Last weekend, I had the privilege to be able to go back to Kansas for a quick visit and to attend a wedding and a reunion. This gave me a chance to visit with my family and I look forward to visiting some more next month when I return for a longer visit during Thanksgiving.
During my visit I had a conversation with my brother concerning the Mark Foley incident. I haven't commented on this before because the story seemed to speak for itself. However I am concerned with some of the spin it has received and would like to comment on that.
First of all, it should probably be restated that linking pedophila and homosexuality is misguided. It is analogous to pointing to a pedophile who has preyed on girls and then saying all heterosexuals must like little girls. Although there is a destructive worship of youth in the gay culture, this generalization clearly doesn't hold water. All this case really proves is that deviant behavior is often the result of supressed sexuality (Some priests have had these issues for example).
Secondly, Mr. Foley quickly declaring he was gay, alcoholic and molested as a child churns my stomach a bit as well. Regardless of any of these conditions, he still was responsible for his actions and needed to take responsibility for them, not try to come off like the victim in this whole ordeal!
Third, some have cynically stated that because an election was near, Mr. Foley was targeted. Mr. Foley's actions appear to have been ongoing for quite some time with at least the knowledge of some in Congress (exactly who remains to be seen). If this were some Democratic conspiracy, I'm sure there would have had more opportune moments for them to let the story break before this. (Interestingly enough it was once again bloggers, not traditional media that brought this to the public's attention.)
Finally, it has been said that if Mr. Foley had been a Democrat, the story would not have made the splash it did. I think this is a bit of a low blow. The reason that his story received so much attention was that he was co-chair of the Committee for Missing and Exploited Children. Additionally the Republicans have sold themselves as the party of "family values" and anti-gay. This irony and hypocrisy are what has drawn so much attention to this story, not that he is a Republican per se.
This reminds me of a story that Jesus told to illustrate the correct attitude we must have when we pray. Two very different men went into the temple. The overly religious man thanked God he was better than the tax collector next to him. The tax collector didn't even raise his head. He just asked God for mercy as a sinner. Jesus ends by saying "For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted."
Another passage just before the Lord's Prayer states "And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you."
My mother and I often disagree about the place of religion in our government and how a person of faith should act when holding a political office. I personally would advise extreme caution when mixing the two after reading the scriptures above and pondering the example of Mark Foley.