So, I was traveling last week - and just got around to checking out my Sunday paper. There's a very curious column in there from conservative columnist David Reinhard.
Apparently, there's a bit of a dust-up going on in Washington County's HD 30 - a race between David Edwards (D) and Everett Curry (R) for the open seat currently held by Rep. Derrick Kitts (R). Most of the year, we've known it would be a hotly-contested one, since it was the only open seat currently held by a Republican (until Jeff Kropf declined to run for re-election late this summer.)
Anyway, Everett Curry claims that the Edwards campaign conducted a "push poll" accusing him of being part of the "radical religious right". The Edwards campaign denies the allegation. Of course, David Reinhard just takes Curry's word for it -- and doesn't demand proof.
But here's what raised my eyebrows:
"This has been a very strange thing," Curry said. "I have not made religion an issue in any way -- until now. I am proud of my service to my church, I by no means want to hide my relationship to my church. I believe it reflects a strong leadership pattern. David Edwards has stepped over the line in this campaign and is attempting to use my religion to scare voters."
You see, last March, I got an unsolicited email from a woman named Becky Curry, who lives in Kelseyville, California. I just talked to her tonight, read her the above quote, and she laughed out loud. She's given me permission to share her email with you here:
I just got an envelope in the mail from my husbands wingnut uncle. Everett Curry, running for rep in House Dist 30. Because we are family, we get the fundraising letters first! Uggghhhh. God and the Christian voters, prayer and and God's will are mentioned over and over again. Who is the opponent? I want to send him some money... Becky Curry
That's right, Everett Curry's own family knows that he's been making his religion an issue in this campaign. Becky Curry even mailed me the fundraising letter, dated March 6. Here's the key paragraph, which Everett Curry includes after extolling his own record of community service:
While these things were on our plate none were done alone. They were accomplished by a team of people. While all of these are community programs, we were clearly identified as Christian people who did them as a part of our call to serve God. Our Christian call to service in congregations, organizations, and in support of issues and candidates flows from our Christian faith.
Now, read that Curry-to-Reinhard quote again:
"I have not made religion an issue in any way"
Clearly, a falsehood.
Now, don't misunderstand me. I don't have any problem with people of faith running for office. In fact, I think it's a good thing. For many people, including me, faith is the cornerstone of our value system. I happen to think the radical right has hijacked Christianity to pursue an anti-government, anti-family agenda that is neither conservative nor Christian - but that's neither here nor there.
The very simple point is this: Everett Curry has been making his religion a central part of his campaign, at least since March. And it was so strident, it caused one of his California relations to send an email to a complete stranger (me).
Personally, I don't understand why Everett Curry is now ashamed of his faith - so much that he would tell David Reinhard a little white lie. And I don't understand why David Reinhard would fall for it.
And what's more: Now that Curry's propensity to lie is exposed, should we really trust him when he claims - without proof - that some mystery "push poll" was used against him?
Update: Finished this post, started surfing around, and discovered that Loaded Orygun is on this story too. Turns out they've found another little white lie from Everett Curry:
In September, Curry told Oregonian reporter Holly Danks that he he has not been a pastor since 1986. But in the Oregon Voter's Pamphlet, Curry lists his occupation as an "ordained minister" from "1967-present". Further, The American Baptist Seminary shows Curry as finishing an interim pastorate in Oregon City in May 2005.
This guy is unbelievable. Why is he afraid to talk in public about his background? Nothing wrong with being a minister, so what's he hiding?