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Weiner addresses lewd exchanges
July 24th, 2013
04:13 PM ET

XXX Church pastor: Weiner is an addict, not a joke

Opinion by Craig Gross, Special to CNN

(CNN) - There are still a lot of details to come out, but here’s one thing we know about Anthony Weiner: He is not a punch line; he is an addict.

I would assume Weiner has always had an uphill battle against being the butt of someone’s joke, just by the nature of his last name. Immaturity has always reigned supreme, and now in the days of Internet memes and Twitter zingers,  Weiner seemed ready-made for a scandal.

And yet he managed to get elected to Congress and once had a respectable appearance on "The Daily Show." He was on the rise, a politician ascending.

And then he got busted by the media for tweeting pictures of parts that should remain private to random women.

Shamed and chagrined, Weiner resigned and promised to get better. Things were looking up again for him when he entered the race to become the next mayor of New York, and he assured everyone that all his sexting and scandals were in the past.

And now, “Carlos Danger.”

Calls for 'Carlos Danger' to withdraw pour in

That is, apparently, one of the pseudonyms Weiner used last summer when he engaged in an illicit sexting relationship with a 22-year-old woman.

These are not the actions of a clown.

This is not something to make fun of.

This is a serious, family-wrecking, soul-crushing, career-destroying addiction.

Here’s what I would hope for Anthony Weiner: I would hope that he’d take himself out of the public eye, get back into counseling and put some concrete boundaries in place regarding his technology use.

And most important, I want him to get accountable.

Timeline: Congress, lewd photos and NYC's mayoral race

As the leader of XXXchurch.com, I work with a lot of sex addicts - people who can’t stop using porn or people who feel trapped in making it - and the biggest key to breaking out of the cycle of addiction is accountability.

Accountability is not prevention. You know the term “yes men,” when people - especially politicians like Weiner - surround themselves with others who will just automatically agree with them?

Most people think of accountability as surrounding yourself with a group of “no men,” who will always tell you what you can’t do.

That’s not it at all. Accountability is about having people around you whom you are intentionally open and honest with, people who will consistently challenge you to live up to the standards you’ve set for yourself. It’s about helping you to make good choices and live a freer, richer life.

I’m not going to point a mocking finger at Anthony Weiner. I can’t pass judgment on how he got to this point, because I don’t know him.

But I can say that being accountable to others is not just a way of battling your addictive demons; it’s a way of putting a positive spin on your life to create times where you don’t hear the demons at all.

There are millions of us working through some kind of something. For some, it’s drugs. For others, it’s alcohol. For still others, it’s an eating disorder or trying to quit smoking or being in financial disarray.

For Anthony Weiner, it’s “Carlos Danger” and all that symbolizes.

Whatever you’re working through, don’t do it alone.

You don’t have to.

Craig Gross is founder of XXXChurch and author of “Open: What Happens When You Get Real, Get Honest, and Get Accountable.” The views expressed in this column are solely those of Gross. 

- CNN Belief Blog Editor

Filed under: Opinion • Politics • Scandal • Sex • Sexuality • United States

soundoff (382 Responses)
  1. Filthy Hind I love to Mithrism lick and talk Islam bunk

    There is no way he has a chance in he11. He would make NY the laughing stock of the world. NY'ers are not THAT stupid.
    Just amazing politician's egos are SO huge they can't help but make fools of themselves.

    July 24, 2013 at 7:27 pm |
  2. Neo Atheist

    Weiner is a wiener for showing his wiener. Now that's a joke.

    July 24, 2013 at 7:25 pm |
  3. bostontola

    A question to Christians:

    Is it acceptable to pray to God to affect events in our world in a way that would be different if God didn't intervene?

    I wonder about the future events that would be changed and man's inability to predict those changes. God of course would be able to foresee those impacts and wouldn't do harm. It seems unfair to the future to benefit an individual today. I can't see why God would intervene.

    July 24, 2013 at 7:05 pm |
    • AE

      I feel I am free to pray to God about anything.

      If it is not God's will, He will just say "no" and do what He wants.

      I've been told the most effective prayer is to ask for knowledge of God's will.

      July 24, 2013 at 7:30 pm |
    • Dave

      It is difficult to know if or why God intervenes. There's a well known meme on the internet which states that because God doesn't heal amputees it's proof that he doesn't get involved in events. All we can say for sure is that he can affect our hearts and minds if we allow him to.

      July 24, 2013 at 7:31 pm |
    • Mark from Middle River

      Is it acceptable to pray to God to affect events in our world in a way that would be different if God didn't intervene?.... God of course would be able to foresee those impacts and wouldn't do harm.

      I believe that is where AE's view is. Those of outside of Faith, I believe can not understand why so many continue to have Faith when it appears that most of their prayers go unanswered. The option of "No", is still a viable outcome of a prayer. We praise God or Gods for the no's as well as the yes's.

      [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-HN6GuDDty4&w=640&h=390]

      July 24, 2013 at 7:39 pm |
  4. Charles Redman

    What a travesty. What kind of a role model is he to his child that is growing up?

    July 24, 2013 at 7:03 pm |
  5. Joe

    If his name were Eddie Long he would already be forgiven.

    July 24, 2013 at 6:35 pm |
  6. Thought Purification

    you should always see the positive sides of everything happening around you; God stopped Weiner from turning into future Joi B u t a f u o. c o.

    July 24, 2013 at 6:24 pm |
  7. anon

    this is lewd but gay marriage is civil? yay diversity!

    July 24, 2013 at 6:14 pm |
    • Cpt. Obvious

      Correct, and diversity has nothing to do with anything.

      July 24, 2013 at 6:20 pm |
    • jazzguitarman

      SSM is about equal rights under the law. Period.

      July 24, 2013 at 6:25 pm |
    • flying spaghetti monster

      You're comparing two people wanting to have the equal right to codify a loving, monogomous relationship, with a married politician tweeting unsolicited pictures of his junk to women other than his wife? Yeah, you're really a sharp one. I can feel the christian love just rolling off of you.

      July 24, 2013 at 7:12 pm |
  8. Reality

    Self-control apparently is not in Weiner's vocabulary. The addiction scenario is a cop-out just as it was with Tiger Woods!!!

    Weiner is a cheat and liar and should never be considered for a leadership role.

    July 24, 2013 at 6:10 pm |
    • AE

      How's the view up there?

      July 24, 2013 at 6:15 pm |
    • jazzguitarman

      The question is if being a cheat and a liar with regards to se xual issues relates to how one would behave as a public official. E.g. would they take a bribe? Anyhow up to the voters in NYC.

      July 24, 2013 at 6:27 pm |
  9. Just the Facts Ma'am...

    i wish i were an oscar mayor wiener that is what i'd truly like to be
    and if i were an oscar mayor wiener everyone would be in love with me

    my bologna has a first name its o-s-c-a-r my bologna has a seconds name its m-a-y-o-r i love to eat it every day and if you ask me why i'll say cause oscar mayor has a way with b-o-l-o-g-n-a :)

    July 24, 2013 at 6:03 pm |
    • A Conversation

      I wonder how many people, when reading this, simply read it, or immediately started singing it instead (if only in their head)?

      July 24, 2013 at 6:39 pm |
      • A Conversation

        Full disclosure...I sang under my breath. LOL.

        July 24, 2013 at 6:39 pm |
  10. stranger danger

    He just needs to learn how to use the Internet to not get caught.

    July 24, 2013 at 5:59 pm |
  11. Rimshot

    'Weiner has always had an uphill battle against being the butt of someone’s joke'

    [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oShTJ90fC34&w=640&h=390]

    July 24, 2013 at 5:56 pm |
  12. James

    Great article!

    July 24, 2013 at 5:51 pm |
  13. ME II

    @Craig Gross,
    Sounds like decent advice, especially the part about getting out of public life.

    July 24, 2013 at 5:33 pm |
  14. Anonymous

    Dude's name is Weiner, this whole story is a joke.

    July 24, 2013 at 5:27 pm |
  15. Dyslexic doG

    don't vote, it only encourages the ba5tards!

    July 24, 2013 at 5:05 pm |
  16. AE

    Nicely written. But he also should ask God for help. It made a big difference in my life.

    If you change your mind, God can change your heart.

    July 24, 2013 at 4:54 pm |
    • Nah

      Nah, you fixed one of your own problems for yourself. But you didn't fix your stupidity.

      Belief in god is a big scam. Give yourself credit, stupid, not some sky god who should also be blamed when things didn't go right if you are going to be fair.

      July 24, 2013 at 5:06 pm |
      • Kathy

        Your remark is beyond stupid!

        July 24, 2013 at 6:00 pm |
        • Cpt. Obvious

          Yet you fail to explain HOW it is stupid. I see no logical problem with the statement.

          July 24, 2013 at 6:05 pm |
      • Sandra Scott

        He never defined his "god" so it is not necessarily in the sky. I define god as my inner self, my conscious, how i chose to be a good person. I also consider myself an atheist of organized religion so how does that fit in your "stupidity" comment. While I do not believe in organized religion I do believe that we should each have a "god" as we perceive it individually. Some people chose their dog, a mountain, etc. Please educate yourself and your mind to expand your perceived definitions. Otherwise you simply sound ignorant and rude.

        July 24, 2013 at 6:23 pm |
    • Ben

      AE, so how come god would scramble the jets for you but not for the billions of other people who asked for help and got none?

      July 24, 2013 at 5:08 pm |
    • AE

      - so how come god would scramble the jets for you but not for the billions of other people who asked for help and got none?

      I don't know. I asked and God delivered and has yet to fail me.

      July 24, 2013 at 5:11 pm |
    • AE

      - Belief in god is a big scam.

      Where is the scam?

      July 24, 2013 at 5:11 pm |
      • In Santa we trust

        There is no evidence of a god.
        There is no evidence that your prayers were answered.
        The scam part is the wealth that most churches have accumulated over the years which is why they are among the richest institutions on earth.

        July 24, 2013 at 6:06 pm |
        • AE

          But I haven't been asked to contribute any money to these rich churches. Is it possible that I can believe in God, and not be scammed?

          July 24, 2013 at 6:13 pm |
        • In Santa we trust

          You don't tithe? Or make a contribution in the plate?
          Even if you personally have not contibuted – it is a fact that churches are amongst the wealthiest institutions in the world. All predicated on creation myths that have been proven to be incorrect.

          July 24, 2013 at 6:24 pm |
        • AE

          I do donate money. It goes to good causes. I don't go to that super rich church you are imagining.

          July 24, 2013 at 6:44 pm |
        • In Santa we trust

          Almost all churches are mega-rich: Prosperity Gospel, RCC, Mormons, Orthodox, Anglican, etc. I suppose there may be some poor churches but they are few and far between.

          July 24, 2013 at 9:10 pm |
    • Ben

      AE, let's put your obvious lie to the test. Present 10 testable things that you've prayed for, that happened and could not have happened if you hadn't asked.

      July 24, 2013 at 5:15 pm |
    • AE

      Ben,

      I have prayed for the knowledge of God's will and the power to carry that out.

      I have prayed for people I hated.

      I have prayed for people I love.

      I have prayed for humility.

      I have prayed for patience.

      I have prayed for serenity.

      I have prayed for financial security.

      I have prayed for more friends.

      I have prayed for a family.

      And I have prayed for this message board to get better.

      God hasn't failed me yet.

      July 24, 2013 at 5:20 pm |
      • Cpt. Obvious

        You don't seem to understand the meaning of the word "testable."

        The issue, AE, is not that people of ALL faiths find a measure of comfort in their wishing because they think some higher power is listening. The issue is what can be verified by measurement. Science, chemistry, mathematics, and meaningful solutions are meaningful precisely because they are TESTABLE and when we test, we find the claims to be VERIFIABLE. If there's nothing to measure, and no standard by which the claim can be verified, you're just talking invisible dragons and vanishing fairies.

        July 24, 2013 at 5:25 pm |
        • AE

          My evidence is my testimony. You are free to reject or embrace it.

          There are many people who I assume know more about science, chemistry and mathematics than you, that believe and trust in God.

          July 24, 2013 at 5:33 pm |
        • Cpt. Obvious

          If the evidence only works for you, the believer, then you have nothing measurable or verifiable. Lunatics who believe that they are god in the insane asylum have as much evidence and probably believe with more faith than you. Is that all you've god? No more or less than a lunatic?

          Yes, there are many people who know more about science and math than me. The point is, that they all believe different things about god because there's nothing stopping them. With math or chemistry, experiment and application will stop them from believing something that is false. With god, they can believe anything because there's nothing to test or measure or verify. If there were a testable and verifiable way to do that, all those mathematicians and chemists would believe exactly the same and would have their Nobel Prize for proving god's existence, and we'd teach it in schools with labs that prove the concepts just like in chemistry.

          It's about time you realized that you have nothing......... Well, you've got the same "evidence" any lunatic does.

          July 24, 2013 at 5:49 pm |
        • AE

          No, belief is God is different than the beliefs of a lunatic. Belief in God is not a mental illness.

          I know many reasonable atheists that can admit this.

          There is no Nobel Prize for proving God's existence. But there are plenty of people who have won Nobel Prizes who believe in God.

          I'm sorry, but I will believe those actual scientists over an internet atheist posting on a faith and belief blog. Continue to call me crazy if you want.

          July 24, 2013 at 6:06 pm |
        • Doobs

          "There is no Nobel Prize for proving God's existence. But there are plenty of people who have won Nobel Prizes who believe in God."

          And there are plenty who believe in other deities, or no deity at all. What's your point?

          "I will believe those actual scientists over an internet atheist posting on a faith and belief blog. "

          About what? How to knit? How many angels can dance on the head of a pin? What year of Bourdeaux is the best?

          July 24, 2013 at 6:14 pm |
        • Cpt. Obvious

          AE, you have a very terrible problem that is common among Christians and other believers. You don't pay attention and comprehend what you have read.

          You have no evidence that a raving lunatic does not also have. The "evidence" you say you have is EXACTLY the same "evidence" that a raving lunatic offers for his insane beliefs. You don't allow this to bother you because there are so many people who don't let this fact bother them, either.

          If god were "discoverable" as math or chemistry, we'd have rules and facts just like we do with math and chemistry, but the fact is that god believing chemists and mathematicians all believe in different gods, and none of those very intelligent believers can prove that their belief is correct; however, they can offer proof of their maths proofs or chemical experiment.

          July 24, 2013 at 6:19 pm |
        • AE

          But there are plenty of people that are NOT raving lunatics that believe in God.

          And they have evidence that has meaning to them. It may not measure up to your standards. But the world doesn't live by your standards, now does it?

          If we all had to live up to the standards of an internet atheist posting on a faith and belief blog... that would be crazy!

          July 24, 2013 at 6:38 pm |
        • AE

          - Doobs

          – And there are plenty who believe in other deities, or no deity at all. What's your point?

          There are people that know a lot more about science and mathematics than Cpt Obvious that believe in God.

          – About what? How to knit? How many angels can dance on the head of a pin? What year of Bourdeaux is the best?

          “Let me say that I don’t see any conflict between science and religion. I go to church as many other scientists do. I share with most religious people a sense of mystery and wonder at the universe and I want to participate in religious ritual and practices because they’re something that all humans can share.”

          –Sir Martin Rees

          “The more I study nature, the more I stand amazed at the work of the Creator. Science brings men nearer to God.”

          “Little science takes you away from God but more of it takes you to Him.”

          –Louis Pasteur

          July 24, 2013 at 6:41 pm |
        • In Santa we trust

          AE, Still no evidence then?

          July 24, 2013 at 6:47 pm |
        • AE

          Martin Luther King, JR. is my evidence. I will believe what he is recorded as saying over and internet atheist posting on a faith and belief blog.
          ---
          As he prayed alone in the silent kitchen, King heard a voice saying,

          "Martin Luther, stand up for righteousness. Stand up for justice. Stand up for truth. And lo, I will be with you. Even until the end of the world."

          Then King heard the voice of Jesus.

          "I heard the voice of Jesus saying still to fight on. He promised never to leave me, never to leave me alone. No never alone. No never alone. He promised never to leave me, never to leave me alone."

          And as the voice washed over the stains of the wretched caller, King reached a spiritual shore beyond fear and apprehension.

          "I experienced the presence of the Divine as I had never experienced Him before," he said. "Almost at once my fears began to go," King said of the midnight flash of illumination and resolve. "My uncertainty disappeared. I was ready to face anything."
          -–
          God is real. Amen.

          July 24, 2013 at 6:52 pm |
        • Doobs

          "There are people that know a lot more about science and mathematics than Cpt Obvious that believe in God."

          So what? There are people who know a lot more about science and mathematics than you that don't believe in deities. Besides, how do you know what CO knows and doesn't know?

          You didn't answer my second question, you just posted a few quotes.

          July 24, 2013 at 7:03 pm |
        • AE

          Doobs.

          I know.

          But I'm not on here claiming that people who believe differently than me are mentally ill.

          He is the one that is implying that I am like a "raving lunatic". He is expressing many assumptions about me that are dead wrong.

          – You didn't answer my second question, you just posted a few quotes.

          – About what? How to knit? How many angels can dance on the head of a pin? What year of Bourdeaux is the best?

          I trust in those scientists that belief in God can be a good thing. And it is not the signs of a person being a "raving lunatic." Unlike what Captain Obvious claims.

          No. Not on how to knit. Or how many angels can dance on the head of a pin. Or what year of Bourdeaux is the best.

          Those quotes demonstrating a great scientific mind demonstrating the reasonable belief in God.

          July 24, 2013 at 7:13 pm |
        • AE - correction

          Those quotes demonstratied a great scientific mind demonstrating the reasonable belief in God.

          July 24, 2013 at 7:14 pm |
      • Answer

        "God hasn't failed me yet." << - a religious loser's line.

        July 24, 2013 at 5:33 pm |
      • ME II

        @AE,
        "I have prayed for this message board to get better."

        Well now we KNOW God doesn't exist.

        (sorry, couldn't resist. Some sort of addiction I'm sure.)

        July 24, 2013 at 5:36 pm |
      • Doobs

        So you prayed for financial security? Was that all or did you also get a job and go to work?

        July 24, 2013 at 5:43 pm |
        • AE

          Of course that is not all. Prayer that isn't followed by some kind of action... is often dead.

          July 24, 2013 at 5:49 pm |
        • Doobs

          Then you can't attribute your financial security to your god. Your job provided it, not your god.

          July 24, 2013 at 5:52 pm |
        • Cpt. Obvious

          For the believer, any excuse will do, and the best excuse is always "faith." So a believer can always be 100% certain regardless of any evidence for or against him.

          July 24, 2013 at 5:55 pm |
        • A Frayed Knot

          Wow, AE, all of those Muslim Arab sheiks must really have a hotline to the Ol' Boy, eh? And, as Golda Meir once said of Israel, "He took us 40 years through the desert in order to bring us to the one spot in the Middle East that has no oil!"

          July 24, 2013 at 5:59 pm |
      • CommonSensed

        Do you use prayer to heal you or do you go to a doctor or take preventative measures?

        Did only prayer bring you friends, financial security and a family...oh...maybe immaculate conception on that last one so we'll let it slide.

        July 24, 2013 at 7:09 pm |
  17. Guster

    Religion is a joke. A really bad, destructive joke.

    July 24, 2013 at 4:43 pm |
  18. Honey Badger Don't Care

    I know some women that are wiener addicts too.

    July 24, 2013 at 4:40 pm |
  19. Moral Stone

    People who run for office should have strong ethical and moral values; the absence of which leads to corruption of the public offices to which they are elected.

    July 24, 2013 at 4:39 pm |
    • Nothing is set in stone.

      I don't think any human being has strong ethical and moral values. If you think they do then they've got you snowed. This guy's personal life has zero influence on my life. If he can do his job what he does in his bathroom is none of my business.

      July 24, 2013 at 4:59 pm |
    • Cpt. Obvious

      Newt Gingrich has great morals. He makes the same decision to abandon his wives each time. He never fails to live up to his morals.

      July 24, 2013 at 5:27 pm |
  20. I don't care

    Everybody has a personal life, what's the big deal?

    July 24, 2013 at 4:20 pm |
    • ME II

      I don't think Twitter is considered personal.

      July 24, 2013 at 5:43 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.