It's the moment we've all been waiting for: The Christian Coalition has released its scorecard ranking the voting records of seated Congressfolk.
I'll give you three guesses as to which Pennsylvania Democrat got the coalition's highest ranking.
You can grab the scorecard yourself if you like; the site will ask you for an e-mail address and your state of residence, but as far as I can tell, you can lie about both. If you're reading this blog, chances are the Coalition regards you as a henchman of Beelzebub anyway -- they ought to EXPECT to be deceived.
Among the Pennsylvania delegation, I'm happy to report that Bob Casey -- despite his pro-life Catholic status -- scored a palty 10 percent from the Coalition. That's actually better (or worse, from the Coalition's perspective) than Arlen Specter's 20 percent. Nice work, Bob -- keep those saints weeping.
On the House side, it's no surprise that Republicans scored much better. Four of them scored perfect 100s -- including Tim Murphy, who represents suburban areas surrounding Pittsburgh. On the Democratic side, meanwhile, five scored perfect zeros ... including Joe Sestak, the party's nominee for Senate.
And which Dem scored the highest? Who else but Jason Altmire, whose 70 narrowly bested the 67 posted by newcomer, and heir to John Murtha, Mark Critz.
It probably goes without saying that these scorecards are asinine. For example, one of the Coalition's litmus tests was on an amendment to the healthcare bill sponsored by Oklahoma Republican Senator Tom Coburn: Among other things, the measure "would have reduced health care costs by preventing fraudulent payments for prescription drugs, prohibiting coverage of erectile dysfunction drugs to child molesters and rapists."
So ... do people who voted against amendment actually support Viagara for sex offenders? Of course not. Coburn's amendment was a transparent attempt to torpedo healthcare reform, using a wrinkle in parliamentary procedure to force Democrats to either vote against the amendment, or restart much of the legislative process on the rest of the bill.
I don't expect anything better from Coburn. But to treat this measure as a key test of a candidate's morality -- when it was nothing more than a political gambit -- sort of demeans the Christian Coalition's seriousness. If that's even possible.
After all, the coalition also insisted that a moral Senator would vote in favor of a measure "bann[ing] the use of federal COPS funds fo sanctuary cities not obeying the federal law with regards to illegal aliens." Put aside whether it's fair to deny people access to police protection because of their elected officials' stance on immigration. A case can be made that the Christian Coalition's position on immigration is, well, unbiblical.
After all, Leviticus -- which the coalition often cites for its precepts denouncing homosexuality -- says very clearly that non-natives should be welcomed:
And if a stranger sojourn with thee in your land, ye shall not vex him. But the stranger that dwelleth with you shall be unto you as one born among you, and thou shalt love him as thyself; for we were strangers in the land of Egypt.
Just remember that business of treating strangers "as one born among you" the next time you hear a Tea Partier talk about overturning the 14th Amendment. It's not just that the "Religious Right" is wrong. It's that it's not even religious.
I love Mel Packer!