issues is to list organizations that endorse the candidates. For example, when a candidate is endorsed by the San Diego Democratic Club, “fighting for lesbian, gay, & bisexual rights since 1975”, and the other is endorsed by the Christian Examiner, most Christians know which candidate to choose without doing a lot of research...please advertise our website in your Church bulletin...”

The Christian Coalition has a pretty big dilemma in the 50th District race. Democrat Francine Busby is pro-choice, but so is Republican Brian Bilbray. Before the April 11 special election, the religious right's endorsement was split between Howard Kaloogian and Bill Morrow. With both of them on the bench, the Coalition is going to have to do some fancy talking to find a way to endorse Bilbray and keep its dwindling membership in the fold.

In reality, there in no Christian Coalition in
California. It disappeared as a statewide entity about the time Pat Robertson and Ralph Reed drove the national organization to the brink of bankruptcy and lost the group's tax exempt status. The stub end of the organization still exists and, in California local chapters take on the task of keeping the religious faithful on the Republican side.

On the national Christian Coalition organization's 2004 [pdf] election scorecard, five California Republican stand out with 100% ratings by the organization: John Doolittle (CA-4), Devin Nunes (CA-21), George Miller (CA-42), Duncan Hunter (CA-52) and Randy Cunningham (CA-50). Of this group of ethics giants, Doolittle and Hunter are under fire for their associations with Jack Abramoff and Brent Wilkes; and Cunningham is in prison for his work with Wilkes and Mitchell Wade in a multi-million dollar bribery scheme.

Clearly, to the Coalition, a politician's morality and ethics don't matter much as long as he or she votes for their choice of wedge issues. It would be interesting to hear how members of the morality based religious right perceive Randy Cunningham now.

How do they feel about the Hookergate scandal?

Federal prosecutors are investigating whether two contractors implicated in the bribery of former Rep. Randall "Duke" Cunningham supplied him with prostitutes and free use of a limousine and hotel suites, pursuing evidence that could broaden their long-running inquiry.

Besides scrutinizing the prostitution scheme for evidence that might implicate contractor Brent Wilkes, investigators are focusing on whether any other members of Congress, or their staffs, may also have used the same free services, though it isn't clear whether investigators have turned up anything to implicate others.

How do they feel about Cunningham's life style aboard his bribe based yacht the Duke-Stir?

There is however a growing body of speculation regarding
other items found on the boat, the Duke-Stir, where Cunningham was living on
Mitchell Wade's dime. Rumors of supplies of booze sufficient to float the
Duke-Stir herself and large stashes of prescription medications that appear to
have been obtained via the Rush Limbaugh mode of acquisition. Also, sources tell
of piles of pornography in various forms strewn around the yacht.

How do they feel about this nugget from the Sunday Times?

It was obvious that he was living way above his means on a Washington yacht called the Duke-Stir where, in his pyjamas, he would entertain women with champagne.

I'm sure that any good Christian would pray for Cunningham, but why would any vote for him, or his morally bankrupt and ethically corrupt associates?