Rich Girard is apparently a better Christian due to his attempt to seduce a female fan via Facebook's private messaging function, and the sexting scandal that engulfed the conservative talk show host last week is really not a scandal at all. It's all Joe Kelly Levasseur's fault.
This seems to be the attitude of the New Hampshire Union Leader newspaper in its coverage of this stinky hot mess. Why, if nobody talked about this, nobody would get hurt. The attitude is evocative of the cover-up of the pedophile scandals that rocked the Queen City's Catholic Church a decade ago.
The attitude of the factotums who toil for society's Minitrue (Ministry of Truth), whether they be Republican or Democrat ("Ready for Hillary" yet?), is that if we can just ignore it, or in the face of a flareup, treat it as a brush fire that can be stamped out if no fuel is added to the fire, then we can send the scandal down the Memory Hole. Gone. Forgotten
If we can just cover this up, it will go away. Or will it?
Union Leader's Hypocrisy
According to a 2002 article in the New York Times, allegations of pedophilia had been made against priests in the Manchester diocese for 30 years before Bishop John B. McCormack revealed the names of 14 priests who had engaged in sex abuse that year.
Tea Party favorite Ovide M. Lamontagne, the 2012 GOP gubernatorial candidate, served as counsel for the Manchester Diocese during the sex scandal. He negotiated a $6.5 million settlement of 61 sexual abuse claims and struck a deal with the state Attorney General that prevented the diocese from being prosecuted on criminal charges.
Under instructions from Bishop McCormack, Lamontagne eshewed a legal strategy of defending the church against the criminal charges in court, but instead, sought a quick settlement. Ovide's deal led to the criminal charges being dropped.
The Union Leader, at the time of this sex scandal, called on Bishop McCormack to resign.
As for Girard, he essentially was shamed in the ink-stained pages of the Union Leader's New Hampshire Sunday News, but was also given a free pass. Certain details of his sexting with the fan, such as the exchange of nude photos, were ignored, as was his inquiry about birth control devices. More importantly, when it came to culpability, he was also given a free pass as Alderman Joe Kelly Levasseur was dragged in to it and made the "heavy".
"Later in the week," Union Leader City Hall columnist Ted Seifer wrote, "Girard told me that while he took responsibility for the interaction with [the woman], Levasseur was sinking to new lows in his efforts to publicize it. 'I would think a sitting public official would have better things to do than ramp up the heat to destroy a family,' he said."
"Big Joe! Big Jo-o-o-e. BIG BAD JOE!!!"
It's a common theme for the Union Leader and obviously helps sell newspapers.
What Ted Seifer or more likely his editors left out of their Rich Girard sexting scandal story (a front page-worthy story that took the Union Leader over a week to cover) was not the just the incredible obscenity of Girard's sexts -- that is not appropriate for a family newspaper -- but Girard's sinful behavior as regards his flouting of church doctrine. We are not talking sinning as in getting one's jollies from the one-handed sexting a young fan, or contemplating adultery, but the sin that has been the eye of the hurricane in Catholic Church doctrine for well over 40 years: flouting its teachings on birth control.
For Rich Girard asked this woman, as he was trying to get into her bed, if she has acquired an intrauterine device (IUD), a form of birth control that was part of the recent Supreme Court Hobby Lobby decision that Girard supports. Hobby Lobby's right, based on a concept of religious liberty, to deny coverage for IUDs, which it and many pro-life people consider an abortifacient (believing it capable of aborting a fertilzed egg), was upheld by the High Court.
Girard was on the radio praising the decision. And soon was on Facebook, asking the woman if she had acquired an IUD, then other forms of birth control when she told him she had not.
There is no mention of this in the Union Leader. To the newspaper's credit, at least it printed a santized version of events, even if it was a week late. WMUR-TV, which interviewed the woman that Rich Girard sexted, ignored the story, except for a brief blind item in James Pindell's column.
Anywho, what does it matter, when you have Big Bad Joe to blame? If Joe Kelly Levasseur hadn't spread the word about town of Rich Girard's indiscretion (something Girard would have jumped on in a New Hampshire minute if the shoe had been on the other foot), there would have been no sex scandal. There would have been no sin.
We cross into Orwell land, or more accurately, open our eyes to the fact that here in the Granite State, we live in Nineteen Eighty-Four. We even have our own O'Briend, former House Speaker Bill, with his own cock-eyed idea of reality.
One cannot help thinking of the Passion of Winston Smith, when he is being racked by Orwell's O'Brien.
"How can I help seeing what is in front of my eyes? Two and two are four," Smith declares to the Party apparatchik.
"Sometimes, Winston," O'Brien says. "Sometimes they are five. Sometimes they are three. Sometimes they are all of them at once. You must try harder. It is not easy to become sane."
Reality, another word for sanity, is socially defined. In the Union Leader's double think, Girard the sinner is the one who has been sinned against, and Levasseur, the revelator (in the non-religious sense - Girard claims that role for himself), is the one who has sinned.
Hearken back to 2002, when the Union Leader attacked Bishop McCormack as the Diocese of Manchester was facing criminal charges and a major financial payout. Can you say "Scapegoat?"
In Biblical times, a scapegoat was sacrificed to expiate the sins of a community. Ted Seifer is too smart and too good a writer to turn the young woman who was at the other end of the sexts into the scapegoat, so the editorial board offered him Joe Kelly Levasseur.
My Puritan ancestors preferred hanging witches as a homeostatic device to maintain the equilibrium in Olde New England.
Down the Memory Hole
"The old civilizations claimed that they were founded on love or justice," Orwell's O'Brien (though it could be the Granite State's Bill) told Winston Smith. "Ours is founded upon hatred. In our world there will be no emotions except fear, rage, triumph, and self-abasement."
In a nutshell, that's Rich Girard's career as the Queen City exemplar of right-wing Christian family values, freeze fame: Caught with his pants down. Except the order is askew. For Girard, it's rage, fear, self-abasement and triumph, as his wanton sexual behavior is recast as an act strengthing him religiously, and his incredible hypocrisy on the issue of birth control is simply ignored. (Did we mention the sin of simony? Another article, perhaps.)
The Girard sexting scandal is already been pigenonholed to be forwarded on to the Memory Hole by the factotums of Manchester's Minitrue (Ministry of Truth).
This is how reality is socially defined. The question remains, as Rich Girard remains on the air of what is billed as a "Christian radio station" tasked with preventing people from going to hell, what are those outraged by this going to do about it?