Reverend Wright received an unexpected boost from a strange quarter a few days ago, when Mike Huckabee took to Morning Joe on MSNBC and defended not Wright's words, but his anger, saying,
“And I think that you have to cut some slack — and I’m going to be probably the only conservative in America who’s going to say something like this, but I’m just telling you — we’ve got to cut some slack to people who grew up being called names, being told you have to sit in the balcony when you go to the movie, you have to go to the back door to go into the restaurant, you can’t sit out there with everyone else. There’s a separate waiting room in the doctor’s office. Here’s where you sit on the bus.
“And you know what? Sometimes people do have a chip on their shoulder and resentment, and you have to just say, ‘I probably would, too.’”And the thing to look at as exceptional here is not that Huckabee came to Wright's defense and pointed out the honest truth about the source of Wright's anger, but that Huckabee, a Southern Baptist Pastor, was willing to buck the greatest conservative hypocrisy of the last 30 years.
That hypocrisy can be seen clearly in the one-sided hubbub of the last weeks, the shitstorm swirling around Wright and Barack. In His Op-Ed, "Let's Not, and Say We Did," William Kristol propagates this greatest political hypocrisy. He rightly condemns Reverend Jeremiah Wright's inflammatory rhetoric, but wrongly condemns Wright uniquely, and even more wrongly indicts Barack on charges of guilt by association.
So my question is this: Where was Kristol’s outrage when Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson told us that 9/11 was
Did Pat Robertson condemn this? No, he nodded, and said, "I completely agree." And while some Republican politicians expressed mild regret for the comments, all of them continue to make marquee stops at Falwell's horribly misnamed Liberty University when running for office. And when the prodigal sons, those crazy Republicans like John McCain who possess the integrity to condemn Falwell and his kind, come home to beg for benediction and trade conviction for votes, Kristol and his kind invite them in with open arms.
And the conservative literati, the Bill Kristols and Bob Novaks, even the conservative illiterati like Rush and Anne Coulter, where was their dismay at Falwell's suggestions? Where is Kristol's dismay when conservative, white pastors across
I will restate, once more, that none of this has a place in the pulpit. Anecdotally, I was listening to NPR several years ago, and a story came on about Joel Osteen. Osteen, it said, was the feel-good Pastor of one of the country's largest Mega-Churches, a best selling author, and generally well known guy. The next morning, lying in bed, I stumbled across Osteen's telecast. I watched for almost an hour. I've watched him a half dozen times since. Osteen never speaks ill of anyone. Never blasts gays, or preaches anger or hate. His oratory seems to follow the ideals of the Sermon on the Mount, and represents, to my limited understanding, the best interpretation of the New Covenant brought on by the sacrifice of Christ, and also embodies the best of America's ideal that anyone can be anything, but that we're all in it together. Joel Osteen, I think, has a place in the pulpit. Wright, Falwell, Haggard, and any other who uses that position to breed hatred, fuel anger, or sew distrust, do not. I don't care how justified the chip on your shoulder, how literal you interpretation of Leviticus, how closeted (and therefore angry) your homosexuality - I simply don't believe that fear and hatred have a place in ANY "House of God."
But we never hear condemnation of the anti-American railings of conservative, white preachers from conservative commentators. And make no mistake, these sermons are more anti-American than anything Wright said. These preachers would have us replace the 10 Amendments of the Bill of Rights with the 10 Commandments handed to Moses on Sinai. They would have us throw the founding principles of this country out the window, decry the very pluralistic principles that allow them the soapbox on which they stand, and replace those freedoms with the carefully chosen parts of Leviticus they can exploit for political power. But instead of treating all unacceptable uses of the pulpit equally, Kristol and his ilk exploit only the distasteful statements of their political opponents, and, in so doing, cheapen the conversation and expose their own willingness to sacrifice principle for power.