Friday, February 29, 2008

Obama should reject Farrakhan, but...

I am no Louis Farrakhan supporter. Yes, I understand that he and his church have done much for the black community. But he is a hatemonger. He is the man who said:
 
"White people are potential humans - they haven't evolved yet."
Philadelphia Inquirer, March 2000
 
"It seems like being gay or whatever sin you wish to be a part of is okay ... but I have the duty to lift that gay person up to the standard to ask if they want to live the life that God wants them to or live the lifestyle that they want to live."
Boston speech, August 1997
 
"The Jews have been so bad at politics they lost half their population in the Holocaust. They thought they could trust in Hitler, and they helped him get the Third Reich on the road."
Saviours' Day speech, Chicago, February 1998
 
Abhorrent.
 
Yet, here's the thing, it is not just Muslim hatemongers who should be loudly denounced by presidential candidates and all of us. Where is the equal ire for the Christian hatemongers who are often embraced by the Republican Party and even treated by the media as if their ideas are worthy of consideration?
 
On Wednesday, Rev. John Hagee, the Evangelical pastor of a Texas mega-church endorsed John McCain. Some of Hagee's greatest hits? Try this golden nugget from an interview with Terry Gross of NPR:
 
TG: If you use the Bible as the basis for policy, is there any room for compromise? And if you use the bible as the basis for policy, should Muslims use the Koran as the basis for their policy, and then again, what possible basis is there for compromise at that point?

JH: There is really no room for compromise between radical Islam --

TG: I'm not talking about radical Islam. I'm just talking about Islam in general.

JH: Well Islam in general -- those who live by the Koran have a scriptural mandate to kill Christians and Jews.

Delightful, huh? What about this from the same interview?

JH: All hurricanes are acts of God, because God controls the heavens. I believe that New Orleans had a level of sin that was offensive to God, and they were recipients of the judgment of God for that.

The newspaper carried the story in our local area, that was not carried nationally, that there was to be a homosexual parade there on the Monday that the Katrina came. And the promise of that parade was that it would was going to reach a level of sexuality never demonstrated before in any of the other gay pride parades.

So I believe that the judgment of God is a very real thing. I know there are people who demur from that, but I believe that the Bible teaches that when you violate the law of God, that God brings punishment sometimes before the Day of Judgment, and I believe that the Hurricane Katrina was, in fact, the judgment of God against the city of New Orleans.

Did John McCain "reject" or "denounce" Hagee's endorsement? Not unless this is what you call rejection:

McCain said he was "very honored" to receive this endorsement and, when asked about some of Hagee's more twisted views, responded: "all I can tell you is that I am very proud to have Pastor John Hagee's support." SOURCE 
 
And what of America's favorite bigot Pat Robertson, the man whose low-rated "college," CBN University Law School, had placed more than 150 graduates in the Bush administration as of last April? Here are some of Robertson's gems"
 
 "(T)he feminist agenda is not about equal rights for women. It is about a socialist, anti-family political movement that encourages women to leave their husbands, kill their children, practice witchcraft, destroy capitalism and become lesbians." –Pat Robertson
 
"I'd like to say to the good citizens of Dover: If there is a disaster in your area, don't turn to God, you just rejected him from your city. And don't wonder why he hasn't helped you when problems begin, if they begin. I'm not saying they will, but if they do, just remember, you just voted God out of your city. And if that's the case, don't ask for his help because he might not be there." --Pat Robertson, after the city of Dover, Pennsylvania voted to boot the current school board, which instituted an intelligent design policy that led to a federal trial
 
"You know, I don't know about this doctrine of assassination, but if he thinks we're trying to assassinate him, I think that we really ought to go ahead and do it. It's a whole lot cheaper than starting a war ... We have the ability to take him out, and I think the time has come that we exercise that ability. We don't need another $200 billion war to get rid of one, you know, strong-arm dictator. It's a whole lot easier to have some of the covert operatives do the job and then get it over with." –Pat Robertson, calling for the assassination of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez
 
SOURCE for all
 

Can you imagine the fall out if Obama becomes president and begins hiring hundreds of staffers from the Louis Farrakhan School of Public Policy? (I know there is no such thing. I'm just sayin'.)
 
Louis Farrakhan. Hateful bigot. John Hagee. Hateful bigot. Pat Robertson. Hateful bigot.
 
So, why is Farrakhan seen by the media and mainstream as the devil incarnate while Hagee and Robertson are viewed more like batty uncles who say crazy things sometimes? And on the flip side, why do many black Americans embrace Farrakhan while denouncing Robertson (Hagee is likely not on the radar.)? I mean we should know the power of hate speech perhaps better than anyone.
 
Could it be that many of us are not as appalled by the pronouncements of these men as we pretend to be? I hope not.
 
Check out the always insightful Glenn Greenwald's post about the media double standard re: Farrakhan and white Evangelicals on Salon.

 

 
 

 

5 comments:

bradski said...

Farrakhan's anti-white rhetoric is of ludicrous, even more so considering that it's obvious that he mixed race! Farrakhan has admitted that his father is a Jewish white man.

The Nation of Islam was founded by a white man. It seems that much of the most noted leaders of that religion have obvious or admitted white ancestry: Elijah Muhammad, Malcolm X., & Farrakhan to name a few.

Unfortunately, the denunciation of Farrakhan is a litmus test for most high-profile African-American politicians. Repudiation of white bigots, however, is not something most white candidates have to perform as a normal part of their political campaigns.

Why hasn't McCain denounced Ken Hutcherson? Hutcherson is the crazed homophobic minister from Washington state who attempted to blackmail Microsoft into not supporting legislation that would outlaw discrimination against gays in housing and employment.

Earlier this week, I read that Hutcherson said that he would rip the arm of any man who held the door open for him. Then he would beat the man with the "wet" end of the harm.

Sounds like a real follower of Jesus!

Similarly, where is John McCains repudiation of the Tennessee GOP for releasing a mailer that claims that Obama is aligned with Muslims and anti-Semites?

Of course, hatred, especially bigotry against African-Americans has been a key factor in the success of the Republican Party since 1967 with the adoption of the Southern Strategy. So, unless the bigot is a David Duke, an obvious loon, then virtually no Republican was willing to denounce bigotry in his party.

On his deathbed, Lee Atwater famously decried his complicity and leadership in utilizing racism to win votes.

I suppose the irony of the Republican hate machine is that two of the most powerful African-Americans to hold cabinet level posts and gain international recognition were appointed by Republicans. Where is the Clinton era equivalent of Colin Powell or Condi Rice?

George W. Bush may have many faults, but he is not a virulent racist contrary to Kanye West's thinking. Bush just cares about his elite cadre, which happens to include Rice and other women. That is something else that marks the strangeness of the Republicans.

On the one hand, the GOP loyalist like the Rev. Pat Robertson decry feminism; but on the other hand, the party is brimming with examples of female pundits and politicians who owe their status to feminist ideas: Michelle Malkin, Laura Ingram (truly a despicable character), Ann Coulter, Elizabeth Dole, Condi Rice, Bay Buchanan, etc.

All of these women and their push to be regarded as equals in the party and their ascension to high status is a result of the Progressive Politics.

Strikingly, if you have watched CNN of late, the two go-to Republican commentators have been two women of color--a Latina and an African-American women. The presence of these women as speakers for the GOP is interesting in terms of the GOP's attempt to put a diverse face on a very homogeneous party.

The these two brown female Republicans would be conspicuous at a gathering of Republicans. Of course, membership has its privileges. As Clarence Thomas discovered, being an odd duck can get you across the pond to the shore of success.

Mes Deux Cents said...

Hi Tami,

African Americans are always held to a different and usually higher standard than Whites.

I just wish that Sen. Obama had asked Hillary Clinton to denounce and reject the endorsement and help of Bob Johnson.

tasha212 said...

I have a problem with black leaders who feel that they have to distance themselves from other black leaders in order to appeal to white folk. Bc that's the only reason why Barack denounced Farrakhan. He could've said the same thing McCain said, that he didn't necessarily share the man's views but accepted his support nonetheless. But I guess Barack can't do that because he's built his whole campaign upon the notion that he is not a 'black' candidate. Why isn't he questioning this? I know he wants to win, but come on. If he doesn't challenge the status quo now, why should anyone believe he will once he gets in office.

Anonymous said...

You made some excellent points Tasha212. Definitely food for thought.

Anonymous said...

The arguments complaining about Obama having to denounce Farrakhan while McCain not having to denounce his biggoted supporters miss a few very important differences. The first being that Republicans are more tolerent of, uh, intolerence toward women, people of color, gays, etc. That is one on the reason most African-Americans vote democrat. We know if Hillary went to a church where the pastor gave a lifetime achievement award in excellence to someone who said "The KKK is mightly great!!" And "blacks aren't human, but may get there eventually"... well her campaign would have been over along time ago and she would be the shame of the democratic party. Black racism is much more tolerated among liberals then white racism.
As far as whites not having to denounce white racists. That is very far from true. Even people like Michael Richards and Don Imus, who aren't even political figures, have been publically scorned left and right by white political leaders so eager to impress blacks about how much they hate racism.
And as far as David Duke goes, he spends most of his time in the Africa, Arab and Asian countries where he is incredibly respected. Apparenly when he talks about Jews it's fine, it's only when he starts talking about blacks that he becomes a white supremist. Considering how many people of color attend his lectures about Jews it seems hypocritical to condemn him when his diatribes switch to blacks.

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