Michael Moore, Frank Rich, Jeremiah Wright and John Hagee
It is with no pleasure that I put in writing what I have long believed: Though many individual liberals have only goodwill toward black Americans, the liberal world since the late 1960s (i.e., after the major civil rights legislation of the mid-1960s) has done incalculable damage to black America and to race relations in this country. Whether out of guilt or because of its own racist views (i.e., the unspoken but regularly implied belief in the inferiority of African-Americans), the left-of-center's general attitude toward black Americans has been that they cannot be judged by the same standards as others.
From lowering standards of admission to universities to blaming the high number of black men in prison for violent crimes on white racism to decades of cultivating black victimhood and the subsequent Wright-like rage against America, liberals and their party, the Democrats, have immeasurably hurt African-Americans and America.
Should a non-black oppose race-based lowered standards or blame black criminals rather than white racism for their criminality, the liberal world dismisses that individual as a racist; and should a black express these views, he is dismissed as an "Uncle Tom," a "traitor to his race."
In just the past week, two prominent men of the left provided examples.
Appearing on "Larry King Live," Michael Moore, the adored hero of the 2004 Democratic Convention, explained the Rev. Wright's anger and racism this way:
"I'm a white guy. And I think I've got to tell you something. If you were black in this country, especially if you are of his age, of his era or even times before that or even kids today, when you look at the situation in our inner city schools, I mean, you have to ask yourself, Larry, what's it like to be black in America? And what kind of rage would you feel? And if you did feel that rage, what kind of things would you say that, at times, would be outrageous, crazy even, because you've had to live through this for so long?
"And I do not believe, as a white guy, that I am in any position to judge a black man who has had to live through that" (italics added).
To the liberal world, the black American is so oppressed that his rage against whites specifically and America generally is completely understandable, and therefore no white has the right to judge black outrage and its subsequent expressions. Blacks are not to be judged by the moral standards one judges others.
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.
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.
Dennis Prager hosts a nationally syndicated radio talk show and is a visiting fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University. He is the author of four books, most recently "Happiness Is a Serious Problem" (HarperCollins). His website is www.pragerradio.com.
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