The religious right in Iowa, which has a stranglehold on the state GOP, has decided to punish one of its main supporters -- Sen. Charles Grassley -- for spearheading an investigation into fraudulent practices of prominent televangelists. The party has denied the conservative senator a spot as a delegate to the Republican National Convention in St. Paul, MN. Americans United for Separation of Church and State:

You’d think Grassley, who has served in the Senate since 1980, would be a favorite of the Religious Right. Last year, he scored 100 percent on a scorecard put out by Family Research Council Action and Focus on the Family Action, two of the most militant Religious Right groups. Plus, Grassley is a conservative Baptist.

So what’s the problem? Grassley has led an investigation into the possible misuse of tax-exempt donations by mega-bucks television ministries. He says non-profits are not supposed to divert money to the personal enrichment of non-profit executives and their families, and that rule applies just as much to TV preachers as it does to everyone else.

But that investigation has not sat well with the mega-bucks religious broadcasters who run the Religious Right. Not being ones to turn the other cheek, Religious Right honchos in Iowa denied Grassley a voting slot at the GOP convention.

Mighty Christian of them, huh?

Paula White, Joyce Meyer, Creflo Dollar, Eddie Long, Kenneth Copeland, and Benny Hinn all came under the microscope of Grassley's Senate Finance Committee investigation.

What's interesting is that this is clearly a move of desperation by the Iowa GOP, as the party's fortunes are suffering because of the fundie influence.

"The Republican Party of Iowa is moving significantly to the right on social issues," the just-ousted Iowa Republican National Committee member Steve Roberts told The Washington Times. "It hurts John McCain's chances to win this state."

Other party officials said money for the party is drying up because of past mismanagement and current religious dominance, which has turned traditional Republican politics upside down.

Keep it up, wingers, you're destroying your party as you burn bridges with your allies. Makes our work easier.

See Pastor Dan's take at Street Prophets.


* Flim-flam televangelists ignoring Senator's requests for financial records