The New York Times displayed its habitual hypocrisy regarding the “pastor eruptions” that have plagued the campaigns of John McCain (R-AZ) and Barack Obama (D-IL).

Here’s what the editorial board of The New York Times wrote about McCain’s repudiation of the comments and endorsements of Rev. Rod Parsley and Rev. John C. Hagee (emphasis, The Stiletto’s):

It took a long time for him to do it, but Senator John McCain has finally rejected the endorsements of two evangelical ministers — one whose bizarre and hate-filled sermons deeply offended both Catholics and Jews and the other who has used his pulpit to attack Muslims. …

His belated decision to distance himself from two of the most extreme ministers was long overdue — and we suspect driven more by political ambition than by the principles he espoused in the past.

But a month earlier when Obama repudiated the black liberation sermons of Rev. Jeremiah Wright that he sat through for more than two decades without batting an eyelash, here’s what the editorial board of The Times wrote (emphasis, The Stiletto’s):

 It took more time than it should have, but on Tuesday Barack Obama firmly rejected the racism and paranoia of his former pastor, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright Jr., and he made it clear that the preacher does not represent him, his politics or his campaign. … 

It was the most forthright repudiation of an out-of-control supporter that we can remember.

You’ll note both editorials start out the same, but only McCain’s motives are impugned as being purely political – even though the viability of Obama’s candidacy was at stake, given his failure to capture the white working-class vote in primary after primary.

In addition, a few days after Obama severed his relationship with Wright the paper helpfully published an article attempting to educate “ignorant” and “fearful” white Americans (to use two of Michelle Obama’s favorite adjectives) about black liberation theology:

Black liberation theology was a radical movement born of a competitive time.

By the mid-1960s, the horns of Jericho seemed about to sound for the traditional black church in the United States. Martin Luther King Jr. was yielding to Malcolm X. Young black preachers embraced the Nation of Islam and black intellectuals sought warmth in the secular and Marxist-tinged fire of the black power movement.

As a young, black and decidedly liberal theologian, James H. Cone saw his faith imperiled.

“Christianity was seen as the white man’s religion. I wanted to say: ‘No! The Christian Gospel is not the white man’s religion. It is a religion of liberation, a religion that says G-d created all people to be free.’ But I realized that for black people to be free, they must first love their blackness.”

Instead of a similar article explaining the origins and precepts of Pentecostalism and the Charismatic movement, The Times published this disdainful “news analysis” after McCain distanced himself from the two controversial pastors:

Preachers who gain large followings precisely because they can whip up their flocks with compelling performances from the pulpit can turn toxic when those performances are aired before the broader public. … 

Fear-mongering about Islam has become a staple of some well-known evangelical preachers since the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, so Mr. Parsley’s assertions might not sound outrageous to the ears of evangelicals. … 

In previous campaigns, there was little stigma for a politician who cozied up to a controversial clergyman. Mr. Bush pursued the endorsements of Mr. Robertson and Mr. Falwell in 2000, largely because he was competing for conservative Christian voters against evangelical darlings like Gary L. Bauer, Alan Keyes and Steve Forbes [emphasis, The Stiletto’s]. 

Two years earlier, Mr. Robertson had created a flutter of controversy when he said that if Disney World kept opening its doors to gay events, “I would warn Orlando that you’re right in the way of some serious hurricanes, and I don’t think I’d be waving those flags in G-d’s face if I were you.”  

In fact, many religions teach that G-d punishes individuals and entire societies for bad behavior through all manner of catastrophes (chiefly weather-related, hence the standard contractual and insurance policy indemnification against an “act of G-d”). In Burma, for instance, where eight out of 10 of the 52 million inhabitants are Buddhist, many blamed bad karma for the death and destruction caused by Cyclone Nargis, reports The Washington Post:

Cyclone Nargis is a karmic consequence of military rulers’ brutal crackdown on Buddhist monks last fall, said Ingrid Jordt, an anthropology professor at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee who was once a Buddhist nun in Burma and maintains ties there.

“The immediate explanation was: This is retribution for killing monks,” Jordt said. “In any cataclysm, human beings seek to make sense of something that completely destroys the continuity of life. It’s an attempt to bring the world back into harmony.”

The word “karma” is often misunderstood by Westerners as one’s inescapable destiny, scholars say. In Sanskrit, the word means “action” and refers to the act that creates one’s fate, not fate itself. For Buddhists, particularly those in Southeast Asia, karma regulates morality as firmly as Newton’s law rules motion: To every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. …

A distant echo of such ideas can perhaps be heard in Christian leaders who tied the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks and Hurricane Katrina to sexual immorality in New York City and New Orleans.

As always, The Times applies two standards – one for liberals (who can do no wrong) and another for conservatives (who are wrong, no matter what they do).   

Update:  Regarding the brouhaha over Sharon Stone’s comments that the Chinese earthquake was karmic retribution for the government’s mistreatment of Tibetans, she is a convert to Buddhism, and her statements are consistent with the teachings of that religion. She did not help herself by sounding utterly inarticulate (video link) when discussing the subject, but The Stiletto takes issue with the Fox News script everyone from Shepard Smith to Sean Hannity was reading from yesterday making Stone out to be an idiot. Fair is fair, and Fox News was unfair to Stone.

Note: The Stiletto writes about politics and other stuff at The Stiletto Blog, chosen an Official Honoree in the Political Blogs category by the judges of the 12th Annual Webby Awards (the Oscars of the online universe) along with CNN Political Ticker, Swampland (Time magazine) and The Caucus (The New York Times).

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