This month, Democrats nationwide have explored the outer reaches of the continuum of desperation. First Alan Grayson calls Dan Webster “Taliban Dan” for being too Christian, and now we have Jack Conway in Kentucky accusing Paul of not being Christian enough. Conway’s new ad goes far beyond questioning the faith of Paul, though, in recycling a smear about a college prank from almost 30 years ago that has already been debunked. Conway links “Aqua Buddha” with Paul’s position on ending government-funded “faith-based initiatives,” a position so radical that Democrats, er, used it when running against George W. Bush just six years ago:
John McCormack quotes a speech given by Paul in 2008, before his run for the Senate officially launched, about his reasoning on defunding faith-based government initiatives:
“One, I think the money sort of pollutes the mission of a purely Christian organization, or Muslim or whatever organization it is. And it obscures the church-state separation that there really ought to be. We shouldn’t have tax money flowing into churches, and we should let churches do charity work, and that’s wonderful, but they shouldn’t be corrupted with government money.”
Whether or not one agrees with this reasoning, it’s at least a rational argument, and one heard from many people of faith who worry about the co-opting influence of government money in churches. It’s hardly an attack on religion. As for ending tax deductions for churches, Paul supports that because he wants an end to the income tax altogether, which would mean the end of all income-tax deductions. Paul wants the income tax replaced with the Fair Tax, and all deductions would be eliminated in the change.
This ad may not be quite as offensive as Grayson’s despicable attack on Webster through the use of out-of-context sound bites that made Webster sound as if he said the exact opposite of what he actually said, but it’s pretty close. Sticking “Washington Post 8/11/2010” on a known smear doesn’t sanitize it at all. Unless Conway wants to demand religious tests for office, what’s left in this ad is almost as awful, too.