Part One of this little essay was inspired by a serous squabble in the political-huckster subset of organized Iowa Christendom. It is a fuss about "pay-for-my-pulpit" questions.
Dissension rules the pews. Then high priests and ward heelers in the Temple of the Van Der Platas Peeps are torn among the GOP candidates. Who, among Bachmann, Gingrich, Perry, and Santorum, is sufficiently sanctified to qualify for a temp job administering the government of the United States?
The schism threatens the temporal ambitions of high deacons. If their sheep cannot be driven to unity, the movement's caucus endorsements become a swill too weak to propel the self-appointed deacons to the worldly status of a Pat Robertson, or Jerry Falwell, or Jimmy Swaggart before he was caught one-handed.
The ambitious Bob Van Der Plaats leads the umbrella political/evangelical organization, The Family Leader. He has three times run for governor and lost -- once on a platform including outlawing gay marriage by administrative decree. His single success came in an off-year of defeat three Iowa Supreme Court justices who were part of a unanimous decision that a state gay-marriage ban violated the state Constitution.
(His signature concern is a nation of well-policed orifices.)
Ousting the judges was enough to keep him on Page One and nourish his lust to be a presidential kingmaker. And to some day have a national teevee co-preacher built along the lines of Salome, or perhaps Tammy Faye? To have his very own Heritage USA, speaking of Mrs. Bakker?
2011 has not been good to Mr. Van Der Plaats. There are simply too many theocratic panderers on the caucus stage, each with unswayable ardents, making a Van Der Plaats blessing a case of "So what?" And that he can not abide, so he took action, and here's where things get murky.
He personally endorsed Santorum. He may or may not have put a price tag on his anointment. One million dollars is the usually reported number for the alleged heist attempt. Van Der Plaats says he didn't do it, but even if he did it was simply money necessary to "promote" his decision.
About the same time, he rang up the Bachmann campaign. Again, what he asked or offered is foggy. He did, or did not demand she withdraw in favor of Santorum. He denies it. Others claim otherwise.
He said. She said. All in the name of a holy outcome on the night of January 3.
Political sausage is ugly enough in its secular form, and it is not improved by random ingredients from every denominational hustler who claims to be first on God's speed-dial list.
If we continue to confuse a government with a religion we can confidently predict a future federal law specifying the number of virgins we must sacrifice to make it rain.