Casting Stones

The Rev. Andrew Greeley, Catholic priest, best-selling novelist and well-known commentator on a wide range of issues, is an outspoken Obama supporter–I think. In a column he wrote Oct. 1, he said (in the same paragraph, no less) the following things: “I don’t have a candidate,” “I hope he wins,” and “that doesn’t mean I endorse him.” Such use of language is beyond obtuse, it is jibberish.
In his column Oct. 15, Rev. Greeley calls Gov. Sarah Palin a “racist.” On what grounds does he employ that corrosive and vicious label on Gov. Palin? He does so based on unsubstantiated reports that someone at a Palin event in Scranton, Pa., shouted “Kill him,” at the mention of Obama’s name. People who attended these rallies dispute that such an event ever occurred.
Shouldn’t Rev. Greeley have checked for himself before attacking Gov. Palin?
No less an authority than the Secret Service agents attending the event (who are responsible to investigate any such comments as possible threats on a candidate) could find no one other than the one reporter who supposedly heard the “Kill him!” remark. Since no one else heard it, it is safe to assume Gov. Palin did not hear it.
When John McCain did hear negative comments from supporters at an earlier rally, he reprimanded them in no uncertain terms.
To call Rev. Greeley’s comments about Gov. Palin and Sen. McCain irresponsible would be criminal understatement. They were scurrilous and beneath contempt. They are also dangerous.
Racism still exists in this country, and when the real thing surfaces it needs to be denounced. When “racist” is used in such a cavalier and reprehensible way, it devalues the term and makes it more difficult to denounce true racism successfully when it rears its ugly head.
And yes, as a clergyman myself, I do hold clergyman to a higher standard than the general public. Rev. Greeley, “Shame on you!”

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