Corruption And The Piety Party

Over the past few years, surveys have documented the growth of the so-called “nones”–Americans who have abandoned religion. Some are atheists or agnostics, others simply see religion as irrelevant to their lives. For many, that irrelevancy is the result of distaste for the hypocrisy and amoral behaviors of many self-described “pious” people.

I thought about the distance between ostentatious religiosity and ethical behavior when I read a Dana Milbank column in the Washington Post, titled “The Unimpeachable Integrity of the Republicans.”The GOP, as we all know, has become the piety party–Vice-President Mike Pence is its perfect, smarmy embodiment.

Milbank wasn’t addressing Republican faux religiosity–he was just marveling at the efforts of deeply dishonest Representatives to impeach Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein. As he noted, tongue-in-cheek, the charges are serious: inappropriately redacting lines in documents turned over to Congress by the Justice Department, and explaining the legal basis upon which the department is declining to produce others. Horrific behavior! I may swoon…

Redacting the price of a conference table is clearly a far more serious offense than those committed by other members of the Trump Team: Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross has been accused by former associates of stealing roughly $120 million; former EPA Chief Pruitt got a bargain condo rental from a lobbyist’s wife, used his job to find work for his wife and had taxpayers buy him everything from a soundproof phone booth to  moisturizing lotion.

Who else doesn’t merit impeachment?

Not the former national security adviser who admitted to lying to the FBI,not the former White House staff secretary accused of domestic violence, not the presidential son-in-law who had White House meetings with his family’s lenders, not the housing secretary accused of potentially helping his son’s business, not the many Cabinet secretaries who traveled for pleasure at taxpayer expense, not the former Centers for Disease Control and Prevention director who bought tobacco stock while in office.

And certainly not the president, whose most recent emolument bath was poured by Saudi Arabia’s crown prince: Bookings by his highness’s entourage spurred a spike in the quarterly revenue at the Trump International Hotel in Manhattan.

None of these “public servants” generated the indignation being focused on Rosenstein the Redactor.

Milbank helpfully described the pious paragons so determined to expel this scofflaw from governance–the same Republicans “so above reproach” that one of their first votes was an attempt to kill the House ethics office. He began by identifying some who are regretfully  no longer available:

Rep. Blake Farenthold (R-Tex.), an obvious candidate, resignedover his use of public funds to settle a sexual-harassment lawsuit.

Rep. Pat Meehan (R-Pa.), another ideal choice, resigned after word got out of a sexual-harassment settlement with a staffer the married congressman called his “soul mate.”

Rep. Tim Murphy (R-Pa.) also can’t be of use. He resignedover allegations that he urged his mistress to seek an abortion.

Rep. Trent Franks (R-Ariz.) likewise won’t be available. He quit when a former aide alleged that he offered her $5 millionto have his child as a surrogate.

But never fear–as Milbank demonstrates, the GOP has a truly impressive bench.

There’s Rep. Chris Collins (R-N.Y.), who remains “tentatively available” despite his arrest this week for insider trading, along with the five other House Republicans who invested in the same company but haven’t been charged yet. There’s also Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), “assuming he has free time”–he’s battling allegations that he covered up sexual misconduct when coaching at Ohio State.

Others who could judge Rosenstein: Rep. Greg Gianforte (R-Mont.), who pleaded guilty to assault after body-slamming a reporter; Rep. Joe Barton (R-Tex.), who is retiring after a naked photograph of him leaked online; and Rep. Duncan D. Hunter (R-Calif.), who is under investigation by the FBI over the alleged use of campaign funds for his children’s tuition, shopping trips and airfare for a pet rabbit.

Nunes himself is battling allegations that he got favorable terms on a winery investment and used political contributions to pay for basketball tickets and Las Vegas trips.

Eighty-one percent of white Evangelicals voted for Trump, and research suggests their support for him and his band of thugs and thieves remains strong. No wonder people who actually care about ethics and morality are repelled by “faith.”


  1. AH, the evangelicals. Willing to keep donating because the guy in the pulpit says he needs that 38 room mansion and a 4th lear jet to spread Gods word. No wonder they fell for and still support trump.

  2. I agree with Jeffrey, “A fool and his money are soon parted.”

    Also, thank you, Marv, for posting Gary Younge’s article. His articles written about Muncie while he was staying in Muncie were classics. Not a single word from our local Gannett owned trash. They were a hit in England. It was a pleasure meeting him.

    Hypocrisy among the political class is decades old material. Why isn’t the Democratic Party standing up against money in politics? Why haven’t the proposed a bill eliminating Citizen’s United?

    Because they’re thieves too. And hypocrites!

    Our justice system is a joke as well. Muncie is operated like the mafia…has been for decades. The FBI has supposedly been pulling files and interviewing dozens of people including the former Chief of Police who also served as Democratic Party Chairman. One arrest.

    One arrest of the Building Commissioner who was charged with 35 felonies for stealing $360,000 of taxpayer dollars. His charges were quietly dropped to two felonies for his “guilty plea”.

    Not one more arrest in this “pious god fearing” community.

    Justing voting blue isn’t the answer when the candidate is corrupted by the DNP system. They’re now accepting coal money again after a brief stint of showing some values. They need money to fend off the GOP and DSA, Justice Democrats, etc.

    Imagine how the DSA numbers would swell if the NEWS CORP actually explained it to the people instead of completely blacklisting the movement?

    The Political Class and News Industry are useful idiots for the Oligarchy running this country.

  3. Sheila; as you have so often said about your political affiliation, you didn’t leave the Republican party…the Republican party left you. If a valid poll could be taken I believe we would find that people have not left religion…religion has left us. As soon as religious leaders learned money could be made from spouting religious homilies and spouting religion could be used to sanctify their actions…however erroneous their claims may be. There is nothing pious about the organized religions reaping profits from our tax budget while many have ended all “neighborhood outreach” programs claiming they can no longer afford to provide the help.

    “Eighty-one percent of white Evangelicals voted for Trump, and research suggests their support for him and his band of thugs and thieves remains strong. No wonder people who actually care about ethics and morality are repelled by “faith.”

    I can no longer equate “evangelicals” with religion or piety when their “sacred cow” is the proverbial “bull in a china shop” rampaging his way through our government – with their full support. The oft repeated claim that Trump’s insults and outrageous Tweets are just “Donald will always be Donald” and are to be accepted and overlooked. He is a criminal in every sense of the word and at every level of judicial protection we should be getting…but the judicial system is also aiding and abetting his criminal activities. If we view Trump’s actions and words over the past 18 months or so as being acceptable due to his lofty position while Pence pules piety from his seat riding shotgun; where is our salvation to come from? If there is a “hell”; we are living it today.


  4. I am not one of those who recently abandoned religion; I saw through it when I was a kid and had the good fortune to have parents that did not force me to go to church. I laughed when Billy James Hargis, Jimmy Swaggart, Jim and Tammy and others became victims to their own schemes to enrich themselves. However, the gullible public always seemed willing to forgive and especially forget – right they reserved for only their own kind.

    It’s a successful business model, not unlike politics – based on saying one thing, then doing another; talking about “helping people” and only helping yourself; and above all, making lots of money. There may be some real Christians out in the world practicing the tenets of Jesus, but they can’t influence politics and policy because they lack the cash. It looks like democracy will self-destruct before conservative evangelical christianity.

  5. If the Republicans have their way, we wiill be back to the time when only wealthy Republicans can afford to send their mistresses out of the country for their abortions. Tea Party Hypocrites?

    Vote blue!

  6. try living with the working class who live on t.v. sensationalism,cheap barroom news,religious people who cant decide whos moral charactor is even close to the bibles thrology, or just cares about their own needs,over any,countries. if these elected officials are to be the leaders,they obviously lied,and conned thier way into office,many times being a puppet for some org or monenied interests.. we probabaly dont use impeachment enough,and obvioulsly,the rule of law,and rules of congress,ignored. we the people have the duty to insist,and demand accountability,and we fail. mc evil should be the first to be impeached,his staff should also be held accountable for allowing this continuing efforts to thawart the constitution,and the people. im wondering if mueller isnt putting together such a case..

  7. I have studied deeply into religion (its purpose, history among humans and most of all its varied tenets) And I am not wholly unaware of human nature when it comes to some profession of faith. Faith is personal – religion is a mafia (for all practical purposes.) to support someone’s agenda. But the largest contributor to the problem is outright ignorance. And all those that sing the praises of cutting education funding benefited from institutions! And the ignorant become more and more among us. Being a nation of people in an ignorant state can lead to many societal problems – the Salem Witch Hunts, the Inquisition, the Great Cultural Purge (Mao was a religion!) All it takes is a voice to soothe and reassure or convince you that you can walk through the fire and not be burned! – You can be up to your ass in hell and as long as there is the assurance ‘ you are saved!’ You walk along like there is no tomorrow. It is human nature – the sheeple factor. The followers love it as long as there is an assuring leader or voice to lead them on… (Remember Jim Jones!) The more perverse side of the matter is that some evangelicals it is reported – voted for Trump and Pence because they believed ‘he would bring on the Apocalypse and the Rapture.’ Wow! That, that is some SICK thinking. And people ask me why I am no longer a Christian, and call myself a Pagan?… oh yeah 40 years of swimming through serpents – have only spotted a few true Doves – ever!

  8. In my personal experience, agree with Joann Green: I have not left religion…religion left me. Inside, I’m still very much of the religion of which I was brought up.

  9. As a Republican oppertive for decades with Republicans like Mayor Richard Lugar, Bill Hudnut, DrSerVass, I saw firsthand how good responsible government can work, but the rise of the Tea Party, The GOP’s alliance with the
    “religious right” and the push for a government so small it could be drowned in a bath tub. With no indication of who would do the drowning, and the rise of Donald Trump a willing hand to hold Uncle Sams head under while Putin incuraged him with glee.
    The Republican Party today is the zombie dead, continueing to animate it’s self searching for brains, and finding none among those left in the party. Anyone with vision, brains, honesty, integrity and consecutive beliefs have left the party out of self respect .

  10. Todd @ 7:15 am. Agree with your comments. Amazing how political corruption and cronyism are no longer prosecuted. While some people and in particular CNN and MSDNC continue to look for Russians under the table or under the rug, our corrupt campaign finance system is out there for all to see. The DNC decided it could not function without campaign donations from fossil fuel PACs.

    A new story: More than 300 Pennsylvania priests abused 1,000 children over decades, report says.
    More than 300 “predator priests” were found to have committed sexual abuse in Pennsylvania, harming more than 1,000 children, according to a grand jury report released by the state supreme court on Tuesday.

    In addition to providing hundreds of pages detailing abuse by priests and how the church covered up such cases, the grand jury issued recommendations for how laws should now change. Their recommendations included eliminating criminal statute of limitations for sexually abusing children and expanding the pool of people who can make civil claims against the church.
    For nearly 2,000 years the Catholic Church has maintained women are second class, they cannot be priests and thus have no pathway to power.

    Quotes by H. L. Mencken
    “Faith may be defined briefly as an illogical belief in the occurrence of the improbable.”

    “It is now quite lawful for a Catholic woman to avoid pregnancy by a resort to mathematics, though she is still forbidden to resort to physics or chemistry.”

    Organized religion is by it’s nature Authoritarian. The leaders provide rules and regulations for the flocks to follow, as if they have exclusive access to God’s Facebook Page, or E-Mail Address. Critical scientific thinking and organized religion are mutually exclusive, since religion at it’s core relies upon the supernatural.

  11. Joann Green – –

    “Pence pules piety”
    Great, amusing but factual alliteration, thanks

  12. Hypocrisy abounds. It defines us as a country now. We lie about who we are to everyone who will fall for it and we seem quite proud when we convince people we are what we are definitely not.

    I believe that it came about because we are addicted to fantasy, entertainment is everywhere we look. Real has become an abstraction. We have been empowered by entertainers to be anything we want to be like they do for a living. Wanna be pious? Wanna be beautiful? Wanna be brave? Wanna be smart? Wanna be patriotic? Wanna shed your slumlord skin and become President? Here’s your script and costume.

    The question we will answer on November 6 is how far has this spread? Clearly it totally defines some souls and not others but what’s the ratio? Are their enough realists left to be able to use democracy to recover?

  13. A lot of the evangelicals believe that salvation is achieved strictly through belief in Jesus Christ and acceptance of him as the Savior. Good works are not part of the equation. And people who do good works, but don’t have Christian faith cannot be saved. And no matter how horrible a life you have lived, you can make a sincere confession at the time of your death and be forgiven everything. There has been debate about whether or not faith also requires good works, but many people of faith don’t really see good works playing that much of a role in salvation. And if a last minute “sincere” confession is your get out of hell free card, then maybe they have a case for placing little value on a life of good works.

    But Jesus didn’t say by their faith you will know them. It was by their fruits. And fruits are good works. This passage from Matthew was in reference to false prophets. And we have them in spades these days. They all profess strong Christian beliefs, but they are opportunists seeking personal gain.

    For a group of people who claim to be devout Christians, these people have totally missed the point. The only sins that really pissed off Jesus were pride and hypocrisy. He consistently pointed out this behavior in the Jewish religious leaders and condemned them for it. Would he be any more accepting of that behavior now?

    But evangelicals have ignored those lessons, ignored the character faults of the people they vote for, and voted for candidates who have shown a willingness to enact public policy that supports evangelical beliefs. And since these beliefs don’t necessarily translate into good works nothing good can come of policies based on them.

    We are just now starting to see some Christians coming forward who believe that Christian faith demands that we do something about climate change, immigration, and human suffering in general. This should have been the Christian response all along. But there have been few Christian leaders willing to step forward to challenge the evangelicals. The new Pope has helped in this effort, but he is being contradicted by conservatives in the Catholic Church. Until we can get enough people to challenge the backward religious leaders as Christ did, we will be stuck dealing with fake piety as and its disastrous effect on the whole of our society.

  14. File this under I President Agent Orange am above the Law:

    Illinois attorney general sues Trump Tower Chicago over water discharge into river
    The state attorney general says Trump Tower is taking water from the Chicago River and releasing it “without any regard” to the environmental impact.

    The Illinois attorney general has filed a lawsuit against Trump Tower in Chicago, alleging that it is taking in and releasing millions of gallons of water into the Chicago River without having conducted required studies on pollution or the impact on fish.

    Attorney General Lisa Madigan, a Democrat, said she filed the lawsuit in Cook County Circuit Court. She said that the building takes in almost 20 million gallons of water per day from the river to cool the property’s heating and ventilation systems, and that heated water is later discarded into the river.

    Madigan’s office also said that federal law requires “extensive studies of Chicago River fish populations and the impact of the building’s water intake system” and that the property failed to submit study results to the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency in 2013.

    It also says that Trump Tower’s National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permit expired in Aug. 31, 2017.

    “Trump Tower continues to take millions of gallons of water from the Chicago River every day without a permit and without any regard to how it may be impacting the river’s ecosystem,” Madigan said in a news release. “I filed my lawsuit to make sure Trump Tower cannot continue violating the law.”

    The Trump organization response is predictable: “One can only conclude that this decision was motivated by politics.”
    The sorry ass Trump Tower getting caught violating the law in Trump Land is motivated politics.

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