The Scientific Activist

As the media circus over Jeremiah Wright continues, it should give us pause that the media hasn’t decided to focus on John McCain and his embrace of a wide range of religious bigots. Although McCain once called these men “agents of intolerance” in 2000, he has since done a total flip-flop and openly embraced them in the 2008 campaign. Compare this to Barack Obama, who has now fully renounced his former pastor–as he rightfully should have. Whether this slanted coverage is due to racial bias, or just to the fact that these outrageous conservative white religious figures are so ingrained in our political culture that we no longer question their role, is immaterial. Either way, this is indicative of a very screwed up situation.

Of course, since the media isn’t bombarding you with McCain’s associates’ words 24/7, you’ll have to seek them out yourself. If you are interested, though, there are two good sources to check out from today. Frank Rich has a detailed op-ed on the subject in The New York Times, and here on ScienceBlogs, Effect Measure lets you see what two of these “former” agents of intolerance–John Hagee and Rod Parsley–have to say in their own words. The highlight, in my opinion at least, is Hagee’s assertion that Hurricane Katrina was God’s response to a planned gay rights parade in New Orleans.

Even better, though, was when Jerry Falwell–just two days after September 11, 2001–placed the blame of the attacks squarely on the shoulders of “the pagans, and the abortionists, and the feminists, and the gays and the lesbians who are actively trying to make that an alternative lifestyle, the ACLU, People For the American Way.” Check out the video:


Despite this, McCain spoke at Falwell’s Liberty “University” in May 2006, and around this time categorically stated that he no longer considered Falwell an “agent of intolerance”. He even said that Falwell and his colleagues have “a major role to play in the Republican Party.” McCain’s subsequent cozying up to the religious right indicates that these weren’t just empty words: he’s serious about pandering to these hardcore zealots.

Now, compare what Falwell said to one of the most widely repeated sound bites from Jeremiah Wright, in which he said of 9/11 that “America’s chickens are coming home to roost.” If you read the entire excerpt, this is actually part of a fairly accurate critique of American foreign policy. I’m not trying to defend Wright or anything else he has said, but in this case, at least, he’s actually said something substantive. Falwell, on the other hand, just provided a totally absurd and homophobic rant.

Yet, Obama has now fully renounced this man, while McCain continues–unhindered by media blitz–to embrace his own agents of intolerance.

Comments

  1. #1 PhysioProf
    May 4, 2008

    The media love McCain, because he’s a “straight shooter” and a “maverick”. Well, actually, they love him because he’s got his tongue up their asses and throws nice barbecues for them, and he’s a boring ugly stupid motherfucker just like all of them.

  2. #2 SkepticalPoet
    May 4, 2008

    McCain will apparently do anything to get elected. But the same goes for Obama. Wright is right about the reason Obama distanced him. And don’t forget Hillary’s Family. We need an atheist president!

  3. #3 Mike
    May 5, 2008

    Why don’t you try to examine this in a more rational and scientific manner.

    First what is the relationship between Obama and Wright.

    Obama so liked Wright’s message that he decided to join Wright’s church.

    Obama so liked Wright’s message that he decided to give tens of thousands of dollars to help spread Wright’s message.

    Obama so liked Wright’s message that he decided to have Wright preside over his marriage.

    Obama so liked Wright’s message that he decided to have Wright baptize his children

    Now let’s compare the Obama-Wright relationship to the McCain-Fallwell relationship.

    Did McCain choose to join Fallwell’s church? No.
    Did McCain choose to give tens of thousands of dollars to help spread Fallwell’s message? No
    Did McCain choose to have Fallwell preside over his wedding? No
    Did McCain choose to have Fallwell baptize his children? No.

    Seems that if you use even a little bit of reason or rationality, that there is no real comparison between the Obama-Wright relationship and the McCain-Fallwell relationship.

  4. #4 Joshua
    May 5, 2008

    Are you on crack, Mike? I hear it’s bad for you, you should stop.

  5. #5 Nick Anthis
    May 5, 2008

    Since this is a blog about politics, not a celebrity gossip tabloid, I’m not so interested in what these politicians do in their personal lives as what they do politically. McCain continues to openly embrace a political relationship with these radical preachers–and he does so without being aggressively questioned by the media. Despite Falwell’s wacky words about 9/11, McCain still courted him leading up to the 2008 election. Fortunately, Falwell passed away about a year ago, and so he’s no longer much of a factor. However, McCain still has an active relationship with Rod Parsley and John Hagee–whom McCain actively lobbied to secure his endorsement. Barack Obama has now repudiated Wright, so why is McCain allowed to still actively engage with these folks.

  6. #6 Azkyroth
    May 7, 2008

    Mike:

    You keep using that word, “rational.” I do not think it means what you think it does.

  7. #7 KeithB
    May 7, 2008

    Mike:
    There are a *lot* of reasons to be at a church besides what the pastor says from the pulpit. Churches are communities/families and that is often more important than what is said on Sunday.

    However, persuing and courting others for endorsements is a very different thing.

  8. #8 bigjohn756
    May 24, 2008

    None of these brainless turds are qualified to be President of the United States. Please think about it and vote for the least useless one based on which of the Constitutional Bill of Rights you are willing to give up.

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