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 Religion Editor

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

soundoff (382 Responses)
  1. lol??

    Now the pols golf together after compromising on the amount of fleece to keep. The americultians weren't smart enough to keep the socies at bay. The country wasn't even a century old before the attacks began.

    July 25, 2013 at 10:49 am |
  2. lol??

    I liked it better when the politicians would actually fight over issues by dueling instead of trolling for mama's vote.

    July 25, 2013 at 10:44 am |
    • midwest rail

      If anyone posting here would know about trolling, it would be you.

      July 25, 2013 at 10:53 am |
  3. Alias

    Morals do matter.
    If he shows signs of lacking character, we should think carefully about electing him to a position of power. Look at how well congress screws the country for personal benefit, and befit of their campaign supporters. As Most of them seem moral as individuals I think we are missing something.

    July 25, 2013 at 10:31 am |
    • lionlylamb

      Political alimonies makes every political agent when the times come for retirement after just a few plugged seasons... 👿

      July 25, 2013 at 10:37 am |
      • INinIN

        Sex scandals as a way of limiting terms? Why not? Keep it in your pants and there won't be a problem.

        July 25, 2013 at 10:40 am |
        • lionlylamb

          A prideful sensualist this guy is not... Ruthlessly gutless maybe..? Certainly not a court's jester... He shoulda put a rubber on to hide his tally whacker from loathing prying eyes...

          July 25, 2013 at 10:51 am |
    • Honey Badger Don't Care

      He showed lack of judgement, not lack of morals.

      July 25, 2013 at 10:40 am |
      • Saraswati

        Do you think that his wife didn't care or that he was so dumb he was 100% he wouldn't get caught? Because I'm willing to bet his wife does care that the world thinks she is one to be pitied, and that he knew there was a good chance this could happen. That a morals issue.

        July 25, 2013 at 10:44 am |
      • Alias

        I dissagree.
        A married man should not be sending sexual pictures to young women.
        It is my understandng that his wife was not giving approval.

        July 25, 2013 at 10:50 am |
        • Honey Badger Don't Care

          His wife and he might have an open relationship. Not saying that they do. It is quite possible that they were just showing the pretense of being an "all American family" type and be total freaks behind doors.

          Like I said before, what consenting adults to on their own time is their business.

          July 25, 2013 at 10:56 am |
        • Saraswati

          Honey, It's possible, but the odds are about 20 to 1 against it. Plus, they just had a kid which normally makes women far less accepting of the idea of an open marriage. I understand it's the only reason she stayed with the guy. If she was not open to him cheating, blackmail, just involving telling the wife, would be a very real possibility and would put the whole democratic system at risk.

          July 25, 2013 at 11:10 am |
        • Alias

          @Honey Badger
          Are you sure you are not bias because of his voting record?
          Would you be as forgiving of a of a god fearing conservative?

          July 25, 2013 at 11:31 am |
  4. J. Ripper

    I will not allow this man to to sap and impurify all of our precious bodily fluids.

    July 25, 2013 at 10:15 am |
    • I'm sorry Dave, I can't let you do that

      The strange thing is they make such bloody good cameras.

      July 25, 2013 at 10:17 am |
      • lionlylamb

        Cache' away oh my weinerless hal 2001... Still have not found hal2010 have you..? You must be in a time disruption causality loop of causation rising unto a fandangle dangling...

        July 25, 2013 at 10:26 am |
        • I'm sorry Dave, I can't let you do that


          July 25, 2013 at 10:39 am |
    • Bat Guano

      He's obviously some kind of deviated prevert.

      July 25, 2013 at 4:42 pm |
  5. LionlyLamb is a barely intelligible little troll

    Dearest Huma:
    If you leave Anthony I'd only send YOU photos of my Little Congressman.

    July 25, 2013 at 10:08 am |
    • lionlylamb

      I would rather see you mark Anthony then be yourself a marking of marketing Marker of Anthony's behest...

      July 25, 2013 at 10:32 am |


    July 25, 2013 at 10:05 am |
  7. lionlylamb

    A goodness sakes day to One and all...

    My wiener is not up for debauchery... :mrgreen:

    July 25, 2013 at 10:04 am |
    • LionlyLamb is a barely intelligible little troll

      what, no cut and paste rambling diatribe saying nothing?

      July 25, 2013 at 10:06 am |
      • lionlylamb

        It's sorta too eerie to do.... Still suppin my latte... Gotta be careful and keep it away from my pooter... Tangy as Tang is...

        July 25, 2013 at 10:13 am |
  8. palintwit

    Bristol Palin's next novel should be hitting bookstore shelves soon. Her recent memoirs about her life as a drunk, pregnant teenager sold an astounding 1,500 copies and buoyed by this success she worked very hard to write the sequel. Her adoring public expects no less because after all, the Palin family is known for not resting on their laurels as well as not being quitters.

    July 25, 2013 at 9:53 am |
  9. myweightinwords

    As a whole, our society is far to invested in the private lives (and parts) of others. Honestly, this is an issue that should be between this man and his wife and whatever 3rd party that is involved. Why this is news is beyond me.

    The only way it should matter is if it is affecting his job performance, and since he's only running for mayor, and not actually mayor, who gives a flying fig if he wants to take pictures of his bits and text them to some woman? Obviously, I would assume his wife would care, but then, I don't know the woman. It could be they have an open relationship and he's just too stupid to keep it private.

    As someone who is poly, I wouldn't care much if my partner was sending naked pictures to another lover. I would get upset if they were stupid about it and it caused them to lose a job or something.

    July 25, 2013 at 9:47 am |
    • INinIN

      I would think his poor impulse control would be a cause for concern. He also leaves himself wide open for blackmail. Honey shots and all...He should withdraw from the race, no pun intended.
      And his wife wasn't a part of the same kind of world as you are; she minded. A great deal.

      July 25, 2013 at 10:33 am |
      • Saraswati

        I agree. While it is possible she doesn't care, the odds are that this was the most earth shattering humiliation of her life. Friends and family pity her and that is the role she may play for the rest of her life. Weiner either didn't care or couldn't control himself. And he was also unconcerned about the possibility of blackmail. Was he just going to sacrifice his wife, pay up, or was he really arrogant or dumb enough to think he wouldn't get caught?

        July 25, 2013 at 10:37 am |
      • myweightinwords

        It's still a private matter between them.

        If we all minded our own business when it comes to other people's privates, blackmail wouldn't work.

        July 25, 2013 at 10:44 am |
        • Saraswati

          Not really, because the blackmail would likely be "we will tell your wife or you vote this way". Unless they do have an open relationship, which is statistically not common, he would not want his wife to know.

          That said, I think it's living in a bit of a fantasy to think there will ever be a time when people won't care who does what se.xually. I'm not aware of any country in which such scandals don't exist. People like to point to france, but they have had their own prosti.tution scandals recently that had every bit as much interest as anything here. Family relationships do matter, and having multiple partners at one time is one of the largest risks for spreading disease known to epidemiology. In many of these cases there are kids and partners exposed to risks they didn't voluntarily take.

          July 25, 2013 at 10:51 am |
        • myweightinwords

          I agree that it isn't likely to end, I'm just saying that it's stupid. If you aren't my partner and you aren't hurting anyone (in that your actions are not adversely affecting your job performance or society as a whole), then it isn't my business.

          That said, I recognize that in traditional, monogamous relationships there is an expectation of fidelity and any action that violates that fidelity causes harm to the relationship. And, that isn't to say that poly relationships don't also come with rules regarding fidelity to the relationship and the rules established in that relationship.

          I would argue that the spread of disease is a matter of education and application, rather than a product of multiple partners. Having had multiple partners, and having always engaged in safer practices with them because we were all educated on the dangers and entered the relationships prepared to protect ourselves and our partners.

          As always, I advocate for honesty in all relationships. If your marriage is not providing you all that you need and you seek companionship outside it, be adult enough to go to your spouse and talk about it.

          July 25, 2013 at 11:01 am |
        • INinIN

          As it was the other woman who let the cat out of the bag...I suppose he should just have vetted his picture recipients better.
          Or he should get his impulses under control, and stop doing that.
          Yes, we're hearing about it because he's well-known, but he certainly didn't get the memo the first time he was caught, and continued doing it. It's not so much a matter of privacy as it is impulse control. He obviously doesn't have any.

          July 25, 2013 at 10:54 am |
        • myweightinwords

          True, his impulse control (and his taste in women) certainly must be called into question at this point.

          Just because he's an idiot though doesn't mean I care where he puts his wiener.

          July 25, 2013 at 11:03 am |
  10. nuser

    Dippy is a bloody jerk

    July 25, 2013 at 8:30 am |
    • Dippy

      And nuser doesn't know how to use the reply function.

      July 25, 2013 at 4:47 pm |
  11. Honey Badger Don't Care

    I know some women that are wiener addicts too..

    July 25, 2013 at 8:17 am |

    This loving couple needs to sit down and eat a cheeseburger or two. They're looking a little gaunt.

    July 25, 2013 at 7:47 am |
  13. Ron Jeremy

    I believe "Carlos Danger" is just working in the wrong industry. He should find a career that matches his interests.

    July 25, 2013 at 4:45 am |
    • I'm sorry Dave, I can't let you do that

      Politics and s.exual deviancy go together like a hot summer day and a cool alcohol beverage, it's just most paraphiliacs in politics manage to keep it private.

      July 25, 2013 at 4:48 am |
      • Saraswati

        At the point where you are willing to hurt this many people we aren't talking paraphilia, but antisocial personality. Or at best, massive stupidity. Either way, it's not something we need in politics.

        July 25, 2013 at 10:42 am |
        • I'm sorry Dave, I can't let you do that

          Why, as long as everything is legal?

          July 25, 2013 at 10:59 am |
        • Saraswati

          @Dave, it is not required thatyou break the law to have an antisocial personality. It's quite possible to be reckless, hurtful and show disregard for the feelings of others without actually breaking the law.

          July 25, 2013 at 2:11 pm |
  14. Oscar Meyer

    I want a hot dog for some reason

    July 25, 2013 at 4:34 am |
    • INinIN

      If elected, he would be Oscar Mayor Weiner.

      July 25, 2013 at 10:36 am |
  15. Ted

    Weiner and his wife both appear to have OD'd on botox. Check out the picture. They look like caricatures. Surreal.

    July 25, 2013 at 12:49 am |
  16. nuser

    Weiner is no addict ! He is an exhibitionist and pervert. He is no better than the perverts who step out from behind a tree exposes himself , at a safe distance , to a passerby be it adult or child . . I know it happened to me twice as a child , once in a park , another time in a movie theatre. That is no addiction , it is perversion.

    July 24, 2013 at 11:53 pm |
    • Filthy Hind I love to Mithrism lick and talk Islam bunk

      Did he send pictures to "unsuspecting children'. I think not.
      "Pervert" ... slippery slope.What harm exactly has he done ?

      July 25, 2013 at 12:28 am |
    • Bat Guano

      He's a "deviated prevert." His "preversions" will sink him.

      July 25, 2013 at 1:06 am |
    • Dippy

      Nuser, don't put a space before every comma. It really makes you look stupid.

      July 25, 2013 at 1:08 am |
      • Wanda J

        Don't call people stupid. It really makes you look like a jerk.

        July 25, 2013 at 4:13 am |
        • I'm sorry Dave, I can't let you do that

          He (assuming gender, obviously) didn't call nuser stupid, he said putting a space before a comma makes the writer look stupid, which it unquestionably does.

          July 25, 2013 at 4:45 am |
        • Seriously?

          Who gets that uptight about a comma?

          July 25, 2013 at 5:05 am |
        • I'm sorry Dave, I can't let you do that

          Have you ever read the work of Karl Kraus? He'd say that a misplaced comma is indicative of a society that allows wars to happen.

          July 25, 2013 at 5:10 am |
        • Interupting your conversation

          I wonder if Karl Kraus beat his wife for having the soup cans facing the wrong way like that psycho in that Julia Robert's movie.

          July 25, 2013 at 8:18 am |
        • I'm sorry Dave, I can't let you do that

          I don't watch Julia Roberts movies, I find her teeth unsettling.

          July 25, 2013 at 8:24 am |
        • Alias

          I would like to call your attention to a comic book hero."Ranger Dan, and his big dog, Dick".
          Correct use of commas can be important.

          July 25, 2013 at 10:27 am |
      • Saraswati

        People who call out every typo just look like losers with nothing else to give them self-worth, no perspective, and way too much time on their hands. Sometimes I even leave in typos intentionally just to get under there skin.

        July 25, 2013 at 9:19 am |
        • I'm sorry Dave, I can't let you do that

          There's a difference between a typo and incorrect spelling/punctuation. A typo is an unintentional mistake in the typing process (slip of a finger, etc.) which could happen to anybody and it's pointless criticizing people for typos. However, bad grammar and punctuation should generally be corrected, unless one is aiming for Joycean obscurity, which I doubt is a regular occurrence on internet blogs.

          July 25, 2013 at 9:26 am |
        • INinIN

          Sara, like you intentionally misused "there"? I see what you did, you sly minx! 😉

          July 25, 2013 at 11:01 am |
        • Dippy's Aide

          On the other hand, @nuser (and some others) might have to thank @Dippy when he/she gets hired for his next job (if he takes note and brings his resume up-to-snuff). All other qualifications being equal, I probably would be less likely to hire someone who is ignorant, careless and sloppy in his writing.

          Yeah, typos, sentence fragments and casual talk on a place like this – no problem; but some of these folks really don't know stuff.

          July 25, 2013 at 11:57 am |
        • Athy

          Agreed. The only way we have to judge a poster's intelligence on these anonymous blogs is by their writing skill. Poor writing skills generally indicate low intelligence or lack of education. It sort of gives a frame of reference for the poster's statements. It is also interesting to note that the worst writers are generally believers, while the better writers are atheists.

          July 25, 2013 at 4:56 pm |
  17. I'm sorry Dave, I can't let you do that

    Weiner is possibly the greatest elected official in the country. He's a true American hero.

    July 24, 2013 at 11:49 pm |
    • Why not

      No press is bad press right?

      July 25, 2013 at 4:43 am |
    • I'm sorry Dave, I can't let you do that

      Succès de scandale, as the French would say.

      July 25, 2013 at 4:59 am |
    • Honey Badger Don't Care

      I do agree with his voting record. I don’t see that he's done anything really wrong. What consenting adults do on their own time is their business.

      July 25, 2013 at 8:26 am |
      • I'm sorry Dave, I can't let you do that

        As a conservative, I absolutely don't agree with his voting record. I love him because his name is Weiner and he photographs his wiener. Call me simple minded, but I find that the most endearing aspect of any elected representative in the country.

        July 25, 2013 at 8:34 am |
      • Saraswati

        I see a couple of problems with it. First, in a society where one can be blackmailed for this sort of thing he showed either poor logic or lack of restraint by putting himself, and therefore our legislation, at risk. Second, no matter how "supportive" his wife seem, she was no doubt humiliated beyond what most of us can imagine. Assuming this is the case, he either didn't care about his own wife's feelings, was too dumb to see the risk, or was too impulsive to weigh it. Whichever it was, a large portion of the population will quite reasonably question fitness for office based on such traits.

        July 25, 2013 at 10:27 am |
      • Alias

        Considering that he had to ask forgiveness of his wife, and she considered ending the marriage over it – I would say this is a big deal.
        If he will treat his relationship with his wife like this what makes you think he would serve the public instread of his own best interests?

        July 25, 2013 at 12:09 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.