If there's one thing you have to concede to America's Religious Right, it's that these folks have an amazing media and public relations network and can issue press releases, get on television and radio and, when they really want to, mobilize their lemming-like flock faster than Jack Abramoff can bribe a Republican Congressman.
And yet here we sit, four days after it was revealed that Republican Congressman Mark Foley was using the Internet to go after teenaged boys, and all you can hear from our own little version of the Taliban is dead quiet and crickets chirping.
Odd, isn't it? The same people who can move their followers to boycott any company that believes gay people even have the right to exist, can't muster much outrage over one of their own preying on young boys and, more importantly, the Republican leadership in the House of Representatives ignoring it to save their political hides.
With the news out since Friday, James Dobson's Focus on the Family (FOF) still doesn't say a word about it on their web site. In fact, if you go there right now and do a search on "Mark Foley," the closest thing you'll find citing Foley is a statement from March 2006 entitled More Funding Needed to Combat Child Porn.
They quote Foley in that piece as expressing concern that children will continue to be victimized if Congress does not act more proactively against child predators.
"We are still not funding it enough," they quote Foley as saying. "This is one of the most pervasive, dangerous elements in our society."
You just can't make this stuff up.
Meanwhile, the FOF site found plenty of time in their CitizenLink News Center to do 49 "news" stories in September covering a whole bunch of stuff including the presidential line-item veto, the Child Interstate Abortion Notification Act and rapidly urging members to "thank Gov. Schwarzenegger" for vetoing two pieces of California legislation "aimed at advancing the homosexual agenda" but that, to sane people, were really just simple antidiscrimination bills.
They also marshaled their forces to harangue U.S. Senators to confirm George W. Bush's judicial nominees and, as recently as Monday, publicized Pray for Children Weekend to promote "a drug-free and safe" life for children.
I guess to the folks at FOF, that doesn't include getting indignant about children not being safe when they're preyed upon by a right-wing, church-going Republican.
Meanwhile, the ultraconservative Family Research Council (FRC) isn't paying a lot more attention to this either. The FRC web site's banner headline on Monday remained Democrats Kill Parental Notification Bill in reference to a vote made by the Senate on Friday to shelve a bill that prohibited minors from going across state lines with a non-parental relative to get an abortion.
The most recent updates from FRC chief Tony Perkins' Washington Update are The ACLU versus America and Protecting Parents Rights to Notification, the latter charmingly promoted by the FRC as an issue so important that followers should "urge Senators to protect minor girls from abortion predators."
But there's just not much there about protecting teens from Republicans on Capitol Hill who admire their "cute butt(s)" and are willing to "...drive a few miles for a hot stud" like one of the young Congressional pages.
In fairness to the FRC, they did finally issue a press release from Tony Perkins late Monday, saying that he is "shocked by this spectacle of aberrant sexual behavior." They then turned right around and subtly placed the blame on the gay community, saying that "this is the end result of a society that rejects sexual restraints in the name of diversity."
The "letters campaign" section of Gary Bauer's amusingly-named American Values web site is still goading supporters to write to Washington about how much gay people are threatening heterosexual marriage -- but not a thing about one of their guys going after young boys on the Internet.
A quick check on the American Family Association finds them whipping their minions into a frenzy over Madonna Set To Mock The Crucifixion of Christ and urging them to collectively send one million e-mails to NBC to protest an upcoming Madonna appearance. They also continue their long history of anti-gay activity by prompting their 3.3 million supporters to keep boycotting Ford Motor Company due to what they allege is Ford's "funding homosexual groups and promoting homosexual marriage."
Finally, Jerry Falwell's National Liberty Journal newspaper is currently going after the interstate abortion bill and urging disciples to push the issue of "religious accommodation in public schools," while saying absolutely nothing about Mark Foley's adventures in pedophilia.
Of course, Falwell's the same pious dude who outed 'Tinky Winky' of the children's television show, Teletubbies, in the February 1999 edition of his newspaper and warned parents to keep their kids away from the show.
"He is purple - the gay-pride color; and his antenna is shaped like a triangle, the gay-pride symbol," wrote Falwell of his proof that it was only a matter of time before Tinky Winky moved to Massachusetts. "As a Christian I feel that role modeling the gay lifestyle is damaging to the moral lives of children."
So there you have it -- the true face of the Religious Right measured in deeds and not words.
They'll go out of their way to rally their followers to keep gay people from getting married, boycott corporations acknowledging that right, demonize legislators and judges who dare keep Church away from State and even attack children's-television characters.
But nary a word about a Republican Congressman, who is co-chairman of the Missing and Exploited Children's Caucus, trolling for teen sex partners among Congressional pages, and being protected via a cover-up by the House Republican leadership.
I'm sure the letter-writing campaign to House Speaker Dennis Hastert will begin the minute they've taken care of that Madonna situation.
You can read more from Bob at BobGeiger.com.