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Rep. Joseph Cao Calls Christian Group 'Ignorant' for Costing Him Election

4 years ago
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Louisiana GOP Rep. Anh "Joseph" Cao is still smarting over the successful efforts of a leading lobby of the Christian right to defeat him in last week's election, a loss that denied Republicans a chance to hold a traditionally Democratic seat and ensure a second term for the first Vietnamese-American in Congress.

While the defeat was easily overlooked in the Republicans' euphoria after their sweep of the House, Cao remains angry at Tony Perkins and the Family Research Council for launching a last-minute radio ad against him, and for effectively fragging a fellow pro-lifer who is a former Jesuit seminarian and was once considered a model for a more diverse Republican Party.

"For a conservative Christian organization to attack a Republican pro-life candidate in a general election is as ignorant as it is inexcusable," Cao told Warren Throckmorton, an evangelical Protestant psychologist and author.

Throckmorton is known for his views on Christianity and homosexuality, which are often more welcoming to gays and lesbians -- while not accepting homosexual acts as morally neutral -- than many hardline evangelicals.

Cao's approach to homosexual rights also got him into trouble with Perkins and the FRC, despite his own conservative Catholic and pro-life bona fides. Cao co-sponsored both the Hate Crimes Protection Act of 2009 and legislation to repeal the "don't ask, don't tell" policy on gays and lesbians serving openly in the military, and that was enough to label him a traitor to the cause in the eyes of Tony Perkins, who had enthusiastically endorsed Cao in 2008.

"In the last two years [Cao] has amassed one of the worst voting records of any Republican in Congress on our issues," Perkins told Throckmorton in a statement.

Perkins, a leading lobbyist for Christian conservatives, also said his group's opposition to Cao was about more than a single district.

"I also wanted to send a very clear message to Republicans across the country; if you take a stand against the family, we will take a stand against you," Perkins said. "These squishy Republicans need to know that we will come after them, just like the Democrats."

Yet as Throckmorton noted -- and as documented by the authors of "American Grace," a comprehensive new study of religion in the U.S. -- Americans of all faiths are becoming more accepting of homosexuals and gay rights even as they have become more pro-life. That growing divide is a decided contrast to the efforts of many Christian conservatives, from evangelical Protestants to the nation's Catholic bishops, who increasingly see opposition to abortion and gay rights as two sides of the same coin.

In that sense, the Cao loss and the ongoing fallout could be a lesson that should not be lost on the GOP once the post-election euphoria wears off.
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82 Comments

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legalcld

Looks like the people in this district are smart!! This idiot just voted with the dems to pass the dream act!! Glad to see he'll be gone soon!! Maybe he can wait in the unemployment line will all those ILLEGALS that he so loves and supports!!

December 09 2010 at 9:09 AM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
sirrchard

I'd say it's more like.... he wasn't popular enough or well known enough. But then..... isn't this the age of blaming someone else... anyone else for one's own short comings?

November 15 2010 at 2:13 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
annedyth

A stand against the family'? However there are other types of families than the nuclear....

November 14 2010 at 7:13 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
rbh330

What a tragedy. Cao exercised some independent thought and voted for what he thought was best. For that, he got ambushed by the Religious Right. I fear for this country when extremist religious groups threaten politicians for voting on even one matter that those leaders don't like. We don't live in a theocracy. Yet.

November 13 2010 at 10:02 PM Report abuse +8 rate up rate down Reply
piscesbaby36

This last election was not about religion.. It was about taxes and spending...

November 13 2010 at 9:47 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
clarissa49

Keep on attacking Christians. You confirm their faith. They know that they are to be persecuted. I am a Christian but not a Republican. I don't hate because of my faith. I do approach social issues based on my faith. What a person does in his or her bedroom is between the individual and God. Just don't try to change my values or infringe on my right not to be exposed to whatever. Good works don't save you; no one can be perfect enough for God. Christians are NOT perfect but are SAVED! Christians do not suppress rights but stand for what is right in the eyes of God. They are not hate groups. There are groups that claim to be Christian but do not pass the test. And one does not have to be Christian to oppose certain social issues.

November 13 2010 at 9:07 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
grrdgal

The Congressman made his own bed. A blind man could see that voters were not going to suffer ANY RINO up for election this time. If the Congressman didn't see that, he must be spending too much time in Washington and not enough in his home district. Any member of the GOP who didn't see the voters wanted hardline Conservatives, deserved defeat.

November 13 2010 at 8:43 PM Report abuse -5 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to grrdgal's comment
jancf

What a shame ideologues abound today, instead of people like our founders, who put aside their differences and found enough common ground to actually govern.

November 13 2010 at 10:39 PM Report abuse +6 rate up rate down Reply
tipcontrol

I am reading all these opinions. And most are valid. They are based on one's beliefs. Some are faith based beliefs. All of that is ok. We are free here in America to believe and or worship how we please. So why is it that if some one does not believe as an other there is something 'wrong' with that person?? I say to all who have faith in their Christian God to worship quietly hold your faith close and don't let it infringe on some one else's belief. I have a sister who attends church 3-4 times a week. She is involved in some christian charities, clothing drives, food pantries etc. She is a lesbian. I have a good friend whose wife is a right wing evengelical whose brother is gay and lives with his lover. They are both devout catholics. I suggest we all lighten up and spread some love.

November 13 2010 at 8:29 PM Report abuse +10 rate up rate down Reply
Terry

The so-called "chritian right",and as far as I can tell they are neither, wants to cherry pick the bible and use it just to justify their own personal opinion. They ignore the parts about shellfish being an abomination, about killing your child if he, or she, curses you and about stoning your wife is she is not a virgin, among others. Instead they concentrate on things like spewing venom about homosexuals which leads to the attitude that it is ok harm them in the name of the warped "god" they are so sure they know about.

November 13 2010 at 8:21 PM Report abuse +6 rate up rate down Reply
Terry

I don't really care what religious beliefs the Christian right or any other group has. What I do care is that they not try to force them on everyone else. They have no better claim on what is right than anyone else does. So long as someone's rights do not infringe on someone else, they should not be prohibited.

November 13 2010 at 8:18 PM Report abuse +8 rate up rate down Reply

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