The NWP Quiz
What we have here is a newspaper article. Please
"Expediency Drives Double Standard of decrying adultry
while OK'ing Racism"
By Robert M. Parham.
Adultery is wrong; racism is ok. Or
so the righteous right signals with its sustained attacks on President
Clinton for his infidelity and its thunderous silence about the affiliation
of two highly visible Republicans with a racist organization.
Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott, R-Miss., and
Rep Bob Barr, R-LA. [and one of the House Managers prosecuting the President
as we speak. -Eds], have been waltzing with the Council of Conservative
Citizens, with a name and agenda strikingly similar to the segregationist
organization known as tge Citizen's Council from the civil rights era,
according to news reports.
Barr told the Washington Post he had no knowledge
about the CCC's racist agenda when he addressed the group at a 1998 meeting.
However, Gordon Lee Baum, CCC's national chief executive, disputed Barr's
claim, saying "He knew wat we were all about before he spoke to us."
Barr justified his association by saying Lott had
endorsed the organization.
At first Lott, too, claimed "no firsthand knowledge"
of the group. Yet a recent Washington Post editorial noted a smiling
Lott was pictured in a 1997 CCC newsletter meeting with CCC officials in
Lott's Washington, D.C. office.
Speaking to a council meeting in Greenwood, Miss.,
five years earlier, Lott said, "The people in this room stand for the right
principles and the right philosophy. Let's take it in the right direction
and out children will be the beneficiaries."
The CCC's web site contains cmple evidence about
its religo-political agenda. One Web page promotes a booklet "that
reveals the ugly truth about Martin Luther King." Another page describes
Latino voters who would rather vote for "a dead yellow chihuahua over any
One of the CCC's most far-fetched pages claims that
"Northern Liberals have been waging a religious war against the Southern
Whites all this time: secular humanism is intent upon stamping out Christianity."
The article asserts that secular humanism became a driving force in the
1830's [the WHIG era]
"when a number of New England's most-prestigious-but-disaffected Congregationalist
ministers repudiated Calvinism." Their heirs, contemporary secular
humanists, began waging "a full-scale idealogical war against Southern
Christians" in the 1960's.
By associating with this group, Barr and Lott showed
either their true colors or terrible bad judgement.
Equally troubling is the double standard of the
religious right that condemns one sinful act and ignores another.
Ironically, the religious right advances the moral relativism it so verbosely
abhors when it refuses to identify racism as morally wrong as sexual infidelity.
What explains the double standard?
The easiest answer is the political explanation.
The religious right hates Democrats, having its roots in the founding of
the Moral Majority's campaign against President Jimmy ["nucular"] Carter.
For almost 20 yearsm the religious right has courted over the Republican,
sought its takeover and even proposed marriage.
The religious right's moral agenda is so dependant
on Republican political power that is cannot risk a spate with such powerful
The theraputic explanation holds that leaders of
the religious right condemn what personally threatens them. They
are so troubled by their own dark, sexual yearnings that the only way to
keep them at bay is to condemn them in others. After all, preachers
often preach most fervently against their own shadow side.
Having never or seldom experienced the stings of
racism, these leaders do not fear racism. Therefore, they are not
inclined to condemn it,
The sociological explanation says religious right
leaders know they can mobilize their base on sexual issues. Their
agenda is primarily abortion, adultery, homosexuality, and pronography.
They raise money, sell books and turn out votes with sex, not race.
These leaders know they cannot activate their supporters with claims of
Aside from a few minority members, the religious
right has had little, if any, real traction outside of white America.
Religious right members will not risk alienating their constituancy with
critical media releases about race.
The moral explanation contends that the religious
right sees sexual issues in absolute terms, right and wrong, black and
white. Such moral clarity does not exist on race.
Undoubtedly, sone religious right leaders see racism
as morally wrong in the abstract. But their certitude dissipates
in the street of real life. Civil rights, racial justice and affirmative
action do not have the moral underpinning within the mostly white, religious
right movement that these issues do within minority communities.
The lack of moral certainty means the lack of a compelling reason to criticize
Barr and Lott.
Despite the explanation or combination of reasons,
the ethical double standard of the religious right advances th moral relativism
and discloses how ill-fitting the modifier religious is when applied to
Robert M. Parham directs the Nashville-based Baptist Center for ethics.
This article was distributed [orignially] by Religion News Service.