In more sophisticated language, The New York Times columnist Frank Rich also sought to dismiss the general outrage at Wright's racist and anti-American diatribes. In Rich's view, American society's outrage at Wright is but one more example of American racism. His proof? America is not as angry at a white pastor, the Rev. John Hagee, who has endorsed Sen. John McCain, as it is at Wright and his 20-year bond with Sen. Barack Obama.
In Rich's words, "Mr. Hagee's videos have never had the same circulation on television as Mr. Wright's. A sonorous white preacher spouting venom just doesn't have the telegenic zing of a theatrical black man. It is disingenuous to pretend that there isn't a double standard operating here. If we're to judge black candidates on their most controversial associates -- and how quickly, sternly and completely they disown them -- we must judge white politicians by the same yardstick."
Thus, according to Rich, Hagee is just as worthy of censure as Wright; and McCain's relationship to Hagee is equivalent to Obama's relationship to Wright.
Yet nothing Hagee has said is comparable to what Wright has said. For example, in Wright's Detroit NAACP address, he said that African brains differ from white brains, that black English is no more different from standard English than John Kennedy's New England English was, and that America's repeated acts of terrorism are what brought 9-11's terrorism to America. And, at his own church he was recorded saying, "God damn America" and asserting that we cannot believe government denials that America started AIDS and infected African-Americans with the disease.
Moreover, the totality of Wright's views is virtually entirely race-based, including his continuing praise for Louis Farrakhan, his church's advocacy of "Black values" rather than Christian values, and his teaching that Christianity is rooted in black Africa and that Jesus himself was black.
Most Americans find such views racist. But to Rich, this reaction is "hypocrisy," since a white pastor, Hagee, whose endorsement McCain has accepted, has said equally immoral and bigoted things. Rich provided two examples -- Hagee's criticisms of the historical anti-Semitism of the Catholic Church in Europe and Hagee's statement that Hurricane Katrina may have been God's will as a result of the New Orleans gay parade that had been scheduled for the Monday after the storm.
As it happens, Hagee has completely retracted his objectionable comments on Katrina. Wright, on the other hand, has not only not retracted any of his anti-American and racist comments, he has reaffirmed them. Does this matter to Frank Rich? Of course not. What matters is indicting America for racist double standards.
As for Rich's attack on Hagee for the pastor's "anti-Catholicism," the Times columnist got his facts wrong. Hagee was not calling the Catholic Church "the Great Whore." That is an eschatological New Testament term in the Book of Revelation. Hagee teaches that the "Great Whore" will be an "apostate church" and a "false cult system" made up of all those who claim Christianity yet reject the gospel, whether Catholic or Protestant. He has stated explicitly and publicly -- and should continue to reassure Catholics -- that he does not believe that the "Great Whore" of Revelation is the Catholic Church. For Hagee, the sure sign that a Christian has rejected the gospel is an embrace of anti-Semitism. In the video referenced by Rich, Hagee chooses his examples of "apostate" behavior -- the Crusades, the Inquisition and a Hitler quote referencing the Catholic Church -- not because they are Catholic, but because they are anti-Semitic.
But while Rich and others could have honestly, if mistakenly, believed that Hagee was referring to the Catholic Church in that video, it borders on slander to compare John Hagee with Jeremiah Wright. Hagee has been preoccupied with the suffering of the Jews at the hands of Christians. One would think that the preoccupation of a major Christian leader with Jewish suffering at the hands of Catholics and Protestants -- Hagee has been just as critical of Martin Luther's anti-Semitism as with that of the Church -- would be welcomed by a liberal Jew such as Frank Rich. After all, liberal Jews and liberal non-Jews have been unsparing in their criticism of Christian, especially the European Catholic Church's, oppression of Jews. But for Rich, pointing out historical anti-Semitism is apparently less important than exaggerating contemporary American racism.
The sad irony of all the liberal attacks on white racism and subsequent justification of black rage against America is that it only increases black rage and sometimes even black racism. But it does keep 'em voting Democrat.
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