Too little, too late

Posted: May 23, 2008 in america, democrats, freedom, mccain, obama, politics, republicans

Well, it seems John McCain has finally found what remains of his spine, and cut ties to two pastors even more controversial, racist and inflammatory than the Rev. Jeremiah Wright.

The first, of course, is evangelical pastor and Jew-baiting right wing nut-job Jim “the Horrible” Hagee.  Hagee is, of course, the man who described the Catholic Church as the “Great Whore” and said God sent Hurricane Katrina to destroy New Orleans because of a gay pride parade scheduled for the day the Hurricane hit.  One of his more interesting sermons has been making the rounds lately, and I feel I must do my part:

Hagee the Horrible

Okay, dude, no problem.  I’m offended.

McCain, of course, tried to shift the focus back to Jeremiah Wright:

“I have said I do not believe Senator Obama shares Reverend Wright’s extreme views,” Mr. McCain said in his statement. “But let me also be clear, Reverend Hagee was not and is not my pastor or spiritual adviser, and I did not attend his church for 20 years.”

Nice try.  Obama didn’t actively pursue Wright’s endorsement, unlike the McCain/Hagee connection.  And when Rev. Wright’s more extreme sermons came to light, Obama quickly and definitively denounced them.  He didn’t let the whole thing simmer and build, the way McCain has with Hagee.  It took Obama only a few days to respond to the first allegations; it’s taken McCain weeks.

The other “religious leader” that McCain has turned against is Rod Parsley, McCain’s spiritual guide famous for these interesting statements:

Rod Parsley

I especially like the bit where he says America was founded to destroy Islam.  You know, I’m no scholar of American history, but I’ve read the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, and the Federalist Papers.  There’s nothing there about “destroying Islam”.  There’s a lot there, though, about freedom of religion.

In a way, this is good.  No previous candidate has so actively sought, and received, the public endorsements of such controversial people.  And the fact that it went all but ignored for so long speaks volumes about our nation’s priorities.  You have to wonder why Rev. Wright’s comments and Obama’s connection with them received such detailed scrutiny, while the racist, bigoted and, frankly, ignorant rantings of these two fools went nearly uncommented for so long.  It really serves to highlight the insane double standards our country still has when it comes to race and religion.  White evangelical preachers get a free pass on their racist, sexist, homophobic, historically ignorant rants because we expect it from them.  Black preachers get the rectal probe if they even put one toe out of line because deep down, we’re still afraid of the blacks “gettin’ uppity”.

We’re not as progressive as we’d like to believe.  And that’s yet another reason we need President Barack Obama in the White House.

  1. jonolan says:

    The two things are not equivalent. Obama attended a racist, separatist church for 20 years. He was an involved member of its congregation. McCain sought the political endorsement (Devil’s bargain?) of two evangelical extremist.

    One (Obama) implies a history of racism and hate the other shows a knowledge of political expediency and realpolitik. Neither is good, but they’re not the same type or level of problem.

  2. Afrit007 says:

    My point was not that they are equivalent, it was that it was hypocritical of the (mostly white-controlled) media to ignore McCain’s pastor problems for so long while focusing almost exclusively on Obama’s connection. There is no evidence that Obama shares Wright’s views, but it was played in the media as if he had been virtually brainwashed by the Reverend. Also, he neither sought nor received the endorsement of Wright. McCain actively pursued and received the support of two of the more extreme exponents of the RWCFA crowd.

    You’re right – the two are not the same. Obama distanced himself from his “spiritual guide” from the beginning of his campaign, and was dragged into such association by external fiat. McCain exploited the evangelical community in order to gain “street cred” with them. Which is worse, not seeking the support of a man whose church you attended, or sucking up to fanatics and lunatics in order to gain political support?

  3. belly says:

    I don’t think it’s racism. The reason is that Obama was in the middle of a tight primary where half his party’s voters don’t think he can win the general election. He was being vetted like heck, by his competitor and by the press, and that will prove to be enormously useful to him going into the general election. McCain is only now being seriously scrutinized, because he didn’t really have a long-fought and tight primary against a scorched-earth opponent. He’s only now going into a tight, competitive, no-holds-barred race, and he’s going to get raked over the coals on everything just as Obama is.

    Crying racism at every turn is a tired and disingenuous tactic. You lose credibility among intelligent readers. Do you really think the press, which is generally socially progressive and enlightened, are trying to keep the black man down?

  4. Afrit007 says:

    My point is that the press is still largely composed of people who would like to think they’re progressive, but still harbor old prejudices vis-a-vis black men and religion. It may not be conscious prejudice, but it’s still there, lurking under the surface. And it affects the way they report on the issues (and non-issues).

    The Wright flap had little to do with “vetting” Obama and more to do with it making good street theater. You’re right; he has been a phenomenal come-from-behind leader in a hard-fought race against an extremely tenacious and dangerous opponent. But the fact that Wright became central stage almost immediately while McCain got a free pass on Hagee and Parsley for weeks is ridiculous.

    I still think the way the press, the pundits and the public reacted to it (or incited reaction) speaks to the way we think of black religious leaders vs. white religious leaders. When Obama’s preacher was revealed to have made inflammatory remarks, people assumed Obama wasn’t capable of thinking for himself and would be “led” by Wright’s theology. McCain has received no such reaction because a) we expect this sort of stupidity from the evangelical community and b) he’s white, and therefore able to think for himself.

    It’s an old prejudice, and one not easily admitted to, but it’s still there.

  5. isometrically says : I absolutely agree with this !