By Dan Gilgoff, God & Country
Focus on the Family's vice president of communications E-mails to protest my post about the silence of family values groups on Mark Sanford's affair. Focus, he says, has hardly kept quiet, responding to interview requests from Politico, the Washington Times, and a small New England newspaper.
Given what Focus's powerful media ministry is capable of—through a press release, an E-mail to supporters, or its daily flagship radio show with James Dobson—I'd say these interviews move Focus's response from the silent to low-profile column. But Focus's reaction raises a larger question about what should be expected from family values groups in response to the affairs of elected officials.
It's important to note that the same conservative Christian groups that have laid low on the Sanford affair were also pretty quiet about recent revelations of Democratic affairs, from Eliot Spitzer to John Edwards. In those cases, it was the news media that played the role of moralizer, not family values groups. Fact is, those groups are focused on public policy, not on the private behavior of elected officials, regardless of their party ID.
So is it fair to expect family values organizations to pipe up when a Republican ally takes a serious moral fall? Or should such groups more loudly denounce Republican allies who claim to promote a family values agenda, while Democratic politicians like Spitzer and Edwards rarely made such claims?