What do you do when you’re a career politician who screwed up big-time, and has been watching other politicians, pundits, and the media write your political obituary over the last couple weeks? That’s the quandary facing South Carolina governor Mark Sanford, about whom I’ve blogged a couple times already. Like a dope addict who can’t get enough of a favorite drug, Sanford somehow cannot resist seizing back the spotlight of attention he once enjoyed. Toward that end, he’s indulging his “attention” compulsion once more … by sending a missive to South Carolina newspapers (here it is, via the Columbia State, the paper which originally broke the story of his infidelity and hypocrisy):

It is true that I did wrong and failed at the largest of levels, but equally true is the fact that God can make good of our respective wrongs in life. In this vein, while none of us has the chance to attend our own funeral, in many ways I feel like I was at my own in the past weeks, and surprisingly I am thankful for the perspective it has afforded.

Like any dutifully religious GOP southerner, Sanford drops the “G”-word almost at the beginning, and keeps inserting it repeatedly, along with lots of other traditional Religious Right canards and code-words:

One, forgiveness and grace really do matter. I used to believe that at an intellectual level; now it is at the level of heart. …

Two, life is indeed about way more than public standing or political views; it’s about recognizing that none of us is the arbiter of truth, that there are moral absolutes and that there is a God to whom we will all report for our actions. …

It’s in the spirit of making good from bad that I am committing to you and the larger family of South Carolinians to use this experience both to trust God in his larger work of changing me and, from my end, to work to becoming a better and more effective leader. …

It means less time fighting the tide, and a greater awareness of the fact that God controls it.

Note his mention of moral absolutes, his desire for forgiveness, his mentions of “the heart,” grace, and trusting God. These phrases and more are all terms his slavering religious worshippers will eagerly devour … or at least, he hopes they will. He also claims some humility:

I’ve been humbled and broken as never before in my life, and as a consequence have given up areas of control in a way that I never have before.

This is, of course, disingenuine. There is absolutely no “humility” to be found in dispatching a letter — ostensibly to all the people of South Carolina — to be published in major newspapers! True “humility” would have been the exact opposite … i.e. for Sanford to get back to work, quietly, and without trumpeting himself all over his state’s media outlets once again. Once again we have an example of Sanford being a brazen hypocrite, doing the exact opposite of what Jesus had ordered his own followers to do, as seen in the following:

Beware of practicing your righteousness before men to be noticed by them; otherwise you have no reward with your Father who is in heaven. So when you give to the poor, do not sound a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, so that they may be honored by men. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full. But when you give to the poor, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving will be in secret; and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you. When you pray, you are not to be like the hypocrites; for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and on the street corners so that they may be seen by men. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full. But you, when you pray, go into your inner room, close your door and pray to your Father who is in secret, and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you. (Mt 6:1-6)

Governor Sanford … if I may be so bold as to ask … how is it that I — godless heathen that I am — know your own Bible, and the teachings of your own Jesus Christ, so much better than you do? I wonder if you have the courage to answer that question.

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