Thursday, February 28, 2008

The Quandary of Endorsements and Affiliations

John McCain has been endorsed by Pastor John Hagee who believes, among other things, that there is no such thing as a good Muslim, that Hurricane Katrina was God's retribution for a gay pride parade in New Orleans, and that it is the duty of the President to hasten Armageddon in order to further the Second Coming. As Glenn Greenwald notes, not only does Sen. McCain not "denounce" and "reject" this support from this hate-monger, he is "very proud to have Pastor John Hagee's support."

Also today, Obama has just been endorsed by Louis Farrakhan. Obama also came under criticism because the church he is a member of, last year gave Farrakhan an award for "epitomizing greatness". To most people, the hate that Farrakhan preaches about whites, Jews and his view of women as second class raises some red flags.

The column caught the attention of the Anti-Defamation League, which was preparing to publicly press Obama to distance himself from the award and from Farrakhan. But Obama's campaign, before the ADL could act, put out a statement doing just that.

"I decry racism and anti-Semitism in every form and strongly condemn the anti-Semitic statements made by Minister Farrakhan," Obama said in a statement released by his aides. "I assume that Trumpet Magazine made its own decision to honor Farrakhan based on his efforts to rehabilitate ex-offenders, but it is not a decision with which I agree."

Abraham H. Foxman, ADL's national director, welcomed Obama's words.

"Issues of racism and anti-Semitism must be beyond the bounds of politics," Foxman said in a statement. "When someone close to a political figure shows sympathy and support for an individual who makes his name espousing bigotry, that political figure needs to distance himself from that decision. Senator Obama has done just that."

This isn't the first time Obama's church, and his minister, have created a hiccup for his campaign. In February, Obama disinvited Wright from giving the invocation at his campaign kickoff in Springfield, Ill., apparently fearing controversy from Wright's Afrocentric teachings.

"Afrocentric teachings"? Look at the church's web site and click on "About Us". How would people react if "black" were replaced with "white"? Obama is actually multiracial, not just "black". But he attends a church that honored Farrakhan and whose head pastor favors "afrocentric" teachings?

Aaaaaand...begin uncontrollale vomiting...NOW!

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