Although Gov. Eliot Spitzer's call-girl scandal has caused a break in public trust and calls for resignation, conservative groups say public outrage is misdirected with little indignation toward betrayed marriage vows.
"There is only muted outrage from the mainstream media that a public official betrayed the public trust and engaged in illegal (not to mention immoral) behavior, said Dr. Janice Shaw Crouse, Director and Senior Fellow of Concerned Women for America's Beverly LaHaye Institute.
"There is little indignation that he betrayed his marriage vows. Instead, there is a degree of sympathy - certainly for his wife, but also for Mr. Spitzer's embarrassment at being caught and exposed for his involvement with a prostitute."
Spitzer, who rose to political power fighting corruption and enforcing ethics in public life, resigned on Wednesday. He made the short announcement two days after shocking allegations surfaced that the 48-year-old father of three daughters spent thousands of dollars on a call girl.
Spitzer had been a client of a high-end prostitution ring called the Emperor's Club.
The news first broke out on the Web site of The New York Times on Monday. That day the New York governor issued a brief apology. Many called for his resignation, arguing that Spitzer has violated the public trust.
On Wednesday, he said he takes responsibility for his conduct and announced his resignation from the office of governor.
"I am deeply sorry that I did not live up to what was expected of me," he said.
Pro-family organization Campaign for Children and Families released a statement when initial reports broke out, pointing out that "widespread disgust over the alleged adultery and prostitution involvement" of Spitzer shows "America still has a moral compass."
"The reason that America is disgusted with the alleged prostituting lifestyle of Eliot Spitzer is because America's moral compass is still working," said Campaign for Children and Families President Randy Thomasson in a statement. "Fortunately, the United States has not forgotten how to blush."
But Concerned Women for America's Crouse is baffled that many people, mainly men, commenting on the case in televised interviews appear to see nothing wrong with a public official being a "john" since millions of other men are, she said.
She also noted that the Department of Justice seemed uninterested in prosecuting the illegal prostitution operation for mere prostitution and is instead focused on money transfers and possible bribery.
"Experts agree that prostitution is the driving force behind sex trafficking and sex slavery," said Crouse. "While johns allegedly like Eliot Spitzer and the high-class call girls condemned to serve them flaunt the law, while the pimps get away with flagrantly advertising of commercial sexual services and while the Department of Justice typically ignores such expensive prostitution rings and devotes scant resources to routing them out, sex slavery and abusive sexual exploitation flourishes in the more typical brothels. All this as thousands of girls and women are snared by sex slavery of the grossest types."
A chaplain in the State Assembly on Wednesday as well as other pastors and political figures indicated they have the Spitzer family in their prayers.
The inquiry began when banks noticed frequent cash transfers from several accounts and filed suspicious activity reports with the Internal Revenue Service, a law enforcement official told The Associated Press. The accounts were traced back to Spitzer, leading public corruption investigators to open an inquiry. And the money was transferred to shell companies identified as having links to the prostitution ring.
Media reports indicate it is still unclear what legal implications Spitzer will face from his involvement with the prostitution ring.
Spitzer pledged to return to public service outside the political realm, following a period of atonement with his family, as reported by The New York Times.
Spitzer's resignation will be effective on Monday. Lt. Gov. David A. Paterson will be sworn in to replace him.