Friday, November 28, 2008

Finding Values of a Dysfunctional Family

By Dr. Wilmer J. Leon III

In today’s political lexicon the term family values has been hijacked by the Christian political right as a way to define an ambiguous set of moral beliefs and standards that they use to further a morally defenseless political agenda. In the early 1980’s individuals such as Ralph Reed and Pat Robertson through The Christian Coalition, began to target the Republican Party as the vehicle through which they could promote their conservative religious agenda and inject that religious agenda into mainstream American politics. They successfully combined their moral conservatism with political conservatism resulting in a politics that is neither morally nor ethically based.

The agenda of The Christian Coalition of America is to, “… offer people of faith the vehicle to be actively involved in shaping their government - from the County Courthouse to the halls of Congress… Today, Christians need to play an active role in government again like never before… we continuously work to identify, educate and mobilize Christians for effective political action” The late Rev. D. James Kennedy focused his attention on members of Congress and their staffers by founding the Center for Christian Statesmanship. This Center was a Capitol Hill outreach group that offered Bible studies to members of Congress and their staffers. Rev. Kennedy believed, “Our job is to reclaim America for Christ, whatever the cost... we are to exercise godly dominion and influence over our neighborhoods, our schools, our government, our literature and arts, our sports arenas, our entertainment media, our news media, our scientific endeavors -- in short, over every aspect and institution of human society.”

There are two problems with the injection of ideological Christianity into mainstream American politics. First, the “establishment” clause was written into the First Amendment of the Constitution to prevent the United States government from establishing an official religion for the country as had been done by the Church of England. The “free exercise” clause was written into the First Amendment to allow each American to practice religion as they see fit. It prohibits Congress from preferring one religion over another. What the late Rev. Kennedy worked to accomplish, the reclamation of America for Christ, actually violates what Thomas Jefferson called the separation of church and state. This time tested and accepted political and legal doctrine states that government and religious institutions are to be kept separate and independent of one another.

The second problem with the injection of ideological Christianity into mainstream American politics is the hypocrisy that is exhibited by many of its proponents. Too many of these “holier than thou” Christian conservatives just don’t practice what they preach. As the Republican Party has anointed itself as the party of ethics, morality, and family values, these so-called “family values” demonstrate a very dysfunctional family. Take for example the following:

  • Ralph Reed, former head of The Christian Coalition has been implicated in the ongoing Jack Abramoff lobbying scandal.
    Lest we forget the seventh Commandment, thou shalt not steal and the eighth commandment, thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor

  • According to Florida authorities, state representative and Republican Bob Allen was arrested this past July outside the men's restroom at a Titusville park after offering to perform a sex act on a plainclothes police officer. According to the Orlando Sentinel, Allen sponsored the "Sexual Predator Elimination Act," legislation that toughened penalties for lewd or lascivious conduct and created a new provision that allows some sexual predators to receive life prison sentences for their offenses. Before his 2006 re-election, Allen had received a 92 percent rating from the Christian Coalition of Florida. Bob Allen is married.
    Lest we forget the seventh Commandment, thou shalt not commit adultery.

  • Washington state lawmaker and Republican, Richard Curtis, resigned October 31, days after he was quoted in police reports as saying a man he had sex with after they met at an erotic video store was trying to blackmail him. Elected to the state House of Representatives in 2004, Curtis has voted against bills that would grant civil rights protections to gays and lesbians. Curtis like Allen is married.

    Lest we forget the seventh Commandment, thou shalt not commit adultery.

  • Former Republican Congressman Mark Foley, once known as a crusader against child abuse and exploitation resigned from Congress on September 29, 2006 after allegations surfaced that he had sent suggestive emails and sexually explicit instant messages to teenaged boys who had formerly served and were at that time serving as Congressional pages.
    As this self-righteous crusader Foley should reflect upon John 8:7 “… He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone…”

  • Republican Senator Larry Craig was arrested at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport on suspicion of lewd conduct. Craig pled guilty to a misdemeanor charge of disorderly conduct. He voted to ban same-sex marriage, voted against adding sexual orientation to definition of hate crimes, and voted no on prohibiting job discrimination by sexual orientation.

    As Craig has relied on Idaho’s “value voters” for his support, he should reflect upon Luke 6:37 “Judge not, and ye shall not be judged: condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned: forgive, and ye shall be forgiven.

  • We should never forget that Pat Robertson, host of The 700 Club and founder of the Christian Coalition of America, called for the assassination of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez. According to the San Francisco Chronicle and other sources, President Bush told two high-ranking Palestinian officials that he had been told by God to invade Afghanistan and Iraq. What God calls for assassinations of world leaders and invasions of sovereign countries that are posing no threat you?
    Those self-righteous moralistic bible thumpers should remember the fifth Commandment, thou shalt not kill.

To the rest of the world America looks like a morally bankrupt country that will use any pretext and its military power to impose its will upon the unwilling. By allowing ideological Christianity to control American politics and policy, we have compromised the values, concepts, and traditions that formed the foundation of our democracy. Those family values are now the values of a dysfunctional family.

Dr. Wilmer Leon is the Producer/ Host of the nationally broadcast call-in talk radio program “On With Leon” on XM Satellite Radio Channel 169, regular guest on CNN’s Lou Dobbs Tonight, Producer/Host of the television program “Inside The Issues With Wilmer Leon” and a Teaching Associate in the Department of Political Science at Howard University in Washington, D.C. Go to or email: © 2007 InfoWave Commuications, LLC.

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