Monday, August 3, 2009

Another One Bites the Dust

I think we can call it official. Along with death and taxes, there's something else we can always count on: socially conservative politicians getting caught with their family values around their ankles.

The current headlining hypocrite is Tennessee state Sen. Paul Stanley, 47, a Republican who represents suburban Memphis. Stanley, married with two children, had a sexual relationship with intern McKensie Morrison, 22. The affair came to light after Morrison's boyfriend, Joel Watts, tried to extort $10,000 from Stanley. In his hot little hands Watts had hot little photos of Morrison taken by the senator.

I don't imagine those pictures are going to make it into the Stanley family album.

Stanley initially planned to remain in the Senate, but instead resigned. On his Web site he apologized for his "errors" and wrote, "Giving myself to (God) and rebuilding my family relationships are now the focus of my life."

What if God doesn't want him? Can God decline?

Stanley is keenly aware of having been a shining knight of the right who fell off his horse into manure. He wrote "many have criticized me for violating pro-family stances I have taken on a number of issues. I firmly believe God's standards are where they have always been. Just because I fell far short of those standards, does not negate the standard set by God."

Sounds to me like a template for slippery knights who come after him. When sitting in the manure, the next knight should declare he's not perfect, God is, and for a while he had the honor and joy of jousting on behalf of God. Until his lance got in the way.

Stanley has surely been a conservative force in Tennessee. On his site he boasted of receiving a 100 percent rating from the NRA and Tennessee Right to Life.

A Memphis Planned Parenthood executive met with Stanley in April and recently blogged, "He told us that he didn't believe young people should have sex before marriage anyway, that his faith and church are important to him, and he wants to promote abstinence."

Yes, unmarried people shouldn't have sex. Married people, however, can have sex all over the place.

Morrison the intern is married as well, to a man in a Florida prison, enabling her to practice the-world-is-your-oyster principle of marriage, too.

Where Stanley really took the social conservative lead was in the fight against gay adoption. The Methodist Sunday school teacher sponsored a bill early this year prohibiting any cohabiting unmarried couples from adopting children. It was Stanley's second try, having filed the same bill in 2008, the stubborn son of a gun.

His legislation would've prevented unmarried straight couples from adopting, but Tennesseans knew the bill's main aim was to block homosexuals from adopting.

Tennessee may be the Volunteer State, but Stanley didn't want just any old body volunteering.

He told a Christian news service that he espied a problem in the adoption process. "We were having a lot of [unmarried] individuals apply to adopt children from state custody . . . what we were finding is that some of those individuals were in same-sex relationships," he said. "And we just thought it was not advantageous to have children who are the responsibility of the state being placed in such homes."

Heavens no. Far better they languish unwanted and unloved. I'm sure that's what Jesus would say.

Stanley also stated he thinks same-sex couples can't adequately meet the emotional, physical and mental needs of children. Where did that silliness come from, "The Boy's Book of Bigotry?"

Humans make mistakes. All of us. Sometimes a fall is just sad. This isn't one of those times.