West Wing
Faith Based Initiative

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Punctuation Is For Sissies!

Josh walks through the bullpen, where he sees Toby, who is clearly just arriving from his chat with Hoynes. The tension between the two of them has decreased, and Josh starts to chat about some of the pork they're doling out. Toby tells him that it was Hoynes who pushed Wilkinson to add the anti-marriage provision to the budget. They look at each other, and Toby asks, "So, Santos, huh?" Josh wonders what Toby will do when the Bartlet administration has ended. Toby: "Whatever I can to stave off the chaos, mayhem, and self-interest that lies just beneath our civil disguise." Josh: "So, not the private sector?" Funniest line of the episode. Toby says that the money would have to be incredible before he would do that. He walks away, and they each say, "See ya."

A secretary who is not Debbie leads Wilkinson into the Office of O. Wilkinson and Jed exchange pleasantries, and the Senator seems sincere when he tells Jed that he's in Wilkinson's prayers. Jed asks him what he can do to get the amendment off the budget. Wilkinson quotes Romans -- something about men burning with lust for other men. It was either Romans, or my diary. Jed asks, "Would it offend you, Sam, if I said this amendment represents a selective interpretation of the scriptures, a complete inversion of the values of Jesus Christ?" Wilkinson is not offended: "I'm secure in my faith." It's just his sexuality he's insecure with. They exchange some platitudes about religious-based legislation. A sample: Jed asks, "What gives us the right to visit our faith on the country?" and Wilkinson responds, "'One nation under God.' What gives us the right not to?" You can see where this is all going. Nowhere, and not so very fast either. In the end, it comes out that Wilkinson introduced the amendment because he believes that Jed wants to sign it. It turns out that on the morning of the National Prayer Breakfast, Jed told Wilkinson that while he supported civil unions, he believed that marriage was between a man and a woman. Jed seems surprised to hear this. All of a sudden, Jed starts talking about his loss of balance: " It should come back, but it's gone right now.... I try thinking it back, but it's difficult, because it's not a static thing. Once it's gone, it's hard to imagine having it back again, and it's disheartening to realize that thinking just isn't gonna get it done. You just have to trust that you're gonna happen on it again." Wilkinson reassures Jed that he only has one more year in his term, but Jed doesn't find that very reassuring: "Yeah, I've got a great future behind me." Wilkinson thinks that he's given Jed cover for signing the anti-marriage provision by attaching it to the budget -- he can sign it and pretend that he didn't really want to. All of a sudden, Jed wonders how this got to be their job: "I raised my right hand and swore an oath to uphold the Constitution of the United States of America." Wilkinson asks, "Where was your left hand, Mr. President?" (The answer, for those who did not get it at first [including your humble recapper], is on the Bible.) This scene was utterly incomprehensible to me. I suppose it must have ended with Jed telling Wilkinson that he would veto the budget if the amendment is not removed. But I guess we'll just have to take it on faith.

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West Wing

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