Preachers and politicians, it seems, are forever seeking redemption thanks to an almost genetically programmed propensity toward transgression.
Televangelists Jim Bakker and Ted Haggard are among the legions of religious leaders who endured revelations of moral and financial turpitude only to return to the ministry. Various presidents including Richard Nixon and Bill Clinton survived their own scandals - in Mr. Nixon's case, only temporarily, since Watergate eventually drove him from office, but Mr. Clinton successfully rehabilitated his image after the Monica Lewinsky debacle and today is one of the most popular men on the planet.
Many voters, like parishioners, are all too eager to forgive and forget - a tendency, no doubt, welcomed by sinners as well as saints.
Just last week John Edwards, the former U.S. senator and vice-presidential candidate, invoked both religion and politics after a federal jury found him not guilty on one charge of using campaign funds to cover up an affair but failed to reach verdicts on five other counts.
"I did an awful, awful thing that was wrong," Mr. Edwards said, and then immediately suggested he can now live a righteous life.
"I don't think God is through with me," he said.
On a much smaller stage here in Connecticut, where in recent years a rogues' gallery of mayors and one former governor have all spent time behind bars, we have former state Sen. Ernie Newton of Bridgeport, a convicted felon imprisoned on corruption charges, now asking voters to give him his old job back.
In 2006 Mr. Newton was sentenced to five years in prison after being convicted of accepting a $5,000 bribe, evading taxes and stealing campaign contributions to pay for car repairs, personal cellphone calls and other expenses. He also admitted to a cocaine and crack habit for which he sought treatment in 1995.
During his resignation speech, Mr. Newton, a longtime community activist who portrayed himself as a champion of the poor, called himself "the Moses of my people." After serving three years in federal prison and six months in a halfway house, Mr. Newton regained his freedom in 2010. Following a six-month period stipulated in a consent agreement that prohibited him from holding state employment, he then returned to his old neighborhood and re-established his political connections.
Last month Mr. Newton won the Democratic endorsement for his former state Senate seat in the 23rd District, defeating the incumbent, Sen. Edwin A. Gomes, and state Rep. Andres Ayala. The three could square off in a primary Aug. 14.
Mr. Newton told the Associated Press how he persuaded Democrats at the nominating convention to back him.
"I admitted to them I made a mistake in my life, but the campaign is about redemption and opportunity for our city," he said. "Everybody in the world has made mistakes in their life. You learn from your mistakes but one bad deed ought not outweigh all the good I've done for the city. I am going to fight hard to gain people's trust and I'm going to be a voice up in Hartford."
Mr. Newton is following his path to redemption at the same time Connecticut House Speaker and congressional candidate Chris Donovan is facing his own potential roadblock.
Mr. Donovan, a former union official who won the Democratic endorsement to run for the 5th District seat last month, vowed Sunday night to continue running despite a federal investigation into political corruption at the state Capitol that led to the arrest of his campaign finance director.
Following an FBI undercover investigation, authorities last week charged Robert Braddock Jr. with conspiring to conceal campaign contributions in connection with efforts to kill legislation that would have imposed new fees and taxes on certain tobacco retailers.
Mr. Donovan fired Mr. Braddock as well as a second campaign staffer, manager Josh Nassi, who has not been charged with any crimes but is cooperating with federal investigators.
Donovan, a longtime advocate of campaign finance reform, told The Hartford Courant it was a "terrible irony" that one of his campaigns has been ensnared in an alleged fundraising scandal. "Fundraising is a part that I like the least. I've always believed money and politics don't belong in the same sentence,'' he said.
Most voters would agree - but they still always seem to elect the same flawed politicians.