I didn't think the horrible shooting at an Amish school in Pennsylvania could be connected with the Foley scandal in the House of Representatives, but the voices of morality on the far right have managed to make that connection for me. It seems that both of these are the fault of liberal cultural elites.
Since taking over the anchor desk at CBS News, Katie Couric has instituted a new feature called "Free Speech" wherein people not associated with CBS deliver a guest editorial. So far those voices have overwhelmingly tilted to the right. Last night she featured Brian Rohrbough, the parent of a child killed during the Columbine massacre. Mr. Rohrbough blames the school shootings on secular culture.
I’m saddened and shaken by the shooting at an Amish school today, and last week’s school murders.
When my son Dan was murdered on the sidewalk at Columbine High School on April 20, 1999, I hoped that would be the last school shooting. Since that day, I’ve tried to answer the question, “Why did this happen?”
This country is in a moral free-fall. For over two generations, the public school system has taught in a moral vacuum, expelling God from the school and from the government, replacing him with evolution, where the strong kill the weak, without moral consequences and life has no inherent value.
We teach there are no absolutes, no right or wrong. And I assure you the murder of innocent children is always wrong, including by abortion. Abortion has diminished the value of children.
Suicide has become an acceptable action and has further emboldened these criminals. And we are seeing an epidemic increase in murder-suicide attacks on our children.
Sadly, our schools are not safe. In fact, we now witness that within our schools. Our children have become a target of terrorists from within the United States.
This is not a new argument; it's an old favorite on the religious right. The idea that evolution, secularism, and liberalism are to blame for all of society's ills was the theme of the television documentary From Darwin to Hitler pushed by tele-evangelist D. James Kennedy last summer. The argument is completely ahistorical and implies that Western Civilization existed in some golden age of peace until it was disrupted by the publication of Origin of Species or by the Supreme Court decision ending mandatory school prayer.
Mr. Rohrbough is entitled to whatever lessons he takes from his grief. I'm mentioning him because he happened to be pushing his blame liberal culture argument on the same day that political conservatives were pushing the same narrative to reduce their own responsibility for failing to do anything about Mark Foley's predatory behavior over the last five years.
Newt Gingrich on Fox News:
GINGRICH: I think had they overly aggressively reacted to the initial round, they would also have been accused of gay bashing. I mean, the original notes had no sexual innuendo and the parents did not want any action taken.
CHRIS WALLACE: How would it have been gay bashing?
GINGRICH: Because it was a male-male relationship.
The Wall Street Journal editorial page:
But in today's politically correct culture, it's easy to understand how senior Republicans might well have decided they had no grounds to doubt Mr. Foley merely because he was gay and a little too friendly in emails. Some of those liberals now shouting the loudest for Mr. Hastert's head are the same voices who tell us that the larger society must be tolerant of private lifestyle choices, and certainly must never leap to conclusions about gay men and young boys. Are these Democratic critics of Mr. Hastert saying that they now have more sympathy for the Boy Scouts' decision to ban gay scoutmasters? Where's Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi on that one?
Tom Minnery speaking for James Dobson's Focus on the Family:
This is yet another sad example of our society's oversexualization, especially as it affects the Internet, and the damage it does to all who get caught in its grasp.
Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council, another Dobson front group:
The Foley scandal shows what happens when political correctness is put ahead of protecting children.
The problem is liberal tolerance. The problem is liberal political correctness. The problem is this modern culture. The cure is not fewer conservative Republicans in power, but more. It's a message that we'll hear more of in the next few days. It's also one hundred percent wrong. People like Foley, who betray the most sacred of trusts, have always existed and always will exist. They are not a sudden, new phenomenon created by liberal culture and a lack of prayer in our schools. The problem is not so much that Foley existed; the problem is that the Republican leadership chose to protect Foley and turn a blind eye to his victims. The Republican leadership chose to protect him because they were afraid of scandal and unwilling to lose even one seat in the House, not because they were afraid of the power of political correctness. As Digby points out, that argument is just plain laughable.
Since when has the GOP been afraid to be called homophobic or gay bashers? They positively revel in it. In fact, just a couple of months ago 202 Republican House members voted for a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage. (It failed to get the required 2/3rds for passage.) Somehow, I don't think the Republicans are quaking in their boots at being called anti-gay.
Foley betrayed our trust because he is a sick person; the Republican leadership betrayed our trust because they wanted to hang onto power. Foley is starting to face the consequences of his actions. When will the rest of the Republican Party face the consequences for theirs?