Thursday, April 28, 2005

Bobo's World

The title refers to a series of posts* on Eschaton about what the New York Times wingnut columnist David Brooks calls the mainstream America: the fundamentalists and people with "family values" in general. "Bobo" is Atrios's affectionate term for Brooks.

This series shows the nasty underside of the fundie America. Now a new blog with the same name, Bobo's World, has taken up the task of following the more unsavory aspects of Brooks' family values people. Which pissed me off as I have been gathering these snippets myself for later condension into a gigantic blogosphere expose! Alas, it will not be now. Hence, I might as well show you what I have collected so far, in a time span of only about a month.

First, there was the case of Douglas B. Smith:

Boy Scouts of America's National Director of Programs Douglas B. Smith will appear in a Dallas courtroom tomorrow to face charges of distributing child pornography, according to reports by NBC News.

Then this little bit:

An Allen Superior Court judge denied a sentence reduction request by a 34-year-old man convicted of having sex with a teenager whom he mentored through church and who had baby-sit his children.
A jury convicted him last year of having sex with a 14-year-old girl between June and August 2000 while he was a volunteer minister at a Fort Wayne church. He knew the girl's family and mentored her in church activities.

And then:

A former East Texas principal was convicted of sexually assaulting seven girls and sentenced to 15 years in prison.

A jury on Thursday sentenced Russell Thomas Hirner, 43, after deliberating for about four hours. He was convicted of aggravated sexual assault of a child earlier in the day.

"I accept responsibility," Hirner, the former principal of the Longview Baptist Christian Academy, testified. "I couldn't bring myself to tell and I vowed to God that after it came out I'd make a disclosure."

And finally, today:

A self-described Internet evangelist who has preached about everything from morality to spirituality on his family's Web site was arrested Wednesday and charged with raping a child younger than 12.

Charles Michael Balfe, 60, was picked up at his job site at 84 Lumber in DeLand, DeLand Police Cmdr. Randel Henderson said. He is being held at the Volusia County Branch Jail without bail.

Balfe, married and the father of three, is accused in three warrants of raping a child younger than 12, Henderson said. The remaining counts accuse him of sexual battery, lewd and lascivious molestation and domestic violence.

And I didn't even make any special efforts to dig these cases up! They are probably just the tip of the iceberg. It would be useful and interesting to do a proper study about any relationship between strongly expressed fundamentalist beliefs and various types of sexual abuse. Note that I'm not arguing that only wingnuts commit these acts or even that they would be unusually likely to commit them (though that could be the case, of course). But it seems very odd that the people who are most vociferous about family values and the horrible lewdness of the liberals and progressives crop up so frequently in these kinds of news. And I have not seen Bobo write anything about this trend, no explanation, no clarification, no ethical condemnation. Hmmm.
*As Raznor points out in the comments, it is also the name of a book by David Brooks.