Sunday, March 16, 2008

Preacher Wars ~ Specks vs Planks in the eye

Even if a recovering Southern Baptist I can still recall a little. And truly some of what I learned isn't always a negative. Let's look at Matthew 7:3-5 and see how it might relate to the Reverend Wright scandal.

I noted just yesterday how St. John's connections to John Hagee and Rod Parsley weren't comparable to Senator Obama and his own pastor for the undeniable fact that both, certainly Hagee, are found out in the heartland, in the corporate media, etc. Glenn Greenwald has plenty more and better to offer than I on this same subject with his Some hateful, radical ministers -- white evangelicals -- are acceptable.

Yet what about Tim LaHaye, who I show pictured here with Jerry Jenkins? Their Left Behind series is a staple for many Evangelicals and even those that just favor some end of the world entertainment. This dynamic duo has been covered by 60 Minutes as "The Greatest Story Ever Sold". Millions of books sold seems to certainly put them in the mainstream. They've even got a Kids Series for Christ's sake. I've often seen their products on the shelves of the Wal-Mart and library back "home" in rural Alabama. I noted via Captain Jimi that Tim LaHaye is married to Professional Concerned Woman Beverly LaHaye. I've often seen Concerned Women for America welcomed onto several mainstream media outlets.

So I thought I'd look for a connection with St. John. And darned if I don't find it, even if a bit strained, via "one of the finest minds of the 13th Century." Yes, Rick Santorum is still earning his keep with "the family". Steve Benen also reported on St. John's effort to reach out to the secretive Council for National Policy. Clinking through the list of folks that have spoken at CNP is revealing. For some background on this group, Marc J. Ambinder of ABC provides Inside the Council for National Policy: Meet the Most Powerful Conservative Group You've Never Heard Of. On page three of the internet version you'll find the following:

CNP was conceived in 1981 by at least five fathers, including the Rev. Tim LaHaye, an evangelical preacher who was then the head of the Moral Majority. (LaHaye is the co-author of the popular Left Behind series that predicts and subsequently depicts the Apocalypse). Nelson Baker Hunt, billionaire son of billionaire oilman H.L. Hunt (connected to both the John Birch Society and to Ronald Reagan's political network), businessman and one-time murder suspect T. Cullen Davis, and wealthy John Bircher William Cies provided the seed money.
Amen. Also noted is that "Christian activist Paul Weyrich took responsibility for bringing together the best minds of conservatism, and his imprint on the group's mission is unmistakable." The American Conservative Union is also a cooperative force in CNP according to Mr. Ambinder.

Returning to Tim LaHaye though is where I want to go. And once again the connection with John McCain is weak, at least at this point. I'd however like some enterprising reporter to try to pin down St. John on his views on Dr. Tim LaHaye or at least his type. Does St. John believe "that Christ will literally rapture His church prior to the 70th week of Daniel" and perhaps most importantly is is ready to help bring about that rapture via "bomb, bomb Iran"? Asking if Reverend Doomsday and his crowd are going to be riding shotgun with St. John seems reasonable enough given some of the questions Obama got as to Harry Belafonte. While once The Huckster had the LaHaye's endorsement, I'd like to know now if St. John will seek out and then get their support. Before he does Senator McCain should note that Tim LaHaye made it into The Atlantic and claimed the following:

Who can deny that their basic doctrines of “scientific humanism” or “atheistic humanism” currently dominate public education in America? This, more than any other factor, has relentlessly changed our “Christian consensus” into a “secular consensus,” producing the moral meltdown that is rapidly destroying our people and our nation’s freedoms, integrity, happiness, and even safety.

Reverend Wright posed questions about the 9-11 attacks being perhaps due to "America's chickens ... coming home to roost", giving NRO's K-Lo a case of the vapors as she described his remarks as "chiling". Is "humanism" not "a chicken coming home to roost" in LaHaye's world? Bill Moyers, in his 9/11 and God's Sport talk noted that Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell "went on television to proclaim that the terrorist attacks were God's punishment of a corrupted America" so I doubt it is a stretch to think Dr. LaHaye is following that theme. Again, Reverend Wright gets pounded while the right wing evangelicals get invited to appear on the tee-vee and sell millions of books. Huh?

Finally, does St. John support the work of the Institute for Creation Research that LaHaye and his Christian Heritage College, now known as San Diego Christian College, helped start in the early 1970s? This CBN piece plus this Think Progress report, not to mention his responses in certain debates, seems like he's trying to hedge on the issue.

Returning to Matthew 7:3-5, I'm just saying those in a lather about Reverend Wright while ignoring the radicalism of the acceptable and incredibly popular( and profitable!) right wing Evangelicals like John Hagee, Rod Parsley, Tim LaHaye, James Dobson, Pat Robertson, the late Jerry Falwell ... might ought to "first take the plank out of your own eye". John Gunn

UPDATE ~ Afternoon of March 16, 2008 - I put essentially this same post up on Daily Kos as that poll feature is really addictive. I noted this top drawer post from Devilstower on how Reverend Wright's words might be viewed. Devilstower is not defending everything he's uttered, nor am I.

UPDATE ~ Early evening of March 16, 2008 - M.J. Rosenberg's The Irrelevance of Obama's Minister looks at Billy Graham's close relationship with several Presidents, Honest Joe Lieberman's rabbi, ... to make his point. Well done!

UPDATE ~ Afternoon of March 23, 2008 - Roland S. Martin of CNN shares The full story behind Rev. Jeremiah Wright’s 9/11 sermon and it's a winner. Context is such an amazing concept. I wish others in his profession could so clearly state, and most importantly then demonstrate, "The point that I have always made as a journalist is that our job is to seek the truth, and not the partial truth."

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