Here’s one that’s always good for a way out: “It’s what Jesus would do.” Or, so says the out given by Representative Steve King (R-IA) when it comes to excusing some of the prior associations of his colleague and fellow Steve, Mr. Scalise (R-LA). Scalise is the third highest-ranking Republican in the House now, a position that’s drawn some light on at least one of his previous gigs.
Back in 2002, Scalise headlined a conference thrown by David Duke, former head of the Ku Klux Klan. Duke’s newest venture flew under the flag of the European-American Unity and Rights Organization. Now, most people hearing EURO’s full name might think “Gee, that’s sort of an odd group.” At the very least, the average person would likely notice those tastefully adorned swastika napkin rings. But not Scalise; he happily attended the White Supremacist conference, and spent his time talking about eliminating slush funds and decreasing the tax burden on the middle class. Which the White Supremacists seemed to have liked.
When all of this came out into the open, Scalise decried the meeting, saying that he didn’t know what EURO was about before headlining there. Nor did he know who David Duke was, despite the fact that Duke had run a pretty high-profile race for governor of Louisiana some 11 years prior. If you believe him, then Scalise must be the only person in Louisiana who’s never heard of David Duke.
Still, Steve King says Scalise’s headlining the conference makes him…well, a little bit like Jesus, spreading the light of conservatism. He told the Washington Post:
“Jesus dined with tax collectors and sinners. It’s not the healthy who need a doctor, it’s the sick. Given that piece of Scripture, and understanding that Scalise probably wasn’t staffed thoroughly, I could understand how something like this happened. But I know his heart, I’ve painted houses with him post-Katrina, and I know he is a good man.”
And indeed, that is a pretty good out. Yours truly has used it to explain away hanging out with pharmaceutical dealers and ladies of ill-repute. But to be fair, that was also in the course of dealing with both of them. Indeed, the “Jesus walked with sinners” line is pretty versatile in covering up disreputable dealings of all kinds.
But…Paul once said something about guilt by association. About how those you choose to have around you say something about you. First Corinthians, 6:15-17:
“Know ye not that your bodies are the members of Christ? Shall I then take the members of Christ, and make them the members of an harlot? God forbid. What? Know ye not that he which is joined to an harlot is one body? For two, saith He, shall be one flesh. But he that is joined unto the Lord is one spirit.”
So, as long as we’re quoting the Bible, it might be fair to ask…
To what harlot is Steve Scalise joined in spirit?