Former Connecticut Gov. John Rowland fills in as a talk show host on WTIC AM radio in Farmington, Conn. (AP Photo/Jessica Hill), via the Register-CitizenNote: There have been some developments about this story since I posted it. See this post for the latest on it, and a couple other updates below.

My home state of Connecticut, over the course of the 20th century, tended to be areligious and progressive. That changed, however, as the 21st century dawned. This state has become increasingly religious, and increasingly militant about it. Connecticut’s Roman Catholic dioceses, for instance, have decided to wield their political power like a club — very likely as an exercise in pushback, due to the reporting over various abuse scandals, such as that of Fr Stephen Foley (cached) and Dr George Reardon (cached). And the state’s right-wing — once of the gentlemanly, socially-moderate “country-club Republican” variety — has become more ardent and much more religious than it had been.

Toward that end, WTIC-AM 1080 in Hartford — which has reflected this increasing militancy and religiosity in its talk-radio offerings — will now have a daily 3-hour show co-hosted by John G. Rowland — once governor of Connecticut, who was disgraced out of office and pled guilty to corruption charges — and his “friend” and erstwhile political operative, the Rev. Will Marotti, as reported in the Hartford Courant‘s Java blog (WebCite cached article):

Tune in …Former CT guv, John Rowland, is on the air beginning Thursday.

Rowland, the come-back kid when it comes to being an arrested public official who did jailtime but landed a plum job in his hometown of Waterbury, has a new gig… radio show host on WTIC-AM.

He and his religious inspiration, Rev. Will Marotti are launching a new program titled “Church and State.” The show runs daily from 3 to 6 p.m. replacing the “Total News” block.

I’ve already blogged about Rowland’s appeal to religiosity as a way of recovering from his own shame. It appears that Connecticut’s right wing has fallen for this swindle, and the venerable (and once-respectable) WTIC-AM has bent over for him and for the militant Religious Right.

Well, WTIC can put on its religious radio show — and make no mistake, it absolutely will be religious in nature, no matter what Rowland, Marotti, or WTIC say about it — but I’m not fooled by the criminal Rowland or his willing enablers in the church or in the media. And I don’t plan to surrender to the Religious Right who are trying to conquer the Nutmeg State. If they want me to obey the strictures of their religion, they’re just going to have to make me do so.

Update 1: I’m not sure when it happened — maybe in the last month or two — but the Rev. Marotti is no longer part of this show, and it’s no longer called “Church & State.” The shamed-out-of-office Rowland is now its sole host. I guess WTIC-AM’s experiment in trying to proselytize Nutmeggers, has failed. Although leaving a convicted felon on the air, isn’t all that great either. Sigh.

Update 2: How the mighty — and “redeemed” — have fallen! In the wake of an electioneering scandal, Rowland quit WTIC-AM (cached). This came after both Rowland and the station’s management had spent the better part of a couple weeks insisting nothing was wrong and vehemently denying he would be leaving. His replacement is his erstwhile theo-political operative and co-host, Will Marotti. So much for WTIC’s proselytizing experiment having ended. And Rowland was just indicted on two counts of election fraud (cached).

Update 3: The verdict is in! As Rowland’s vicious enemies at the Hartford Courant report, he was convicted (cached). He and his attorneys will appeal, because they still don’t see how anyone could think Saint Johnny ever did anything wrong, but I’m not sure how far that will get them.

Photo credit: AP Photo/Jessica Hill, via the Register-Citizen.

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