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The Gospel According to Rudy

November 29, 2007

In last night's Republican CNN/YouTube debate, Rudy Giuliani provided Americans with a rare moment of candor about the Bible and himself. Asked if every word of the Bible was literally true, Giuliani replied that much of it was "allegorical." Given his repeated distortions, exaggerations and outright falsehoods, Giuliani could have been describing his own campaign. In the Gospel According to Rudy, the tale of the 9/11 hero fighting terrorist evil isn't literally true, either.
Following a question as to whether Jesus would have supported the death penalty, the GOP White House hopefuls were confronted by a video of a Dallas man named Joseph. Holding the Bible in his hand, Joseph asked simply, "Do you believe every word of this book?" After initially stumbling about and seeking assistance from Mike Huckabee ("Wait a second, you're the minister. You're going to help me out on this one."), Rudy Giuliani offered this parochial school response:

"I think there are parts of the Bible that are interpretive. I think there are parts of the Bible that are allegorical. I think there are parts of the Bible that are meant to be interpreted in a modern context.
So, yes, I believe it. I think it's the great book ever written. I read it frequently. I read it very frequently when I've gone through the bigger crises in my life, and I find great wisdom in it, and it does define to a very large extent my faith. But I don't believe every single thing in the literal sense of Jonah being in the belly of the whale, or, you know, there are some things in it that I think were put there as allegorical."

Leave aside for the moment Giuliani's dubious claim to be a frequent reader of the Bible. (Clearly, he skipped the Sixth Commandment: "You shall not commit adultery.") The twice-divorced, pro-choice and frequently cross-dressing Giuliani admitted in 1999 "I don't attend Mass regularly," and proclaimed in August that "my religious affiliation, my religious practices and the degree to which I am a good or not so good Catholic, I prefer to leave to the priests." That's probably a good idea. After all, Giuliani admitted, "I pray like a lawyer," adding, "I try to make a deal - get me out of this jam, and I'll start going back to church."
But Rudy knows allegory when he sees it. After all, when it comes to his own biography, allegory is Giuliani's favorite literary device.
In his morality play, Rudy, too, was metaphorically trapped in the belly of the beast (New York City). There, he fought the scourges of financial mismanagement, rampant crime and, more than anything else, Islamic terrorism. In Giuliani's mind, it may be the second greatest story ever told, but like the first, isn't literally true.
The record of the mayor of 9/11 contains some inconvenient truths. Giuliani, after all, in the wake of the first World Trade Center attack in 1993 located his emergency management headquarters in the Towers complex. He approved a no-bid contract for Motorola radios which utterly failed New York's firefighters with horrific results on September 11, 2001. Giuliani's version of the good book of 9/11 also leaves out the emerging environmental disaster at Ground Zero while propagating some extravagant claims about his own heroic role:

"I was at ground zero as often, if not more, than most of the workers...I was there working with them. I was exposed to exactly the same things they were exposed to. So in that sense, I'm one of them."

Unlike Jesus, Rudy Giuliani has clearly chosen the side of the money-changers. Rudy the Terror Fighter advocated his close friend Bernard Kerik, his former police commissioner and business associate, to head the Department of Homeland Security. Kerik has since been indicted, charged charging him with 16 counts of corruption, mail and tax fraud, obstruction of justice, and lying to the government. (Giuliani also counts among his close business partners Monsignor Alan Placa, an accused pedophile priest.) Worse still, in the aftermath of 9/11, Rudy's firm Giuliani and Associates won lucrative contracts from the emir of Qatar, Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifah al-Thani. As it turns out, Al-Thani's family had harbored 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed in the 1990's and protected him from apprehension by the FBI. (It's no wonder Giuliani adamantly refuses to release his full client list.) And just yesterday, the Politico revealed that Giuliani sought to conceal $1 million in expenses over two years using obscure New York City accounts, costs associated with his security detail during his adulterous Hampton romps with his eventual third wife, Judith Nathan.
In the Bible, Jesus died for our sins. In the Gospel According to Rudy, Giuliani is dying for our votes. When it comes to the Gospel According to Rudy, Americans would do well to follow Giuliani's own advice in Wednesday's debate, "The reality is, I believe it, but I don't believe it's necessarily literally true in every single respect."

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Jon Perr
Jon Perr is a technology marketing consultant and product strategist who writes about American politics and public policy.

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