Sunday, February 25, 2007


Secondary Virginity

You have to feel sorry for the religious right just now. As The New York Times reports, the Council for National Policy, "a secretive club" of influential Christian conservatives and their allies met at a Florida resort earlier this month.

Prominent among the group were such religious right luminaries as Paul Weyrich, chairman of the Free Congress Foundation, Dr. James C. Dobson of Focus on the Family, the Rev. Jerry Falwell of Liberty University, Grover Norquist of Americans for Tax Reform, and the Rev. Tim LaHaye.

Jack Abramoff couldn't make it this year.

While the faithful shoveled their sidewalks and shivered through the cold wave, they met at the Ritz Carlton on Amelia Island, Fla., to anoint a presidential candidate. Unfortunately, among the field of right-wing candidates -- John McCain, Rudolph W. Giuliani, Mitt Romney, Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, Representative Duncan Hunter of California, Kansas' own Sam Brownback --none was found to be pure enough to get the group's backing.

The group found McCain's Johnny-come-lately intolerance for gays less than convincing because he once denounced Christian conservatives as “agents of intolerance. Likewise Mitt Romney's desperate run to the right lacked the necessary verisimilitude.

The group found Rudy Giuliani too liberal, Mike Huckabee, a Southern Baptist minister, is right on evolution, guns, and gays, but he's not low tax enough for the group. Sam Brownback shares the group's fear and hatred of gay rights, but he's insufficiently harsh on immigration.

And, so it goes.

Still there's hope that one of the group will, like a snake, shed the skin of past errors to make himself righteous enough to win the group's support.

As Grover Norquist put it to the Times, with the right promises, one of these candidates could "redeem themselves in the eyes of the conservative movement despite their past records, just as some high school students take abstinence pledges even after having had sex."

“It’s called secondary virginity,” Mr. Norquist said. “It is a big movement in high school and also available for politicians.”


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