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May 06, 2008

And what about your Pastor, Mr. Gerson?

Posted in: 2008 Election,Republicans,Talking Heads

Michael Gerson has spent several Op-Eds decrying Barack Obama’s pastor and the latter’s failure to leave his church over the reverend’s occasional inflammatory or off-the-wall statements.

But what of the writer tossing stones?

Gerson is a member of the Falls Church in Falls Church, Va. His congregation and the nearby Truro Church, played the key role in leading 11 Virginia parishes out of the Episcopal Church after the Church consecrated Gene Robinson, an openly gay man as bishop in 2003. Most of these parishes joined the Church of Nigeria, which Archbishop Peter Akinola leads…

In February 2006, 10 months before Gerson’s church made the final decision to affiliate with Akinola, Bishop John Bryson Chane of the Episcopal Diocese of Washington (full disclosure, he is my boss) published an op-ed piece in The Washington Post calling attention to proposed Nigerian legislation (here, on page 12) supported by Akinola that –interpreted as narrowly as possible—would have significantly curtailed the rights of gays, lesbians and their supporters to speak about their lives in public, assemble or practice their religion. Interpreted more broadly, language that aimed at stopping any displays of same-sex affection, public or private, direct or indirect, was a prescription for home invasion.

One of the more objectionable clauses in this legislation reads:

Any person who is involved in the registration of gay clubs, societies and organizations, sustenance, procession or meetings, publicity and public show of same sex amorous relationship directly or indirectly in public and in private is guilty of an offence and liable on conviction to a term of 5 years imprisonment.

Sweet. I can see now why Gerson is so offended…oh, wait, no I can’t.

And while Jeremiah Wright served as a marine, Michael Gerson’s minister may have experiences of a, well, more offensive nature:

In May, The Atlantic magazine raised new and more troubling concerns about Akinola. In “God’s Country,” the writer Eliza Griswold, daughter of the Rt. Rev. Frank Griswold, former Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church, describes a retributive massacre in the Nigerian town of Yelwa carried out in 2004 by a well-organized band of men, wearing clothing and tags that identified them as members of the Christian Association of Nigeria. Akinola was president of CAN during the massacre, which Human Rights Watch reports claimed the lives of approximately 700 Muslims. Dozens of others were kidnapped, raped or maimed…

When asked if those wearing name tags that read “Christian Association of Nigeria” had been sent to the Muslim part of Yelwa, the archbishop grinned. “No comment,” he said. “No Christian would pray for violence, but it would be utterly naive to sweep this issue of Islam under the carpet.” He went on, “I’m not out to combat anybody. I’m only doing what the Holy Spirit tells me to do. I’m living my faith, practicing and preaching that Jesus Christ is the one and only way to God, and they respect me for it. They know where we stand. I’ve said before: let no Muslim think they have the monopoly on violence.”

Wow, ambivalence about, if not possible connection to, acts I’m pretty sure are not implied on WWJD bracelets — funny how Gerson hasn’t managed to distance himself from such a Church.

But then again, he’s a Republican.

(picture from One.org)


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