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Adrian Condit always pointed to Jesus Christ
Editor reflects on passing of Ceres pastor
Adrian Condit dies
Pastor Adrian Condit, seen here at a Sept. 11 remembrance ceremony in 2019, died on Monday, Dec. 27, 2021. - photo by JEFF BENZIGER/ Courier file photo

The year 2022 begins without Adrian Condit in our midst.

You’d be hard-pressed to find anyone who didn’t think Adrian Condit was a gem of a man. He was folksy with that thick Oklahoman drawl and was never afraid to share his faith about Jesus Christ. He really had a deep-down concern for people and their eternal destiny and stressed that Jesus was the only way into heaven (Jesus’s words not his).

I remember how we shared with me once how he showed up to deliver a eulogy for a man and nobody showing up. It was just Pastor Condit and the dead man. Pastor Condit wept. I don’t know if the dead man lived a life where nobody cared to pay him last respects or if all of his family and loved ones died before him but nobody turned out.

As he told me the story and saw tears well up in his kindly eyes, I began to tear up as well.

Adrian was a good old boy. I use that term in the affectionate way, not as in cynical “good old boy” insider terminology. But he, like all of us, was a flawed human being. If we were perfect we wouldn’t need a Jesus, would we?

When Adrian and Jean’s son, Congressman Gary Condit, was embroiled in the colossal 2001 scandal involving missing Modesto intern Chandra Levy, the Condits went through their own personal hell. The media eviscerated their son and they refused to speak with the national media. Then one day Adrian invited me over to speak to him and his wife – on the record.

Jean appeared tense and unhappy with me because I had published some unflattering accounts made by Vince Flammini, Gary’s personal assistant and friend.

I published a story on Sept. 5, 2001, headlined: “Gary Condit’s parents believe Satan had ‘big time role’ in scandal.” The first paragraph read: “Citing spiritual warfare, Rev. Adrian Condit believes Satan had a lot to do with the scandal that has dropped their son, Congressman Gary Condit, from high esteem to public scorn in the last four months.”

The couple deflected away from direct questions about their son’s involvement with the intern and Adrian called Flammini “the biggest liar that walked.” I cringe when I think about a pastor saying that about anyone, but their son’s reputation was being skewered by him. Adrian told me at the time that he believed Levy was dead – her body wouldn’t be discovered until May 22, 2002 – but Jean voiced her opinion that Chandra had disappeared as part of a publicity stunt.

An equally cringe-worthy moment was when Adrian told me: “Gary has taken a lot of crap because he’s trying to be a gentleman and not expose her.”

Gary Condit was skillful in creating an image that he was approachable, likeable and just one of the folks back home but that evaporated during the heat of the scandal. Condit, of course, lost his seat in Congress to Dennis Cardoza, a fellow Democrat, and moved away from the district where he had formerly enjoyed a solid base of support. His political career was destroyed yet his marriage survived.

Chandra Levy’s murderer was never caught. Ingmar Guandique was convicted with no physical evidence and he did serve time for the murder. When it became apparent that their chief witness, a jailhouse snitch, was lying the conviction was overturned and he became a free man. He was deported in May 2017.

After word got out to the national media that the little Ceres Courier snagged an interview with Gary Condit’s parents, Bill O’Reilly (yes, that Bill O’Reilly), interviewed me live on national TV. I was mortified when O’Reilly came on the air, saying something like “Gary Condit’s father says Satan is to blame for his son’s troubles. Jeff, is Adrian Condit a nut or what?”

I didn’t know how to respond other say that no, Rev. Condit was not a nut and that as a Christian pastor we believes – as do I – that Satan is really behind all evil on earth, including the disappearance of a woman (later proven to be a murder) and their son’s fall from grace.

Adrian Condit is now in heaven, that place he spoke of so often and I’m sure there will be many there with him because of the words he preached here in Oklahoma and in Ceres.

* * * * *

I grew up in the 1960s and 1970s and all through the 1980s and indeed the 1990s, no politician ever made noise about the integrity of elections. McGovern never accused Nixon of rigging the election in 1972. Mondale never claimed Reagan stole the election. But now that seems to be the mantra of Democrats today.

I think Democrats are in some a good shellacking this year due to the dismal performance of the Biden presidency and Congress is likely to flip red. That’s why you’re seeing Hillary Clinton and Kamala Harris and their ilk talk about democracy being under attack because when they lose, they’ll claim it was due to voter suppression.

The reality is that Democrats are opposed to voter integrity when they don’t want voters proving they are legitimate voters. They have pushed for illegal aliens to vote as well.

I think most Americans can see through the sham.

* * * * *

I cannot stand politicians who pander to the voters in such blatant ways. It used to be that mayors stood by their police departments but not many do any more. Especially when a black person dies.

A tragedy unfolded in the city of Boynton, Florida when a 13-year-old boy died the day after Christmas after he crashed his dirt bike as police were trying to pull him over. Earlier that day Stanley Davis Jr., was reported to be driving recklessly on Boynton Beach Boulevard. As he left a gas station police tried stopping him but he fled. The kid hit a curb and then a sign and then it was fade out.

Now I would blame the parents for letting their minor child to illegally ride a dirt bike on public roads. The kid himself deserves the blame because he’s running from police and could have merely pulled over. But Mayor Steven B. Grant, a white attorney, blamed the police and the city and made race a factor. Wow, talk about a mayor who is willing to throw his city’s financial security under the bus!

Yes, it’s tragic that a young boy died while evading police. It’s also tragic when we start laying the blame on the wrong people.

I wonder what the mayor would have said had, let’s say, this kid was a white boy and the officer was black. I bet the narrative would be much different, such as, “We have to teach our young people to be respectful of the law and to cooperate.”

In our current culture, police are the easy target, especially when a minority loses life. The fair-minded individual is afraid to speak the obvious: Most of the so-called victims who have unfortunate outcomes in encounters with police suffer because of their own choices that involve resistance or stupidity.

* * * * *

I like Elon Musk for telling it like it is with California lawmakers. He recently said that Gavin Newsom is U-Haul salesman of the year. Musk told the Babylon Bee “California used to be the land of opportunity. Now it has become sort of the land of over-regulation, over-litigation, and scorn,” he observed.

Musk also condemned comedy that is no longer funny nor fair because it’s political agenda is leftist in nature. “Wokeness basically wants to make comedy illegal. Trying to shut down Chappelle, come on man, that’s crazy. Do we want a humorless society that is simply rife with condemnation and hate basically? At its heart wokeness is divisive exclusionary and hateful it basically gives mean people a shield to be mean and cruel, armored in false virtue.”

* * * * *

Your state lawmakers are in no rush to tackle the serious problems facing California like homelessness, the housing shortage, brazen crimes and good folks fleeing the state because of high taxes, overregulation and a lower quality of life due to inadequate infrastructure.

No, they are more concerned about not offending people who shouldn’t be in the state at all.

I’m talking about Assembly Bill 1096 which took effect on Jan. 1 that strikes the word “alien” from the California state code. Nope, the state won’t call a spade a spade. They will now be sugarcoating the problem of those sneaking across the border.

The state won’t use the term illegal alien but some of us aren’t fooled by what it really is – the Bring Them into the Folds of the Democrat Party While Forcing Taxpayers to Support Illegal Aliens program.

Newsom – many counties wanted to recall him in September – wants the state to replace “aliens” with words like “noncitizen” or “immigrant.” He says the word alien has “fueled a divisive and hurtful narrative” and this change will allow state laws to better reflect state values.

Most people value the rule of law, Mr. Newsom. They also value fairness, none of which you believe in. 

Look to the state to soon strike the words “criminal” because it might offend someone. If you ask me, calling someone an illegal alien because they skipped across the border illegally is accurate and if you find the term hateful, go back and do immigration the right way, the legal way.

This column is the opinion of Jeff Benziger, and does not necessarily represent the opinion of The Ceres Courier or 209 Multimedia Corporation. How do you feel about this? Let Jeff know at