Tuesday, October 10, 2006
Foley's failings don't faze some religious conservatives
There's a saying, I'm told, that there are more churches in Virginia Beach than flies at a summer picnic. With that abundance of churches, comes a large number of Christian conservative voters. This is, after all, the place Pat Robertson calls home. His Christian Broadcasting Network is based here, along with Regent University, the school he founded.

It's at Regent that we met Charles Dunn, the dean of Regent's School of Government. He believes what is happening in his own backyard is a telling sign of what could happen in November.

Dunn says Christian conservatives are demoralized, a feeling made worse by the Mark Foley situation. Polls tell us that a majority of people from many walks of life aren't happy with the way things are going in Washington. So why do evangelical Christians stand out? For one thing, they helped Republicans win in recent elections and what Foley did seems like kind of moral failing that would make a big impact on this community.

Dunn says evangelicals don't have that same energy to get out the vote this year as they did in prior years. This notion is seconded by some GOP strategists who are convinced that Christian conservatives may sit out this election rather than vote for a Democrat.

To test this notion, we attended some Sunday services in the Norfolk/Virginia Beach area and talked to churchgoers, many of whom told us they're not throwing in the towel just yet. They said that while they are disappointed that lawmakers in Washington, including the White House, have not advanced some conservative causes, they will still vote because they think voting is not just a civic duty, but a religious one. Many also noted that they and their fellow evangelicals view Mark Foley's scandal as a personal sin, one for which they don't hold the GOP accountable.

It'll be another month before we know how many religious conservatives turn out on Election Day. Until then, all we can do is read polls, talk to analysts and meet with likely voters. So here's my question for you (especially all the religious conservatives out there): Based on your reading of events, do you think Christian conservatives will stay home on Election Day in protest or will civic duty prevail?
Posted By Mary Snow, CNN Correspondent: 12:02 PM ET
  53 Comments
Sit out the election? Polls are goign to miss that one again here. Politics are local and people will vote regardless of Foley. Impact? None.
Posted By Anonymous Bart, New York, New York : 1:01 PM ET
Christian conservaties will not be deterred. Why are there not stories about the agnostic liberal segment of the population being demoralized when people like Hillary Clinton or Edaward Kennedy use the word God? Why is it that all conservative can be lumped into one group, as if they are all monotonic? The 'conservative base' of the Republican Party is just as diverse, if not more so, then the deomcratic liberal base. Just because people are white, christian and middle class doesn't mean that they experience the exact same life as others that are white, christian and middle class.
Posted By Anonymous Brant, Madison, Wisconsin : 1:12 PM ET
No it won't. The conservative movement (i.e. fundamentalist Christians) here in the United States is in a state of denial with regards to their elected officials. They refuse acknowledge any wrong doing and instead look to place blame elsewhere. Look at Foley himself, he blames alcohol, his upbringing (abused by a priest) etc. Look at House Speaker Dennis Hastert, he is maneuvering to blame his staff (will fire anyone "who found to have covered up concerns"). The only other group of people that are in a greater state of denial is the vast majority of moderate Americans that for some reason cannot bring themselves to the polls to vote for leaders that take responsibility for their actions as put honor and integrity above politics and narrow special interest.
Posted By Anonymous Jesse Barker, Statesville, NC : 1:22 PM ET
I don't think there will be a negative impact for Republicans. After all, this wasn't Foley's fault, right? It was all due to alcholism and abuse at the hands of a member of the clergy. Blah blah blah. I'll have to file that one away to use as an excuse for something later. This is the kind of hypocritical BS that has caused me to distance myself from organized religion. I'll take a well meaning atheist or agnostic any day of the week over an ultra right wing conservative fascist. You don't use the platform of "family values" as propaganda when you have no regard for morals at all. Maybe Foley IS an alcoholic AND a vicitm of abuse, but he should have owned that BEFORE he got caught! Good thing he did all that work to make the internet safer for children-thereby making it easier for him to try to get lucky. If the religious conservatives don't vote or if they vote Republican, I think it says a lot about the pathetic state this country is in right now.
Posted By Anonymous Debbie Darby, Denham Springs, LA : 1:54 PM ET
It is important to vote your convictions and not a party. Do you know anything about the person that you are voting for? The terms liberal and conversative are irrelevant when it comes to voting. We cannot care more about the unborn than the living, fight for abortion rights and not for human rights and contrary to popular opinion there are many of us who are DEMOCRATS who are born again,love Jesus with all of our hearts and live for him daily. We also believe the whole bible, the holy spirit and goven our lives accordingly. God has called his ministers to be the moral leaders of the world and not the politicians. Let's just get real.........
Posted By Anonymous Martha, Chicago Illlinois : 1:56 PM ET
If "Christian conservatives" stay home on election day, they will be cutting off their nose to spite their face. They will not vote just because of "civic duty". They will vote because they will realize that whatever problems or disappointments they may have with current Republicans, their agenda and situation will be made much worse with Nancy Pelosi as Speaker of the House.
Posted By Anonymous Mike in Baytown, Texas : 1:56 PM ET
If the Christian conservatives do go out and vote, based on their religious duty, is it then a sin to vote for the sinners who allegedly knew about the Foley scandal?
Posted By Anonymous Becky, Cleveland, Ohio : 1:57 PM ET
Being a conservative Christian myself, I think the majority of the "Republican conservative base" is discouraged by the failing leaders in the GOP. At one point, they had us convinced that they should have our vote, but we now realize that just like most politicians, that was a PR tactic to get where they wanted to go. Although we're discouraged, I think you'll see most of us at the polls this fall, mainly because we're in the same boat as left-wing liberals - we're hoping for a change. If the GOP fails us by giving us poor candidates to choose from, I think most conservatives will honestly consider voting Democratic if there's a better man.
Posted By Anonymous Priscilla H, Worcester, MA : 1:59 PM ET
Christian conservatives and evangelicals won the last election and got their leaders in place and what has since happened? We are in a war that was poorly planned with no exit strategy in sight that is costing American billions of dollars, a natural disaster strikes on American soil (Katrina) and it takes 7 days for the government to respond, Tom Delay is forced to step down amid campaign finance violations, gas prices reached and maintained an all time high, global warming is now affecting Alaskan villages to relocate, and now the Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert "doesn't recall" being told in 2000 about Foley's harrasment of teenage Pages. After all this, the evangelicals & Christian conservatives seem to only care about gay marriage and abortion. I'm taking a bet here, but I think the majority of Americans will not be voting Republican this year and if the evangelicals & Christian conservatives would rather stay home than vote Democrat, then by all means, please stay home. Maybe this year I won't have to wait in line behind bus loads of church goers wheeling their elderly and sick to the polls just to win.
Posted By Anonymous Katherine, Woodland Hills CA : 2:08 PM ET
I'm not a christian conservative but feel their civic duty will prevail. I am open minded enough to understand when one person screws up not lump the rest of their party into a judgement. I am hoping for the day when there is no republic or democratic party. To many labels and anymore both parties overlap. Maybe more mainstream America would vote, if they didn't think both parties were a joke.
Posted By Anonymous ginger, colby , kansas : 2:16 PM ET
Do you think Christian conservatives will stay home on Election Day in protest or will civic duty prevail?

Well I am so glad you are covering this issue. It is out of control in Florida. We have preachers at the pulpit tell people who to vote for and how to vote.

In Florida, these Coalitions are posting voting guides on people's cars telling them who is pro-life and who is not. I have called my friends in NY, ME, MA and CT and they never heard anything about the preaching and voting. If you don't follow the pro-life plan, then you are considered "less than moral" and an inferior candidate.

So Ms. Snow, if you are going to follow the issue and the campaign trail maybe you should consider segregating your thoughts in the North, South, East and West of the country. I would love to know how many folks in WA are voting by the voter's guide.

In the South, the folks will be out to vote with their voter guides in hand. The only hope the rest of us have is for the IRS to take away their tax exempt status so we can focus on the true issues at hand for this country which includes the economy, religious and personal freedom and protecting our national border and our citizens.
Posted By Anonymous Renee Bradenton, FL : 2:20 PM ET
I am a Southern Baptist and voted for Bush and a Republican ticket in the last 2 election. Not this time. It has become clear to me that the Republican party is no more the party of "Values" than the Democrats. This time I will be voting a Democratic ticket. Do I agree with everything the Democrats stand for? Absolutely not. But I do believe they will do more to help middle-class Americans such as my self, will be better for the economy, and will hopefully get us out of the mess in Iraq. As for Values, it is clear neither party represents my values.
Posted By Anonymous Thomas McFall, Dallas, Texas : 2:22 PM ET
Hi Mary, The so called religious people that you spoke with, the ones who believe that this is Mark Foley's personal sin, seem to have forgotten that the Republican leadership swept it under the rug. It reminds me of the, so called, religious Catholic priests pedophiles and their bishops who also swept these crimes against children under the rug.
I don't care if they vote or not, they need to clear up their thinking.
Posted By Anonymous Judy Stage Brooklyn Michigan : 2:23 PM ET
I really don't think one is going to get an objective answer from the christian conservatives. I am not one but I would like to say that I don't think the Foley fallout will have much of an effect. If the dirty deeds by Abramoff, Delay, Rush, etc. don't turn this people away from the company they keep. Nothing will. State of Denial would also be a great label for the evangelicals.
Posted By Anonymous JD Snyder San Marcos, Texas : 2:31 PM ET
Okay, I'll buy the "personal sin" explanation, but do I want an entire leadership of sinners running my country? No. I'm not voting this year. My representatitives are an embarassement.
Posted By Anonymous Susan, Brooksville, Fl : 2:36 PM ET
When will the press get over the Foley Folly spin? The failure is Hastert and cronies who continue to support a system that is amoral and unethical, who failed to protect minors who safety was there direct responsibility. We've got 16 year old pages who understand 'sexual predator behavior' better than those entrusted to write and bear responsibility for enforcing the laws. The Christian radicals obviously would rather follow false prophets than lose political power. The politicians of course, blame the Pfc's and Sgt's for leadership failure and wave the 'gay' wedge issue. And there goes the Press buying the whole crock.
Posted By Anonymous linda, bella vista, ar : 2:37 PM ET
I do not think that this will be cause to keep away from the polls... Actually, I think that it is the bleeding heart liberal democrats that make excuses for folks like Foley...As for Hastert, I can't believe he said if his staff covered up they will be fired...I was not one who was calling for his resignation, but I am now... Republicans/Democrats, we're all sinners, some of us own up to it and some will blame, and some will deny deny deny...
Posted By Anonymous Sherry Sarasota, Fl : 2:38 PM ET
I think it will have an impact. As pollsters have found, people often tell them one thing and then do another. As someone who has had first-hand experience in trying to get out the vote within a segment of a population -- giving them any excuse not to vote will impact overall turnout. The question isn't whether conservative Christian turn out will drop, but rather by how much.

While the Foley issue alone isn't enough I think that combined with the GOP's failure to carry forward enough on the Evangelical's pet issues, plus the growing concern about the war and spiraling deficits, should keep some people home.

Unfortunately, the Democrats continue to have the unified message needed to turn this midterm into a rout. The GOP may lose one house, but not likely both.
Posted By Anonymous Mike McGann, West Chester, PA : 2:39 PM ET
The Foley scandal won't faze them.
The intelligentia are making predictions about the dems taking control but I think they just might be wrong. In the minds of the christian right - Dems kill babies - and nothing could be worse than that as far as they are concerned. And then you have the "social conservatives" who have hijacked conservatism as a cover for their secret(mostly unexpressed social attitudes. So-Called moral values is only a cover and a smoke-screen and that is why hypocrisy abounds.
Posted By Anonymous Jen Bailey, Pittsburgh PA : 2:43 PM ET
One mans's sin will not cause me to change my entire view of the political landscape. The liberal media is responsible for trying to influence the voters in this election. For that reason and for my core beleifs, I will vote this year as in every other year.
Posted By Anonymous Andy Dunn, Corbin, KY : 2:47 PM ET
I'm religious, but not conservative. I hope civic duty prevails, but they don't vote for the republicans. I'm sure that's too much to ask though. It's ridiculous to think that one party has a monopoly on religion. Why does it always have to come down to abortion and gay marriage? What about the poor (constantly mentioned throughout the Bible)? What have the republicans done for them lately? A million people have fallen into poverty each year since 2000.
Posted By Anonymous Stacy, St. Louis, MO : 2:49 PM ET
Mary,

I was saddened by some of the opinions you received in regards to Foley and his indiscretions.

I, personally, never stay within party lines at the polls. I see it as I do most things: some good, some bad; some I agree with, some I don't. No party, no religion is 100% how I feel. I've pushed so hard on this voting deal, on genocide, immigrants, that my friends have started to hide when they see me. Of course it's important who you vote for, but surely there is someone you can feel comfortable with. We can't not vote and allow an unworthy candidate to be in office.

Foley's actions nay have been "personal" sin, true, but they occurred in the most sacred of places to the voter--in Washington. It involved children, possibly many more than we may ever know.

Now, tell me how it is determined that one "personal" sin should be punished, while another is not? A child is a child, there is no excuse. No alcohol, no molestation, no sexual orientation, is an acceptable excuse.

Thanks,

Maggie
Posted By Anonymous Maggie, Grain Valley, MO : 2:51 PM ET
Christians are well informed.We don't view what any party say's we are likely to do period. We vote conservative values based on what we believe. We are not so stupid to believe the sins of one man is the sins of a political party be it republican or democrat We will be at the polls because its our God given right. Now believe that!
Posted By Anonymous Buster, Germantown TN> : 2:53 PM ET
We certainly need to come to grips with the fact that many people have been voting for people who they assume have morals and family values... What everyone needs to understand that you cannot vote for a person based upon his party affiliation but his/her value system. That's why it is so important to:
l. vote your convictions and 2. study the person that you are voting for. You must also be willing to acknowledge that you made a mistake when you voted for someone who professes to be against homesexual rights and later learn that they are themselves homesexuals. Study the issues and the person and support the one who is closest to your values. Some of us DEMOCRATS are born again, live for Jesus daily and totally believe in the bible, ALL OF IT!!!!!
Posted By Anonymous M Marshall, Chicago IL : 3:04 PM ET
I do not see ANY religiosity in this White House or the Pentagon. Killing is NOT the way of Christ.People might now vote for religious democrats!
Posted By Anonymous Javed helali, Pflugerville, Texas : 3:09 PM ET
The Christian conservatives will be out in force. This has nothing to do with morals or civic duty, but lust for power. They have ridden the republicans into power, and they don't want to give up their power. I live in a more christian conservative area than VA beach (Lynchburg,VA) and trust me these people will bend over backwards to justify the House leaders inaction on a moral issue if it means they can keep the Power they have fought so hard for. As in War the victors get to write the history. C.C. are already telling themselves that the leadership pushed Foley out of office not the press.
Posted By Anonymous Jim, Goode,VA. : 3:12 PM ET
I read with interest the comments of Jesse, Debbie, Thomas, and Mike, however I msut say that I most agree with Ginger...
We invaded Iraq to give them "Democracy", and they did hold free and open elections with over 100 choices on the ballot...
Ginger, you are absolutely correct, we have a "Democracy" with a (real/ viable) choice of two parties, underhanded politician "A" or underhanded politician "B"...
Where is our real choice. Wouldn't it be great to see a VIABLE third, forth or even fifth party candidate on the ballot!
When I vote this November, and I will, it will not be for "A" OR "B" I assure you. Perhaps others will take a closer look at the Independent or other candidates and sent A and B a clear message!
Posted By Anonymous Rich Berrettini, Eldred, PA : 3:14 PM ET
Hi Mary~
I only hope and PRAY that if the Christian conservatives do vote, they are able to decipher which candidates are just giving them lip service to get their vote. Here's a thought, maybe they should look at ALL the issues but hey, that's just my silly opinion.
Posted By Anonymous Betty Ann, Nacogdoches TX : 3:20 PM ET
if the christian right does not help to change the current administration then they have no moral standard or values to boast about. They will have demonized themselves to be no more the people of God then the Islamic extremist. GOP seems to have stood for "Gay Old Predators" in my opinion. Not quite the party upholding Leviticus. Vote all republicans out and lets see what the democrats have to offer. This is the prudent course of action and a more religious one.
Posted By Anonymous dan, greenwich, connecticut : 3:33 PM ET
The idea of a person voting the way his religious leader tells him to is so un-American, it is preposterous. The entire current administration and both houses of Congress are looking to their Bibles for guidance while the enire world spins out of control for lack of leadership and intelligent diplomacy.
Posted By Anonymous Tom, Wheaton IL : 3:45 PM ET
When Mark Foley resigned and entered a rehab facility, the media moved to the cover-up and who knew what when and what actions were and weren't taken. That's where the real story is. Is the party in power more concerned with keeping power than protecting a predator?
We know what Mr. Foley did but since he's incommunicado til just before the election, we'll hear it all over again when he comes out "cured." I can't wait.
Posted By Anonymous Paul, Cobleskill, NY : 4:09 PM ET
Please, EVERYONE, get a grip! If this keeps conservative Christians away from the polls, then they are not really Christians are they? These are probably the exact people who dont research the candidate before they vote on them, as do some democrats, so we dont want them voting anyway!!! I, for one, will be one conservative Christian at the voting polls on election day.
Posted By Anonymous Sharon Tampa, FL : 4:16 PM ET
Just as the Liberals didn't stay away when Clinton had his shenanigans, the Christians won't stay away due to one mans errors. There are goofballs like this on BOTH sides of the aisles. This isn't about being Republican or Democrat, Conservative or Liberal. It's about right and wrong. You look at the man, not the political affiliation.
Posted By Anonymous Tim, Conway, Arkansas : 4:40 PM ET
Did CLINTONS failings demoralize the Dem's? Lest we all forget Monica. The most powerful man in the US at the time, and he embarrassed an entire country not being able to keep it in his pants. Its amazing the selective memory Dems/Libs have. Such a witchhunt they are on now, however, when good ol' boy Bill, had his pants unzipped, they were behind him 100%. Oh thats right, BILL LIED ABOUT IT AT FIRST, I forgot!
Posted By Anonymous TS Coastal SC : 4:40 PM ET
Becky, Cleveland, Ohio : 1:57 PM ET

You asked "If the Christian conservatives do go out and vote, based on their religious duty, is it then a sin to vote for the sinners who allegedly knew about the Foley scandal?"

YES. Foley's may be a personal sin; the others engaged in a calculation to hold onto power.
Posted By Anonymous AM, Vienna, VA : 4:41 PM ET
I am curious, how does one group of people get so much attention from the media and politicians? It reminds me of the rest of the world being afraid of offending Muslims so they tiptoe around them. The same thing is done here. I don't know about the rest of you, but I do not want Conservative Evangelical Christians deciding the policies our gov't is run on. I agree with revoking the tax-exempt status of churches that seek to overstep their boundaries. The IRS guidelines are pretty clear. This small group of people is running the country right now (swell job too guys). They claim they want change, but will they really pick someone from the "other" party come election day. They cannot get past the abortion (which is legal) issue and concentrate on other (more important) issues like the war, the deficit, health care, social security, education, illegal immigration, the mess of the current administration etc.

I'll believe it when I see it.
Posted By Anonymous Melina - Mesa, AZ : 4:47 PM ET
These are the same hypocrites who wanted to impeach Bill Clinton for a consensual exchange between adults.

And people wonder where the hypocrisy charge comes from when it comes time to describing conservative Christians. It couldn't be anything like this, could it?!
Posted By Anonymous Sam, Tigard, OR : 4:48 PM ET
Buster, Germantown TN> : 2:53 PM ET

Points well taken, with 3 exceptions: (1) Why will you preserve inpower those who look the other way? Theirs is the sin of greed and arrogance; (2) I sense that your definition of 'Christian' is narrow, and 'religious right-wing' is more accurate; (3) I hope your values include compassion for the poor, because frankly my observation of the religious right-wing is that they are intolerant of those who are not well off. Just an empirical observation.
Posted By Anonymous AM, Vienna, VA : 4:51 PM ET
I'm not one of those extremists (right wing "compassionate conservatives")...so I'll only say that us Democrats are FAR MORE energized to vote this year - and those who are independents are equally as energized NOT to vote Republican as I have ever seen. Like the AARP says, Don't Vote (sic: Republican) if you don't know where your politician stands on the issues....
Posted By Anonymous Brad Olesen, Dallas Texas : 4:52 PM ET
If Foley broke the law, he should be held accountable for his actions. Otherwise, I don't care about him and those self righteous religious conservatives.

This country is not based on religion but the rules of law. I am personally tired of us as a nation digressing and allowing these religios conservatives to have as much influence on the outcome of elections in our country.

If they are truly christians let them get up and be true christians by going out and providing assistance to all those people in the country that their conservative agenda has rendered helpless!!!!!
Posted By Anonymous Augie, Boston MA : 4:55 PM ET
As a so called "Christian Conservative", I have voted Republican straight down the board in past elections. As a military wife, I have also normally supported the Commander in Chief. HOWEVER, things are not as they should be in Washington. Do the Democrats have the best plan? No. But something has to change. Democrats will receive this "Republican" vote in November. Christians WILL come out to vote, but the results will not be what the GOP want.
Posted By Anonymous Sara, Albuquerque, New Mexico : 5:07 PM ET
Some Christian "family values" conservatives will stay home on election day, and some will vote from civic duty. That's not the issue. Elections between two ideologically close parties (Dems and Republicans) seldom result in landslides either way. It is sufficient to note that SOME Christian family values voters will be turned off by the sordid behavior of the Republican leadership. Christian voters staying away ON THE MARGIN will be enough to flip the House, and maybe even the Senate, if Sanator Macaca loses.
Posted By Anonymous Clark Thomas, in Roanoke, VA : 5:29 PM ET
The only real value the GOP values is power.

I think most Americans see that having the GOP in control has resulted in a lack of results. How long will we make excuses or say that the other side is just as bad? We need to aim higher, and not always going for the cheap shot and dumbing down.
Posted By Anonymous Ron NY, NY : 5:45 PM ET
These "religious conservatives" are nothing more that Christafascists. Remember that we fought a world world against the same right-wing ideology that plagued Europe in during the 30s through the mid-40s.
Posted By Anonymous D.A. Reuter, Bremerton, WA : 6:06 PM ET
Weren't church and state separated for a reason over two hundred years ago? I am a cradle Southerner and moderate Republican. I am also an Episcopalian (of the more liberal kind). And I vote based on what I believe a candidate can do to help us prosper and take care of ourselves and those who cannot. I vote for the candidate who can best address my concerns for us, who I believe can best assure we have a solid future in our world. I look at the whole picture, not just the pieces I like or dislike. I don't vote and make decisions in life based on religious fervor. Candidates are going to say what they think voters want to hear. It's up me to be smart enough to discern reality from lies. For now, I am still leaning to my right in spite of the Foley scandal and debacle in some foreign policy issues. I've watched democrats at the federal, state, and local levels screw up Louisiana for many years, especially the last one, in ways that may never be healed and make mistakes that will never be able to be undone. This November, I really don't feel like I have much of a choice but to help make sure they do no more damage than they've already inflicted on us. For now, protection of the state I love supersedes a sex scandal and executive branch cowboy antics that will probably end with a presidency.
Posted By Anonymous TA Cheramie, Berwick, LA : 6:09 PM ET
Let's face it, the Christian Conservatives have bigger concerns like gay marriage and abortion and their only hope is the Republicans. They'll pull a Carl Rove and blame the Democrats. We all know Bush never makes mistakes no matter how many he makes and the CC's have consistently supported him. These people have been asleep since they got in power. They slept through 911, the Foley affair, and now the Nuclear N Korea. When they get woke up from the shock, they consistently say "It's Bill Clinton's fault!" They have had 6 years to work on these things. 3/4ths of Bush's terms is over! When will they do anything that works?
Posted By Anonymous R. Lowell, Pensacola, Florida : 6:19 PM ET
Any day now 5-15 days before the elections, we will be seeing some scare alerts to swing back your votes to Foley's party.

Bet on it.
Posted By Anonymous Keith Mahoney - Chicago, IL : 6:41 PM ET
Just because I'm Christian, doesn't make me an automatic conservative or Republican. I'll vote this year - I'll vote based on an individual's record and the issues and other policitians they have supported. I may have voted Republican in the past, but my faith in those who flaunted their own Christianity has wavered, I know longer trust it to be genuine. So I'll get out and vote this year, and most likely I will vote Democrat so the people who took my vote and squandered it know there are consequences.
Posted By Anonymous Jennifer, Lynnwood, WA : 7:21 PM ET
If you are areligious conservative, or conservative Christian, please take heed. Many people whom have been lumped into such categories as Liberal, elitist and amoral, are in fact the product of a society that treasures reason and logic with spiritual faith, believes in the rule fo law, understands that mankind is made up of many people who don't exactly share thier beliefs, but wouldn't demonize or marginalize them legally for who they are. We call these people Americans in the truest sense of the word. They are no less God's children than you, no less deserving of respect and tolerance and don't wish to be the used as pawns in a sick and brazen pwer struggle for a political party.

In fact, what we all want is the opportunity to thrive as citizens and in most cases, to be left alone to run our own lives and communities, without the harping and arrogant views of self-appointed religious moralists.

Many of us in the middle have deep and strongly founded supsicions of such people, since their beliefs seem to be thinly-veiled contemtp and bigotry, and when juxtaposed against the grander gestures of Jesus' teachings, seem to be in almost direct opposition.

For the sake of all America and the world as we know it, please think before you vote and try a little critical analysis first. The problems of the world go far beyond abortion, gay marriage and prayer in schools.
Posted By Anonymous James, Charlotte, NC : 7:35 PM ET
Foley's perversions will not faze Christian conservatives because Christians, historically, are perverted individuals. More so than agnostics or athiests. Christians will always find a way to justify another Christian's perverted behavior.
Christianity is responsible for more death, destruction, child abuse, and all sorts of detrimental actions. But as long as they do their evil deeds "in the name of God", all is forgiven in their eyes.
Posted By Anonymous Carla Mollica, Albuquerque, NM : 7:36 PM ET
I'm not surprised! Did they want to hang Clinton, yes? Double standard most likely. What is the agenda of the religious right. Are children included?

Oops am I missing something here. Yes this was a child.
Posted By Anonymous Bonnie, Fairfax, VA. : 10:46 PM ET
Luckily, we've got someone here in these United States who can clean up this mess. Yes, it's time for Kenneth Starr and his Wild Bunch to ride into town at High Noon and have a shootout with that fornicatin' sex-crazed Democrat. Wait, he's a gay Republican? Oh, that's all right then, let him go free. No problem.
Posted By Anonymous Dick, Statesboro GA : 12:06 PM ET
Most chat programs (AOL/Yahoo) have a feature to automatically save their IMs - so it doesn't surprise me at all that they were saved.

This issue reaches way beyond Foley, and speaks volumes about the hypocracy many of our conservative leaders have expressed on moral values.

Under normal circumstances, I consider myself a moderate - but I'm angry where our country is headed, and am finding that having any one single party in control of all branches of our government to be a really, really bad thing.

Both parties have issues - but the Democrats seem much more now to be the lesser of two evils.
Posted By Anonymous Steve, Waterford, Michigan : 12:35 PM ET
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