But here is what the reactionaries aren't reacting to, and what lifestyle liberals are ignoring: Jarrett used a church pulpit to celebrate the assassination of Osama Bin Laden and the killings of other unnamed "terrorists." She co-opted King's message of peace and turned it into a pep rally for Obama's War on Terror and the cancer that is the Homeland Security State. As Secret Service agents hovered all around, Jarrett enthused about how her president has made everyone feel so safe. She made it fairly obvious that presidential chest-thumping will be a major part of the re-election strategy.
Am I the only one nauseated by this use of a Christian church to brag about killing people? Would Democrats be howling had Karl Rove given a church sermon on King's birthday to spin about the Iraq invasion and torture during W's re-election campaign? You betcha! MoveOn and the pragmatic progressive veal pen would have been crashing computers nationwide with pleas for money bombs and petition signatures.
Jonathan Turley, who has been among those legal eagles leading the charge against Obama's continuing evisceration of the Bill of Rights, found Jarrett's choice of words a tad strange as well:
At some point, this becomes a bit distasteful like a modern version of the old system of quartering enemies and sending his body parts around the country to thrill the populace. William Wallace was displayed in separate parts in Newcastle upon Tyne, Berwick-upon-Tweed, Stirling, and Aberdeen. I have no grief for Osama bin laden who is no William Wallace and frankly I am glad he is no longer with us. However, the use of his killing as a campaign theme is a bit off-putting.Turley says the conservatives do have a valid point about it being illegal for tax-exempt churches to be involved in polital campaigns.
Under the Internal Revenue Code, all section 501(c)(3) organizations are absolutely prohibited from directly or indirectly participating in, or intervening in, any political campaign on behalf of (or in opposition to) any candidate for elective public office. Contributions to political campaign funds or public statements of position (verbal or written) made on behalf of the organization in favor of or in opposition to any candidate for public office clearly violate the prohibition against political campaign activity. Violating this prohibition may result in denial or revocation of tax-exempt status and the imposition of certain excise taxes.But again, the Atlanta congregation's long tradition of political campaign involvement is nothing new. Whether Jarrett and the church ran afoul of a tax code should not be the main story. The main story is the co-optation of the original pulpit of a civil rights leader who abhorred war into a platform for the celebration of a president who has abused civil rights on a terrifying scale, and who is being given a pass because he belongs to the preferred political party.
Conor Friedersdorf of The Atlantic has written a trenchant piece asking why "Obamabots" are so insistent on focusing on the president's minor accomplishments and ignoring the big reality of his "scandalous transgressions against the rule of law." It echoes what Turley and Chris Hedges and precious few others have been saying.
Clip of the Jarrett "sermon" is here.
|The Church Lady|