What sin would it take for the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention to declare that one is unfit to serve in Congress? Apparently, pulling a Saul Goodman is the answer.
Now, within the halls of Congress on Capitol Hill, there are all sorts of corruptions that could be condemned. There is rampant insider trading in which Congressmen and Senators coincidentally out-perform the S&P 500 to their own enrichment. There is a slew of wicked legislation that is brought forth in the halls of Congress, with the so-called “Respect for Marriage Act” or HR 8297, which protects abortion as interstate commerce. Of course, there is the fiscal irresponsibility that has been rampant in Congress whereby the people become taxed both through unjust tax policy and inflationary spending.
Instead, Brent Leatherwood, the President of the ERLC, decides to weigh in on the low hanging fruit of New York Congressman George Santos. Writing for USA Today, Leatherwood penned his column, “George Santos scammed voters. Congress has a moral duty to kick him out of office” to virtue signal against the scandal ridden freshman congressman in an attempt to appeal virtuous to the world.
It feels as if we live in an age of scams. And, recently, a scam has visited itself upon Congress in the form of Rep. George Santos, R-N.Y. His stay in Congress should be brief.
For an opening like this, the column should be BASED. Instead, it is milquetoast. Of the scams surrounding Covid, The War on Terror, Ukraine, PPP loans, Big Pharma, The Fed, the list is endless in the DC swamp. But no, George Santos is a personified scam. Winning with 54% of the vote, it is likely his stay in Congress will be brief, so why bother discussing it?
Both Democrats and Republicans are calling for the new representative from New York’s third district to step down after an investigation found whole sections of his résumé and campaign platform were fabricated. He touted himself as a graduate of Baruch College, a former employee of Citigroup and a person of Jewish descent.
In the realm of politics, Santos would not be the first nor the last to fabricate his resume. Lying is a primary means by which politicians ascend to power. Elizabeth Warren fabricated her native heritage for personal benefit. Herschel Walker and Mehmet Oz attempted to lie their way into office, while Kamala whored her way in. Politicians make false promises all the time, like opposing Kevin McCarthy, only for twenty to stand firm when the speaker elections came. Patching the resume is also commonplace as political advisors will put lipstick on just about any swine they come across.
Was it really that Santos lied about his employment and education that drew the ire of the media, or the fact that Santos “Saul Goodman’d” his way into office? In the Breaking Bad universe, criminal lawyer James McGill practices law under the name Saul Goodman, an identity which bears Jewish connotations to his delinquent clientele. In the same way, Santos embellished his nonexistent “Jewish roots” in Long Island congressional district where there resides a prominent Jewish population.
Leatherwood proceeds to discuss the SBC’s history advocating moral character in government, citing Clinton, Watergate, and their resolution in 2017, basically concluding that Santos is a continuation of these things.
Without a doubt, our political landscape features characters who cravenly seek attention by stating the most outrageous thing possible. Denying them the publicity they desperately want is one way to counteract the damage they do to our institutions.
But Santos’ case is different. Failing to speak against his blatant lies will further the erosion of faith in our government organizations and weaken an institution of public trust.
First and foremost, there is no trust in America’s institutions, nor should there be at this juncture. Second, Santos is insignificant in the grand scheme of Congressional corruption. Santos’s false claims of Judaism are his real crime—not the lying, resume buffing, or the omitted the litany of sexual sins that he has committed. Those are par for the course, but this particular lie crossed the line. For this grave insult of impersonating a member of a politically influential demographic, Santos is being vilified.
Leatherwood has an opportunity to write a column on a nationally syndicated outlet and he panders to low hanging fruit while downplaying the more pertinent moral failings of George Santos, which are a far greater reflection of American decay.
Between the years 2008 and 2011, George Santos was a transvestite functioning as a drag queen in Brazil. In 2012, Santos married a woman who he would officially divorce in 2019, all while living as an open homosexual during that time. Being the “first openly gay Republican” elected to Congress is far more detrimental than being Rep. Saul Goodman.
Along with the political arena, this issue is also surfacing in institutions of business, culture and religion. Sacrificing traits like decency, integrity and honesty all for the sake of making a buck or placating a base ultimately leads down a path of destruction.
For Christians, who say we believe that our internal and external lives should be consistent, guided by enduring and eternal truths, shining a light on this culture of scam should be a natural response. Failing to do so causes harm to our institutions, our churches and our souls.
He proceeds to play the Big Eva trope that conservatives sacrificed morality for electoral victory. He acts as if evangelical voters sold their souls for George Santos, when that is unlikely the case in Long Island, NY of all places. Leatherwood will contend that the political process failed to prevent this lying scumbag from running for Congress when the reality is that Santos is the product of a society that has no moral standards.
While there is truth to the need for Christians to be a light, the ERLC have both soft-peddled liberalism and acquiesced on the culture war under the leadership of Richard Land, Russell Moore, and now Brent Leatherwood. Had the GOP actually stood for something, then Santos would never have been a candidate for political office, at least not one with an R next to his name. Leatherwood pulls an Andy Stanley and focuses solely on the recalcitrant dishonesty rather than the flaming sexual degeneracy, which is more appalling than the dishonesty.
There is no cultural capital to be gained being the thousandth person to bash Santos—he is easy prey. Hardly anyone in Congress associates with him and I doubt he is being invited by Kevin McCarthy to the alleged orgies or helping Lindsey Graham get to the bottom of anything. This is the winsome way of kissing left and punching right at USA Today as a means of looking good before the world.
George Santos is not Christian, though he does claim Catholicism. Moreover, he is not Southern Baptist. If the head of the ERLC is going to condemn the characters of Congressmen and Senators, start with those who claim Jesus while voting the opposite—that is those like Adam Kinzinger and Roy Blunt—the latter of which is SBC. Instead of addressing something of substance, the impotence of the ERLC is on national display yet again.