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Check This: Two Can Play the Outrageous Pastor Game


Frank Rich of the New York Times wrote a great piece about the other pastor with outrageous YouTube clips. John McCain sought out and received the endorsement of the Reverend John Hagee, the pastor of a Texas megachurch. Some of Hagee's most controversial statements include calling for a "holy war" against Iran, referring to the Roman Catholic Church as the "Great Whore" and saying that God punished New Orleans with Hurricane Katrina because the city was holding a gay pride parade that Monday. Rich says that race, and inconsistent treatment of the political parties, explain why these clips haven't been rebroadcasted in the mainstream media.

There is not just a double standard for black and white politicians at play in too much of the news media and political establishment, but there is also a glaring double standard for our political parties. The Clintons and Mr. Obama are always held accountable for their racial stands, as they should be, but the elephant in the room of our politics is rarely acknowledged: In the 21st century, the so-called party of Lincoln does not have a single African-American among its collective 247 senators and representatives in Washington.

Rich says that if we are going to judge black candidates based on their most controversial associates, we must judge white politicians by the same yardstick.

Both Rev. Hagee and Rev. Wright's comments offend me; however, neither of them is running for president. To some extent, the American people deserve to know what company their potential leader keeps. I'm just not sure it should be the focus of the campaign. How much should it matter to voters that Obama's pastor made inflammatory statements, or that John McCain offered some legitimacy to Hagee's positions by seeking out his endorsement?

Do you agree with Frank Rich? Will Democratic groups start circling the Hagee YouTube on television ads? Are they naive not to, since Republican groups are already buying ad time to play the Wright comments? Is there a high road?

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