Martin Bashir, 7/17/13, 4:55 PM ET

Bashir: VA Gov. McDonnell’s ‘myopic’ view of Christian morality

Martin Bashir examines the unfolding scandal involving Gov. Bob McDonnell, R-Virginia, and questions of financial gifts from a supporter – and the irony that the governor with an apparent lust for material objects has spent a lifetime condemning...

A look at Gov. McDonnell’s myopic view of Christian morality

Updated

It’s time now to clear the air—or maybe it’s Bob McDonnell, the governor of Virginia, who should be clearing the air today.

Because that’s the view of The Roanoke Times, which featured this headline, and the following editorial: ”As the water around him gets deeper, Gov. Bob McDonnell can’t wait for a lifeboat to rescue him from a swirling cesspool of scandal. For the sake of his own credibility and for the state he leads, the governor needs to paddle his way to dry land and explain himself.”

Mr. McDonnell is now drowning in a sea of scandal that appears to reflect his love of money and luxury after stories emerged revealing how the McDonnell family has accepted tens of thousands of dollars in unreported gifts from a friendly businessman called Jonnie Williams.

For his part, the governor says he’s followed all the appropriate laws. But consider what the disclosures reveal: $15,000 to cover the cost of catering at the governor’s mansion for the wedding of one of Mr. McDonnell’s daughters…a $15,000 shopping spree at the glittering Bergdorf Goodman department store for the governor’s wife, Maureen…then there was the free use of Mr. Williams’ Ferrari, and he also bought the governor a gold Rolex—a gaudy gift that currently dangles from the governor’s wrist.

More from The Rachel Maddow Show: Exclusive: Gov. Bob McDonnell’s financial disclosure statements, 2008-2012

But one of the most interesting aspects about Mr. McDonnell’s career is how it has been marked by the most adamant assertion of Christian morality, and almost entirely on the subject of sex. Let’s not forget, this is the same individual who recommended transvaginal probes for any woman who might be considering a termination.

Mr. McDonnell’s viewers were helpfully elucidated in a master’s thesis that he wrote at the age of 34. In addition to deriding “co-habitators and fornicators,” Mr. McDonnell draws liberally on Scripture to explain why he believes that the family unit has been ordained by God as depicted in the Book of Genesis:

“It is in the law of Nature of the created Order,” writes Mr. McDonnell, “that the Creator instituted marriage and family in Eden, where He ordained that ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh.’”

Sadly, there is a myopic selectivity to Mr. McDonnell’s Christian morality. He chooses to focus on the lusts of the flesh, but never once condemns the temptation of materialism. He liberally quotes Scripture to condemn sexual activities, but either hasn’t read or has chosen to ignore those New Testament passages where the Apostle Paul says, “The love of money is the root of all kinds of evil,” or where Jesus himself asks, “What will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses his soul?”

No. Mr. McDonnell seems to draw a self-serving distinction between those things he deems abominable—sex principal among them—and those he regards as agreeable: Rolex watches, private jets, and shopping sprees.

But if Mr. McDonnell is only prepared to read those passages of Scripture that suit his own proclivities, then maybe he should go back and read his own thesis, because it contains a line that now seems perfectly applicable to a man who is inclined to use government to serve his own materialistic ambitions: “Must government subsidize the choices of a generation with an increased appetite for the materialistic components of the American dream?”

What a great question, governor.

A look at Gov. McDonnell’s myopic view of Christian morality

Updated