Cardella: Impure thoughts

By Tom Cardella

Evangelical leader Tony Perkins recently gave Donald Trump a “mulligan” for having sex with a porn star. Leaving aside that this church leader shares a name with a gay film star whose most famous role was as a slasher in “Psycho,” I was mildly surprised. Not so much that a professed moral leader is willing to excuse Trump’s alleged gross behavior, but that he would use a golfing term in doing it.

In case you are like me and haven’t swung a golf club in anger since you were too old for chip and putt, let me tell you what a “mulligan” is. It’s the word for allowing a less-than-adept golfer a do-over without penalty. Using Perkins’ logic, Trump should be granted a second term in order to get it right.

Yet I must ask why Perkins would give the president a mulligan for his personal life? Political horse trading? You give Trump a pass for licentiousness and Perkins gets in return the president’s support for keeping transgender folks in the “correct” restrooms? Plus, right-to-life abortion issues and a cut in the corporate tax rates? Welcome to the pragmatic world of Evangelical Christianity. Blurs the line between Perkins and Mitch McConnell.

A word is in order about presidents playing golf. Please stop complaining about our presidents playing too much golf. Liberals are upset that Trump spends so much time on the golf course. Conservatives were upset about Obama playing too much golf. Americans have been complaining about their presidents’ obsession with golf since the time of Dwight Eisenhower. If you can be an effective president, I don’t care if you spend your life on the 18th hole and your favorite drink is an Arnold Palmer. And I’m a guy who wouldn’t know a “bogey” from a “bacall.” To my way of thinking, Trump has screwed things up so badly, I wish he spent MORE time on the golf course and less time in the Oval Office.

I really don’t understand what benefit evangelicals get from Trump anyway. Is it really so important protecting bakers from having to make wedding cakes for gays? Again, Mr. Tony Perkins, you’ve got the same name as a gay film star. But seriously folks, how do you refuse to sell wedding cakes to gay people? How does that work? I’m trying to imagine the likely scenario. Scene: the Melrose Diner.

Customer: “Excuse me. I’d like to purchase a large butter cream cake for a wedding.” Employee: “Are you straight or gay?”

Unless you ask the Melrose to decorate the cake with two grooms, who’s to know? By the way, I’m just using the Melrose as an example in the hope they’ll send me a free cake. I’m not accusing them of being anti-gay. If you allow a baker to deny you service because you’re gay, what next, the plumber? Incidentally, none of my gay friends would have the poor taste to want some corny decoration of two guys in tuxes on their cake anyway. So, I ask you, Mr. Perkins, is THIS worth giving Trump a mulligan? And how much territory does the mulligan cover? Personally, my belief is that any man that would trade the lovely Melania for a porn star doesn’t deserve a mulligan.

If President Trump were interested in forgiveness for moral transgressions — insert the word “alleged” wherever your naïve heart takes you — he should become a Catholic. You go to confession. Say a “good act of contrition.” The priest not only gives you a mulligan so to speak, he keeps it a secret. You won’t find a good Catholic priest running to Michael Wolff with tales of the president’s escapades. His oath prevents him from doing so. Catholics get mulligans without getting Perkins involved.

By the way, porn stars have to get more creative with their stage names. Stormy Daniels? Really. Sounds like a drink made with bourbon and ginger beer with a twist of lime.

In my opinion, there is one major flaw in the ground rules for Catholic confession. When I received my Catholic instructions, the nuns told us that we were required to confess “impure thoughts, words, and deeds.” I’ve always felt that was grossly unfair to those of us men who are filled with “impure thoughts,” but never act on them. There is, I believe, scientific evidence that men have impure thoughts every seven seconds (and I think that includes while we’re in church). In fact, if you’re going to have to confess “impure thoughts,” then you might as well commit the “impure deed,” don’t you think? There ought to be a mulligan for those of us who show restraint. If men never have an “impure thought,” that’s not a sign of moral righteousness, that’s a sign of low testosterone. And even low testosterone hasn’t stopped me.

How do you control impure thoughts? If I had to take a cold shower every time I had an impure thought, I couldn’t afford my water bill. At the age of 79, all I have left are my impure thoughts. I can’t even watch MSNBC without having impure thoughts about Stephanie Ruhle. Does that make me a monster? Part of any test for male senility ought to include whether they’ve had any impure thoughts lately?

I respect the #MeToo movement. I support the #MeToo movement. Surely the #MeToo movement allows impure thoughts?