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The Black Commentator - Will Clinton Repudiate Her Ties to the Christian Right? - Color of Law

People who live in glass houses should not throw stones.

In her quest for the Democratic nomination for president, Senator Hillary Clinton was more than willing to use the race card to attack Dr. Jeremiah Wright, Barack Obama’s pastor and mentor, for “controversial” statements he made about this country’s racist history and violent policies. “He would not have been my pastor,” Clinton said of Wright in an interview with the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. “You don't choose your family, but you choose what church you want to attend.”

And behind the scenes, she has attempted to convince the influential superdelegates in her party that Obama is unelectable because of Dr. Wright.

Although Clinton says that you don’t choose your family, apparently she has chosen a rather problematic family of sorts.

Mother Jones, The Nation and The Huffington Post have reported on Clinton’s membership in a secretive club of right-wing Christian politicos called “The Fellowship,” also known as The Family. The powerful Capitol Hill group is the subject of a book to be released in May 2008 by Jeff Sharlett titled, The Family: The Secret Fundamentalism at the Heart of American Power. Cult-like, The Family is divided into units called cells, and has included such prominent conservatives as Sam Brownback, Ed Meese, John Ashcroft, James Inhofe, Rick Santorum, and George Allen.

At home, The Family is best known for its seemingly innocuous National Prayer Breakfast. Internationally, it has displayed a fascist leaning and a fascination with Hitler. It has reached out to Nazis, and has supported some of the world’s most brutal and criminal right-wing dictatorial regimes, including General Suharto in Indonesia, General Costa de Silva in Brazil, the Duvalier regime in Haiti, and death squads in Central America.

The Family believes that God gives the elite the power to rule, a philosophy which sounds far from democratic.

So, as Clinton and others rake Rev. Wright over the coals and brand him as hateful, unpatriotic and un-American, Clinton aligns herself with the most theocratic and antidemocratic forces in the United States.

Clinton’s ties to The Family explain a lot of things, including her support for federal funding of faith-based initiatives, and her co-sponsorship with former Senator Santorum of the Workplace Religious Freedom Act. The act would allow pharmacists to refuse to fill birth control prescriptions, and allow police officers to refuse to protect abortion clinics, on religious grounds.

Her ties to The Family also help to explain, in part, her willingness to provide the Republican Party with their best material in attacking Obama. Praising John McCain’s for his experience, while denigrating Obama as inexperienced, unelectable and not up to the job of president (in other words, Black), Clinton seems to be an enthusiastic and effective cheerleader for a conservative victory in November.

(It should be noted, as an aside, that Clinton’s defining moment involved the trashing of another Black senator. In her 1969 commencement speech at Wellesley College, Clinton, as class president, embarrassed the keynote speaker, liberal African-American Senator Edward Brooke (R-MA), the first Black senator elected since Reconstruction.)

Meanwhile, when Wright said God Damn America for slavery, for inferior schools and substandard housing, for mass incarceration and for murderous policies, he spoke in the finest tradition of American patriotism. True patriots do not wave the flag and wear a red, white and blue lapel pin and believe their job is done. Rather, the measure of a true patriot is to criticize America when it is doing wrong, when it fails to live up to its constitutional promises, and to challenge the nation to do better. Jeremiah Wright’s God is the God of human rights and social justice, of John Adams and Frederick Douglass, of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Malcolm X, of Mahatma Gandhi and Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel.

But the God which Clinton and The Family appear to recognize - one which anoints and ordains entrenched power for power’s sake, blesses military death squads and endorses corrupt and oppressive regimes - is a completely different matter. Editorial Board member David A. Love, JD is a lawyer and journalist based in Philadelphia, and a contributor to the Progressive Media Project, McClatchy-Tribune News Service, In These Times and Philadelphia Independent Media Center. He contributed to the book, States of Confinement: Policing, Detention, and Prisons (St. Martin's Press, 2000). Love is a former Amnesty International UK spokesperson, organized the first national police brutality conference as a staff member with the Center for Constitutional Rights, and served as a law clerk to two Black federal judges. His blog is Click here to contact Mr. Love.

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April 3, 2008
Issue 271

is published every Thursday

Executive Editor:
Bill Fletcher, Jr.
Peter Gamble
Est. April 5, 2002
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