By Dan Gilgoff, God & Country
Focus on the Family has hired Tim Goeglein, the former chief liaison to Christian right groups from the George W. Bush White House to be its new Washington representative, Christianity Today reports . Goeglein left during the administration's final year after admitting to widespread plagiarizing..
Largely unknown to the public, Goeglein was probably the most important permanent link in the Bush administration for conservative Christian groups that provided a crucial support base for President Bush. For two decades, Goeglein had penned an occasional column for his hometown Indiana paper, the Fort Wayne News-Sentinel. In 2008, the newspaper found that Goeglein has plagiarized dozens of the columns.
Christianity Today noted that a story about Goeglein's hiring in Focus on the Family's Citizen magazine neglected to mention his admitted plagiarizing. A press release quietly posted on Focus's website last month did, however:
Goeglein resigned from the Bush administration last February, after admitting to plagiarizing columns written for his hometown newspaper. He has accepted full responsibility for his actions, Daly said, and the matter is behind him.
"Tim has been forthright about his mistakes and humbly accepted the consequences of them—a pretty rare thing in Washington," Daly said. "He is a Christian, and being a Christian doesn't mean you're perfect—only that there is grace and forgiveness when you confess your imperfections. Tim has done that, and we welcome him to our team enthusiastically."
I remember looking for statements about Goeglein's plagiarism and resignation last year from Christian right groups like Focus on the Family. Couldn't find any.
In 2006, when another Christian right ally in the White House—Claude Allen, whose appointment was seen as a thank you to conservative Christian groups for the role they played in Bush's re-election—resigned as President Bush's top domestic policy aide amid shoplifting allegations, organizations like Focus were also silent. When Allen pleaded guilty to those charges, more silence.
In 2007, when Focus on the Family ally David Vitter, U.S. Senator from Louisiana, admitted to using a Washington, escort service, the Colorado Springs-based organization was also mum.
At some point, don't conservative Christian groups like Focus have to worry about their credibility in lobbying for a morals and values agenda while keeping quiet about the ethical lapses of their Washington allies?