"I'm not going to forget where I came from. I am not going to forget what I stand for."
"The Bible says you can't serve God and Mammon."
--Ralph Reed mentor, The Rev. Pat Robertson
The April 18th New York Times front page was a unique combination of tragedy and comedy, especially in the David D. Kirkpatrick/Philip Shenon story entitled, "Ralph Reed's Zeal for Lobbying is Shaking His Political Faithful."
The story is essentially a repristination of what is already known about Reed. The erstwhile head of the Christian Coalition is now a candidate for lieutenant governor of Georgia. In the heat of campaign battle, Mr. Reed's adversaries have revived public focus upon the Georgia Paraclete's involvement with Republican consultant/sleazeball Jack Abramoff. It seems that Mr. Abramoff, a close friend of Public Morality luminary Tom DeLay, paid Mr. Reed's consulting firm a cool $4 million big ones to ". . . help organize Christian opposition to Indian [gambling] casinos in Texas and Louisiana." This would be enough to revitalize the adulation of Mr. Reed among The Sheep, were it not for one relatively major detail: the money came from other Indian tribes already in the casino gambling racket legally, and who wanted to preserve their monopoly from rival tribal competition. Enter Mr. Abramoff. Enter Mr. Reed. You get the picture. Mr. Reed's Holy Spirit-driven consulting firm, Century Strategies, has other Godly clients as well, driven not by love of Mammon but love of the Triune God--like Verizon, Enron, and Microsoft.
Perhaps Mr. Reed can claim altruism with only $4 million in receipts. The New York Times story quotes disclosures by the United States Senate Indian Affairs Committee that Abramoff and pal Michael Scanlon (a former press secretary to DeLay), pocketed $82 million in lobbying fees from the relevant Indian tribes. One may be forgiven for the suspicion that Mr. Reed would have gotten a higher percentage had the business acumen of his old friend, Pat Robertson, come into play in the latest Century deal.
All of which brings to mind, by contrast, the amazingly honest self-portrayal of New York Jewish pornographer, Al Goldstein, both in product and motives, in a long-forgotten interview with Playboy magazine in 1975. Mr. Goldstein, the founder and editor of the literary jewel, Screw Magazine, rebuffed any attempts to refurbish and revise his own image in the interview in question--despite Playboy's best efforts to prod him into a paroxysm of self-justification and literary re-interpretation of the painfully obvious character of Goldstein's monthly efforts--and the ultimate end game involved. Big Al's observations to Hugh Hefner included the underscoring of his basic motive--money to the tune of $12 million by one account--and an honest appraisal of Screw Magazine's actual worth in the higher Pantheon of Divine Order and Human Affairs. Two of the most priceless--and timeless--observations of The Editor in 1975 were as follows:
"We're [Screw Magazine] probably the most tasteless publication in America."
"Our sales never cease to amaze me, given the fact that each issue is virtually identical to the previous one. We just change the cover and the issue date."
My old roommate at Valparaiso University, Jon Hartwein, now a college professor in St. Louis, remarked to me at the time after finishing the complete text of the Goldstein public introspection and soul-bearing for Playboy, "You know, there's something about this guy you really have to respect." And as an evangelical Lutheran pastor over a quarter of a century later, I have to agree in the palpable milieu of both irony and paradox--especially in any comparison with Reed, Robertson, Abramoff, and DeLay. If these guys are the spokesmen for evangelical Christianity in America, maybe Goldstein is AOK after all. Or put another way, who would one vote for as the most honest, transparent personality in the privacy of the pristine Voting Booth? Reed? Robertson? DeLay? George W. Bush? Or Al Goldstein? I'd llike to put that one before my old ethics class at Texas Bible College in San Antonio. Would they see it? Could they? I do not know.
Which brings us back again to the April 18th New York Times and the Reed story. It was fine--as far as it went. But what about the most compelling story of corruption and evil which grips the Icons of the Christian Right and enshrouds their souls with darkness--the Machiavellian alliance with the Jewish lobby in the United States and the Israeli intelligence community worldwide? How does Reed's involvement in taking $4 million from the Coushatta Indians of Louisiana to protect indigenous casino gambling interests compare with the ghastly policies of Zionism in the Middle East--and the domestic political agenda of the Jewish lobby in the United States--supported by Reed, Robertson, DeLay, John Hagee, Jerry Falwell and virtually every other marquee name in the pantheon of the American Christian Right?
Where is The New York Times on the real questions which surround Mr. Reed and his allies in Moral and Spiritual Revival in America? What is the real dollar figure of direct and indirect support given to the Christian Right by Jewish and Zionist political interests? How do real Christians support the forcible theft of Palestinian land and the killings of unarmed civilians? Or the killing of 100,000 Iraqis in an American "War on Terror" where the Israeli interest in an American proxy war in the Middle East is as transparent as the Weapons of Mass Destruction are invisible? Will the American proxy war for Israel expand to preemptive attacks on Syria and Iran? And why do American evangelical Christians prone to waves of nationalistic pride become starkly silent on the subject of Israeli control of the American Congress, Chief Executive, and corporate news media? Do Israel-First evangelicals support Mossad and AIPAC sponsored acts of espionage against the government and people of the United States?
And here is the ultimate in paradox and irony for those who see both in various nuances expressed in history.
The New York Times , the Christian Right, and Al Goldstein are all on One Page, on One Issue, Center Stage, Page One :
Zionism and Israel.
(Mark Dankof is a Lutheran pastor and free-lance journalist, occasionally contributing to Iran Dokht, Al Bawaba, Nile Media, CASCFEN, and other Internet news sites. Once a 3rd party candidate for the United States Senate in Delaware , he maintains the web-site Mark Dankof’s America while pursuing post-graduate theological education at Westminster Theological Seminary in Philadelphia.) His commentary may be found regularly on SARTRE's Old American Right and Republic news site, Breaking All the Rules and at DixieInternet.com.
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