Reverend León vs. Dr. Carson

by Jonah Goldberg

I’ve been out of pocket, so I missed most of the hullabaloo about Reverend Luis León’s indefensible Easter sermon at St. John’s Episcopal Church in front of the Obama family. Among his comments he said the “religious Right” wants “blacks to be back in the back of the bus, for women to be back in the kitchen, for gays to be in the closet, and for immigrants to be on their side of the border.” 

Once you get beyond the nasty, clichéd and divisive insinuations about conservatives being racists and the basic inappropriateness of the whole spectacle, it seems to me the obvious point is to compare the reaction to Ben Carson’s remarks at the National Prayer Breakfast and the reaction to León’s remarks. When Carson made his pointed, but hardly outrageous, comments at the National Prayer Breakfast, he came under withering and outrageous assault from many liberals. He sullied a nonpartisan event! Well, what the hell do you call an Easter-morning church service? Carson didn’t call anyone racist. He didn’t denounce anyone’s fidelity to their faith. He offered some conservative public-policy proposals, touted his scholarship fund, and recounted his inspiring personal story. And that was supposed to be an outrage. It will be interesting to see who leaps to León’s defense and more interesting to see who doesn’t. 

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