For anyone unfamiliar with Rep. Vance McAllister, he’s a Louisiana congressman who ran on a Christian family values platform. But now he’s in trouble with some voters — and presumably his wife — after he got videotaped kissing a staff member (not a peck on the cheek, by the way).
Last week, I praised the serious, respectful nature of the New York Times’ reporting on McAllister’s predicament, his request for forgiveness and the various reactions of folks in his northeast Louisiana district.
It’s no surprise that a 1,700-word Washington Post Style section treatment of the same story contains more snark — and innuendo — on McAllister’s relationship with Melissa Anne Hixon Peacock:
The McAllisters and Peacocks were close friends. Two friends — speaking on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the situation — said they thought it was unusual that McAllister seemed to openly flirt with Peacock in public, even sometimes when his wife was present.
Sorry, that’s not journalism. That’s gossip. But I digress.
Way up high, the Post portrays its piece as a story about politics and passion, God and sin, and yes, ducks (think the bearded, camouflaged Robertsons of “Duck Dynasty” fame, as the family supported McAllister’s candidacy).
Since this is GetReligion, we’ll focus on the “God and sin” part.
You have to read quite a bit about politics and passion before you get to the story’s religious content, but 1,000-plus words in, the Post presents this important background:
But, more than anything, he presented himself as a deeply religious family man.
In an ad that featured his wife and five children around a kitchen island, McAllister talked about their Sunday morning routine before going to church and urged voters to send him to Washington to “defend our Christian way of life.” In another ad, he said, “I need your prayers.”
Hey, apparently, he wasn’t lying when he said he needed prayers. But I digress. Again.
Later, there’s this: