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June 30, 2015

Statue Of Obama's White Supremacist Hero Vandalized In South Carolina

No, not Roberty Byrd. "Pitchfork Ben" Tillman.

Officers patrolling the grounds Tuesday morning discovered that a monument of Pitchfork Ben Tillman had been vandalized with a red paint filled balloon.

Tillman, a former governor and U.S. senator whose political career spanned 1890 to 1918, promoted white supremacy, including lynching and denial of voting rights to blacks and women. He also was a participant in the massacre of black militia members during Reconstruction.

And no, I'm not gratuitously insulting Barack Obama -- I'm simply reminding folks that this is the man whose major legislative accomplishment in support of Jim Crow was praised by the president during his first State of the Union address.


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Another Religious Double Standard

One of my former seminary professors, now the Archbishop of Milwaukee, has denounced the decision of the art museum in that city to acquire and display a portrait of Pope Benedict XVI made out of condoms.

I fully support the right of the artist to create such a work of "art", even as I join in Archbishop Listecki's condemnation.

But in light of the controversy, and past statements on insulting religious artwork, I have to ask a question.

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My One Comment On The Error Of The SCOTUS Ruling On Gay Marriage

On Friday, five black-robed kangaroos on the Supreme Court imposed gay marriage on the nation. Our nation will suffer for this in many ways in the years to come.

I'm not going to go into a theological discourse on the nature of marriage -- others have done it better than I ever would. Besides, theology is not particularly relevant to the Constitutional question.

I'm not going to go into a natural law discourse on the nature of marriage, even though it is plain to see that the duality of the sexes and the necessity for both for procreation makes it clear that there is a basis for marriage that unambiguously argues for it being limited to one man and one woman.

And I won't go into an extended legal discourse on why the ruling is wrong -- four justices of the court offered rather persuasive dissenting opinions on the problems with the majority opinion.

I'll simply ask one question that each and every supporter of the outcome in Obergefell needs to answer before they can truly claim that the opinion written by Anthony Kennedy reaches the correct result.

FourteenthAmendmentQuestion.jpg

When it comes right down to it, that is the essential issue -- does the meaning and intent of the authors and those who ratified control the interpretation of the Constitution, or, like Nancy Pelosi said of Obamacare, do we have to pass it before we can know what is in it?


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June 28, 2015

Watcher's Council Results

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The Council has spoken, the votes have been cast, and the results are in for this week's Watcher's Council match up.

"A republic, if you can keep it." -Benjamin Frankin

"What is euphemistically called government-corporate 'partnership' is just government coercion, political favoritism, collectivist industrial policy, and old-fashioned federal boondoggles nicely wrapped up in a bright-colored ribbon. It doesn't work." - Ronald Reagan

"Necessity is the plea for every infringement of human freedom. It is argument of tyrants. It is the creed of slaves." - William Pitt, in the House of Commons November 18, 1783


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This week's winning essay,Joshuapundit's The Time For Changing Is Now was my reaction to the Republican leadership's betrayal of the party's conservative base to push through ObamaTrade...and my reflection what this and similar betrayals mean.

Here's a slice:


The Republican leadership today managed to threaten or bribe enough GOP congressmen to pass something most Americans overwhelmingly did not want passed - 'Fast Track' authority, the TPA for President Obama on his top secret trade bill that mostly isn't one.

The vote was 218-208, with 28 Democrats voting for it.

The fast track authority for President Obama was originally paired with another bill called the TAA, a bogus welfare crumb for all the American workers whom will lose their jobs thanks to Obama's secret trade bill. The combination legislation was voted down last week, but the TPA fast track was shoved through on its own and now goes to the Senate.The GOP leadership has promised to put the TAA provision, which expires in September to a separate vote, which the GOP leaders have promised will be nearly simultaneous.

Oh, I'm sure it will be...after the rest of the secret trade bill gets passed. And of course, as RINO Ways and Means Chairman Paul Ryan, the Republican Gruppenfhrer for Obama's trade agenda tells us, the peasants like you and I will find out what's in it when it's passed, since on a need to know basis, we're not even on the list.

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Neither is most of congress, since the administration our president told us would be "the most transparent in history' is anything but. Only a handful have actually seen it, because it's locked in a secret room and no one is allowed to take notes or photograph any of it. Based on Wikileaks and a few things Senator Jeff Sessions has said, it's pretty easy to extrapolate why Barack Obama wants this so bad, and very little of it is actually concerned about trade.

According to the draft provisions,a brand new, unelected international bureaucracy is to be formed, in which America would have the same vote as Qatar. Countries could be barred from trying to control where their citizens personal data is held or whether its accessible from outside the country.

The Healthcare Annex, according to WikiLeaks, seeks to regulate state schemes for medicines and medical devices. It forces healthcare authorities to give big pharmaceutical companies more information about national decisions on public access to medicine, and grants corporations greater powers to challenge decisions they perceive as harmful to their interests.

In other words, congress would no longer have sole authority to over reforming MediCare and of course, ObamaCare. And the FDA would be subject to this international bureaucracy that's being set up as well.

Immigration is a big part of this too. U.S. laws, what remains of them, would now be subject to this international agreement. It calls for special fast tracking of visas that essentially would turn ICE into a rubber stamp. If this passes, look for thousands of American jobs to be replaced by foreigners at vastly lower wages and benefits as fast as corporate America can process the paperwork. And it allows much easier fast tracking of corporate off shoring of American jobs, putting Americans in competition with workers happy to receive less than a dollar an hour in countries like Vietnam.

Of course, there are also provisions to steal billions of dollars from America's tax payers in the name of global warming as well, while driving utility costs sky high.

Even more shocking, TPA gives congress no leeway on changing any of this. No amendments are allowed, simply a yes or no vote.

Overall, it's a great plan to finish bankrupting America's middle class and subject our sovereignty to the 'international community.' No wonder this president wanted it so bad and worked so hard to push it through. None of this was possible without the fast track TPA authority. And a GOP majority House just gave it to him.

Here's Louie Golmert (R-TX), one of the House's honest men, trying to stem the tide (H/T The Noisy Room and The Right Planet):



So did Senator Jeff Sessions
, who is one of the few congress members who has actually seen the proposed trade bill locked in that secret room:

It is essential that there be no misunderstanding: fast-track preapproves the formation of not only the unprecedentedly large Trans-Pacific Partnership, but an unlimited number of such agreements over the next six years, Sessions said. Those pacts include three of the most ambitious ever contemplated. After TPP comes the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) between the United States and the European Union, followed by the Trade in Services Agreement (TiSA), seeking as one its goals labor mobility among more than 50 nations. Together, these three international compacts encompass three-fourths of the worlds GDP. Including the nations whose membership is being courted for after enactment, the countries involved would encompass nearly 90 percent of global GDP. Yet, through fast-track, Congress will have authorized the President to ink these deals before a page of them has been made public. Then, the Executive sends Congress implementing legislation to change U.S. lawlegislation which cannot be amended, cannot be filibustered, and will not be subjected to the Constitutional requirement for a two-thirds treaty vote.

According to the European Commission, the TiSA agreementwhich most House and Senate members did not know about when they votedwill follow in the footsteps of the WTOs Trade in Services Provisions, which has already inhibited the U.S. from making needed immigration changes, Sessions said. The European Commission says the EU wants as many countries as possible to join the agreement. We have already seen how the EU has curtailed sovereignty in Europe; we do not want to follow in its footsteps.

With regard to TPP, Sessions warned that America has never seen anything like it beforeand that itll force the United States into a version of the European Union he calls a new Pacific Union.

This nation has never seen an agreement that compares to the TPP, which forms a new Pacific Union, Sessions said. This is far more than a trade agreement, but creates a self-governing and self-perpetuating Commission with extraordinary implications for American workers and American sovereignty. Such a historic international regulatory Commission should never be fast-tracked, and should never be put on a path to passage until every word has been publicly scrutinized, every question answered, and every last power understood by Congress and the American people.

This is still going to be bounced back and forth between the Senate and the House, but the fix is likely in for this colossal betrayal. We're being told that this 'free trade bill' will benefit American workers. It will not. Actually, it will cost many of them their livelihoods as visas for foreign workers to replace them at cheaper wages are rubber-stamped. One more time - this isn't primarily a trade agreement at all.

I just heard Senator Rob Portman (R-OH) trying to sell it that way on one of the talk shows, saying we didn't have trade agreement with Japan, or China, or a number of other countries. Well and good senator. What's wrong with the normal process of sending diplomats to negotiate them on a per country basis and submitting them to congress for approval as we've done in the past?

Or is it just that your corporate donors want it done this way, in stealth and secrecy? Because it isn't going to benefit the American economy so much as milk it dry for the benefit of the well connected...and of course, their servile toadies in congress.

So once again, we're faced with outright betrayal. Virtually everything the Republican Party campaigned on in 2010 and especially in 2014 was an outright lie. Instead of being 'pulled out root and branch' as Mitch McConnell told voters in 2014 in Kentucky, ObamaCare is being funded by congress and the GOP establishment is already plotting to save it in case the Supreme Court declares it unconstitutional, which it always was.

President Obama's amnesty of illegal aliens by executive order? In spite of all the rhetoric, that's being funded too. We essentially have no borders anymore, or any standards whatsoever on whom we let stay here.

Shutting down President Obama's appointments of radical judges and federal appointees at offices like the FCC? Or his radical new racialist attorney general? Using the nuclear option, the way Harry Reid did to stop over 200 bills the house passed from even going to committee? Nothing. The GOP's congressional leaders have made sure that President Obama has gotten whatever he wanted.

Barack Obama's EPA war on coal? Same story.

And forget about congress using the power of the purse to compel the release of documents and the testimony of those involved in major scandals like Benghazi, the IRS targeting political opponents or the Clinton Foundation's dealings.

I have speculated on these pages that with all the warrentless NSA spying and data collection going on, it's quite possible this president has something juicy on key Republicans like McConnell and Boehner. Or it may be they're simply being paid off in one way or another.

In the end, it really doesn't matter. What does is the realization of this foul betrayal and to look at Tolstoy's eternal question; what then must we do?


Much more, and an update at the link.

In our non-Council category, the winners were Gillespie & Welch at Reason.Com's Hit and Run Blog with How Government Stifled Reason's Free Speech submitted by Rhymes With Right.

This is an excellent complement to this week's winning Council essay because [t concerns government overreach and tyranny. Do read it.


Here are this weeks full results. Only The Right Planet was unable to vote this week, but was not subject to the usual 2/3 vote penalty for not voting:


Council Winners




Non-Council Winners


See you next week!

Make sure to tune in every Monday for the Watchers Forum. and every  Tuesday morning, when we reveal the weeks' nominees for Weasel of the Week!

And remember, every Wednesday, the Council has its weekly contest with the members nominating two posts each, one written by themselves and one written by someone from outside the group for consideration by the whole Council. The votes are cast by the Council, and the results are posted on Friday morning.

Its a weekly magazine of some of the best stuff written in the blogosphere, and you wont want to miss it...or any of the other fantabulous Watcher's Council content.

And dont forget to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter..cause were cool like that, y'know?


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What Do I Think Of Donald Trump?

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And for those who don't speak Spanish, see definition #2.


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June 25, 2015

The ObamaCare Ruling As Legal Gnosticism

In the early Christian church, there arose the Gnostic heresy. It diverged wildly from the orthodox teachings of the Christian community in a number of ways, among them in the belief that Biblical texts have a deep, hidden meaning which could only be understood by those initiated into the "secret wisdom" to which the Gnostics claimed access. Thus the average believer might understand a scriptural text to have a clear meaning based upon the written word, but those who were initiates would understand the actual meaning which lurked beneath the text because they were "in the know".

Frankly, I have not thought much about the Gnostics in the two decades since I left the seminary -- but that changed this morning after the announcement of the Supreme Court decision in King v. Burwell. Why? Because the majority opinion goes to great lengths to show that the actual text of the statute establishing ObamaCare means something other than what the words clearly state -- just trust the enlightened initiates whose special knowledge enables them to see a meaning quite different than what those words actually say!

Todays decision in King v. Burwell is notable in many respects. It is a significant legal victory for the Obama Administration, a victory for purposivist statutory interpretation, a loss for textualism, and a loss for an expansive Chevron doctrine. In these latter respects, the decision is something of a double-loss for Justice Scalia (which may explain the last line of his opinion). King also means that, in many respects, the PPACA is now the law that Chief Justice Roberts wrote as here, as in NFIB v. Sebelius, the Chief Justice has decided it is the Courts job to determine what the statute means even if this requires ignoring or rewriting text if such is necessary in order to save it. The umpire has decided its okay to pinch hit to ensure the right team wins.

The primary basis for the Chief Justices decision is that a fair construction of the statute requires more than giving meaning to discrete phrases, so established by the State need not mean established by the State insofar as such an interpretation given the intervening decision of several dozen states not to establish their own exchanges would produce untoward effects that Congress would not have intended or wanted when it enacted the PPACA. Specifically, the Chief Justice argued, insfoar as an interpretation of the PPACA would undermine the statutes goals such as by creating a death spiral of increasing costs and declining coverage it is the Courts job to avoid it. That the phrase established by the State was added to multiple places in the relevant statutory provision (Section 1401) at multiple times is immaterial. Established by the State need not exclude an exchange established by the federal government. The majority opinion shows no sympathy for the Solicitor Generals silly argument that established by the State was an undefined statutory term of art. No matter, for the government wins anyway.

There you have it -- Legal Gnosticism that enables the enlightened members of the majority to see beneath the words a meaning that is quite different than what the words say!

Justice Scalia was having none of this.

This case requires us to decide whether someone who buys insurance on an Exchange established by the Secretary gets tax credits. You would think the answer would be obviousso obvious there would hardly be a need for the Supreme Court to hear a case about it. In order to receive any money under 36B, an individual must enroll in an insurance plan through an Exchange established by the State. The Secretary of Health and Human Services is not a State. So an Exchange established by the Secretary is not an Exchange established by the Statewhich means people who buy health insurance through such an Exchange get no money under 36B.

* * *

The Court interprets 36B to award tax credits on both federal and state Exchanges. It accepts that the most natural sense of the phrase Exchange established by the State is an Exchange established by a State. Ante, at 11. (Understatement, thy name is an opinion on the Afford- able Care Act!) Yet the opinion continues, with no semblance of shame, that it is also possible that the phrase refers to all Exchangesboth State and Federal. Ante, at 13. (Impossible possibility, thy name is an opinion on the Affordable Care Act!)

For all of Scalia's paraphrases of Shakespeare, he might have done better to eschew the Bard and instead channel Irenaeus, who assessed the Gnostic approach to scripture as follows:

When however, they are confuted from the Scriptures, they turn round and accuse these same scriptures, as if they were not correct, nor of authority, and assert that they are ambiguous, and that the truth cannot be extracted from them by those who are ignorant of tradition. For they allege that the truth was not delivered by means of written documents, but viva voce (orally)...

It takes but little effort to paraphrase that passage from Against Heresies into a passage worthy of the senior Associate Justice's dissent.

When however, the majority are confuted from the statute, they turn round and accuse that same statute, as if it was not correct, nor of authority, and assert that it is ambiguous, and that the truth cannot be extracted from it by those who are ignorant of their method For they allege that the meaning of the statute was not delivered by means of written documents...."

Yes, my friends, the Gnostics have returned and dwell among us. Today, however, they do not twist the Word of God, but instead the Constitution and the statutory law of the United States. Today's majority decision in King v. Burwell is nothing short of an act of Legal Gnosticism, based upon the premise that they alone can discern within the law what is really meant, even when the actual text says something other than what their doctrine claims it does. Who will stand against this heresy?


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June 24, 2015

Time For Conservatives To Ostracize Coulter

I've not always agreed with Ann Coulter over the years, but that has been OK -- I do not claim that I am the gold standard of conservatism. Indeed, I have defended her at times, in particular after she wrote an overwrought post-9/11 column while grieving the the death of her dear friend Barbara Olson that ultimately got her fired from National Review. But I think she has crossed a line with her latest over-the-top comment, and it is time for conservatives to declare she has strayed beyond the pale.

Conservative pundit Ann Coulter said on Tuesday night that South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley (R) is unqualified to deal with her states use of the Confederate flag because shes an "immigrant."

Id really like to like Nikki Haley since she is a Republican, but on the other hand, shes an immigrant and does not understand Americas history, Coulter told host Kennedy on her Fox Business show Tuesday evening.

A few points.

First, Nikki Haley is a natural born American citizen -- indeed,, she is a likely vice presidential candidate in 2016. She was born in South Carolina.

Second, even if she were born abroad, we know that does not mean Haley is incapable of knowing and understanding the history of this country.

Third, Haley's decision, even if I disagree with it (see this post, written before she announced it), is completely defensible,.

Fourth and finally, Coulter's attack on Haley is clearly based upon her race/ethnicity, because she would not make such mistaken claims regarding any white public official.

For these reasons, I believe the time has come for conservatives and Republicans to follow the lead of William F. Buckley, who read Birchers, Jew-haters, and segregatio ists out of the conservative movement in the 1960s. Coulter's words in this instance, taken along with the entire body of her work, shows her to be the sort of individual with whom we must refuse to be associated. If her liberal ex-boyfriend Bill Maher wants to hacer her on his show to be the token conservative, that is his prerogative -- but we on the right must say that Ann Coulter does not speak for us, and that she is not welcome at our events and on our platforms. Why? Because she does not and must not be our public face or voice -- and because said excommunication from our midst is the right thing to do.


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Anti-Confederate Flag Movement Jumps The Shark

As I noted the other day, there are times and places where the Confederate flag is appropriate. But may I add that there are others where it is simply inoffensive to anyone with a lick of common sense? But that hasn't stopped the stampede from moral clarity to utter absurdity.

The Confederate flag will disappear from merchandise of the popular 1980s television series The Dukes of Hazzard.

Warner Bros. announced Tuesday it will no longer sanction the production of any Dukes of Hazzard products displaying the controversial emblem.

Warner Bros. Consumer Products has one licensee producing die-cast replicas and vehicle model kits featuring the General Lee with the Confederate flag on its roof as it was seen in the TV series, a spokesman for the company told Vulture on Tuesday evening.

We have elected to cease the licensing of these product categories, they added of the General Lee, the shows iconic orange Dodge Charger with the Stars and Bars on its roof.

Oh.

Come.

On.

Makes one wonder -- how long until Amazon and eBay prohibit videos of the shows and movie from their sites? How long until Wal-Mart takes those videos from their stores? After all, if you are going to have a "no rebel flag", that illogic would seem to apply.

And now they mob is howling to ban http://nypost.com/2015/06/24/gone-with-the-wind-should-go-the-way-of-the-confederate-flag/

The shark has been jumped.

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No, Barry, It Is Our House

Somebody needs to remind Obama that he isn't a king.

Obama was interrupted shortly after beginning his speech to the crowd by a person who repeatedly shouted the presidents name.

No, no, no , no. Listen, youre in my house, Obama told the person.

No, no, no, no -- you are in our house. Know your place, know your role, and and know that to don't own the Whie House.


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June 22, 2015

Obama Was Right To Use That Word

My readers know that I rarely agree with Barack Obama on much of anything. It is therefore a rare pleasure to support Barack Obama -- on his use of a particular word in an interview today.

WASHINGTON It was a single word, just six letters long, but one that has not been spoken by an American president in public for generations.

President Obama invoked the word nigger in a podcast interview released on Monday to drive home his point that slavery still casts a long shadow on American life. But in the process, he touched a raw nerve in a country struggling to confront racism and hatred in the days after nine black parishioners were killed during Bible study in a South Carolina church.

Were not cured of it, Mr. Obama said of racism during an interview for a WTF With Marc Maron podcast. And its not just a matter of it not being polite to say nigger in public. Thats not the measure of whether racism still exists or not.

A lot of folks, both on the Right and on the Left, have taken umbrage at the president's speaking of one of the most hated slurs in contemporary society. But as I see it, the decision to speak the word instead of using a polite circumlocution ("the N-word") was rhetorically appropriate. Obama sought to point out that while what was once a common word is now shocking, its virtual elimination from polite society does not mean that all racism is dead and buried. He was right -- and his linguistic choice was right as well.

Obama's choice brings to mind something that I used to talk about with students when I still taught English. My curriculum included both John Steinbeck's Of Mice and men and Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird -- both works that include the word "nigger". Given my students were some 35-40% African-American, I felt it was important to confront the use of that slur. My students and I discussed the ubiquity of the word in the times and the places where the books are set and why it was appropriate to include them -- as one student succinctly put it my first year teaching at that school, "that's how those people would have talked and so it is the right word for the author to use." And in this case, Barack Obama wanted us to remember the casual use of that word, and so he consciously and carefully chose to use it. -- and I applaud him for taking advantage of a teachable moment to do so.


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Sometimes Flying The Confederate Flag Is The Right Thing To Do

A little less than a year ago, I railed against the removal of the Confederate battle flags from Lee Chapel at Washington and Lee University, noting that it constituted a politically correct travesty. It struck me as inappropriate to remove the flags from above a statue of a Confederate general located above the crypt where he and his family are buried in a building named after him on the campus of a college that bears his name. It was, I argued, one of those places where that flag is contextually appropriate. I stand by that argument without reservation.

Why bring it up? Because in the wake of the Charleston Horror, efforts have been renewed to remove the flag from the grounds of the South Carolina capitol. I think those efforts, while certainly well-intentioned, are misguided. After all, the flag does not fly over the capitol building itself, where it was first raised in 1962 by Democrat Governor (later Senator) Fritz Hollings. It instead flies next to a memorial to Confederate war dead. Don't believe me? Here's a picture.

Rebel_Flag_SC_capitol[1].jpg_1412278560

It is that location which, for me, makes all the difference in the world regarding its presence on the capitol grounds. No, that flag does not belong flying over government buildings (or on state flags). Yes, its presence in museums is appropriate. But I would also argue that it is appropriate as a part of memorials to those who fought beneath that banner -- which is what that particular flag is in that location. As the descendant of a soldier who fought in the Union Army, I take no offense at remembering those who fought against my ancestor with the flag under which they fought.


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Racism, Hypocrisy, Or Simple Double Standard?

Something has not set well with me regarding one aspect of the media coverage the Charleston Horror. What is it? The way in which the media has dealt with the religious expression and tradition of the black community in the wake of the evil committed against the pastors and parishioners of Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church by a racist little piece of shit.

Now it would be quite reasonable for a reader to respond to the last paragraph by saying "But Greg, the media has been incredibly respectful of those beliefs and practices -- fulsome in their praise for them, in fact. How could you possibly object to such an approach?" And I'll concede that such a response would be a reasonable one. After all, the media has gone out of its way to present the faith that has sustained this community in the most positive of lights, and anchors, reporters, and commentators have expressed how deeply moved they are by the expressions of forgiveness and prayer for the murderer. It is how coverage of religion expression ought to be.

But that's the problem -- it is how it ought to be. Unfortunately, that is not how the American media generally receives expression of faith from spirit-filled evangelical communities.

Consider one of the many memorial services over this weekend. I do not have a transcript and I did not get the lady's name, but one of the African-American pastors at the service lifted up a prayer for the killer. And what a prayer it was -- it included (if I may paraphrase due to the lack of a transcript) a petition to God to take control of the heart of the Dylann Roof and cast from it the demons that had caused him to be filled with hate and racism and to act so violently. As a believer, I could not help but respond to it with a hearty "Amen".

But think about how such a prayer would have been received had it come from a white evangelical pastor (or layperson, for that matter). The response of the media would be one of mockery and/or contempt. Don't believe me? Here's an article from the 2008 presidential campaign.

The video clip is from 2005, and Sarah Palin, who is running for governor, stands on the dais of a small church; three pastors surround her in a huddle. They are touching her shoulders, her forehead, her back. The would-be governor is stone still, eyes cast down, palms up toward heaven. The man on her left, the one touching her forehead, bends occasionally to whisper in her ear.

This is Ed Kalnins, senior pastor of Wasilla Assembly of God, the church Palin attended from the time she was 4-years-old until 2002. The man behind her is praying loudly, relentlessly and with an intensity rarely seen in America's mainstream churches. This is the Kenyan pastor Thomas Muthee, a Pentecostal powerhouse who has a reputation for being able to cast out demons and witches through prayer.

First, Muthee urges the congregation to pray for Palin's success "even in the political arena ... [to] bring finances her way ... and give her the personnel." And then he offers this cryptic blessing: "In the name of Jesus. Every form of witchcraft is what you rebuke." The laying of hands on the Alaska politician, the invoking of Jesus and witches in the same sentencewhat the heck is going on?

What's going on is a prayer by those who hold to a very literal belief in the words of Scripture. To some, especially those reared in mainline denominations or in no faith at all, it may seem weird. But is it any more outrageous than what was said at the first service held at Emanuel AME Church since the murders?

"The doors of the church are open," declared the Rev. Norvel Goff during prayers. "No evildoer, no demon in hell or on Earth can close the doors of God's church," he proclaimed.

The words there were quoted as something to be honored, not mocked or questioned. Indeed, they were included as words of inspiration that set the tone for the entire rest of the article. Apparently words proclaiming an evangelical faith in spiritual warfare are so much easier to take when they come from the mouths of African-Americans in a black church than when they are part of the spoken and lived faith of white evangelicals.

And that was not the only thing that struck me. A few weeks ago, a prominent white family from an evangelical background had an ugly family secret exposed. The eldest son of the Duggar family apparently engaged in inappropriate sexual touching with several girls a decade ago when he was in his early-to-mid teens. When his sisters, two of the victims, were interviewed, they responded that they had forgiven their brother as their faith taught them to do. Bill Maher, for example, mocked the very notion of forgiveness as a religious value. The Washington Post ran a column rejecting the notion that such forgiveness as a religious value was even appropriate.

Contrast that with the reaction to the families of the victims and the wider church community expressing their faith-based forgiveness of the punk who walked into a church, sat and spoke and prayed with members of the congregation, and then murdered them. Liberal internet news site The Daily Beast proclaimed in a headline that "Charleston Shooting Families Proved Grace Wins Out Over Hate". The relatives of the victims were described as "gracious". And rather than insist that forgiveness is an inappropriate response, we were treated to articles about the importance of forgiveness to spiritual and mental health. Quite a contrast.

Which leads back to the question in the title of this post. Is the response of the media in Charleston the result of racism, hypocrisy, or a simple double standard?

Do those in the media see blacks through a racist prism -- as somehow simpler and more primitive, needing to "cling to their. . . religion"? Or on the contrary, is there a hypocrisy in being unwilling to show the same contempt for black evangelical faith as is shown for white evangelical faith because, you know, we wouldn't want to be seen as racist by criticizing something so central to the culture of the African-American community despite their willingness to trash something that is so central to the lives of tens of millions of white Americans? Or perhaps there is simply a double standard -- the black church is left untouched because it is a part of the Coalition of the Left, while the fact that white evangelicalism is more closely tied to conservative political causes makes it fair game for ridicule. I don't know -- and I won't assign a motive since I cannot read the hearts of members of the media. But I will add these data points to my mental graph of the culture war that undeniably exists in our society.


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About Me

NAME: Greg
AGE: 50-ish
SEX: Male
MARITAL STATUS: Married
OCCUPATION: Social Studies Teacher
LOCATION: Seabrook, TX
DISCLAIMER: All posts reflect my views alone, and not the view of my wife, my dogs, my employer, or anyone else. All comments reflect the view of the commenter, and permitting a comment to remain on this site in no way indicates my support for the ideas expressed in the comment.

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