- The Washington Times - Thursday, May 10, 2007

God bless Christopher Hitchens, he of so little faith. A noted atheist, Mr. Hitchens led a Christian straight into the bowels of religious bigotry.

Have you heard about it? Have you read about it? The non-debate that should have, by now, drawn the wrath of Christians everywhere?

Al Sharpton had a Don Imus moment the other evening. The occasion was a “debate” between Mr. Sharpton and Mr. Hitchens. The place was a public library in New York City. The event was titled “A Debate: God is Not Great.”

Now, momentarily casting aside the fact that a man of the cloth would even bother to participate in an event based on a ridiculous notion that questions God’s greatness, Mr. Sharpton was sucker-punched by Mr. Hitchens. Read Mr. Sharpton’s words and draw your own conclusion: “As for the Mormon running for office, those who really believe in God will defeat him anyway, so don’t worry about that; that’s a temporary situation.”

It’s obvious that Mr. Sharpton is not only stuck in Jim Crow’s time warp, but he also seems to be taking cues from HBO.

“Big Love” is the HBO soap set in Utah (of course) that glorifies and dramatizes polygamy — with the hubby in the show shuttling his sex drive among three wives and “family nights” with his seven children.

This Godforsaken approach to Mormon family life is as despicable as Mr. Sharpton’s bigoted comments. But where’s the media in denouncing Mr. Sharpton?

The black press is silent. The mainstream media is smirking, as usual — trying to play it straight with one hand and hide their Cheshire-like smile with the other.

Where, oh where is Dorothy Parker when you need her?

No journalist of consequence seems willing to criticize Mr. Sharpton, whose mouth, like the Energizer Bunny, kept going and going all over the Imus affair. Mr. Sharpton has been given far more credit for silencing Mr. Imus than he deserves.

The tight-lipped media is showing its soiled and biased slip.

Mr. Hitchens is off the hook because he mentioned during the debate that the Mormons used to be biased against blacks. Heh. As if they were the only ones. It’s true, but hardly a fact to celebrate. All manner of white Protestants were biased against blacks pre- and post-Civil War. The law was on their side. Sure, Lady Justice was America’s conscientious phallic symbol, but even the KKK, which cloaked itself in white, wore its Christianity on its sleeves and would just as soon thump as thumb a Bible in the name of its racial hysterics.

The Mormon referenced by Mr. Sharpton is the one and only Mitt Romney, a Mormon and former Massachusetts governor. Members of the mainstream media who can no longer see the center because they’ve moved so far left wouldn’t dare criticize the Rev. Al Sharpton. They would rather blaspheme God than question Mr. Sharpton on remarks he made about a Republican, white or black.

Mr. Sharpton being Mr. Sharpton, he didn’t apologize for his blatant religious offense. Instead, he tugged on his liberal cuffs and then flipped the switch, claiming, first, that the media took his comments out of context, and, second, that Mr. Romney was being too political.

It’s clear that the words of Mr. Sharpton, a Baptist preacher via Pentecostalism, were bigoted, cut from that foul cloth that discredits Mormonism as a religion — a Christian religion whose official name is the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. Yet for his part, Mr. Romney, whose presidential looks have drawn the attention of big spenders on both sides of the political divide, said he didn’t think Mr. Sharpton himself was a bigot. Indeed, because someone says something that racist or bigoted doesn’t mean the person who spoke the words is a racist or a bigot.

Mr. Romney did say that the reverend’s comments were “terribly misguided.” Said the presidential contender: “It shows that bigotry still exists in some corners. … I don’t know Rev. Sharpton. I doubt he is personally such a thing [as a bigot]. But the comment was a comment which could be described as a bigoted comment. Perhaps he didn’t mean it that way, but the way it came out was inappropriate and wrong.”

The larger-than-life Mr. Sharpton, whose white hat is more than a bit tarnished, said, “In no way did I attack Mormons or the Mormon Church,” and he accused Mr. Romney of engaging in “a blatant effort to fabricate a controversy” to aid a lagging campaign.

Tsk, tsk. Mr. Sharpton should have apologized Tuesday, the day after he made his insulting remarks. He is a minister. A pastor. A man of the cloth, for goodness sake.

As for the politics of the situation, the media should be shamefaced, too. For weeks it reeled about Don Imus being an equal-opportunity offender, and that the I-Man’s racist and sexist comments regarding the Rutgers University women’s basketball team was the last straw.

Well, wrong is wrong. What Mr. Sharpton said is equally offensive. Unfortunately, Christian soldiers are so busily marching to the beat of the biased drummers, they’ve forgotten what we learned in Sunday School about God being great and God being good.

The next time the pot calls the kettle black…

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