By Jack Brammer – firstname.lastname@example.org
Democratic U.S. Senate nominee Jack Conway questions the religious faith of his Republican opponent, Rand Paul, in a new television ad launched Saturday.
“Why was Rand Paul a member of a secret society that calls the Holy Bible a hoax …?” asks the ad. “Why did Rand Paul once tie a woman up. Tell her to bow down before a false idol and say his God was Aqua Buddha?”
Paul’s campaign immediately attacked the ad, saying Conway “stepped way over the line” in “a shameful and despicable ad that questions Dr. Paul’s Christian faith.”
Paul said in a statement that he is a “pro-life Christian” who has “never written or spoken anything that would indicate otherwise.”
Paul is a member of The Presbyterian Church of Bowling Green, where his wife Kelley is a deacon.
The Conway campaign said Paul needs to explain why he joined a secret society in college after the president of Baylor University banned it in 1978, two years before Paul attended the Texas school, because it “made fun of not only the Baptist religion, but Christianity and Christ.”
GQ reported in August that the university’s president called the group “grossly sacrilegious.”
Earlier this week, the political Web site Politico said the society, the NoZe Brotherhood, called the Bible “a hoax” and quoted a former society member who said Paul “… made fun of Baptists …”
The Conway campaign said Paul still hasn’t explained an earlier report in GQ in which a woman said Paul “blindfolded me, tied me up … told me their god was ‘Aqua Buddha’ and that I needed to bow down and worship him.”
She called Paul’s actions “sadistic.” In a later Washington Post report, the woman said she was not kidnapped in the legal sense and that the event was “blown out of proportion.”
The Conway ad also asks why Paul wants to end all federal faith-based initiatives and the federal tax deduction for religious charities.
John Collins, a spokesman for the campaign, said Paul questioned in a 2008 interview on Kentucky Educational Television the intermingling of government and faith-based initiatives.
Asked when Paul called for an end to the deduction for religious charities, Collins pointed to an Associated Press report this week that said Paul wants to replace the federal income tax, which provides numerous deductions, with a retail sales tax.
Paul backed away from the tax change on Friday despite a video from the Conway campaign that quoted him earlier this year supporting it.
Collins said Conway is a Catholic who attends church with his wife, Elizabeth, who is an Episcopalian.
Conway campaign spokeswoman Allison Haley said the new ad demonstrates that Paul “doesn’t share Kentucky values.”