Religious Right activists are quick to tell us all how we should live our lives. Essentially, they think they are good, decent and righteous, and the rest of us aren't. They want legislation to impose their set of values on everyone, based on their reading of certain Bible passages.
But isn't it funny, though, how often the Religious Right folks want us to do as they say, not as they do?
Take, for example, the sad tale of Tim Goeglein. Goeglein has served as a special assistant to President George W. Bush since 2001, acting as a liaison to the Religious Right. In 2004, The Washington Post reported that Goeglein worked closely with Bush's then top political adviser, Karl Rove, to ensure that Christian conservatives were "happy, in the loop and getting their best ideas before the president and turned into law."
Late on Friday, Goeglein resigned his position with the White House after it was revealed that he was guilty of serial plagiarism. A longtime guest columnist for his hometown newspaper in Fort Wayne, Ind., Goeglein was caught lifting from other writers without attribution, The New York Times reported.
The Times reported that The News-Sentinel was alerted by a local blogger to Goeglein's plagiarizing of a Dartmouth Review writer and soon discovered that he had improperly taken from other writers in 19 of his 38 newspaper columns.
Goeglein admitting to lifting from the Dartmouth Review writer, telling another Fort Wayne newspaper, "I am entirely at fault. It was wrong of me. There are no excuses."
Before joining Bush's team, Goeglein was known within Religious Right circles because of his work for Gary Bauer, the former head of the Family Research Council. He successfully kept Religious Right bigwigs close to Bush.
Charles Colson, head of Prison Fellowship Ministries and a longtime influential shaper of the Religious Right, told The Post in 2004, "My experience has been a lot of times when we have had serious questions and we needed administration backing to get them through ... if we call Tim, all of sudden things get through."
The New York Times dubbed Goeglein "the eyes and ears of the White House in the world of religious conservatives and an emissary to that world for Mr. Rove and the president."
Religious Right enthusiasts campaign to post the Ten Commandments all over the public square. As I recall, one of those commandments says something about not stealing. That presumably applies to other people's words as well as their property.
Goeglein's downfall follows not long after another senior Bush policy adviser and Religious Right favorite, Claude Allen, was dislodged from his powerful position after admitting to shoplifting from the Target in Gaithersburg, Md.
Allen, a former staffer for the notoriously right-wing North Carolina Senator Jesse Helms, was described by media as a "protégé of Justice Clarence Thomas" before becoming a domestic policy adviser to Bush.
Instead of harping over the alleged dangers of gay marriage or Hollywood movies, Religious Right activists ought to focus on the basics in their own lives. Honesty is a good place to start.