The Reverend Jeremiah Wright is the perfect election year boogeyman. Not only did he say that the attacks on 9/11 were “…America’s chickens…coming home to roost,” he also mentioned Elijah Muhammad while doing so. His ministerial garb looks an awful lot like a dashiki, and we all know what that means, don’t we? He preaches hellfire and damnation for America. He has all the necessary requirements to scare the Mountain Dew out of the not very bright and send them scurrying to the polls in November.
Why would Governor Romney tell a well-funded super PAC to drop the Reverend Wright plan? Karl Rove called the strategy “stupid,” and Governor Romney made all the right noise about scrutinizing President Obama’s record rather than his choice of churches, but a more likely explanation is that Romney knows that when it comes to criticizing politicians about associations with “radical preachers,” the Republican Party doesn’t have a leg to stand on.
If you go over every line from Reverend Wright’s sermons that were used as examples of his “radicalism”, you can find an almost identical line from any number of influential religious figures on the right. While Reverend Wright saw 9/11 as God’s retribution for an overly aggressive foreign policy, Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell saw it as God’s retribution for homosexuality, feminism, abortion and secularism. The specific reasons for the retribution are different, but either way, God’s retribution, ahoy.
That sermon where Reverend Wright screamed “God Damn America!” at the top of his lungs has its equivalent in any number of prominent evangelical mega-churches all over the country, but specifically it had a parallel at the 2007 Values Voters Convention, which was attended by every Republican considering a run for the presidency. The Convention started with a choir singing a song called “Why Should God Bless America?” in which the singers warn of God turning his back on us because of Roe v. Wade.
I’m pretty sure that “turning his back on us” means more than storming away in a huff, at least if the Old Testament is anything to go by. According to Reverend Wright, the U.S. is hell-bound because of what we do with our army. According to the folks at the Values Voters Convention, we’re going to hell because of what we do with our genitals. Either way, damnation all around.
Reverend Wright has one church. The religious right has law schools, universities, think tanks, radio and television stations and extremely well-funded lobbying groups. Reverend Wright’s “radical beliefs” have resulted in no policy decisions whatsoever from the Obama White House. You cannot say the same thing about the beliefs of the religious right and their influence in the GOP.
Abstinence-only sex education, taxpayer dollars to religious organizations, science textbooks that put “intelligent design” on equal footing with biology, Dark Ages policies on homosexuality that we are only now beginning to shake off, mandated trans-vaginal ultrasounds and hearings on contraception that look like the set up to a bad joke (“A priest, a rabbi and a minister all walk into a committee room…”). All brought to you by the party that wants to somehow keep government out of your lives while making sure said lives are measuring up to biblical specifications.
There is absolutely a problem with “radical preachers” in politics, but the problem doesn’t belong to the Democrats. If all of the various PAC’s, operatives and AM radio resentment peddlers disregard Romney’s wishes and continue to focus on Jeremiah Wright, the Democrats should not hesitate to respond in kind. Congratulations on finding that one “radical preacher,” fellas. Care to explain the 500 or so on your side?