Happy Easter from Tom Delay
On this Easter Sunday, Jesus is apparently not the only one who is risen. Tom Delay, the Prince of Darkness, is back from political exile with a fiery new book of right-wing rage. In it, the Hammer hammers friend (he described Texas GOP colleague Dick Armey as "drunk with ambition") and foe alike "(liberals have finally joined the ranks of scoundrels like Hitler").
As you enjoy this Easter Sunday with your respective faith, family and favorite chocolate bunny, take a moment to contemplate the demented words of the indicted former House Majority Leader on the day of his booking last year: "let people see Christ through me."
Here, then, is a flashback to my piece from last March, "Tom Delay's Christ Complex."
Tom Delay has never been shy about comparing himself to Jesus Christ. In 2001, Delay defended his none-too-subtle campaign to bring his fundamentalism to the United States Congress, "People hate the messenger. That's why they killed Christ." At last weekend's "War on Christians" conference, Delay's American Taliban allies elevated his Christ complex to the level of a crusade.
Vision America founder and conference host Pastor Rick Scarborough led the way in the deification of Delay. Scarborough, whose latest book is titled "Liberalism Kills Kids," attributed Delay's fall from grace not to his corruption and ethics woes, but to his Christian faith:
"I believe the most damaging thing that Tom DeLay has done in his life is take his faith seriously into public office, which made him a target for all those who despise the cause of Christ."
Scarborough continued in his praise of Delay, telling his audience and radical right luminaries such as Alan Keyes, Phyllis Schalfly and Kansas Senator Sam Brownback, "This is a man, I believe, God has appointed...to represent righteousness in government."
Given his two indictments in Texas and repeated admonishments by the House for ethics violations, Tom Delay would be seem an unlikely choice for such divine intervention. He was, after all, a late subtraction from the program of January's Justice Sunday III, the last of the Family Research Council's trilogy of events decrying supposed judicial activism and other imagined offenses against so-called "values voters."
While Tom Delay may compare himself to Jesus, he's clearly on the side of the money changers. Delay counts among his "closest and dearest friends" the twice-convicted felon and Republican lobbyist extraordinaire Jack Abramoff. Only today, former Delay deputy chief of staff Tony Rudy pled guilty to conspiracy charges. He joins former Delay staffer and one-time Abramoff partner in pleading guilty. Delay's former chief of staff, Edwin Buckham, extracted over $1 million from Delay's charity, the U.S. Family Network, a non-profit launched while he was still in Delay's employ. And in 2001, Delay's wife and daughter hauled in over $500,000 from his political action and campaign committees.
Last weekend, Delay was unapologetic and about his long, growing and decidedly un-Christian rap sheet. Delay, who once said, "I don't believe there is a separation of church and state" and proclaimed his mission was to bring "a biblical worldview to government," wowed the friendly crowd at the "War on Christians" event:
"Sides are being chosen, and the future of man hangs in the balance! The enemies of virtue may be on the march, but they have not won, and if we put our trust in Christ, they never will."
As Delay left the stage of the "War on Christians" event on Sunday, Pastor Scarborough said "God always does his best work after a crucifixion" and urged the Hammer, "Keep your eyes on Jesus."
He would do better to keep his eyes on prosecutor Ronnie Earle and the voters of Texas' 22nd Congressional district.