World Magazine details some of the disturbing financial connections this Abramoff scandal has to members of the Christian Right and Evangelicals hoping to influence the political process. There are lessons to learn about getting into bed with any political party and the ease that taint can come to those that are not diligent, especially when those asking for your money and loyalty consider your group wackos.
Most disturbing is Ralph Reed's connections to this scandal, which he refuses to speak of. The effects of Money, Power, Politics, Privilege and Influence will have the same effect on a follower of Christ as one called secular or pagan. Christians must remember that the ends never justify the means, whether one is pushing for homosexual unions, fighting against Indian casinos, begging for Intelligent Design to be recognized by school boards or advocating for women's rights.
As often as members of the right-wing media machine have attempted to characterize this scandal as non-partisan and equal opportunity, we must realize this is primarily a Republican issue, and consequently a Christian Right issue (see here). This is not to say that members of the Republican party or Christian Right are any worse or corrupt than members of the Left or Democrats. They just happen to be the ones with the money and political power presently.
However, this is to say that with power comes great responsibility to be vigilant against corruption. Those in power will have much more access to corrosive forces because they are in the driver's seat. It is easy to be righteous when out of power (as Republicans were in the early 90s as the Democrats were fat and lazy due to decades of unchecked power and creeping corruption), but the second power comes and lobbyists and corporations understand that they can influence votes, they will. Simply put, this is why money goes to incumbents, especially powerful men such as DeLay, Hastert and Frist. Any one would rather influence a surefire voting opportunity more than a hopeful opportunity. Every one wants to be on the winning side (so, of course Republicans are going to get the money and trips), just ask any 90s Bulls fan cheering for another team or ignoring the NBA.
This is one negative consequence the Right does not want us to see. They want to have all the power and perks, but think we are stupid enough to think those perks are given equally to the party out of power.
It is my prayer that Christians will realize that there are much healthier ways to influence the political process and public opinion than through money, power and threats- whatever agenda one is trying to push (of course, I have issues with that- but that is for another discussion). Hopefully they will ask the Dobsons, Falwells, Bauers and Perkins of the world to stand down and follow the lead of the Kings, Wallises, Wilberforces, Finneys and even Warrens of the world, who have attempted to influence the political process through more Biblical means (not just a biblical end- in their own view), which is healthier for the process anyway.
okay, enough babbling. i am sure i am not stating anything not obvious to the smart readers of this blog. i just read the article and started riffing.