Regarding Words from the Pulpit

Whether consciously or not, the mainstream corporate-controlled media have a double standard in effect for white presidential candidates and black presidential candidates. Talk shows on cable TV

 
Liberty University


Jerry Falwell said God damned the U.S. on 9/11, and Republican candidates didn't renounce him.



Whether consciously or not, the mainstream corporate-controlled media have a double standard in effect for white presidential candidates and black presidential candidates.

Talk shows on cable TV and radio were ablaze in recent weeks fanning the controversy over remarks made by the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, the Chicago minister who was pastor to Democratic presidential hopeful Barack Obama until his retirement earlier this year.

Americans generally don't take well to criticism, and Wright's comments from the pulpit about the 9/11 terrorist attacks, U.S. government aggression and urban myths about the AIDS virus were particularly jarring.

In a 2003 sermon about the U.S. government's mistreatment of minorities, Wright said, "The government gives them the drugs, built bigger prisons, passes a three-strike law and then wants us to sing "God Bless America.' No, no, no. Not God bless America! God damn America that's in the Bible for killing innocent people. God damn America, for treating her citizens as less than human."

Pundits reveled in the uproar it caused in some quarters. Obama should denounce his pastor, critics said, or surely he's unfit to be president and the "scandal" would sink his campaign.

Instead, Obama calmly gave a speech in Philadelphia that addressed race relations in the United States and talked about the misconceptions that many black and white Americans hold about each other. He renounced Wright's comments but refused to renounce the man stating the pastor was from an earlier generation with different experiences and beliefs.

Most voters seemed to agree with Obama, as his poll numbers dipped slightly and then rebounded after the speech.

The pundits wouldn't let it drop. For another week, they worked themselves into a tizzy about Wright's statements, wondering why they hadn't gained more traction with the public.

One must wonder where this same sense of outrage was over the years when arch-conservative white ministers like Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson long courted by Republican presidential candidates made even stupider and more hateful comments with greater frequency.

Appearing on the 700 Club TV show two days after the 9/11 attacks, Robertson and Falwell blamed the violence on feminists, abortionists and gays. Oh, yeah, let's not forget the pagans.

"The abortionists have got to bear some burden for this because God will not be mocked," Falwell said. "And when we destroy 40 million little innocent babies, we make God mad. I really believe that the pagans and the abortionists and the feminists and the gays and the lesbians who are actively trying to make that an alternative lifestyle ... I point the finger in their face and say, 'You helped this happen.' "

Even after this outrageous statement, John McCain appeared with Falwell at Liberty University in May 2006 while ramping up his campaign. Back in 2000, candidate George W. Bush spoke at Bob Jones University, the fundamentalist college in South Carolina that (among its other virtues) banned interracial dating among students and proclaimed Catholics as heretics.

No pundit thought the appearances would sink the Bush or McCain candidacies and gave each man a pass. Is it any wonder that the Rev. Wrights of the world are a little paranoid and testy?


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