You know you're in trouble when you're a conservative Christian and an unabashedly conservative Christian magazine goes after you for being linked to disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff. You know you're in even deeper muck when the Washington Post points this out in an article headlined "From a Conservative, a Lack Of Compassion for Ralph Reed." The lame play on words in the headline withstanding, it's a solid article that gives World magazine greater credibility, showing it is somewhat independent from the Christian, and mostly conservative, politicians it often covers:
Ralph Reed, candidate for Georgia lieutenant governor and former executive director of the Christian Coalition, has a standard line when opponents link him to disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff. "The Democrats, radical left, and dominant media have made numerous unfair personal attacks against Ralph," his Web site declares.
Lately, however, it's becoming harder for Reed to dismiss his critics as ideologically motivated. One of the toughest is Marvin Olasky, a close associate of President Bush who helped developed the administration's faith-based initiative and the concept of "compassionate conservatism."
Olasky, a journalism professor at the University of Texas, is editor in chief of World magazine, the mission of which "is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever." Since Nov. 19, World has run 10 articles and essays describing the $4 million in gambling money Abramoff paid to Reed to lobby against casinos competing with Abramoff's clients. The articles have highlighted incriminating e-mails and other disclosures that have raised doubts about Reed's explanations of his activities.
That Olasky had to explain to his readers why World is "delving into the Ralph Reed scandal" is a bit disheartening, but not surprising. Olasky, an adviser to George W. Bush before the 2000 election, has the difficult job of guiding a news magazine that covers a White House now implementing some of his ideas about compassionate conservatism.