|"Only dull people are brilliant at breakfast"
|"The liberal soul shall be made fat, and he that watereth, shall be watered also himself."
-- Proverbs 11:25
First up, Jim Smith, editor of the Jacksonville-based Florida Baptist Witness:"If someone's walk doesn't match their talk, of course it's relevant. But a politician's conduct "also has to be evaluated in light of other considerations, and we aren't electing saints here," Smith said. "All of us are fallen and subject to sin. We're not looking for perfection. But we do want integrity."They accuse the left of moral relativism and hair-splitting? On to Father Tony Palazzolo, priest and pastoral consultant at the Diocese of St. Augustine:"Is it a one-time indiscretion, or a pattern? Was there an apology? Repentance? It seems to me your religious values determine how you make a decision about right or wrong and good and bad, and if you're willing to compromise those values in your private life, it seems the same thing would hold true for a person's public life."How about this, from John Stemberger, of the Florida Family Policy Council Inc. (he's working to pass a same-sex marriage ban amendment in the Sunshine State). The article notes that he suggests a "sliding scale" when evaluating a politician's fall from grace."If I'm going to hire a plumber, their primary job is to do it right, and I'm not too concerned with their character and moral life. When does it become relevant? To be a lawmaker and then a lawbreaker means there has been a violation of trust. Character does matter."Oh, so it only matters if you're caught breaking the law. What this is really about is going back to the good old days where "forbidden immoral acts" occurred on the DL on Saturday night, and you turned up in church in your Sunday best the next day -- and no one knows you broke your marital vows by blowing that guy in that highway rest stop, potentially exposing your spouse to STDs. That's correct "Christian" behavior.
My personal favorite comes from Ralph Reed, the former executive director of the Christian Coalition, associate of Jack Abramoff, and frequent talking head when the MSM wants a rep from the far right:Let's be clear what voters of faith are saying. They're not saying that every single politician who professes a conservative viewpoint should live up to that standard. It's really the opposite. None of us are perfect, and we all fall short of God's grace. A lot of times that gets lost when someone's failing becomes politicized."Yes, working to elect people to deny tax-paying, law-abiding LGBT citizens civil rights while those self-loathing pols cruise for gay sex makes perfect sense.
One frustrated Florida pol wants more reasonable standards for hypocrites. Republican State Senator Jim King of Jacksonville has been fighting off rumors that he was frequenting t*tty bars."I live a pretty good Christian life, but in the eyes of some people I'm being disrespectful because sometimes I like to drink wine with dinner. That's frustrating. Elected officials are expected to live a totally different life than their neighbors."
Should private behavior matter in public leaders? Some political observers say yes, arguing that morality is the only way to ensure a politician's voting record stays consistent with his or her personal values. But others say the recent revelations only prove hypocrisy, and some politicians say public expectations can be unreasonable.
Allen's arrest is among sex scandals involving state and federal politicians, such as U.S. Sen. David Vitter of Louisiana. Former U.S. Rep. Mark Foley of South Florida remains under investigation after resigning from Congress last year when e-mails revealed him pursuing young former congressional aides. Foley, Vitter and Allen are all Republicans.
One of Florida's gay-rights leaders took note of how some politicians rail against the very behavior to which they are sometimes linked.
"It seems like the people who are the most vocal, the most condemning, the most judgmental, seem to be people struggling deeply with their own personal conflicts, and that's where the scandals come from whether it's the church or politics," said Nadine Smith, executive director of Equality Florida, a Tampa-based gay-rights group. "It's fairly routine. Find someone banging the drum of hysteria around an issue, and you'll find someone, generally speaking, who is wrestling themselves internally."
Jim Smith, editor of the Jacksonville-based Florida Baptist Witness newspaper, which circulates 46,000 copies weekly, said "if someone's walk doesn't match their talk, of course it's relevant."
But a politician's conduct "also has to be evaluated in light of other considerations, and we aren't electing saints here," Smith said. "All of us are fallen and subject to sin. We're not looking for perfection. But we do want integrity."