Family vs. family, An Open Letter to Congressman Wamp

This morning in the Jackson Sun, weekend editor Jason Tippitt, declares “Congressman Wamp, we have a problem….

You can’t choose your family. But you, congressman, have chosen The Family, and that’s a problem.

That townhouse where you live in Washington with the other lawmakers – it’s registered as a church, but it seems more like an apartment complex – and the group called The Family that owns it, frankly, scare me a bit.

The Family’s story is detailed by journalist Jeff Sharlet in a book titled “The Family: The Secret Fundamentalism at the Heart of American Power,” and its author has been all over the airwaves lately as some of your roommates and ex-roommates have gotten in trouble.

South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford lived there. Nevada’s Sen. John Ensign still does. Both cheated on their wives, and there’s possibly financial hanky panky at work as well.

People are people. And I can understand your reluctance to judge your friends when the Knoxville News Sentinel asked for a quote earlier this summer.

He continues to speculate about the hypocrisy behind the difference in the standards that Bill Clinton and the latest straying Republican politicians have been held to, but then steps back to look at the whole picture.

What really scares me about The Family is the broader ideology described by Sharlet. When a supposedly Christian group’s leader speaks favorably of Hitler and Pol Pot as people who wielded power effectively, when I hear about palling around with third-world dictators, I start wondering where the Sermon on the Mount figures in.

When I hear the leader said that if a member of The Family molested a child, the others should stand by him, that troubles me more. As it should trouble you, given your past support of the CARE Act.

Now, true, a lot of the Republican voters you’re counting on to help you win the governor’s office aren’t going to be watching Rachel Maddow on MSNBC. They won’t be listening to the Rev. Barry Lynn interview Sharlet on his radio program “Culture Shock.” They’ve probably never heard of Killing the Buddha, a religion Web site where Sharlet’s a regular contributor, and I doubt they’ve read his book….

We have a problem. You’ve got to decide whether you want to be a Family man or win over Tennessee families. I have to decide whether I made a mistake in thinking you were a conservative I could consider voting for if the Democrats trot out a lackluster cannon fodder candidate with no track record fighting for our state’s children.

I suggest you break ties with these people before the voters break ties with you.

Read the entire editorial here.