The sanctimony of right-wing evangelical Republicans has been deflated once again by the hypocritical behavior of one of their members’ criminality that betrays the values that they publicly espouse.
No, we are not referring to any of the many things done by Donald Trump that fit this description, although future historians and sociologists will likely write many a tome devoted to that very topic.
In today’s case, we once again encounter the type of local GOP official whose private behavior strays far from the religious beliefs that they love to proclaim, as the Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro announced that Republican State Senator Mike Folmer had been charged with sexual abuse of children, possession of child pornography, and criminal use of a communication facility.
The 63-year-old politician was indicted after police used a search warrant to seize Senator Folmer’s mobile phone and found images of child pornography after receiving a tip that a Tumbler user had uploaded a sexualized image of children to the site. An investigation of the post eventually led them to the state senator.
“This defendant serves as a state Senator and was entrusted to honor and represent his community in the Pennsylvania Capitol,” Shapiro said in a statement dsiclosing the charges against Folmer.
“I will continue to say it — no one is above the law, no matter what position of power they hold. I will continue to work to protect children and hold those who abuse them accountable,” the Attorney General continued.
Folmer —a four-term state senator — faced immediate sanctions in the Republican-controlled Pennsylvania Senate as Senate President Pro Tempore Joe Scarnati and Senate Majority Leader Jake Corman announced in a joint statement.
“We are shocked to learn tonight of the allegations made against Senator Folmer. We will fully cooperate with law enforcement regarding this deeply disturbing matter.”
“Given the severity of these charges, Senator Folmer is immediately being removed as Chair of the Senate State Government Committee. Further action in response to these charges will be taken by Senate Leadership in the coming days.”
The child pornography charges against Folmer are just the latest in a long list of sex scandals involving right-wing Republicans who enjoy the support of conservative Christians.
The Republican candidate in the last U.S. senatorial election in Alabama, Roy Moore, lost his race to a Democratic challenger largely due to the accusations that he had a penchant for pursuing under-aged girls when he was younger. Former GOP Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert was a dedicated culture warrior with an anti-gay, anti-abortion agenda before the accusations of sexually abusing teenage boys while he was a high school wrestling coach surfaced.
While the sins of culturally conservative politicians are no worse than any other group’s, the hypocrisy of the people lecturing others on the evils of their deviant lifestyles while violating the beliefs they pretend to hold make their crimes more difficult to stomach.
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Original reporting by Natalie Musumeci at The New York Post.