GOP Scandals, Presidential Race Trouble Evangelicals

A string of recent scandals with ties to the Republican Party has its strong support base, the evangelical community, saying its vote is not guaranteed if the politicians don't realign their values with conservative Christians in America.

Senator Larry Craig (R-Idaho)'s alleged solicitation of sex in a men's restroom added to a growing list of sex and monetary scandals which includes Sen. David Vitter (R-Louisiana), who admitted to being a client of the "D.C. Madam;" former Rep. Mark Foley (R-Fla.), who sent sexual emails and instant messages to teenage boys; and GOP lobbyist Jack Abramoff, who confessed to defrauding his clients and corrupting public officials.

For many evangelical leaders, the most troubling fact is that many of the disgraced Republicans publicly opposed gay "marriage," supported abstinence-only education and pro-life agendas. These seemingly family-friendly lawmakers, however, led a contrasting personal life.

"If [gay Democratic Congressman] Barney Frank had done those things, we'd say, 'So what?' But the hypocrite factor is what makes it worse," said Tony Beam, the director of Christian World View Center, according to

"We're supposed to be better than that because of the stands we take as a party," he said.

However, Beam, though frustrated, believes not all hope is lost.

"It's a matter of individuals and we're all susceptible to sin, to evil, to giving in to our baser instincts," he said. "It just reminds us that when we take a strong oral stance publicly, it's all the more important that our private life lives up to that."

Dr. Richard Land, president of the Southern Baptist Convention's Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, also pointed out how humans are prone to sin.

"Evangelicals and social conservatives believe in human depravity. We're disappointed by it, but not surprised by it," said the prominent Baptist leader. "And we understand that our political leaders are human and it can happen to any of us if we are not watchful of our moral values."

Beam compared the failings of individuals in the GOP to those in the church and said as a whole he still supports Republicans similar to how he still has faith in God despite the failings of pastors. He gave as example former megachurch pastor Ted Haggard who admitted to "sexual immorality" last year when a former male prostitute accused him having a sexual relationship with him that involved drugs.

The evangelical leaders also made mention of the GOP race for the White House, saying if abortion and gay rights advocate former mayor Rudy Giuliani wins the Republican nomination then it would be a sign that the party was no longer aligned with the evangelical community and that many would move away from the party.

Land predicted: "Once a social conservative is competitive against Hillary, the voters will drop off Giuliani like fleas off a dead dog."

"At this moment, it's Fred Thompson's race to lose," he added, referring to the former Tennessee senator who is vying to be seen as the most consistent mainstream conservative in the race.

Thompson, whose entry into the presidential race has been long anticipated, will officially launch his presidential bid Sept. 6 in a Webcast on his campaign site, followed by a five-day tour of early primary states.