The Internet site Wonkette is calling this month Cocktober. The reason? The avalanche of sex scandals involving Republicans and members of the religious right. They just keep on comin'.
My favorite is the sad tale of 51-year-old Rev. Gary Aldridge of Montgomery, Ala. A graduate of Liberty University and one-time employee of Jerry Falwell, Aldridge was found dead at his home June 24 when he failed to show up to conduct services at Thorington Road Baptist Church, where he was senior pastor.
A preliminary autopsy indicated that the minister had died from accidental suffocation and that no foul play or suicide was involved. In July, the Montgomery Advertiser asked for a copy of the autopsy report and authorities refused, claiming they were conducting an ongoing investigation.
The report finally was released last week, and www.thesmokinggun.com posted it. It seems the conservative minister had a sexual fetish for rubber, bondage and autoerotic asphyxiation:
"The decedent is clothed in a diving wet suit, a face mask which has a single vent for breathing, a rubberized head mask having an opening for the mouth and eyes, a second rubberized suit with suspenders, rubberized male underwear, hands and feet have diving gloves and slippers. There are numerous straps and cords restraining the decedent. There is a leather belt about the midriff. There is a series of ligatures extending from the hands to the feet. The hands are bound behind the back. The feet are tied to the hands. There are nylon ligatures holding these in place with leather straps about the wrists and ankles. There are plastic cords also tied about the hands and feet with a single plastic cord extending up to the head and surrounding the lower neck. There is a dildo in the anus covered with a condom."
In other words, he was encased in rubber and hog-tied with a dildo up his ass. Police claim there is no evidence of anyone else's involvement but have offered no explanation for how the minister, who did not work part-time for Cirque du Soleil as a contortionist, managed to hog-tie himself.
Interestingly, the Advertiser posted a report of the autopsy but did not provide details such as the dildo. Nor did its reporter ask who might have hog-tied him. We do know it wasn't his wife. She was out of town.
Meanwhile, a Larry Craig wannabe in Louisiana dropped out of the state Senate race last week following revelations by the Times-Picayune that he has been cited twice, in 1996 and 2000, for lewd behavior in public restrooms.
Joey DiFatta, a Republican and former St. Bernard Parish councilman, claims the reports of his indiscretions had nothing to do with his decision to exit the race. He says, instead, that chest pains and elevated enzymes indicated he might have had a mild heart attack, causing his doctor to suggest he simplify his life.
The 2000 incident involved the same ritual of toe tapping and hand signals that got Larry Craig arrested. DiFatta was not arrested, however, because the undercover policeman discontinued the seduction ritual when children entered the restroom. However, DiFatta was confronted outside the restroom, where he apologized, and a report was filed.
Another wrinkle in the Craig case occurred last week, too, when Mike Jones, the gay escort who brought down the Rev. Ted Haggard, reported that Craig also was one of his customers. Craig meanwhile has flip-flopped, twice, on his announcement that he would resign from the Senate if a judge did not let him reverse his guilty plea in his own attempt to have sex with a man in a public restroom.
And at long last, a woman with ties to the religious right found herself in the midst of a scandal that broke last week.
Lindsay Roberts, wife of Oral Roberts University president Richard Roberts, is accused of "dropping tens of thousands of dollars on clothes, awarding nonacademic scholarships to friends of her children and sending scores of text messages on university-issued cell phones to ... 'underage males,'" according to the Associated Press. There has been no elaboration concerning the charge about underage males.
The allegations are part of a lawsuit by three former professors who also charge that university funds were used to buy Mrs. Roberts a Lexus SUV and a Mercedes convertible, as well as pay for 11 remodelings of the Roberts home during the last 14 years. There are many more accusations, all of which the Roberts denied in an interview on "Larry King Live" last week.
It all just goes to show you: Scratch a "family values" conservative – or an especially preachy religious fundamentalist – and you'll often find a sex pig or a thief. Happy Cocktober!
Cliff Bostock holds a Ph.D. in depth psychology. For information on his private practice, go to www.cliffbostock.com