I am grateful to ex-Republican House Leader and former Texas Rep. Tom Delay for putting himself back in the news with a quote remarkable for its ignorance, hatefulness, and corrupting potential. There are many reasons:
1. It provides a little perspective for Republicans who are excessively smug about the unethical depths to which the Democratic leaders, Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi, will sink. Yes, they are ethically atrocious. DeLay, however, was as powerful as either of them for a very long time and was a major power in causing the Bush years to collapse in a smelly pile of corruption. The fact that the Republican Party would follow such a man is easily as damning as Democrats tolerating Reid and Pelosi.
2. It gives me the opportunity to name Tom Ethics Alarms’ second Ethics Dunce Emeritus. The first was Bill Clinton. Tom Delay makes Bill Clinton look like Atticus Finch. Think about that.
3. I miss pointing out how despicable Tom DeLay is. On Ethics Alarm’s predecessor, The Ethics Scoreboard, he was worth a post on a regular basis.
4. His statement is so ridiculous that it is bound to make thoughtful people wonder if they should be agreeing with the man, and reexamine their current anti-gay positions critically.
Here is what DeLay said, discussing the various religious rights protection measures and the controversy surrounding them, on an interview with Newsmax, with some restrained commentary by me in bold:
“This is the result of the gay agenda. We’re now seeing what the gay agenda is all about. [ Welcome to 1978, Tom! “Gay agenda” is the sinister-sounding smear once routinely used by religious conservatives who wanted 10% of Americans stigmatized as the equivalents of Communists, “radicals,” and those fake humans with deformed little fingers that were among us in the old Sci-Fi TV show “The Invaders.” Using that term is signature significance, and what it signifies is bigotry, hate, and a stunted mind.] Our religious liberty, as you know, Steve, is the bedrock of our country. As it’s described in the Declaration of Independence, that we get our rights from our creator, somebody bigger than us. [Those rights you speak of, Tom, are “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness,” which is all the “gay agenda” is. The Declaration doesn’t mention religious freedom at all, and the word “religion” doesn’t appear. Who taught you civics, Michele Bachmann?] And from that, we get truth, with the values by which we live. And from that, we’re good people that can govern through the Constitution.” [Implication: gay citizens are not “good people,” because they are not “we.” They are “them.” In another culture at another time, Tom would be firing up the ovens.]
“Religious liberty is the foundation of this country, and what they’re trying to do is undermine religious liberty so that they become an accepted sexual orientation. [ No, you utter, shameless creep, they are trying to be accepted as human beings. If people like you wouldn’t define religious liberty as treating gays like lepers, religion would not even be involved in this matter.] And we have got to fight this battle to the bitter end because when you let the government dictate to you what you believe and what your values are, this county is finished. [ Being a citizen of the United States means that you agree to live by the principles that all men are created equal, that all have equal rights under the law, and that all have the three natural rights Jefferson specified. You can believe any dumb, mean, bigoted thing you want to, but you have to treat everyone fairly. I know you have trouble with that “fairly” part…]
“We love people who have chosen to be homosexuals. [ Liar. You believe they are choosing to be sinners, and worse, you believe they have a sinister “agenda.” If you “loved them” you wouldn’t repeat completely debunked myths about them originating from the caves.] The problem is, we abhor the sin. [To be called a sinner by the likes of Tom DeLay is the worst insult I can imagine.] So yes, when I have a business and some gay person walks in — unidentified by the way, there’s no way you can tell it unless he tells you — then I’m going to serve him. But if he comes in and asks me to undermine my values, what I believe in, undermine my religious liberty, then I have the right to stand up for what I believe in and not serve him. It’s not discrimination. [What the hell are you talking about?]
Welcome back, Tom.
Now go away and shut up.