The Media’s Obama (Black Church)- McCain (White Evangelical Church) Conundrum


I just did a couple quick searches on the NYTimes web site and found the following. 0 results mentioning John McCain and Rod Parsley, 3 results mentioning John McCain and John Hagee, AND, 36 articles mentioning Barack Obama and Jeremiah Wright. Then I checked the Washington Post site and found: 17 results for McCain and Hagee; 2 results for Parsley and McCain; AND 59 results for Wright and Obama.

Why the heavier media scrutiny for the candidate-black church relationship than the candidate-white church relationship? Media face less resistance going after black churches.

David Corn describes Rod Parsley, whom John McCain referred to as his “spiritual guide,” as follows:

The leader of a 12,000-member congregation, Parsley has written several books outlining his fundamentalist religious outlook, including the 2005 Silent No More. In this work, Parsley decries the “spiritual desperation” of the United States, and he blasts away at the usual suspects: activist judges, civil libertarians who advocate the separation of church and state, the homosexual “culture” (“homosexuals are anything but happy and carefree”), the “abortion industry,” and the crass and profane entertainment industry.

Further, according to Corn, “Parsley claims that Islam is a “false religion,” and an “anti-Christ religion” predicated on “deception.””

Next is John Hagee, founder of Christians United For Israel, who threw his support behind John McCain, calling him a “man of principle, who does not stand boldly on both sides of any issue.” McCain embraced Hagee, after having courted him for over a year, saying he was honored by the endorsement.

Problem is Hagee has called the Catholic Church, ” the Great Whore,” an “apostate church,” the “anti-Christ” and a “false cult system.”

Back in 2003, Hagee’s television series on Islam was cancelled in Canada for inciting hatred against Muslims. Hagee has also suggested that Hurrcane Katrina was “punishment against gays.”

If you were to watch any number of Hagee speeches on the internet, you see joy on his face as he progosticates war with Iran, and disparages and demonizes Muslims, gays and Catholics.

War and hatred. But say what you will about Parsley and Hagee, these guys love America, and it is this “lapel pin” propagaganda that helps give them a pass from the media. Perhaps also more is that Parsley and Hagee represent a white evangelical constituency, a still potent force in american politics.

Now consider Pastor Wright’s social justice critique of America’s legacy of racism. Wrights message is “unashamedly Black and unapologetically Christian.” It is an “African centered point of view” that has been heard in Black churches for generations, and thus also remains a marginalized social force in american politics. This constituency has never been a potent force in american politics. Wright’s voice is of a legacy that includes such scorned geniuses as Langston Hughes, Paul Robeson, as well as including the final economic campaign days of MLK Jr.

It is an angry voice that holds american institutions and elites to account for a legacy that has excluded african americans from the country’s promises of equality and justice for all.

Here is the relevance for the skeletal media content analysis that started the post. This message, if taken seriously would force media moguls to restructure how their reporters cover the news. They would be forced to investigate the claims that Wright and others have made over the years. Such are questions that the media are structured not to ask.

In other words, Wright’s message threatens the media establishment in ways that Hagee’s and Parsley’s message does not, which explains why the NYT and WaPo would rather demonize Wright and Obama’s relationship, than ask fundamentaly important questions about why white evangelical churches and the candidates they support have received a pass for so many years. It would force such questions of folks who continue to take Hagee’s and Parsley’s support for granted, and only then would McCain receive the sort of scrutiny now being leveled at Obama.

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5 responses to “The Media’s Obama (Black Church)- McCain (White Evangelical Church) Conundrum

  1. I completely agree. One major problem. Obama has made a mistake by lying about his relationship to Wright. See
    http://nicolleshanman.wordpress.com/2008/03/17/obama-attended-jeremiah-wrights-hate-america-sermon/
    If the message or the messenger is at issue (the preachers) that is another conversation. The problem? A presidential hopeful cannot seem to be strong about issues that are very controversial in tough times. We need solid leadership.

  2. I just stopped by your blog and thought I would say hello. I like your site design. Looking forward to reading more down the road.

    Robert Michel

  3. Pingback: Barack Obama Chronicles » Archive » The Media & the Black Church- Evangelical Church Conundrum in American Life

  4. It’s seriously disturbing how pastors, including ones very close to John McCain, can go around spouting all sorts of vile things like Hagee’s assertion that New Orleans brought Katrina on itself because of homosexuality. But if you read the newspapers that’s just par for the course. Parsley calling Allah a demon spirit and advocating holy war? Yawn!

    Obama is being held to a different standard.

  5. Muslims Against Sharia call on Senators McCain and Obama to cut all ties with their racist, Islamophobic, and anti-Semitic supporters.

    McCain: http://muslimsagainstsharia.blogspot.com/2008/03/mccains-spiritual-guide-destroy-islam.html
    Obama: http://muslimsagainstsharia.blogspot.com/2008/03/racist-congregation-cheering-racist.html

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