Conservative pundits have been known to give President Obama crap for not going to church. It's part of why, if you're, say, Byron York, the president should only blame himself for the millions of morons who believe he's a Muslim. But when Obama does go to church, as he and his family did on Easter Sunday, he still ends up in a multi-pronged scandal. He didn't "do" Easter correctly.
First there was Monday's great scandal about how Obama, despite attending Easter services, leading an Easter prayer breakfast, and hosting an Easter Egg Roll for thousands of people on the White House lawn, doesn't respect Christians because his communications office didn't email a perfunctory Easter statement to reporters on top of all that. This made for a great Republican rapid-response scare clip.
And what about the church that the Obamas chose for Easter? The pastor was apparently a scary black man, just like Jeremiah Wright! Rev. Wallace Charles Smith of Washington's Shiloh Baptist Church, according to Time, "has been a well-respected leader in the local religious community. If a visitor to the city wanted to hear a good sermon on Sunday morning, you directed them to Shiloh." Well, he does seem to cover a lot of ground:
Smith indulged in a little rhetorical excess in his sermon, veering off to chastise "DaVinci Code" writer Dan Brown for depicting Mary Magdalene as Jesus' girlfriend, and alluding to historical racism by noting that his newborn grandson will be able to say: "They tried to write me off as 3/5 a person in the Constitution, but I am here."
You will not be surprised to hear that Sean Hannity and Rush Limbaugh didn't care for lines like that "3/5" one. They've been thrashing Rev. Smith this week with comparisons to Jeremiah Wright. And then they found an old clip in which Smith singled out and mocked Fox News and Limbaugh directly:
What got these two conservative media giants atwitter was a speech Smith gave last year at Eastern University in Pennsylvania–the school where evangelical pastor and speaker Tony Campolo is based. He was asked to speak about racism and offered some thoughts that included the assertion that racism still exists in the United States. There were two important details about the speech: 1) It was taped; and 2) Smith singled out Fox News and Limbaugh by name.
"It may not be Jim Crow anymore," Smith said in the speech. "Now, Jim Crow wears blue pinstripes, goes to law school and carries fancy briefs in cases….[H]e doesn't have to wear white robes anymore because now he can wear the protective cover of talk radio or can get a regular news program on Fox." Of Limbaugh, Smith said that the conservative radio host can get away with making "statements that were once the purview of Robert Shelton and members of the Ku Klux Klan and the White Citizen's Council."
Shiloh Baptist Church has received 100 threats this week "including a fax featuring the image of a monkey with a target on its face."
Ugly week. But pretty funny picture up top, eh? You love it.
[Image via AP]