The Religious Right's Foley Confabulation

+ More

Of all the reactions to the Foley case, here's my personal favorite: Family Research Council President Tony Perkins, he the leader of the über-right, Onward Christian soldier" league, used the occasion to (what else?) bash gays and promote the "link between homosexuality and child sexual abuse."

Forget about House Speaker Dennis Hastert's characterization of some of the now disgraced former Representative Foley's E-mails to teen male pages as "overly friendly." Forget about former Representative Foley's admission that he was sexually abused by a priest as a young teen. These were not Perkins's most pressing concerns. In fact, he wrote, the GOP leadership's laissez-faire attitude toward Foley E-mail exchanges with House pages wasn't the real issue. The real issue, in Perkins-Land, anyway, is that Foley's now public E-mail perversions would not have besmirched the Republican Party had Washington not fallen prey to "pro-homosexual activists." Puh-leeze!!!

It gets worse. The FRC's website quotes President Perkins as saying, "Now that his E-mails and messages to teenage male pages have been revealed, it appears clear that Foley is a homosexual with a particular attraction to underage boys. While pro-homosexual activists like to claim that pedophilia is a completely distinct orientation from homosexuality, evidence shows a disproportionate overlap between the two. Although almost all child molesters are male and less than 3 percent of men are homosexual, about a third of all child sex abuse cases involve men molesting boys–and in one study, 86 percent of such men identified themselves as homosexual or bisexual."

Oh, I get it. If there were no gay men in the world, there would be no pedophilia. Hmm. Does it then follow that since Charles Carl Roberts (who this week slaughtered five Amish schoolgirls and shot five more) was a heterosexual father of three, fewer schoolgirls would be murdered if there were fewer fathers of three children who drove milk trucks for a living? The latter makes as much sense as the former; in other words, neither makes sense. They're both contorted thinking. Mine, on the one hand, is a confabulation. Perkins's, however, is serious.

This is not to say the entire God Squad has an equally bizarre take on the Foley fiasco. Focus on the Family had no mention that I could find on its home page. But a search for "Foley" on its website pulled up the following:

"Tom Minnery, Focus Action's senior vice president of government and public policy, said Foley 'should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law' if he is guilty of preying on boys. But he added the preoccupation with the political aspects of the incident were unfortunate. Those truly interested in protecting children from online predators should spend less time calling for Speaker Hastert to step down, and more time demanding that the Justice Department enforce existing laws that would limit the proliferation of the kind of filth that leads grown men to think it's perfectly OK to send lurid e-mails to 16-year-old boys.'"

There they go again. Blame the "homosexual activists." Blame Bill Clinton (I'm sure they'll find a way). But don't blame the Republican Party or its leaders.

Meanwhile, the conservative Washington Times newspaper has called for Speaker Hastert's resignation, as has conservative radio talk show host Michael Reagan (former President Reagan's eldest son).

Will this be the issue that splits the already fractured Republican coalition? We'll know on November 8.