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Another holy-than-thou is caught

Original post made by svatoid, Charleston Gardens, on Jun 18, 2009

looks like another "holier-than-thou" politician was caught with his pants down:

Web Link

Ensign is apparently a born again Christian who was very vocal in his condemnation of Clinton during the Lewinsky affair and Larry Craig during his troubles

Web Link

Web Link

"Ensign is a member of the Pentecostal International Church of the Foursquare Gospel, and is the only Pentecostal in the Senate. He attends a Foursquare church in northwest Las Vegas.[8] According to The New York Times, during college at Colorado State, he became a born-again Christian and he and his wife, Darlene, were active in the Promise Keepers, an evangelical group. "


Now, i am sure people will come out in his defense as has Sen Lindsay Graham already (Web Link). My take on this, is that if he wants screw around on his wife that is his affair--but if you are going to go around condemning others for doing the same thing, which you consider wrong, then do not do it yourself!!!

Bottom line--Ensign joins the long line of holier-than-thou hypocrites who love preach "do as I say, not as I do".

Comments (28)

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Posted by Susan W.
a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on Jun 18, 2009 at 9:43 am

I'm having a little trouble putting Ensign in the class of hypocritical politicians that include Gingrich, Bob Livingstone and others. Unlike these others, Ensign worked out his difficulties with his wife, forthrightly (and seemingly genuinely) admitted and apologized for his conduct and didn't make weird excuses.

In contrast, I didn't think Gingrich and the rest really thought that what they were doing was all that bad at the same time they were criticizing Clinton and others for the same behavior. It's a perception thing, I know and maybe Ensign is just a better liar, but Ensign seems to me more like a person who made a mistake that went against his principles, not a cynical person who says one thing and does another simuntaneously. I don't think the timeline of his affair as it's been reported indicates that his condemnations of others coincided with his bad behavior.

It's easy to paint with a broad brush, and I have no brief for politicians as a class including especially Republican senators. I suppose if you want to score partisan points, you put things in the worst possible light for your opponents. But objectively, I think you can make distinctions among people - even politicians.


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Posted by svatoid
a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Jun 18, 2009 at 10:01 am

Ensign is in the same class with Gingrich, Livingston, Vitter, hyde etc.
In fact, he may be worse--he claims to be a born-again christian--he is guilty of adultery--a violation of the ten commandments. As for "making a mistake that went against his principles"--this was an affair-not a one night stand.

This may not be all--there may be some financial shenanigans also:

Web Link


"Yet the fallout is just beginning. Ensign, a champion of fiscal conservatism, is facing questions about payments to Cynthia Hampton, with whom he had the affair, and her husband, Doug."


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Paul
a resident of Downtown North
on Jun 18, 2009 at 10:19 am

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


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Posted by Susan W.
a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on Jun 18, 2009 at 10:22 am

I'm not sure I see "born-again Christian" as cutting the same way in this matter as svatoid.

I'm not a born again Christian, but I had a friend who was who explained to me that they don't claim to be perfect or free from sin. Rather they view life as a constant struggle to live up to Christian precepts that tempt. No one is perfect, he said, but all can be forgiven when they inevitably fail. In his view, you're only being a hypocrite if you're not trying to do your best to live a Christian life. (I don't mean or want to start a side discussion of the validity of christian theology [I don't know much about it.], or attract the bigot flamers who think all Christians are hypocrites or worse. But if you're going to condemn someone for violating Christian principles, you ought to know what they are.)

I don't know what the real deal with Ensign is but he seems genuine to me. As the linked article points out, there may be more facts to come out that can change my perception (in either direction.) If you're honest and open-minded, the same might be true for you.

As I said, if you want to score political points, this is a great opportunity. But it's also a good opportunity for seeing nuance if you want to get out of the Cable TV view of the world.


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Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 18, 2009 at 10:34 am

The Christian believes in doing what the Bible says and what Jesus says, but acknowledges that we are all sinners and are not able to live up to that high idea. It is for this reason that Jesus died on the cross so that all sinners can be forgiven. For this reason, a true Christian will not judge or condemn someone for their sins, as Jesus says "Let he who is blameless throw the first stone". Knowing the difference from right and wrong is part of the story, living it is the hard part.


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Posted by Walter_E_Wallis
a resident of Midtown
on Jun 18, 2009 at 10:38 am

Walter_E_Wallis is a registered user.

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


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Posted by svatoid
a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Jun 18, 2009 at 10:58 am

"a true Christian will not judge or condemn someone for their sins, as Jesus says "Let he who is blameless throw the first stone"Let he who is blameless throw the first stone". "

Then maybe Ensign should not have condemned Clinton and Craig and called for their resignations. Maybe ensign should do the right thing and resign. Or maybe Ensign is not a "true christian".

"The Christian believes in doing what the Bible says and what Jesus says, but acknowledges that we are all sinners and are not able to live up to that high idea. It is for this reason that Jesus died on the cross so that all sinners can be forgiven."

I guess Ensign could not live up to that "high idea" many times, since this was a prolonged affair.
Anyway, I am not a christian, nor do I believe any of jesus' teachings and i do find these postings of trying to explain away his adultery, under the cloak of how hard it is to live a "christian life" very amusing. Ensign is a hypocrite-will you agree with me on that?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Susan W.
a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on Jun 18, 2009 at 11:19 am

Given that there is no evidence that Ensign was engaging in his affair at the same time he was condemning Clinton, and that - despite your condescending "amusement" - it appears perfectly reasonable to suspect he's trying to live up to the ideals of Christian perfection but failing as all Christians do, it's difficult for me to put the hypocrite label on him.

It was you who first condemned Ensign for failing to live up to Christian principles, so it's hard to understand your derision of the attempts of others on here who explain why your understanding of Christian principles is based in error. This explanation is not "explaining away" the behavior of anyway.


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Posted by svatoid
a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Jun 18, 2009 at 11:25 am

Susan--the issue is not when he was engaging in an affair (though he may have been engaging in his affair while he was condemning Craig)--it was that he did engage in an affair. Maybe he should have thought back on his condemnation of others, before he decide to commit adultery.
The hypocrite label perfectly describes Ensign--he was quick to condemn others, but when caught in his own sins-him and others try to explain it away with christian theology. And if that is the case, then maybe he should not have condemned others since they were "trying to live up to the ideals of Christian perfection but failing as all Christians do".
Either way, IMHO, he committed adultery and as a so-called practicing christian he is a hypocrite.


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Posted by Susan
a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on Jun 18, 2009 at 11:50 am

I guess if we can't get you to understand why committing adultery while being a practicing Christian is not in and of itself evidence of hypocrisy, we're not doing an adequate job of explaining it. What he dis is a sin, but if he acknowledges this and repents, the label of hypocrite doesn't apply in the same way it applied to Gingrich, et.al, and even arguably Clinton. Sorry, but it just doesn't.


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Posted by Paul
a resident of Downtown North
on Jun 18, 2009 at 12:02 pm

"Jesus says "Let he who is blameless throw the first stone"."

Excellent advice. Ensign could cite it if he had only sinned. Bill Clinton would have had that privilege, but did not exercise it. As with Clinton, what Ensign did was between consenting adults, and if that was all he had done, everybody else should stay out of it.

However, Ensign had been throwing stones at others, including Clinton, for a long time. That makes him a hypocrite, and hypocrisy is the point of this thread.

I love the frantic tap dancing in Ensign's corner.


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Posted by Susan
a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on Jun 18, 2009 at 12:06 pm

Well, we're clearly in the inevitable Cable TV like end phase of this discussion. You guys can take it from here.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by svatoid
a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Jun 18, 2009 at 12:31 pm

"I guess if we can't get you to understand why committing adultery while being a practicing Christian is not in and of itself evidence of hypocrisy"

No, but lecturing others about their actions and then going out an doing it yourself is hypocrisy.

"What he dis is a sin, but if he acknowledges this and repents, the label of hypocrite doesn't apply in the same way it applied to Gingrich, et.al, and even arguably Clinton."

So if Clinton had acknowledged his sin, and repented there would have been no big outcry from the republicans, no Ken Starr investigation and no impeachment hearing?

If I were Ensign, I would be more worried about the big picture--that born-again christians do not automatically go to heaven because they have "accepted jesus into their life" as their "lord and savior".


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Posted by Walter_E_Wallis
a resident of Midtown
on Jun 18, 2009 at 12:44 pm

Walter_E_Wallis is a registered user.

So if you cheer "Hold that line!" You are a hypocrite if you don't rush on the field yourself? I fall short of my ideals often, but I have ideals. Besides, I believe the criticism of Clinton was not so much for molesting Monica, but for his disregard for the sexual harassment laws he had signed.


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Posted by Paul
a resident of Downtown North
on Jun 18, 2009 at 1:39 pm

"I believe the criticism of Clinton was not so much for molesting Monica, but for his disregard for the sexual harassment laws he had signed."

We all know Anita Hill claimed Clarence Thomas sexually harassed her, but when has Monica Lewinski accused Bill Clinton of harassment? Looks like another Limbaugh/Coulter/Hannity/O'Reilly... fiction to me.

Monica's actual sexual harassment was by Ken Starr and the House Republicans, who grilled her for the details of the porn piece they were writing disguised as a congressional hearing report. It was probably the first socialism in the US porn industry.


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Posted by Perspective
a resident of Midtown
on Jun 18, 2009 at 1:43 pm

Yes, Walter..the condemnation was over the incredible damage he did to women throughout the nation who have been sexually harrassed on the job...and who then saw the POTUS do the same with no remorse or consequences.

Not to mention the whole lying under oath and obstructing justice thing.

BTW, if one is going to rush to dump on someone, at least spell it correctly..it is "holier-than-thou". And I believe that refers to someone who claims to be more holy than someone else..and last I checked, Christians as a group are the last to make such a claim, given that we know we are sinners and need help climbing back out of our holes when we sin.

As has been said multiple times, we aim high, knowing we will fall, but still aim high. Please note that instead of this affair being resume enhancer for Ensign as it so often is for Democrats, he resigned knowing that he is not inelectable among his constituents who want someone who hasn't fallen from his ideal.

As opposed to a candidate who was convicted of sex with a same sex minor or of drowning a woman in a river car accident, for example, and re-elected.


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Posted by svatoid
a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Jun 18, 2009 at 1:59 pm

Perspective--forgot that spelling counts, though I do have it correct in my actual text. IMHO, Ensign does fall into that category of someone who feels that he is more holy than someone else.

"Christians as a group are the last to make such a claim,"

Boy, that is a topic for a whole different thread!!!

"As opposed to a candidate who was convicted of sex with a same sex minor or of drowning a woman in a river car accident, for example, and re-elected."

Who are you referring to in the first example you cite above?
It is up to the person's constituents to re-elect someone or not. They chose to forgive them. Isn't that what people are saying about, Ensign--that he should be forgiven?
They threw Condit and Jefferson out of office after their acts of malfeasance. On the other hand they re-elected Livingston and Hyde.

But, please note, this thread is about ensign and his hypocrisy


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Posted by Paul
a resident of Downtown North
on Jun 18, 2009 at 3:50 pm

"I believe that refers to someone who claims to be more holy than someone else..and last I checked, Christians as a group are the last to make such a claim"

Only if one ignores the almost 2000 years of Christian history.

"Yes, Walter..the condemnation was over the incredible damage he did to women throughout the nation who have been sexually harrassed on the job...and who then saw the POTUS do the same with no remorse or consequences. Not to mention the whole lying under oath and obstructing justice thing."

Monica was free to accuse Clinton of sexual harassment, which entails unwelcome advances. Starr and the House Republicans pushed her to do it. She never did. We therefore conclude this was between two consenting adults, and therefore nobody's business, a fact that Republican voyeurs have conveniently ignored.

On the other hand, Anita Hill did accuse Clarence Thomas of sexual harassment. In public, and under oath. The Republicans' dismissal of her testimony did incredible damage to women throughout the nation.

And don't forget that Clinton was tried by Congress for lying under oath and obstructing justice, and acquitted. The Senate Repubs couldn't even deliver a party line vote. However, Scooter Libby of Bush administration fame was duly convicted of same, and Bush immediately commuted his sentence with no remorse or consequences. So much for Republican respect for sanctity of oaths and justice.


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Posted by Walter_E_Wallis
a resident of Midtown
on Jun 18, 2009 at 6:38 pm

Walter_E_Wallis is a registered user.

Thomas's accuser followed him for years, without either complaint or accepting transfer out. She also did not offer response to Thomas's rebuttal or character witnesses. The nature of her complaints must have amazed anyone who has worked in a mixed gender workforce.That gearing was just one example of the punishment a black man who wanders from the democrat plantation receiver. The one commonality of all this check stand politics is that it is never relevant to the task at hand.


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Posted by Perspective
a resident of Midtown
on Jun 19, 2009 at 8:17 am

Please note that the attorney for Thomas's accuser, Anita Hill, is now ... Janet Napolitano, our current "Dept of Homeland Security" Attorney. No political aspirations in trying to bring down a conservative, was there? And, please note, despite best efforts of all liberals and media, not one shred of evidence was ever produced that Mr. Thomas made any sexual advances, let alone actually had sex with Hill.

Please also note that a boss having sex of any type with any underling is by definition sexual harrassment. And that Clinton had sex of some type with Lewinsky. Ergo, sexual harrassment.

BTW, Napolitano, DHS Director and creator of the most dangerous people to the USA are Christian Conservates, still feels free to comment on medical issues ( the Flu) since we STILL don't have a Surgeon General ( almost 5 months now?)


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Posted by svatoid
a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Jun 19, 2009 at 8:24 am

"No political aspirations in trying to bring down a conservative, was there? And, please note, despite best efforts of all liberals and media, not one shred of evidence was ever produced that Mr. Thomas made any sexual advances, let alone actually had sex with Hill."

You claim that there was no evidence produced about Thomas' sexual advances (which we will not discuss here), but you have no problem making the claim that Napolitano had political aspiration in trying to bring down Thomas without any proof?

"BTW, Napolitano, DHS Director and creator of the most dangerous people to the USA are Christian Conservates"

She did not say that--she was talking about right-wing extremists (unless you feel that Christian Conservatives are right-wing extremists). Some of what she warned about has come true--the shooting Dr Tiller and the Holocaust Museum.


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Posted by Perspective
a resident of Midtown
on Jun 25, 2009 at 11:26 am

Wow...double headline "What was he thinking" re: Sanford.....

where was this headline, or even front page coverage..of Ensign? I guess a Governor counts more ..esp a Repub one.

Yet another in the long list of double standards

Speaking of standards..I prefer a society WITH standards that some break, than a society with no standards. If only we were equally condemnatory of all of us who are adulterers and liars..




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Posted by OhlonePar
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jun 25, 2009 at 1:04 pm

Perspective,

What sort of "evidence" would you expect there to be for a pass, except witness recollection? It's not something that usually leaves physical evidence.

Your view about standards is pretty typical of conservative thought--let's have standards we can't uphold. In other words, let's have a system where hypocrisy is a given by our officials. Let's talk the talk knowing we can't walk the walk.

Do you even understand that is counter to the teachings of Jesus? Yes, we can sin and repent, but judge not, lest ye be judged.

If you're going to tell other people what to do the very least you can do is live by those rules yourself. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you works both ways--any pol. who demanded Clinton's impeachment over Lewinsky (et al--and don't give me that nonsense about perjury--legally, it didn't meet the standards for it, same with the other dubious legal allegations) who has committed adultery should resign.

But institutionalized hypocrisy doesn't cut it for a lot of us. My issue with the Christian right is that they aren't Christian enough. Really practicing Christianity is hard work and requires genuine humility. As St. Augustine will tell you.


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Posted by svatoid
a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Jun 25, 2009 at 1:14 pm

Perspective: there was plenty of coverage about ensign. Of course, Sanford disappeared for a few days, lied about it twice (hike in the mountains, then an "adventure" in Argentina).
They both share the fact they were very vocal in condemning Clinton and demanding his resignation.

"If only we were equally condemnatory of all of us who are adulterers and liars.."
Didn't the Republicans have a field day condemning Clinton for lying and adultery.

I can personally say that I got a great laugh hearing about Sanford.
When will we start hearing the same "christian rationalization" we heard about Ensign?


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Posted by Susan W.
a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on Jun 25, 2009 at 2:04 pm

"don't give me that nonsense about perjury--legally, it didn't meet the standards for it, same with the other dubious legal allegations.."

Actually, Clinton was fined and disbarred (in part) for the perjury he committed in the deposition where he denied a relationship with Lewinsky.


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Posted by Perspective
a resident of Midtown
on Jun 25, 2009 at 2:41 pm

OP you are right. Better to have no standards and not risk living up to them, than have standards that most succeed in attaining but risk having some fail. Tbe standard in this case was to wait for sex with another woman until you are divorced, not just separated. I know a lot of folks think a separation is grounds for fooling around..but for those of us with standards, we don't think so, and we want political leaders who have the strength and courage to live up to our standards.

And, gosh, I know that Jesus, whom you are trying to quote,, would agree with your interpretation of the "judge not" part.. 100%. I am sure that is what He meant by "judge not". ( NOT) Sorry, you reveal that you haven't a clue what that was all about. I am SURE He meant that nobody should bear any consequences for their actions. Just sure of it.


I note that kindness and pity is pouring out for the victims of the actions of Ensign and Sanford, as usual, from the comments like "i got a great laugh hearing about Sanford"...yup..that was my reaction about Clinton and Frank and ..oh why bother....the list is too long to go into on the Dem side of infidelities..and those are mere resume enhancers in any case. Repubs quit or are fired with a hint of impropriety, Dems are re-elected.

Svatoid, if you think that Clinton was the last Dem busted for infideltiy, you are proving my point ...

Now, I will let you all get back to hating Christians and Republicans and Conservatives, and rewriting history.

Me, I will get back to thinking about the double standard in our country.

BTW, though I greatly disliked Sanford as a


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Posted by svatoid
a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Jun 25, 2009 at 3:09 pm

"Svatoid, if you think that Clinton was the last Dem busted for infidelity, you are proving my point ..."

what point? I brought up clinton because both Ensign and Sanford were very vocal in their disapproval of Clinton's behavior and were calling for him to resign

"yup..that was my reaction about Clinton and Frank and .."
So it was okay for you to react with laughter but not me?

"oh why bother....the list is too long to go into on the Dem side of infidelities"

Go for it--if infidelity is wrong --it is wrong for everyone. I fyou want to bring up cases of Democratic infidelity, then go ahead.


From a CNN story:
Web Link

" "But I think here's the problem with Gov. Sanford. I don't care, you know, who he's 'sparking,' to use his phrase. I care a lot, though, about the hypocrisy," he said, charging that Republicans have persisted in "this myth of moral superiority."

"I hope, if we learn anything from the party of Sanford and [Nevada Sen. John] Ensign and [former Idaho Sen.] Larry Craig and [former Rep.] Mark Foley [of Florida], it is, no party has a monopoly on virtue," he added, referring to other GOP sex scandals. Other political sex scandals

The problem with Sanford, Begala said, is that he's been "incredibly judgmental about other people's sex lives." As examples, Begala cites Sanford's opposition to same-sex marriages and civil unions, and his vote in the House of Representatives to impeach Clinton.

At the time, Sanford said, "The issue of lying is probably the biggest harm, if you will, to the system of democratic government ... because it undermines trust. And if you undermine trust in our system, you undermine everything."


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Perspective
a resident of Midtown
on Jun 26, 2009 at 7:38 am

Perspective is a registered user.

I have to laugh at a certain paper ( based out of SF with declining subscriptions and facing bankruptcy).

What do they think DOESN'T belong in headlines on the front page today?

1) The escalating violent oppression in Iran
2) The vote today on the CAP and TRADE ( TAX AND KILL) Waxman bill that will ruin more of our economy
3) The shutting down of Google in China ( more increased oppression...wonder why?)


And what DOES deserve headlines on the Front Page?

Michael Jackson's life and death
Someone writing an editorial who is really hoping that a guy, who is already separated from his wife, having an affair will somehow cool yet further prospects for the GOP in 2010. THAT is funny and wishful thinking! Does she really think any body at all is going to care in 2010 elections? I have no doubt every democrat will try hard to remind everyone,..but I truly hope that we stop taking the high road and start slinging it back!

But, keep up the good work, unnamed paper, for your incredible, insightful and relevant front page headlines!


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