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June 12th, 2009
06:34 AM ET

Avlon: ‘Wingnuts’ spread hate of Obama, Jews

Editor’s note: John P. Avlon is the author of Independent Nation: How Centrists Can Change American Politics and writes a weekly column for The Daily Beast. Previously, he served as Chief Speechwriter for New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani and was a columnist and associate editor for The New York Sun.

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="Reverend Jeremiah Wright (L) and Pastor Wiley S. Drake (R). Getty Images."]

A new survey by the Pew Research Center reaffirms that America is a religious nation, but it also shows that young voters across the political spectrum are turning away from the inter-mixed influence of religion on politics.

This week’s wingnuts on the left and right offer examples of why the separation of church and state is making a common sense comeback for this new generation – the Reverend Jeremiah Wright and Pastor Wiley Drake.

Rev. Jeremiah Wright became a staple of campaign ’08 with comments that elevated him to all-time Wingnut Hall of Fame. But after he almost sank former parishioner Barack Obama’s campaign for the presidency, Rev. Wright mercifully faded into the background.

That was until this week when he reinserted himself into the political debate with an interview to Virginia’s Daily Press, in which he said: “Them Jews aren't going to let him [President Obama] talk to me." Read more

This off-hand anti-Semitism brings to mind the reverend’s previously infamous sermons. There were his post-9/11 comments that “We have supported state terrorism against the Palestinians and black South Africans and now we are indignant because the stuff we have done overseas is now brought right back to our own front yards. America’s chickens are coming home to roost.”

There was the accusation that the U.S. government was behind the AIDS virus and the infamous riff that “The government gives them the drugs, builds bigger prisons, passes a three-strike law and then wants us to sing ‘God Bless America.’ No, no, no, God damn America, that’s in the Bible for killing innocent people. God damn America for treating our citizens as less than human. God damn America for as long as she acts like she is God and she is supreme.”

In this week’s comments, Rev. Wright reaffirmed that he has no regrets for these and other flashes of extremism from his 20 years on the pulpit in Chicago, which were characterized by content as well as controversy. At a time when President Obama is trying to build new bridges to moderates throughout the Middle East, Rev. Wright’s comments remain unhelpful in the extreme.

On the right is a less widely-known name. Pastor Wiley Drake served as a second vice president of the Southern Baptist Convention in 2006 and 2007. In 2008, he ran to be vice president of the United States alongside former ambassador and Obama adversary Alan Keyes on a fringe third party ticket. Now he says that he is praying for President Obama’s death after his prayers for the death of Kansas abortionist George Tiller were "answered."

Drake’s comments were first reported by the Associated Baptist Press. In a follow-up interview with radio show host Alan Colmes, Drake defended his statements by saying, “George Tiller was far greater in his atrocities than Adolf Hitler…so I am happy. I am glad that he is dead.” Then he went a good deal farther into the outer-reaches of crazytown by revealing that he has also been offering "imprecatory prayers” against “the usurper that is in the White House…B. Hussein Obama.”

When offered repeated chances to clarify or correct his comment, the Orange County-based preacher dug even deeper. “If he does not turn to God and does not turn his life around, I am asking God to enforce imprecatory prayers that are throughout the Scripture that would cause him death, that's correct."

These are not just “extreme prayers” – as some have said – this is the most un-Christian prayer imaginable and Southern Baptist Convention was quick to denounce the comments. Drake himself tries to avoid responsibility by saying simply that whether the prayers are answered is the will of God, he is just a messenger. But his comments do a great disservice to all members of the faith community – many of whom have influenced our politics in positive and profound ways – from Billy Graham to Martin Luther King to Rick Warren.

Wingnuts are sometimes silly, sometimes serious and sometimes downright scary. But in all cases we can best confront their extremism by addressing it directly, because – as the old saying goes – sunlight is the best disinfectant. In this case, no person or political party should act like it owns the Bible  and this week’s wingnuts prove that both the right and left have voices on the pulpit who try to divide us rather than unite us.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of John Avlon.

Filed under: Wingnuts of the week
soundoff (195 Responses)
  1. cinamingrl

    Drake has long gone off the deep end. He uses his pulpit for his own personal agendas. Such as "boycotting Disneyland" for employing gays.....and his latest escapade, trying to prove that the President is an "illegal alien". Drake seems to suffer from a mental illness named "narcissistic personality disorder". People who suffer from this illness have symptoms such as delusions of grandeur. He seems to believe that acting like an insane person will get him fame. But he is only making a spectacle of himself. I feel sorry for his family. He has become an embarrassment to the FSBC. Maybe at one time his ideas about helping the homeless were positive and helpful. But he has turned his pulpit into a circus. His church services are no longer religious, but more political. And some people have been thrown out of the church physically for dissenting out loud. And there are a lot of O.C. citizens who dissent over his insane beliefs. If he'd use his position for the good of mankind, instead of for his own personal agendas, he night be doing a service to Orange County. But he isn't. He should go back to Arkansas where his racism and hick ways are accepted. Because most of the citizens in O.C. think he is crazy and needs to be institutionalized.

    July 14, 2009 at 7:34 pm |
  2. cinamingrl

    Drake has long gone off the deep end. He uses his pulpit for his own personal agendas. Such as "boycotting Disneyland" for employing gays.....and his latest escapade, trying to prove that the President is an "illegal alien". Drake seems to suffer from a mental illness named "narcissistic personality disorder". People who suffer from this illness have symptoms such as delusions of grandeur. He seems to believe that acting like an insane person will get him fame. But he is only making a spectacle of himself. I feel sorry for his family. He has become an embarrassment to the FSBC. Maybe at one time his ideas about helping the homeless were positive and helpful. But he has turned his pulpit into a circus. His church services are no longer religious, but more political. And some people have been thrown out of the church physically for dissenting out loud. If he'd use his position for the good of mankind, instead of for how own personal agendas, he night be doing a service to Orange County. But he isn't. He should go back to Arkansas where his racism and hick ways are accepted. Because most of the citizens in O.C. think he is crazy and needs to be institutionalized.

    July 12, 2009 at 11:07 pm |
  3. Robert W.

    Thank you floyd for the anti-santite remark. I needed a smile today.

    June 15, 2009 at 12:03 pm |
  4. floyd

    Lars Rosen and Checkin Facts:
    The neo-nazi also hated government and all brownish people (i.e., most people on the planet). That, my friends, is solid right-wing territory. I doubt that he has much interest in reducing health care costs for people who can't afford it.

    June 13, 2009 at 2:26 pm |
  5. floyd

    Robert W wrote: 'As soon as I read someone saying “Religion is the cause of all violence” I know what their religion is: Atheism.'
    Well, Bob, I don't believe in the Easter Bunny or Santa Claus. What would you call my religion? Aeasterbunnieism? Oh no, am I and anti-santite?

    June 13, 2009 at 2:13 pm |
  6. Georgia Peach

    Chris, its the tone that he used is what makes it racist/prejudiced. Respectfully, he could have addressed them by name. ie. "Rahm Emmanuel & David Axelrod won't let me speak with him.

    The Reverand reduced the President's Chief Advisors to a label, and that label was not meant to be a compliment. Them Jews or Those Blacks or Those Whites...all have racist/stereotypical/prejudicial tones to it.

    Reverand White has a million dollar home based in Tinley Park, Ill which is 90% White and 1.5% Black-go figure. He doesn't want to live around the Blacks he preaches to, but feels quite comfortable in a White community & neighbors he's racist towards. He also had an affair with a White woman.

    I just don't get it. Either he is preaching a lie to profit off of Blacks to get tithes and really doesn't harbor ill feelings towards Whites or he's lying to Blacks and wants to rub his wealth in the faces of Whites by living where they live.

    June 12, 2009 at 8:48 pm |
  7. chris

    I'm trying to find what is racist about rev wright's comments. Calling Jews Jews isn't anymore racist than calling British British or Black Black.

    June 12, 2009 at 7:41 pm |
  8. George

    Ignorance, stupidity, and un-Christlike behavior have no religion or race. The very idea of "men of God" having these views should be scary and possibly a wakeup call to those who subscribe to a religion.

    June 12, 2009 at 5:27 pm |
  9. Georgia Peach

    How can the President be owned/run by the Jews when malicious rumors are being spread about him being a Muslim?

    Has anyone noticed that Hannity and O'Reilly both mentioned and aired Rev. Wrights' rant but noticeably made NO mention of the shooting of a Black Officer at the Holocaust Museum? I would think they would at least come out and say that the officer was a "True Patriot."

    June 12, 2009 at 4:30 pm |
  10. walleye

    Anyone who says the president should be dead is a seriously ill individual and should be taken off the streets in a straight jacket.

    June 12, 2009 at 4:24 pm |
  11. Lars Rosen

    The neo nazi hated president reagan, both bushes, neocons, and blamed the iraq and afghan wars on israel. He was also planning to shoot up the weekly standard magazine staff, and claimed that socialism was the way of the future. ...He was hardly right wing. Sounds way more like a left wing loon to me.

    June 12, 2009 at 4:21 pm |
  12. Checkin Facts

    Von Bronn is a LEFT Wing Extremist. The media is trying to spin him as Right Wing, but the sum of his beliefs (and hates) make him Far Left (just like Hitler).

    He hates the military, businesses, the oil companies, conservatives, etc.

    Research and see for your self.

    June 12, 2009 at 4:18 pm |
  13. JBJ

    Two comments:

    1) The statement "The pulpit as a fountain of prejudice and extremism flourished under the Bush Administration" is the most ridiculous thing I have ever heard. You can't blame everything on Bush.

    2) None of the examples given are what I would consider Christian fundamentalist. Fundamentalist (of which I am one) simply have a more literal interpretation of the Bible. Fundamentalist are not Christian Jihadist. Also, the notion that the world would be better without religion is lunacy. There are a few places that run on similar notions (I.e. China). If you want to be rid of religion, feel free to move there.

    June 12, 2009 at 4:14 pm |
  14. Robert W.

    As soon as I read someone saying "Religion is the cause of all violence" I know what their religion is: Atheism. This is one of their common doctrines.

    June 12, 2009 at 4:10 pm |
  15. Ellen

    In Stan Romanek's book, Messages, The World's Most Documented Extraterrestrial Contact Story, p. 220, he says, "However, unlike what we hear in our religions – that seem to have God pretty well figured out – [the entity] told us that God is beyond human understanding. In fact, [the entities] are still trying to understand the concept of the divine themselves, making me wonder about humans who can put on a robe and claim to be an authority in this area.

    June 12, 2009 at 3:57 pm |
  16. Granny6

    My God is a God of Love from Genesis to Revelation. Jesus, God's Son, was the perfect example of Love for his people. Those who teach any other thing are in great error - preacher or not. We are urged to watch for those wolves who come disguised as sheep- and I think you have probably put the spotlight on a couple of long-fanged ones. You have a few more for next week???? I am shocked!!

    June 12, 2009 at 3:56 pm |
  17. Maureen

    As I sat on the subway in Philly today, running late for work, so it wasn't as crowded at 9am as it is at 8, a man with white extremist tattoos all over his neck and hands sat across the aisle, and behind him a latino man. And they sat, and talked amiably about their neighborhood, and their kids and the parking issues they'd been having, and discussed some barbecue someone was having tomorrow.
    Then about 10 stops later, the latino man exited, saying he'd see the other man and his family at the party, and another man who had been standing not too far away sat in the empty seat and the man with the tats started chatting with him – about the latino man. He said to him, "Oh, he's one of the good ones," and the other man shook his head and said, "you shouldn't encourage him like that."
    My stop was immediately after that. I was... appalled. It's not even so much the racism and extremism as – just the sheer hypocrisy!

    June 12, 2009 at 3:50 pm |
  18. Dale

    For those who would condemn all religion for inciting hatred, let me remind you: The Nazis and Adolf Hitler used SCIENCE, not religion to justify their atrocities. Aryan race was (supposedly) genetically superior, Jews, a genetic regression, etc. All pseudoscientific, no religion involved. You may say that science was used inappropriately, and you would be right. But in the case of these crazy preachers, I would say religion is being used inappropriately. Religion can and does provide good works such as religious charity groups that were far more effective than the government during hurricane Katrina. Thus, I take the advice of the Bible and judge a tree by it's fruits. Good organizations do good things, bad organizations do bad things. Religion or science has nothing to do with good or bad.

    June 12, 2009 at 3:48 pm |
  19. Jeff in St Louis

    "If the love within your mind is lost and you see other beings as enemies, then no matter how much knowledge, education or material comfort you have, only suffering and confusion will ensue."

    Sounds like something from the 'good' book? Its from Buddha actually. I am not a Buddhist, but in light of the recent shootings it seemed appropriate.

    Great article. Its about time someone pointed out that extremist views are not owned by the right.

    June 12, 2009 at 3:46 pm |
  20. Amanda B.

    WSS said, "And, as a general rule, the people on the left side of the political spectrum do not kill their ideological adversaries."

    Have you ever heard of Stalin, Lenin, Mao, Che, or Castro?

    June 12, 2009 at 3:41 pm |
  21. Diane R CP Fla

    Just remember, Southern Baptist Churches have very deep roots of preaching segregationist theology from its pulpits in the deep South up until the early to mid-1960's. It has now become more subtle, of course. This denomination was very heavily infiltrated and its ministers influenced by the Ku Klux Klan in the 1920's. The influence by the KKK on this Christian Protestant sect fostered the idea by using the Bible to promote the idea that one of Noah's son's – Ham – was turned black as a curse from God because of some nebulous slight of God' sacrement- and that being a negro, along with their enslavement, was God demonstrating eternal hatred of evil (does this sound familiar from some of the other posting here). Mixed race marriage was, and still is, considered an abomination against God by this religious cult. That explains their contempt for President Obama. I know what I'm talking about. I was born and reared in Northwest Florida (site of the murder of two abortion doctors) and, as a child, had to sit Sunday after Sunday listening to this racist tripe. I was a young teenager during the height of the Civil Rights movement in the deep South. I personally witnessed the March on Selma, the lunch counter sit-ins, and for years thought Dr. Martin Luther King was a communist agent forcing vile socialism and mixed race marriages on us pure little Southern white girls. Why did I believe this? Because my Southern Baptist preacher and my Daddy told me so. Fortunately, I outgrew this crap. But, most of my family remains entrenched is this mindset, which is continuing to be fostered by the modern Sourthern Baptist Church. Further, it is also being deliberately and maliciously perpetuated by Fox News, Glen Beck and Rush Limbaugh. Their smouldering, hateful rhetoric is no different than anyone of the segregationist, hell-fire and brimstone Southern Baptist preachers I heard growing up. If you don't believe me, just listen to Limbaugh or Beck's rhetorical cadence, then watch the movie, Elmer Gantry. Perpetuation of this ideology, by deliberately preying on the ignorance of the poor and uneducated white southerner, is also known as the Republican Southern Strategy, started by Richard Nixon and raised to an art form by Lee Atwater (Ronald Reagan's political strategist) and Karl Rove (George Bush's political strategist). That's also why Fox News, Beck and Limbaugh are so pro-Republican. They're paid very well by the Republican elitists to continue to stoke the fires of hatred and intolerance.

    June 12, 2009 at 3:38 pm |
  22. Dale

    Extremist left, extremist right... both crazy, both dangerous. Have you ever heard of a moderate that went nuts and and started advocating violence against those that disagree with him?

    I am a moderate. So I appear "liberal" to the far right crowd and "neocon" to the far left crowd. But by definition, I am normal, extremists are not. And extremists are nearly always wrong, regardless of which way they lean.

    June 12, 2009 at 3:34 pm |
  23. justin

    CNN, Communist News Network...

    June 12, 2009 at 3:28 pm |
  24. Joe

    You need to add Keith Olbermann , Chris Matthews, Maddow and Shultz to this list also...oh what the heck...just add the entire MSNBC channel....they are all left-wingnuts who constantly preach hatred at anyone who defends traditional American values!!!!!

    June 12, 2009 at 3:26 pm |
  25. Marcia Mason

    Wingnuts is the name given to fans of the Detroit Red Wings Hockey team. It's a shame you have put them in the same league with these hardliners. I really resent it, especially today on the eve of the 7th game of the Stanley Cup series. May you feel "The Fear of the Joe".

    June 12, 2009 at 3:18 pm |
  26. Anne

    "...he has also been offering “imprecatory prayers” against “the usurper that is in the White House…B. Hussein Obama.”

    And just how different is “imprecatory prayers” from a fatwa? Isn't what Wright said (Jews control Obama) just what the Holocaust museum murderer wrote? We in this country need to understand fully that Islam does not hold the market on extremism. We have a goodly supply of Christian fundamentalists here who are just as dangerous as any Islamic terrorist. These wingnuts twist their respective religions to satisfy their own beliefs. Bush/Cheney and their comrades in crime and deceit are out of power, and the frightened righters are crawling out of the woodwork now. The faltering economy doesn't help any either. Shades of 1930s Germany? You betchya. Don't think history can't repeat itself here. We must be on guard. The wingnuts are being nurtured by Faux News, Rush Limburger, et al. If you disagree with the wingnuts, say so and publicly. Those of us who believe in the Constitution (time to ring out the establishment clause, folks) and in freedom for ALL must speak out. Dick Cheney came as close to Hitler as I ever want to see in this nation. Let's be the Land of the Free and Home of the Brave again. Stand up to this ugliness.
    Oh, BTW, Obama was duly and solidly elected, unlike Bush/Cheney. Talk about usurpers.

    June 12, 2009 at 3:15 pm |
  27. Pete

    This is so typical of religious zealots. They have the attitude that they are closer to God than us heathens and that they know what God wants and is thinking. That is one reason why this country is becoming more secular. People don't have problems with God or the Scriptures; it's these fanatics and fear-mongers that turn people off. Ministers are supposed to help people spiritually, not try to control public opinion and perception in the political world. The combination of religion and politics is a deadly mixture. How many millions of people have died "in the name of God"? Religion is to be discussed and reveled in within the Church, not to be used as a hammer to force compliance on election days.

    June 12, 2009 at 3:14 pm |
  28. Karen

    These men are just like the losers (aka terrorists) spouting hate and HIDING behind religion to do it. What is up with these so-called Christians? Sure you have some ignorant people in the world but what does religion have to do with it. Alot of these types of losers think that because you use religion with the rhetoric that they are spewing, it makes it sound okay......IT'S NOT. It's still hate and there is NO religion that teaches hate. Remember, we are all born with the capacity to love and be loved, but we must be TAUGHT to hate.

    June 12, 2009 at 3:11 pm |
  29. Dennis

    Once again, issues like this just go to show how religion is really at the root of the world's problems. We'd all be better off if we left religion behind.

    June 12, 2009 at 3:06 pm |
  30. Lo

    these ignorant, uneducated, extremists are no better than the Taliban and should be dealt with the same way!

    June 12, 2009 at 3:06 pm |
  31. renee

    Thank you. This was timely and appropriately balanced. I, too, want to emphasize the separation of church and state. I believe it is extremely important for all citizens' civil rights to keep religion out of politics.

    And specifically to Greg, Von Bronn shouldn't get any more media time at all. He's a murderer and not deserving of any more press coverage lest he get his "hate message" out. The victim deserves the coverage.

    June 12, 2009 at 2:57 pm |
  32. Bob

    Why on earth would a responsible Christian denomination have someone like Drake in a leadership position, let alone 2nd vice president !?! It sounds like some of the leadership of the Southern Baptist Convention has a lot of work to do on this front, but they seems to be more happy to demonize anyone who disagrees with them.

    June 12, 2009 at 2:56 pm |
  33. Gayle

    Many of you individuals falsely place the blame on religion. Yes, there has been much evil done in the name of religion, but religion hardly holds a monopoly on the worlds evils. More often than not a few evil people harness the religious fervor of a group of people to commit atrocities. Having said that, some of the worlds worst evil doers were not religious, and include the likes of Hitler, Stalin, Lenin, Pol Pot, Kim Jong Il, Kim Il Sung, Mao, and the Castro Brothers. It has not been reported much at all, but the supposed "right wing nutjob" James von Brunn was not religious either. He was in fact an anti-christian, socialist, which of course would make him a "left wing nutjob", wouldn't it. Your anti-religion sentiments are no better than those of the afore mentioned evil doers.

    June 12, 2009 at 2:55 pm |
  34. Terrie

    Sad but it seems these two men have brought more reproach on churches than they have on themselves. We all know that religion has caused more wars thru out history and is still causing wars and killing of innocent people. I thank my God that I have no religion but Salvation and Grace. These two men need to repent and their church leaders need to reevaluate if they really want them in there pulpits. John Avalon keep up the good work!!!!

    June 12, 2009 at 2:52 pm |
  35. tootall

    They need to add Mr. Hannity Limbaugh into the mix here. They also preach the panic and terror to skew to reality of what is the truth. Like the birth cerificate joke.. whats the difference of what these nutballs are doing from the new Radical Republican Wingnuts. Birds of a feather...

    June 12, 2009 at 2:51 pm |
  36. T-Rey

    Follow me for a second folks...These guys and people like them are good to have around because they are shining examples of what NOT to be. They provide the perfect counter balance to rationality, thereby validating what we believe is right. Kind of like saying you need the "bad" to have the "good." Plus, they are SO extreme that they aren't menacing hatemongers; they are caricatures. So I say spout your vitriol, you fools, you make us cling to what is right and true even more genuinely. However, it is very bothersome that they are both supposedly men of faith. Not a very good representation of that.

    June 12, 2009 at 2:49 pm |
  37. Paul

    Since, at 7, when a priest put a knife to my throat, Ive found that those at the pulpit are there only to serve themselves.

    June 12, 2009 at 2:49 pm |
  38. BrianG, Sugar Land, TX

    Being a centerist, both the far right and far left scared the bejeez outta me.

    Worst part...they're both armed to the teeth.

    June 12, 2009 at 2:47 pm |
  39. Vito

    I would love to see the day when religion no longer has any roll in the US government. Humanity has been and continues to be torn apart by religion, a concept that has never produced a shred of evidence that it is based on fact.

    June 12, 2009 at 2:47 pm |
  40. Fred

    I would also include in the "wingnut" category folks like Rush Limbaugh and the other denizens of hate radio. Day after day of hate mongering -while protected by the first amendant- does have consequences. I am not sure what we can do about it, but we should not hesitate to point out that these "mainstream" hate-mongers can cause as much damage as the lone wolf types like von Brunn.

    June 12, 2009 at 2:46 pm |
  41. Victory Gin

    Bob...'There is no sense in claiming that religion should be separate from politics, unless you believe that Christians should not participate in politics. Anyone who takes their faith seriously must consider it when voting or holding office. '

    I have no problem with those of faith holding office. My problem is when they interject THEIR beliefs into the laws of the realm. The laws that govern many that DON'T believe in the particulars of said politician's religious doctrine. That's where they need to keep their religion out of OUR government.

    The moment someone in public office determines the outcome of a situation (judge over a case, polititian creating law) by declaring it's what god would want, then they should be shown the door. Keep your religion at home and all will be right with the world.

    June 12, 2009 at 2:45 pm |
  42. Steve

    The most telling comment from Rev White is the last quote from the CNN article. How does this register against Obama’s lie about going to this church for 20 years and never hearing this kind of speech?

    “Regret for what…that the media went back five, seven, 10 years and spent $4,000 buying 20 years worth of sermons to hear what I’ve been preaching for 20 years?” he said. “Regret for preaching like I’ve been preaching for 50 years? Absolutely none.”

    June 12, 2009 at 2:42 pm |
  43. buckwheat

    Everyone that did not vote Democrat in this election is a wing nut now.Before the end of Democracy on Jan 20th 2009 we could have opinions even In REV Wrights church. Our government did not own any banks and they did not own any car companies. We did not have any Czars that no one knows where the hell they are or who they are. They were all in Russia dead and underground until this last election.

    June 12, 2009 at 2:42 pm |
  44. Kevin

    I find it interesting Ardwulf emphasizes the lack of repudiation of Limbaugh by the Republicans, Drake by the Baptists, or radical muslims by the moderate muslim community. He implies he is a neutral observer when discussing the anti-abortion issue and the murder of Dr. Tiller.
    Yet, his comment is noticably lacking in repudiation of Wright's comments or Obama's extended and extensive relationship with his pastor.
    Ardwulf condemns Republicans for not calling Limbaugh out on his "racist and anti-american statements". Yet the article clearly outlines Wright's position, "God damn America". Has Limbaugh ever made such an anti-american statement? Yet, this drew no criticism from Ardwulf at all.
    Ardwulf is far from neutral on this subject. His comments are every bit as partisan as those praying for the death of Obama.

    June 12, 2009 at 2:41 pm |
  45. Jordan

    There is more hate and reacism now that Obama is president.

    Why no news on the army recruiter killed by the muslim?

    Why is CNN hiding the tons of negative news against this administration but pound any semblance of good news into Americans heads?

    CNN has really become a joke...and for years and years I defended you against people who had these same thoughts. Now I truly see it for what it is.

    Signed: another person leaving CNN for FOX...who tells the truth, and reports everything...negative or positive.
    Its almost as if Hussein Obama Dictates to CNN on what to publish and have become nothing but a lackey for this false admin and are losing many viewers by the minute......your creditbility is going down the drain.

    June 12, 2009 at 2:40 pm |
  46. Ralph

    CNN forgot Glen Beck who used to work for them. Imagine that! How about the big sigh of relief after Beck claimed FEMA was setting up concentration camps to house right wing decenter. Is he a wingnut????

    June 12, 2009 at 2:39 pm |
  47. David

    THE TWO BIGGEST "mainstream" hate groups in the Unites States are the Southern Baptists and the Catholic Church. They have done more to damage organized religion and the Republican Party than can be put into words. Until the Republicans distance themselves from these 2 "clans" and move to the center, they are doomed.

    June 12, 2009 at 2:37 pm |
  48. Robert W

    People should read the bible. As Christians we are allowed to and encouraged to read the bible for ourselves. This is how we can see when the nut jobs are trying to lead us down some political trail instead of teaching what God “said”.

    June 12, 2009 at 2:35 pm |
  49. Ponder

    The kingdom of heaven lies within. Extremist religions will never acknowledge this because then they lose all reason for existence. Hate has no place in true faith.

    June 12, 2009 at 2:34 pm |
  50. Russell

    It scares me so much that leaders of the church will preach things such as, 'I pray that our president gets killed'. There are so many lunatic religious nuts out there that will continue to believe and live by everything that comes out of their preachers mouth. Someone will take this literally and we will have an enormous tragedy on our hands once again.
    I am by no means a religious man, and believe that no God is responsible for the well-being of our nation, our jobs, our health, our successes and failures. It is our own determination and drive and 'common sense', people, that will propel us to an Nation that can live amongst one-another. Please put your bibles down and act like a respectable, educated, human being. It is your honus, not some imaginary figure in the sky, to get out there and find a job, or get yourself educated, or help that person in need... God isn't going to do this for you. No matter how much you continue to pray, it's all going to come down to you. The sooner you all get this, the sooner we will get back to normal.

    June 12, 2009 at 2:33 pm |
  51. Alex

    I personally believe that most people, right or left, are half-decent, honorable people who take advantage of the First Amendment and complain about – or support – the government of the day, and then go on to their daily lives. Unfortunately all it takes is one guy with a gun or a bomb who is just a nut and you have grief. Like what just happened at the museum in Washington. He may be the only person in the whole world that holds his particular beliefs, but it still has had a hell of an impact on Officer Johns and his family.

    June 12, 2009 at 2:32 pm |
  52. buckwheat

    I really don't think anyone writing to this opinion sight think they are
    a -nanny -.mouse. If the goon squad knocks on your door just go peacefully. Hell you might wind up in Bermuda on a beautiful island paradise if your government is willing to put up enough money to get rid of you. I have lived 72 years in paradise .You who voted for Obama might get lucky too and may not even have to work for it as we did.

    June 12, 2009 at 2:31 pm |
  53. Franklin

    "Cobra Montana June 12th, 2009 1:35 pm ET

    Hope his prayers are answered!!!!!!!! "

    You are one sick person.

    June 12, 2009 at 2:31 pm |
  54. Dominic

    Thank you for printing this.
    Religion kills... faith is peace.

    June 12, 2009 at 2:31 pm |
  55. Andi

    A man of the cloth is praying for OUR President's demise? Wow. I hate to think what the rest of his congregation is like. Domestic Terrorists in training.....

    June 12, 2009 at 2:29 pm |
  56. Leigh

    "...based on peace and science?" Would that be the "peace" of the science that gave us the atom bomb and Mutual Assured Destruction? Would that be the "peace" of the science that gave us eugenics? Would that be the "peace" of the science that "proved" that blacks were genetically inferior to whites, and women geneticially inferior to men? I'm not claiming that religion has a perfect track record in the peace department, not by any means, but believing that science can bring perfect peace is just as much a question of faith as believing that religion can - either way, it's believing in something that can't be proven one way or the other. And, on this particular subject, believing that either is going to solve our problems all by itself is wrong.

    June 12, 2009 at 2:26 pm |
  57. Norm Deplume, Esq.

    WSS says

    "And, as a general rule, the people on the left side of the political spectrum do not kill their ideological adversaries."

    Wow, that's an ignorant statement. Millions have died worldwide at the hands of leftwing regimes or extremists.

    June 12, 2009 at 2:26 pm |
  58. Harley

    You're ducking the REAL wingnut of the week: the neo-Nazi who tried to shoot up the Holocaust museum. That was nothing short of a right-wing terrorist, and making Jeremiah Wright - a small-time nobody idiot who nobody would be paying any attention to at all if not for last year's controversy - the symbol of anti-Semitism when you have a neo-Nazi murderer attacking Holocaust museums is so dishonest as to rob you of all credibility. I know you like to balance things out with a "left-wing extremist" - and they are out there, and Jeremiah Wright is one of them - but to make him the poster-child for anti-Semitism when a right-winger is actually killing people... that's disingenous.

    June 12, 2009 at 2:26 pm |
  59. eddieblue

    97% of the US population are Christians.

    The remaining 3% run everything – from our foreign policy to our schools, media and – most importantly – where we fight wars and have our Christian boys die.

    What happened to democracy ?
    Majority rule?

    Not anymore – we was robbed!

    June 12, 2009 at 2:25 pm |
  60. Julie

    Religion is everything that is wrong in the world. It would be a peaceful place without it. So much controversy is brought on because of these myths that people believe in. The rate of education and religion are inversely related. The higher the education, the lower the religion. I think that says something. If I had an imaginary friend, I'd be deemed crazy but religious people talk (pray) to something that does not exist so I think its time to do what Fidal did and give religion the boot. And extremists like these are just prime cases of the hypocrisy that goes hand in hand with religion.

    June 12, 2009 at 2:25 pm |
  61. RB

    To Bob: I am very confused by the glaring dichotomy within your blog. You announce a call to stop "promoting ignorance," after posting perhaps the MOST ignorant blog on this page. I seperate my religion and my politics every single day of my life. If YOU truly knew anything about the Bible, you would remember that the kingdom of God is WITHIN you. It is NOT represented within your vote. Placing your religion and your politics on the same field, makes you no better than the Jihadists. You and your ilk use religion to fill people with the fear of what you believe will be God's retribution. Based upon your ignorant, fear-mongering statements, I would wager that, in fact, you know NOTHING about God.

    June 12, 2009 at 2:24 pm |
  62. Dave

    Let's see: Leftist radicals are bad (International Socialists), and Rightist "wingnuts" are bad (National Socialists).

    Therefore Socialism is bad and should be rejected in favor of limited government.

    A Socialist is only a Communist who doesn't know enough to load a gun.

    June 12, 2009 at 2:24 pm |
  63. JP

    Good piece. People like these two, as well as von Brunn need to be completely shunned from society. It's not necessarily the religious leaders that fuel this kind of behavior, but the internet has absolutely made it easier to harbor these kinds of crazies and other deviants and make them feel like they have a community like those on Stormfront and others– people who share their absolutely crazy views.

    Their web sites need to be taken down, they need to not be able to rally hatred in such ways. Removing their communicative link would break them apart. The only solution is removal from acceptance. If they stop feeling accepted, they'll either change their ways or end their lives. To be honest? Either is fine.

    June 12, 2009 at 2:22 pm |
  64. Letcommonsenseprevail

    Big D and Shelly, you prove my theory correct once again. No matter which blog is posted, no matter the content, former President Bush, former VP candidate Palin and Rush Limbaugh will be blamed for it. The hate that is spewed on these posts is amazing. Ever think that YOU might be the problem? Ever imagine in your sad little lives that maybe, just maybe, someone may have NOT consulted with the aforementioned people before acting? Of course not. According to YOUR line of thinking EVERY issue ANYONE has is to be blamed on them.

    Grow up and please, for all of us, DON'T BREED!

    June 12, 2009 at 2:22 pm |
  65. floyd

    I think 'wingnuts' are characterized more by their approach than by the content of their message. For example, many of Rev Wright's points echo points made by the eminent linguist, Noam Chomsky. The difference is that Chomsky is very well spoken, dispassionate, calm, and methodical in delivering his arguments. He supports them with deep research and provides scores of references, inviting the reader to draw his/her own conclusions based on the evidence. Due to this very scientific and civilized approach to persuasive argument, Chomsky can not, I believe, be called a 'wingnut'. This despite the fact that many believe his views to be strongly left-leaning. Wright, on the other hand, seems to prefer sound bites to carefully constructed arguments, demagoguery to debate, and publicity to public awareness. This, I believe, is what makes him a 'wingnut'.

    June 12, 2009 at 2:22 pm |
  66. Ralph

    People are actually missing the point or do not accept reality. These religions are cults! They no longer represent God's word and use the Bible as a shield, distorting it's true meaning to benefit there extreme beliefs. The right wing has more than enough of these "so-called" faults prophets and the left, including the Catholic church is as hypocritical and guilty. Our fore fathers excluded religion because we escaped from the strangle that religion in Europe place on it's people. The biggest problem Americans face is there willingness to cling to stupidity. Obama is only a man which the majority of Americans elected. The minority of America that did not elect him has enough hatred they want to see something bad happen to him which tells me that the education level is so low that they are easily swayed by these faults prophets. Does anyone remember David Koresh of the church (cult) Branch Davidian? DHS is correct and the right wing is turning into terrorist only because of stupidity.

    June 12, 2009 at 2:21 pm |
  67. Ty Matthews

    This is why humanism is the best religious alternative. All religious zealots need to be converted for the sake of the country. To all those who ascribe to the bible's teachings: please stop considering a collection of 2000-year-old mistranslated diaries as the word of some supreme deity. They are the works of simple men, like you and me, and nothing more. Great storytellers of their time, for sure, but the word of god? No.

    June 12, 2009 at 2:20 pm |
  68. Jordan

    CNN should of published all the Jeremiah Wright stuff before the election.....not 6 months later....many people might not have voted for Obama knowing he followed this reverend for 20 years. You dont continue to listen and take gudance from someone unless you have the same ideas as them and respect and idolize them, like Obama did with Wright.
    CNN has become so wrong lately that I hate the fact that I can no longer respect it as unbiased. I have more respect for FOX news who actually report everything, good or bad, no matter what.

    June 12, 2009 at 2:20 pm |
  69. eric

    Loved the two-sided article. There is no ONE polictical group who has cornered the market on hate or religous zealots. Thanks from an indpendent who does not let religion come into play when making decisions about policitics, or at least tries to minimize the impact.

    June 12, 2009 at 2:19 pm |
  70. ryan

    Some comments on here just don't get it. Extremists from the Left and RIght have killed and maimed countless americans over the years. That is a fact.

    Furthermore, secularism is as likely to breed extremism as religion. Anytime you believe fervently in something you have taken the first step on the road to extremism.

    This isn't about the right or the religious. The vast majority who belong to these groups are neither extreme or violent. Yet, some left wingers want to portray them as such because they want to marginalize them. That is why the Left does that.

    And the assertion that Rush and other right wingers provoke this is laughable. They no more provoke these acts than left wing professors provoke acts of violence by protesting college students.

    I live in a liberal community. I see extremist thoyght each and every day. No one can seriously argue that the Left does not have its fair share of lunatics.

    June 12, 2009 at 2:19 pm |
  71. buckwheat

    If your reporters would go back to May 15 1948 you will find that a Democrat president by the name of Harry Truman started the war we are in now with the Muslims when he was the first to sign the recognition of Israel as a state ,againest all advice of his cabinet. History will have to see how it plays out but young people who don't remember history ,refuse to learn it and don't want to learn by it ,will continue paying the price of war with Islam. Go back to 1946 and punch in King David Hotel and you will find the start of modern terrorism and it was not Muslims who set off the bomb. You decide who was right. I am too old to give a damned now. If go so far as to read about the Crusades you will find that most of our wars were caused by religion in one way or another. it is all about racism lik eit or not.

    June 12, 2009 at 2:18 pm |
  72. Ron

    One guy had it right. The most aetheistic countries seem to have the most peaceful and highest standards of living. The highly, highly religious places like the Middle East are forever at war, and even praying to some god 7 times a day won't help them much. We are in between those two extremes, but surely the United States is still a backward thinking and internationally ignorant country. We are just too full of ourselves to see the reality of things.

    June 12, 2009 at 2:18 pm |
  73. Janine

    The extreme Christian nutjobs are the same as the extreme Muslim nutjobs. They all hide behind religion to justify their actions. There the worst of the bunch. They are using Gods name to justify their hate.

    June 12, 2009 at 2:17 pm |
  74. Stuart M

    To reply to Larry above

    "Them Jews” is not an anti-semitic phrase," Perhaps true, but not a phrase any person respectful and tolerant of people different from himself ever uses.

    "and I have yet to hear anyone argue against his actual point." Obama has selected people around him who are people of talent and insight who share his beliefs as to the directions we ought to be taking to solve our problems. Some are black, some are white; some are Christians and some are Jews. Your willingness to support Wright's assertions marks you as either a person of no perception or a hater yourself. You as Wright have fallen for the age old BS and baseless claim of a Jewish conspiracy to control things, a claim which has been around before the US began to offer to haven to many European immigrants of whom Jewsih immigrants were certainly as powerless as anyone, coming from a Europe which had anti Jewish legislation on its books until the late 20th century, when the Spanish Inquisition, dating from the 1400's was finally cancelled. And this is the group Wricht (and you?) claim for hundreds of years has schemed to control the world? Does that make sense to you? That the powerless are really powerful but take on the lifestyle of disadvantaged as a ruse so no one knows how powerful they are? Then what is the use of the power? Jewish people as well as Poles, Irish, Italians Russians came here for a promise of hope in a better life; some of all groups have failed, some of all groups have prospered.

    June 12, 2009 at 2:16 pm |
  75. Terrance

    Is there a settlement on Mars in the works that we can ship these people to?

    June 12, 2009 at 2:16 pm |
  76. southerncousin

    Kinda like Letterman, CNN and NBC sponsor and encourage hatred of conservatives isn't it. I saw a poll in USA Today that said 38% of the respondents thought Palin overeacted to Lettermans jokes. Was that the case with Imus? Was that the case when Trent Lott made his stupid joke? I think not, It is defininitely the dope heads controlling the media. What about the crap ACORN, and unions spread? Any investigations there? Take a look at Senator Barbara Boxers idiotic remarks.

    June 12, 2009 at 2:16 pm |
  77. Canadian Bacon

    Hey Wingnuttia-Free Zone,
    how many rational, intellectual left leaning people were loudly calling for the death of George Bush? I doubt you complained about that. Even a movie about killing the president was acclaimed but the Media didn't say boo about it. It's art.
    Hypocrites lie on both sides of the spectrum, but Leftists aided by the media in general are on a mission to dupe the American people and can only proclaim hypocrisy on the right. Shame on you all.

    June 12, 2009 at 2:16 pm |
  78. Gary

    Excellent terminology: "Wingnut"! It sums these guys up in one word!

    June 12, 2009 at 2:15 pm |
  79. Patrick

    The wingnuts really shouldn't be given the day of light to speak on the media, and as for the media to constantly be covering them (both left and right) it's their own fault for spreading the word of the extremists.

    I think though, extremism is doing one good thing, it's pushing people away from the religious groups. I'm agnostic, I've been since a Manson concert I wanted to attend was shut down by "concerned catholic parents of the community" . . . yet Snoop Dogg played at the same venue a few weeks later without protest (back in 1997).

    More and more of my friends have been declaring themselves agnostic or athiest, some as secular humanists. I think people are educated enough to make these choices now a days, and they are. The hell with the church and other religious organizations, they all only bring hatred, prejudices, and wars. We should treat them the same way we treat the guy running across the football field naked . . . they cut to another area of the field, a commercial, etc, so the person doesn't recieve the attention they are craving for, but instead for the religious organizations we should just cut them from the media, so the public attention that they crave is not fulfilled.

    PS. Let's stop treating all religious organizations as non-profits and treat them like regular businesses, and tax them!

    June 12, 2009 at 2:14 pm |
  80. Steve Lyons

    Where is your coverage on lesser left threaded wing nuts like Reverend Al Sharpton and Jessie Jackson. They collectively preach hate and reparations although on a less grandiose scale that Reverend Wright got exposed with. Fundamentally they fall in the same class. The US has spent decades moderating both the left and the right, however the continuous upsurge in left leaning (as in socialist) programs, and doctrine has let to what should be an expected countering with a corresponding upswing in libertarian and conservative movement. No socialist program has ever been "free" and the conservative and libertarians understand this. Likewise they resent having to fund "free" things for an ungrateful, and non-contributory left.

    June 12, 2009 at 2:14 pm |
  81. rick

    More blood has been spilled by people who claim to be acting in the name of their God, than for any other reason. The hate that comes out of these two is not much different than what comes out of the middle east.

    June 12, 2009 at 2:14 pm |
  82. Betty

    Wright does not represent the "left" even though he votes with the Dems. Most religious leaders are conservative and are anti-choice, gay marriage,etc. But I get your point. I'm glad Americans are enjoying their religious leaders in their own churches instead of on the campaign trail. Religion and politics should not mix.

    June 12, 2009 at 2:12 pm |
  83. sean

    So if you diagree with the current administration, your are a "wingnut"..whats next? If you disagree with the administration your are a terrorist??

    June 12, 2009 at 2:12 pm |
  84. Hadley V. Baxendale

    "THEM Jews...." Jeremiah Wright is not only crazy. He is ungrammatrical to boot.

    June 12, 2009 at 2:12 pm |
  85. lovet i umesi

    For anyone to be in the news, ALL they need do is insult the person of
    the President. Now I know Pastor Drake, then I knew Pastor Wright. Now I also know Rush & co, who else?

    June 12, 2009 at 2:12 pm |
  86. Doug


    you are an idiot! Of course the two words 'Them Jews' are not anti-semitic in and of themselves, it's the context in which they are used, the implication that Jews somehow secretly control the president and make him do their bidding. That thought is what is Anti-Semitic.

    Also, on the 'sponsorring terrorism' thing... again, you are completely wrong. Terrorism has a well-known definition, and it simply doesn't fit with Rev. Wright's statement. The US is not giving money to any non-government organizations that are carrying out the anonymous murder of civilians. The US is giving money to the Israeli government, which in turn carries out a well-publicized policy of combatting attacks from what they consider their enemies. If a bomb goes off in Palestinian territory, and no one knows how it got there, or if someone anonymously poisons the water supply in a Muslim country, THOSE are acts of terrorism. The Israeli army shooting at or dropping bombs on what they consider to be enemy strongholds is not terrorism. You can disagree with their policy as much as you'd like, call the Israeli government murderers, but one thing they are not is terrorists.

    June 12, 2009 at 2:11 pm |
  87. kyle from ohio

    Just a note from a cnn story from Feb 2009:

    Remember the whole world is watching, The greatest Democracy even know to Mankind.

    MOSCOW - For a decade, Russian academic Igor Panarin has been predicting the U.S. will fall apart in 2010. For most of that time, he admits, few took his argument - that an economic and moral collapse will trigger a civil war and the eventual breakup of the U.S.

    He based the forecast on classified data supplied to him by FAPSI analysts, he says. He predicts that economic, financial and demographic trends will provoke a political and social crisis in the U.S. When the going gets tough, he says, wealthier states will withhold funds from the federal government and effectively secede from the union. Social unrest

    June 12, 2009 at 2:11 pm |
  88. neel t

    The real question is not that these lunatics exist.... How do they have so much power? They are incompetent on one hand but ingenious in their ability to attain power... That's a scary concept and always will be as long as religion exists....

    June 12, 2009 at 2:09 pm |
  89. kate

    Listen up all you knuckleheads. GOD does not like ugly and that means, your evil thoughts and ways. You're all nothing but a bunch of hypocrites. I pray every day for God to help Barack Obama do the right thing and to keep his family safe from all the hatemongers.

    June 12, 2009 at 2:07 pm |
  90. Jon Bae

    I don't think either of these men speak for the majority of Americans but they do show a lot of our underlying discontent with whats going on. Truth is, a lot of people want our president dead, and a lot of people do feel like the system is meant to keep us down instead of bring us up

    June 12, 2009 at 2:07 pm |
  91. Jordan

    If Wright doesn't like it then maybe he should get out of our Great country.

    June 12, 2009 at 2:05 pm |
  92. Gloria

    To Cobra and other hate mongers: Read Steve Williams open letter. You too will experience what he describes. To wish our President dead is patently UN-American! I would guess you also call yourself a Christian, and if so, Jesus would be ashamed to have you claim that.

    I whole-heartedly agree with David that the extreme right wing conservative media (Limbaugh & Faux News especially) are enormously dangerous and evil. They are brainwashing (or trying to) the weak minded and infecting this nation. They are just as evil as these so-called reverends with their hatred. So ironic that those who hold themselves out as righteously religious are destroying instead of creating, hating instead of loving, hurting instead of helping and go against every precept of their religious philosophies.

    I did not agree with nor like Bush, but I never wished him dead. For one thing, that would have only meant Cheney would be president, but his death would not solve anything nor eradicate faulty thinking and hatred. There's always going to be someone else to take his place, just like there would be if, God FORBID, Obama should die. This country is on the brink of ruin because of the Bush Administration and the right-wing religious extremists, and their mantra is HATE HATE HATE. If they win at anything they promote, we are all doomed.

    June 12, 2009 at 2:04 pm |
  93. Tarchon

    Is it any of this a surprise when that obscene book, The Hebrew Bible, still is the most quoted source? All the "divine revelation" religions spun off that matrix are full of hate, sectarian, racist and narrow-minded.

    June 12, 2009 at 2:04 pm |
  94. Woof2205

    The people are hateful and disgusting. Must be related to this scum that keeps showing up in the news.

    June 12, 2009 at 2:04 pm |
  95. Jared in Cali

    I'd like to quickly say that as a Christian, I pray FOR THE SUCCESS of Barack Obama everyday. I don't agree with all his stances, but the Bible says to pray for our leaders.

    Write and Wiley represent perversions of Christianity, and it's offensive that they retain the titles of "reverend" and "pastor".

    June 12, 2009 at 2:03 pm |
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