People united for swindles and hucksterism

Posted: Jan 25, 2001 12:00 AM
Jesse Jackson, the Baptist minister, apparently had no intention of waiting for the afterlife to get his taste of the good life. With his Rainbow/Push Coalition bringing in millions of dollars a year at its peak, Mr. Jackson indulged in expensive homes, cars and companionship, mostly with his ministry's money.

That's a paraphrase of how The New York Times began a news item about a fallen preacher -- not Jesse "Show Me the Money" Jackson, but "televangelist" Jim Bakker, head of PTL ministries, swiftly deposed after a sex scandal in the '80s.

Bakker's affair was evidently limited to a single night, there was no "love child," and over the course of seven years Bakker paid his lady friend about half ($265,000) of what Jackson admits to paying his mistress in two years ($472,000) -- and about one-third of what the National Enquirer reports Jackson has paid ($640,000).

Jackson's mistress probably needs the money more: Having had her affair with a black liberal, she cannot expect lucrative offers from smut magazines to pose nude. The pornography industry is primarily interested in prolonging the humiliation of Republicans.

Indeed, the entire establishment is truly gleeful only when discussing the sexual scandals of putative conservatives. By contrast, the Jackson "situation," as a New York Times column put it, merely "illustrates the need to acknowledge that our leaders will occasionally disappoint."

The Times column sneered at the idea of using a "test of sexual propriety" as a basis for moral judgments. Real moral lapse -- not to be confused with a 59-year-old man trying to derive sexual satisfaction from a young female staffer -- is being a Republican. Immorality, it seems, can also be "cut(ting) millions of the needy from welfare rolls," or firing Surgeon General Joycelyn Elders because she had "suggested that masturbation should be openly discussed with young people."

It takes a particularly fanatical socialist to believe the government is required to teach adolescent boys to masturbate -- but this logic demonstrates: Disbelief in the ministrations of the federal government is the only known liberal iniquity. Immorality incarnate is either Perverts or People Who Believe in Tax Cuts. Take your pick. Democrats are the proud party of perversion.

Over a decade ago, the same point was made during the media's giddy celebration of the perfidy of televangelist Bakker. Even then, the left was careful to couch its sneers at Bakker in terms that would not reflect badly on adultery per se. New York Times columnist Tom Wicker sniffed, for example, "Mr. Bakker, whose offense is not exactly unheard of ..."

Wicker then went on to pronounce that "the greatest offense" was "the narrowness, exclusivity and lack of charity -- the bigotry --" of Christian evangelism. This "greatest offense" includes a belief in "heterosexuality only, and only within marriage"(!), as well as the "maintenance at all costs of the traditional family." The "at all costs" in that last sentence is a nice touch. It's been about 15 years since Wicker wrote it. How about we compare "costs" of "not exactly unheard of" adultery with the "costs" of traditional families?

The Times' more recent explication of what true sin is (Republicanism) refers to society's "obsession with sexual sin" as if we should really be concentrating on something else, like self-immolation. But there's a reason several millennia of religious teaching share this unseemly "obsession with sexual sin": It's apparently one of the more tempting transgressions. People don't have to be exhorted constantly not to stick forks in their eyes -- also a sin -- because it's not that big a temptation.

The dirty masses' "obsession with sexual sin" also operates to protect what are normally two of the left's favorite victim groups -- women and children. Indeed, comparing the quantity of love letters women write to mass murderers and serial killers with the number of love letters women write to their adulterous ex-husbands, women seem to find "sexual sin" uniquely unforgivable.

They're having a good laugh in Koreatown about the exposure of Jesse Jackson (who further cemented the hatred between blacks and Koreans when he minimized the violence against Koreans during the Los Angeles riots with the dismissive remark, "Desperate people do desperate things"): "Ha-ha, Jesse Jackson have love child -- more work, less babies." But they won't be able to laugh long. Liberals always get a lot of credit for suffering, while never actually being made to suffer.

Immediately after he was forced to own up to the love child (the National Enquirer had DNA evidence), Jackson pledged to withdraw from public life to "revive my spirit and reconnect with my family." For a few days, the airwaves were bristling with accounts of the Rev. Jesse's Jackson's deep suffering and his "trial of tears."

God's grace worked fast: After taking the weekend off, Jesse Jackson was back in action this week, just in time for a lucrative Wall Street shakedown. It's not as if he had done something really bad, like support a reduction in marginal tax rates.