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  Home :: 2006 October :: Religious Leaders Call for Repentance, Resignations in Foley Scandal 














 just organized a crew of clergy and academicChristian leaders to write a letter to Speaker Hastert about the Foleymess.  The letter offers moral clarity during a time when theofficials in question seem to be offering obfuscation and misdirection.


We CC'd the usual suspects on the religious right -- Dobson, Perkins,Falwell, et al -- because they've been (unsurprisingly) silent duringthis whole episode.  One strongly suspects they'd be all fire andbrimstone if Democratic leaders had been the ones to hide sexualmisconduct for political gain.


We got a great group to sign on, and more are on the way.   The letter is below.



October2, 2006


The Honorable Dennis Hastert

Speaker of the House of Representatives

235 Cannon House Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20515-1314


Dear Mr. Speaker:


We were deeply saddened to learn of the appalling behaviorof Congressman Mark Foley.  His sendingsexually explicit instant messages and emails to numerous congressional pages -underage high school students - shocked America.  We offer our prayers for the affectedfamilies, Mr. Foley himself, and all victims of child sexual abuse.


Unfortunately, the latest reports suggest the problem is farbigger than the disturbing actions of one congressman.  Evidence is mounting that House leaders andothers knew of Foley's behavior for months, some for more than a year, yet lethim continue his tenure in Congress - including his chairmanship of the HouseCaucus on Missing and Exploited Children.


The bitter irony is that the leaders of a political partythat emphasizes family values may have deliberately betrayed those values forpolitical gain.  This is a moral failure- and a symptom of a Congress that has lost its moral compass. 


After all, protecting children is a biblicalresponsibility.  "Whoevercauses one of these little ones who believe in me to sin," Jesus said, "itwould be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck, and he weredrowned in the depths of the sea." (Matthew 18:6)


No matter how much some politicians talk about moral values,protecting sexual predators at the expense of children is nothing short of sinful.


We therefore call for the repentance and resignation of all membersof Congress who knew about Mr. Foley'smisdeeds yet failed to stop them.  Investigationsinto this scandal must be immediate, independent, bipartisan, and mindful notonly of Mr. Foley's crimes, but also of the possible efforts to hide them.


In this time of moral crisis, we pray that the entire faithcommunity - regardless of political party - will unite in demanding accountabilityfrom anyone who has helped cover up these despicable acts.  The victims deserve no less.





Rev. Romal Tune


Founder & President, Clergy Strategic Alliances

Washington, D.C.


Dr. Randall Balmer

Professor of American Religion, ColumbiaUniversity

New York, NewYork


Dr. Shaun Casey

Professor of Christian Ethics, Wesley Theological Seminary

Washington, D.C.


Rev. William Chrystal

Pastor, First Congregational Church

Former Military Chaplain

Reno, Nevada


Rev. Tony Campolo

Founder & President, Evangelical Association for thePromotion of Education

Professor Emeritus, Eastern University

Saint Davids, Pennsylvania


Dr. Wayne Croft

Professor of Preaching, Easter Theological Seminary

Pastor, Church of the Redeemer

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania


Dr. Paul de Vries

President, New YorkDivinity School

Board Member, National Association of Evangelicals

New York, NewYork


Dr. Robert Franklin

Professor of Social Ethics, EmoryUniversity

President, Regional Council of Churches

Atlanta, Georgia


Rev. Dr. Obery Hendricks, Jr.

Professor of Biblical Interpretation, NewYork Theological Seminary

New York, NewYork


Dr. Major Jemison

President, Progressive National Baptist Convention

Senior Pastor, St. JohnMissionary BaptistChurch

Oklahoma City, OK


Rev. Peter Laarman

Executive Director, Progressive Christians Uniting

Los Angeles, California


Rev. Robert Maddox

Executive Director, BriggsCenter for Faith and Action

Bethesda, Maryland


Rev. Stan Moody

Pastor, North ManchesterMeeting House Church

Manchester, Maine


Rev. Dr. Otis Moss, Jr.

Pastor, Olivet Institutional BaptistChurch

Cleveland, Ohio


Rev. Otis Moss, III

Trustee, Samuel DeWitt Proctor Conference

Pastor, Trinity United Churchof Christ

Chicago, IL


Rev. Robin Meyers

Senior Minister, Mayflower Congregational Church

Oklahoma City, OK


Rev. Dr. Robert Parham

Executive Director, BaptistCenter for Ethics

Nashville, Tennessee


Rev. Dr. Staccato Powell

Pastor, Grace AMEZion Church

Raleigh, NorthCarolina


Rev. Daniel Schultz
United Church of Christ Minister
Co-Founder, Street Prophets weblog

Lancaster, PA


Rev. Tim Simpson

Executive Director, Christian Alliancefor Progress

Jacksonville, Florida


Rev. Stephen Thurston

President, National Baptist Convention of America

Chicago, Illinois


Dr. Frank Trotter

Senior Minister, Metropolitan United MemorialMethodist Church

Washington, D.C.


Ms. Patty Wetterling

Child advocate

St. Joseph, Minnesota 


Dr. Patrick Whelan

Executive Director, Catholic Democrats

Pediatric Specialist, MassGeneralHospital for Children

Boston, Massachusetts


Rev. Nathan Day Wilson

Clintonville Christian Church

Paris, Kentucky


Dr. Lauren Winner

Visiting Lecturer, DukeDivinity School

Christian author

Durham, NorthCarolina


Rev. Dr. Jeremiah Wright

Senior Pastor, Trinity United Churchof Christ

Trustee, Samuel DeWitt Proctor Conference

Chicago, Illinois




CC:     House MajorityLeader John Boehner

            NRCC ChairTom Reynolds

            RepresentativeRodney Alexander

            JamesDobson, Focus on the Family

            TonyPerkins, Family Research Council

            DonaldWildman, American Family Association

            JerryFalwell, Falwell Ministries

            PatRobertson, Christian Broadcasting Network



Photo taken from Flickr  


1/12. Please!
Written by nathanealy  | Oct. 02, 06 18:48
"Thebitter irony is that the leaders of a political party that emphasizesfamily values may have deliberately betrayed those values for politicalgain. This is a moral failure — and a symptom of a Congress that haslost its moral compass." This sounds very judemental. Isn't that a sin?Granted, it isn't nearly as bad as hitting on teenage boys, but it'sstill a sin. If anyone broke that law, they should be held responsible.If someone knew about it, and didn't report it, they should be heldresponsible. However, if the scandel would have involved the Democrats,the left-wing would have been just as quiet! Please stop usingChristianity as a campaign tool! You are just as bad and any right-wingRepublican. But, I guess you can be excused, we all know that Jesus isa Democrat, God voted Mondale, and Jimmy Carter is a Saint.Soon to be ex-Democrat,Nathan EalyMcCain in '08!

2/12. The Old Judgemental Ploy
Written by stanjz  | Oct. 02, 06 19:03
It'sthe duty of both sides to point out unacceptable behavior. This isespecially true of those in leadership positions. Both sides should dothis. The problem is that the number one agenda for RepublicanLeadership is cutting taxes. Republican leadership puts on airs ofbeing saintly. They put their trust in riches and concurrently condemnthe weakest members of society to hopeless situations. This is againsteverything that Christ preached- everything!!!

3/12. hitting on boys? hitting on girls? no difference!
Written by anomalous4  | Oct. 02, 06 19:47
Nathansays: "Granted, it isn't nearly as bad as hitting on teenage boys...."HUH?????????????Hitting on anyone—regardless of gender—is a sin. It's treating theother person as an object for your own gratification. If you're married(or the other is), it's also adultery. If the other is under-age, it'salso a crime. Period.Faithful Dems is entirely right to call Republican leaders to accountfor the hypocrisy of the Foley coverup. They impeached PresidentClinton for messing around with one consenting adult; where are theynow that one of their own is preying repeatedly on teenagers?

4/12. No politics
Written by copper  | Oct. 02, 06 22:51
Theletter is indeed something you would expect of the religious right.Gee, where do you suppose those guys are now? Probably still trying tore-examine the "be good to foreigners" scripture. Anyway, Nathan'spoint is a good one on "The bitter irony..." paragraph. The paragraph'sa bit much and unnecessarily points out what is only obvious toeveryone. Rubbing it in their chest does nothing to compel a thoughfulresponse. Let's be clear though, God's word teaches it's sinful tojudge your brother, not your government. In some circles, beingjudgemental of your government is even regarded as patriotic. Itshould, nevertheless be constructive.Good move on the letter - anyone who knew about the despicable behaviorand didn't stop it should likewise be forced out. It's a tragicsituation, but those kids and Foley need our prayers above all else.

5/12. Caution
Written by copper  | Oct. 02, 06 23:21
"Thebitter irony..." paragraph is a bit much. It gives the real impressionthat politics rather than compassion for those kids is driving theletter. The absence of outrage by the Religious Right likewisedemonstrates how they too place politics above genuine compassion forthose kids. If Faithful Democrats is truly going to make a differencewith people of faith, then business as usual just won't cut it.Good move on the letter though.

6/12. FOF weighs in?
Written by anomalous4  | Oct. 02, 06 23:22
Ihaven't been able to find a second source for this (it's nowhere to befound on any of the FOF websites and I couldn't Google it up either)but Greg Sargent reports at ----- "[A]n official statement about Foleygate has just landed in ourinbox from James Dobson's powerful evangelical organization Focus onthe Family. The statement demonstrates plenty of mercy, and very littlefire and brimstone. There's no word in it about the House GOPleadership, no word on whether it had a moral obligation to act sooneron Foley, and no word on its current conduct. It notes that 'if' Foleyis guilty of what he's been accused of, then it's right that heresigned and it's right that 'authorities' (it isn't specified whichones) are looking into whether "he" committed a criminal act. And itsays that 'this is not a time to be talking about politics.' ----- FromFocus on the Family: ----- Colorado Springs, Colo. -- Focus on theFamily Action Senior Vice President of Government and Public Policy TomMinnery issued the following statement today about the scandalinvolving ex-Rep. Mark Foley, R-Fla: 'This is not a time to be talkingabout politics, but about the well-being of those boys who appear tohave been victimized by Rep. Foley. If he is indeed guilty of what heis accused of, it is right that he resigned and that authorities arelooking into whether criminal charges are warranted. This is yetanother sad example of our society's oversexualization, especially asit affects the Internet, and the damage it does to all who get caughtin its grasp.'" ----- Can anyone else verify this statement?

7/12. Let's Be Consistent
Written by Mark Hubbell  | Oct. 03, 06 17:19
Iwould suggest that the call would be for all who have violated thepublic trust through sexual indescretions step down. Foley was wrongand is gone. But is it not time for Barney Frank to go? How about TedKennedy? And if not, why are we not equally insensed about theirimmoral behavior?

8/12. Re: Let's Be Consistent
Written by miggsathon  | Oct. 04, 06 12:46
Mark,maybe because Foley is news right now and the others aren't? Why notbring up JFK's affairs while we're at it? Or Iran-Contra? Or how aboutthe Teapot Dome scandal under Warren Harding?

As he proclaims his position as head of the House, and restates his"values," one phrase keeping ringing in my mind... one that seemsappropriate: "As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord."

9/12. Hastert's responsibility
Written by FaithfulDemocrats  | Oct. 12, 06 18:14
9/9. Hastert's Responsibility

Written by ljanem  | Oct. 12, 06 00:47


10/12. And Now We Have Harry Reid
Written by Mark Hubbell  | Oct. 12, 06 19:19

Okay,now the attention is focusing on Harry Reid for his land transactionand the fact that it was not reported and taxes were not paid on hiswindfall.  This is even more current than the Foley issue. 


Will democrats condemn this as soundly as they did Foley's action,or are some sins permissable?  What does it mean to be a "FaithfulDemocrat?"  Faithful to who?

11/12. Reid?
Written by miggsathon  | Oct. 12, 06 22:15
TheFoley thing was pretty open and shut: we had the IMs from Foley and weimmediately -- that same night -- had John Boehner and others sayingthey told Hastert and nothing was done. 

This Reid thing isbad if true in that he would have failed to disclose something, but allwe have is one report about laws that we really don't know much about. I certainly think we should make an issue out of it when the facts arein.

(Please don't say the facts aren't available in the Foley case.)

12/12. Okay, let's see what Faithful Democrats do
Written by Mark Hubbell  | Oct. 13, 06 09:58

No, I wouldn't attempt to excuse the Foley actions.  He was wrong and he is gone.  End of story!

But each day more is coming out about Harry Reid and I am curious asto whether there will be a consistent response in his case.  You nodoubt recall what the Bible has to say about "different weights anddifferent measures."

Last Updated ( Oct. 06, 06 13:41 )

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Pedophilia and sexual abuse of children in Australia