A conservative Christian organization that lashed out at the First Lady's weekend comedy routine is lashing out again—this time at critics who claim that the group's Bible-based panning of Mrs. Bush's jokes and one-liners was itself a joke. Observers say that the high-profile dispute over who can speak for conservative Christians is just the latest in an increasingly heated battle between the Coalition for Traditional Values and its rival, the Traditional Values Coalition.
Talk of milking horses and desperate housewives rubs some values voters the wrong way
Editor's note: Controversy continues to swirl around the Swift Report's exclusive reporting of the Coalition for Traditional Values' unhappiness with the First Lady's comedy routine. On 5/05, a rival group, the Traditional Values Coalition, released a statement to the press denying that Mrs. Bush's remarks had effectively emasculated the President.
WASHINGTON, DC— A conservative Christian organization that lashed out at the First Lady's weekend comedy routine is lashing out again—this time at critics who claim that the group's Bible-based panning of Mrs. Bush's jokes and one-liners was itself a joke.
The Coalition for Traditional Values (CTV) made headlines yesterday when a story appeared on the popular conservative Weblog, the Swift Report. In the story, which was picked up by the Drudge Report, Rush Limbaugh, and other media outlets, CTV chairman Pastor Roy DeLong criticized the First Lady for making jokes that mocked the traditional family structure and publicly undermined her husband at a time when President Bush's masculinity is increasingly under attack.
A rival group strikes back
But hours after the story appeared, a rival group called the Traditional Values Coalition (TVC) came forward with its own version of events. Late yesterday, TVC released a statement in which it claimed that CTV's criticism of the First Lady's Performance is part of a systematic effort to undermine its own work. According to TVC Chairman Rev. Louis P. Sheldon, "Our computers have seen more viruses than a pediatrician's office. Today's phony press release is just the latest dirty trick aimed at discrediting our efforts on behalf of America's churches."
The Reverend Sheldon also issued a spirited defense of Mrs. Bush's controversial performance, noting that "We thought Mrs. Bush's remarks at the correspondents' dinner were hilarious. We are very pleased that she is America's First Lady."
Not funny to 'People of Faith'
But Pastor DeLong says that he isn't laughing. "If the Traditional Values Coalition thinks it's funny for the most important woman in America to mock the traditional family structure, I guess I'd have to disagree," says Mr. DeLong. He notes that while allies in the campaign to tear down the wall between church and state may differ on the content of humor, it's important to draw a line when it comes to jokes that may violate Judeo-Christian ethics. "What kind of values are we teaching our children when the First Lady stands up in front of the elite from Washington and Hollywood and says that the President of the United States once milked a male horse?"
Manliness under attack
In recent days, a number of political observers have expressed concern that a series of gaffes have eroded the President's masculine image. Last week, Mr. Bush was seen holding hands with Crown Prince Abdullah of Saudi Arabia. Then the President raised eyebrows anew when he asked a crowd of supporters in Galveston, TX, if they celebrated Splash Day, an annual gay pride event in that state, best known for attracting tens of thousands of buff men, wearing little more than suntan oil.
Stay tuned folks; this story isn't over yet.
Did the First Lady undermine the traditional family structure and the President's masculinity with her controversial comic performance? Talk back to Russell Darby at [email protected]