Why Are Conservative Women Turning The Other Cheek On Vitter Aide’s Domestic Violence?

Over at TPM, Brian Beutler tries to get some answers from conservative womens’ groups — you know, the Mama Grizzlies — about Louisana Republican Senator David Vitter keeping Brent Furer, his legislative aide on women’s issues, on staff for two years after Furer pled guilty to assaulting his girlfriend with a knife.

As Beutler reports, the conservative womens’ groups stayed mum, as they did when Vitter was exposed in 2007 as a client of the “D.C. Madam” prostitution service.

Chalk this all up to conservatives defending conservatives, but there’s another piece of the domestic violence angle that emerged when I interviewed Herb Titus, the lawyer for the Gun Owners of America, for the story Julie and I did on the Supreme Court’s Second Amendment decision last week. (Gun Owners of America’s Political Victory Fund has endorsed Vitter in his Senate race.)

Titus (who was also Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell’s thesis advisor) believes there should be absolutely no restrictions on gun ownership — none. When I asked him about whether someone who had been convicted of domestic violence should be restricted from owning a firearm, he not only said no, but he also diminished the gravity of domestic violence. “Why should they be?” he asked, adding that domestic violence is a “wide range of activities,” “[s]ome of which have nothing to do with a firearm, some of which don’t have anything to do with physical violence,” but just “a threat.”

At the heart of the religious right’s political rhetoric is the contention that all of our problems are caused by society’s abandonment of a “biblical worldview.” Titus emphasized this in the context of guns and crime, stating that crime is just a consequence of “the fallen world.” When Jesus came, said Titus:

He took upon himself the sins of the world but he didn’t rid the world of sin. Right? So there must be a message there, and that’s that you can take people individually and forgive them of their sin but you can’t eradicate sin from the world, you just can’t get rid of it, it’s impossible, because of nature of the way God created everything. So if God didn’t rid us of sin, why should we try to do it ourselves? It’s impossible. That’s what’s so amazing about these people, the gun control people, they think they can get rid of crime. That’s impossible.

Of course there’s probably another piece of this — the “biblical worldview” on “male headship” and “wifely submission” — that Titus didn’t address. And there’s politics, and likely a bit of theology, too, underlying the religious right giving Vitter a pass on both the prostitution and the domestic violence scandals. But next time you hear the religious right talking about a “biblical worldview” and, oh, I don’t know, gay marriage destroying society as we know it, remember the theology of guns and domestic violence.

 

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