The Dallas Morning News has an excellent editorial responding to Tom DeLay’s ridiculous performance at the “War on Christians” conference in Washington DC this week. They point out examples which show that DeLay, rather than being a martyr for Christianity, is an exploiter of it:
But lest the faithful prematurely canonize Mr. DeLay as a martyr for the faith, they should consider how Team DeLay, with its paladins of public piety, has specifically manipulated sincere Christians for personal gain.
Take Edwin Buckham, a Washington lobbyist who once served as Mr. DeLay’s chief of staff and personal pastor. The Washington Post reported this week that Mr. Buckham received more than a third of all the money collected by the U.S. Family Network, a nonprofit organization he set up as a DeLay staffer. Mr. DeLay promoted the organization as a national grass-roots group engaged in pro-family activism on Capitol Hill. In fact, records indicate that USFN was a front that took in millions, mostly from clients of felonious lobbyist Jack Abramoff, and lavished the largesse heavily on Mr. Buckham and his wife.
Or take former top DeLay aide Michael Scanlon, who pleaded guilty to corruption charges in the Abramoff scandal. In an e-mail released by a Senate committee, Mr. Scanlon discusses how his clients can use the gullibility of Christians to their own advantage: “The wackos get their information through the Christian right, Christian radio, mail, the Internet and telephone trees. … Simply put, we want to bring out the wackos to vote against something and make sure the rest of the public lets the whole thing slip past them.”
Tom DeLay is no different from Peter Popoff or Oral Roberts, frauds and hucksters who speak volumes of Christian piety while simultaneously manipulating them, lying to them and getting rich off the credulity of their followers. They are cancers on Christianity, not defenders of it.