Thursday, May 17, 2007

From Villain to Vicar?

Will former New Jersey governor and outed homosexual James E. McGreevey's next career be in the Episcopal priesthood? Here are a few choice excerpts from the Washington Times story that ponders that question:

...Some see an inspiring tale of redemption in the former governor's new vocation; others see him as something akin to a bad rash that won't go away.

"He needs a lobotomy, not a collar," said Tom Balasia, who was waiting for a haircut in the same barbershop that used to trim Mr. McGreevey's locks when he was mayor of Woodbridge. "He's a liar who's hiding behind the cloth. He should be ashamed to show his face."...

...Word of his plans came the same week as his estranged wife, Dina Matos McGreevey, hit the talk-show circuit to promote her book, "Silent Partner," about their life together and subsequent breakup. Their ongoing divorce has become so nasty that a judge scol
ded the two to use common sense and remember that their daughter, now 5, will someday read what they are saying about each other.

Mrs. McGreevey did not respond to requests for comment left at her office and through her book publicist. But she issued a statement to WABC (Channel 7), a sister company of her publisher, terming Mr. McGreevey's seminary plans "the most absurd thing I've ever heard."
"He needs to be in the spotlight," she said. "I am astounded by his arrogance."

Mr. McGreevey stepped down in 2004, claiming he had an affair with Golan Cipel, whom he appointed as homeland security adviser, and that Mr. Cipel threatened to sue him. Mr. Cipel denies having an affair with Mr. McGreevey, claiming he was sexually harassed by the ex-governor.

Many in his former hometown see Mr. McGreevey as a cunning political operative, even now. They note he got married and had a child knowing he was homosexual, resigned before Mr. Cipel could accuse him of wrongdoing, wrote a tell-all book just as he and his wife were hashing out divorce terms, and joined a new religion and the seminary the week his wife's side of the story came out in her book.

"He was deceitful, he lied
, and if he thinks he's redeeming himself now, I'm not so sure," said resident Ken Zelenakas. "Please, get him out of the papers. There's more important things to write about than Jim McGreevey."

A close friend of the former governor, state Sen. Raymond Lesniak, insists Mr. McGreevey had long been interested in becoming a priest or religious member.

"It's always been on his mind," said Mr. Lesniak, who attends prayer meetings with the ex-governor. "It's been a natural progression since he acknowledged who he truly is."...

...The pulpit isn't the only wooden lectern in Mr. McGreevey's future; he also holds forth in the classroom where he teaches at Kean University (named after the family of another famous New Jersey governor), earning $17,500 as "executive in residence."

He conducts guest lectures in the school's Executive Master's of Business Administration program. So far, he has taught a class on law and ethics, and another on management and lea
dership. The head of the state's Republican Party likened Mr. McGreevey teaching an ethics class to "Doctor Kevorkian teaching health maintenance."...

In a related note, Dina Matos McGreevey's side of this sordid story has been told in her book, Silent Partner, out just this week. Here are a couple of reviews of that book. This one comes from ABC News and this one from the New York Daily News.