The Sea of Galilee — which is not a sea at all but a lake — has now been confirmed as the site of at least two remarkable occurrences: it's the body of water Jesus supposedly tip-toed over as well as the body of water a bunch of boozed-up GOP lawmakers floundered around in last summer during what we can only assume was a misguided game of Holy Land-edition truth or dare.
Politico has diligently reported on the results of an FBI probe into the GOP bacchanal, whose high-point apparently came when Rep. Kevin Yoder (R-Kan.) stripped down and jumped in the water, which must have felt cool and religious on his naked flesh. More than 20 participants, a group that included freshman lawmakers and leadership-level staff, took part in the late-night drunk swim, details of which are now starting to emerge in living color. Yoder has even released a statement, in which he describes his role in the Sea of Galilee jaunt, and apologizes for just how pitiable a political figure he truly is:
A year ago, my wife, Brooke, and I joined colleagues for dinner at the Sea of Galilee in Israel. After dinner I followed some Members of Congress in a spontaneous and very brief dive into the sea and regrettably I jumped into the water without a swimsuit. It is my greatest honor to represent the people of Kansas in Congress and [for] any embarrassment I have caused for my colleagues and constituents, I apologize.
It's always a little unnerving when members of the GOP apologize, since it seems that they're all in a constant state of self-righteous sanctimony (according to Yoder's chief of staff, the congressman hasn't been interviewed by the FBI). Also on the trip were Reps. Ben Quayle (R-Ariz.), Jeff Denham (R-Calif.) and Michael Grimm (R-N.Y.); Rep. Steve Southerland (R-Fla.) and his daughter; Rep. Tom Reed (R-N.Y.) and his wife. Though some of the lawmakers involved have claimed that they waded into the malapropistic sea because of its religious significance, most have admitted that they were a little drunk and probably tired from their good-will tour through Israel.
The FBI has looked into whether there was any actual wrongdoing that night, but so far no formal allegations have been made. Majority Leader Eric Cantor, however, was really pissed about the whole thing, and as the most senior GOP leader on that Israel trip, had the authority to personally excoriate everyone for participating in the unofficial Aug. 18 skinny dip. To be fair, skinny dipping does lead to a lot of awkwardness, so it's not surprising, now that everyone is finding out about Republican lawmakers washing their nethers in all that holy lakewater, for the GOP to be a little embarrassed.