Wednesday, May 07, 2008

"Liberals' new cause: Religious extremism"

At today James Kirchick, assistant editor of the liberal New Republic, offers “Liberals’ new cause: Religious extremism.”

Kirchick castigates liberals and Leftists who’ve excused and even relished Rev. Jeremiah Wright’s vile racism and anti-Americanism. Here are excerpts from Kirchick, followed by my comments below the star line.

. . .Indeed, many on the left are trying to outdo one another comparing great historical figures to Wright, whose most proximate antecedent would be a black, religious Lyndon LaRouche.

Princeton professor Melissa Harris-Lacewell called Wright “Our Jeremiah,” in that he is akin to the “biblical truth tellers who regularly warned the government that divine destruction was imminent if the nation continued to oppress the powerless.” She then decided to insult the very notion of historical memory by comparing Wright to Frederick Douglass.

Don Wycliff, former public editor of the Chicago Tribune, was perplexed as to what all the fuss over Wright was about. “I’m trying to figure out what it was that got everybody’s shorts into a twist,” he wrote in Commonweal magazine. (Wycliff’s bewilderment over the reaction to Wright’s lies and hyperbole does not speak well to his skills as an ombudsman.)

The double standard some liberals have employed in response to Wright makes one seriously consider their oft-stated preference for rationality, reason and secularism over superstition and prejudice.

Wright attacks capitalism throughout his sermons, an odd ideological target for a man who reportedly drives a Porsche and whose grateful congregants are building him a $1 million, four-garage home in a predominantly white suburb of Chicago (so much for being “unapologetically black”).

He has also praised Cuba’s Fidel Castro and Libya’s Muammar al-Qadhafi. So it’s really no wonder that a huckster such as Wright has emerged as some sort of “reality-based community” folk hero.

The political left finds common cause with the religious left and is apparently willing to overlook exactly the sort of racist sectarianism that it would be so quick to condemn were its perpetrator a white conservative.

Last Monday, Wright claimed that criticism directed toward him represents “an attack on the black church.”

With this shot across the bow, Wright perpetrated a solipsistic conflation of the mainstream African-American religious tradition (which, despite the protestations of his apologists, he does not represent) with his own bigoted paranoias: anti-Zionism, anti-white racism and the lie (especially dangerous in the black community, where HIV infection is skyrocketing) that the government created the virus to kill African-Americans.

As much as Obama may now try to separate himself from his former preacher, he unwittingly justified Wright’s barnstorming performance with his initial justification that “I can no more disown him than I can disown the black community.”
Unfortunately, some in the reality-based community seem to agree.

Kirchick’s entire essay is here.


Be sure to read the whole thing.

Perhaps my memory is fooling me, but Kirchick’s calling out of his fellow liberals who are Wright-apologists is something which in the 50s and 60s I’d have expected to see in the editorial columns of papers such as The New York Times and Boston Globe.

But no more.

Kirchick’s essay, like Roger Simon’s which I posted about here, is a service to America.

Wright and his enablers need to be roundly criticized again and again, just as Rev. Jerry Falwell deserved our unrelenting criticisms. As we’ve seen throughout history, if you don’t label and expose extremists for what they are, they can move quickly and with disastrous consequences to the power centers of government and other vital societal organizations.

I expect the Left to embrace Wright. He speaks its language and serves its purposes.

But to have watched so many liberals these past few months excuse and embrace Wright’s vile isms has been shocking.

Do those liberals know what they’re telling us about themselves?

Message to James Kirchick: Thank you for a superb essay.

Question for Have you decided there’s a place for an electronic newspaper that prints “the truth without fear or favor?”

Mind you, I’m not saying you’re that. I haven’t read you enough. But my fingers are crossed.


Anonymous said...

Just one Wright, but lots of liberals
like him.

Anonymous said...

John -

After the Durham and Duke lacrosse case, when liberals abandoned the accused because they were white, should anyone be surprised that some "liberals", maybe a majority, don't see anything wrong with the rantings of the "Reverend" Wright?

Jack in Silver Spring