Monday, April 26, 2010

John Smithson's Stance On Race And Islam

This post is a follow up to a previous post I had made regarding coservative activist John Smithson, of The Midknight Review, who had used his website to continually smear my name and this site.

Smithson had challenged me to intellectual debate, and I had initially refused.  Smithson took this as support for his claims and continued to attack myself on his website, so to clear my name and do some damage control (this site is ranked higher then Smithson's and receives more traffic), I had decided to respond to the radical activist, engaging the questions he had asked of me and posting questions of my own for him to answer.  Smithson had gave responses, but seeing that I had offered up actual intellectual rebuttals to Smithson's claims, Smithson has disappeared.

He claims that he doesn't frequent this site, and that he was going to "ignore" my site on his, which is interesting coming from the man who attacked this website as being plagiarized from his, and then stating a "cease and desist" letter will be in the mail.  Maybe it is because I had warned him numerous times to stop making libelous comments and that he realized, after seeing my responses to his claims, that I was in fact right, and Smithson could not win in a debate, so it was best to tuck his tail in between his legs and walk away.

Just because Smithson cowered at the thought of actual intellectual debate does not mean that my job is done.  There are still two questions left that I had asked Smithson of that I had not offered any rebuttals to, and those questions were:
  • Do you deny being a racist, and accept those of African descent to be your equals?
  • Do you believe Islam to be an "evil" religion?
Here were Smithson's intellectual response to both - "Of course."

So based on that simple answer, Smithson claims that he is not a racist and that Islam is "evil," which seems to be in line with popular conservative thought, as we can see from recent news regarding Franklin Graham, son of famous Christian evangelist Billy Graham.

I will focus on Smithson's view of Islam first.

Smithson had written countless articles regarding faith - after all, he is a fundamentalist Christian minister and activist, who believes that Jesus Christ is our savior.  But I think what is more interesting is what he has written in the past about other faiths, and while his original spam site had been deleted by Google, there are still plenty examples of Smithson's "ends justify the means" philosophy in regarding religion.  Smithson will attack Islam, but defend Judaism, and why one may ask?  It appears that Smithson subscribes to the foreign policy of "the enemy of my enemy is my friend."

I one particular article, Smithson wrote that "Obama has sold Israel down the river," which is a reference to American slavery, describing the practice of northern slave owners selling troublesome slaves down the Mississippi River to the south, where plantation conditions were much harsher (I only reference this because of Smithson's claim that he believes those of African descent to be his equal).  That particular article Smithson wrote, he cites a Times Online news article that refers to Obama's meeting, or lack thereof, with Benjamin Netanyahu, Prime Minister of Israel.  Smithson ends his article quoting an unnamed source that Obama had treated the Israeli leader with "the treatment reserved for the President of Equatorial Guinea," and that alone is very interesting because Smithson had also referred to another article in another post that states the president gives preferential treatment to the African nation.  Smithson obviously felt Obama had treated our ally very poorly, but I would have to say that his article's title was pretty appropriate, comparing Israel to a troublesome slave, considering much of the problems regarding America and the Middle East stem from Israel's interactions with it's neighbors.

Smithson's hatred for other faiths doesn't stop there.  He has stated that "it is the opinion of Midknight Review that if you are not a Christian, you are an atheist."  He is also of the mind that the president is a Muslim, which would lead to the logical conclusion that Smithson believes Obama to be "evil," and by association, all of Obama's policies.

In an article Smithson had written last month, he tries to connect the dots, in a remarkably similar way that right-wing darling Glenn Beck does, by insinuating that Obama adheres to a "Marxist/Muslim black theology," point to as evidence that Obama is a Muslim, a small statute of the president as a child that was removed from a public park in Jakarta, Indonesia, and moved to a school that the young Obama had attended.

"All was well and good except for one thing: this darned statue. Now why do you suppose there is a statue of a 10 year old Obama if he did not attend school there, in Jakarta, Indonesia . . . . . an excluvely Muslim nation?" Smithson wrote.

But how exactly does Obama's childhood play into Marxism/socialism?  Smithson then references Obama's attendance at the Trinity United Church of Christ and presence for some of Reverend Jeremiah Wright's sermons, but as Smithson points out, that church is not a Christian church, but "steeped in the traditions of Islam."  Smithson doesn't really go into details, but implores his readers to "Google" Black Liberation Theology.

I had come across this interesting piece written by Professor Terry Matthews, of Wake Forest University, and in particular, the foundations of Black Theology of Liberation:
To develop a theology that speaks to African-Americans, black liberation theologians such as James Cone begin with the person of Jesus, and specifically the Jesus revealed in the Gospel of Luke. In Luke's gospel, Jesus has a concern for the oppressed that does not always come through in the other gospels. Luke's Jesus begins his ministry with this announcement:
The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to preach the good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, To set at liberty those who are oppressed, to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord. (Luke 4:18-19)
From this text, Cone draws a fundamental lesson about Jesus: his "work is essentially one of liberation." Jesus inaugurates "an age of liberation in which 'the blind receive their sight, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, and the poor have the good news preached to them.'" (Luke 7:22) "In Christ," Cone argues, "God enters human affairs and takes sides with the oppressed. Their suffering becomes his; their despair, divine despair."

Cone continues his line of argument with a force that cuts to the marrow of contemporary American Christianity: "Jesus had little toleration for the middle- or upper-class religious snob whose attitude attempted to usurp the sovereignty of God and destroy the dignity of the poor," Cone writes, "The Kingdom is not for the poor and not the rich because the former has nothing to expect from the world while the latter's entire existence is grounded in his commitment to worldly things. The poor man may expect everything from God, while the rich man may expect nothing because he refuses to free himself from his own pride. It is not that poverty is a pre-condition for entrance into the Kingdom. But those who recognize their utter dependence on God, and wait on him despite the miserable absurdity of life are typically the poor, according to Jesus."

When black people hear this message, Cone insists, they discover a message that resonates with their experience of life. Their experience of struggling for liberation is the same as the struggle of Christ himself. And if Jesus was resurrected, and is now alive, then he is now fighting for the very same things, working against the structures of injustice.
Black Liberation Theology is not an Islamic teaching, but a way of interpreting the bible to make the teaching of Jesus Christ more relevant for African Americans.  By Smithson's logic, Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. would be a Muslim, and by association, the entire civil rights movement an exercise in socialism.  Shows how much Smithson thinks of African-Americans history.

This whole belief feeds into Smithson's hate.  On March 26th, he had warned that "you must understand that Black Marxist leaders in this country hate the Jew," and by Smithson's definition, Obama is a Black Marxist Jew-hater.  That same article also states that many hard-working "blacks" disagree with Obama's "Black bias."  If you haven't noticed, it is hard to delineate between comments Smithson has made about Muslims and about African-Americans.  He seems to reference both with a bit of disdain and condescension.

Moving more towards the racial aspect of The Midknight Review, I look at an article Smithson had posted regarding an altercation on a bus between what Smithson calls a "black thug" and an older white man, but Smithson fails to look at the entire picture.  The Young Turks had made a great review of the video, looking at both sides of the story, but it is obvious which side Smithson takes without knowing the full scope of the story.  I'm not siding with either side of the situation, but Smithson hypocritically does what he had criticized the president for doing - take into consideration Obama's comments regarding the arrest of Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates, Jr.  Obama had spoken before knowing the entire story and spoke out against the police.  Smithson writes of this event in a blog post made on April 26th, claiming it was racially motivated, and then takes it one step further, claiming the president is "race baiting" to increase racial tensions, and possibly using such divide to ignore term limits and remain in power indefinitely.

Now I am going to take Smithson's word when he says that he believes African-Americans to be his equals, but I find little evidence in his writings that prove otherwise, and I have combed through his site.  Just consider this little piece from April 8th regarding net neutrality and the recent FCC ruling, where Smithson states that had the decision been in the FCC's favor, conservative media would have to be balanced out with "liberal talk, Latino talk, African American talk, Marxist talk, and whatever additional ethnic/political 'talk' that might exist," but Smithson's flawed logic fails to recognize the impact on the various other types of talk, using his own argument of course.  Not only is he confusing "net neutrality" with "The Fairness Doctrine," liberal media, which I am sure Smithson believes is the prevalent form of media (a.k.a. Mainstream Media), would have to be balanced out with conservative opinions, which would seem to advance his agenda.  This is just another example of Smithson making little sense.

Now, here is the last example I will offer involving Smithson and race, and I cite his April 5th article titled "Will African anger become a part of our political process? Not if we see the dangers of Democrat race-baiting."  The article is in reference to racial violence in South Africa and the murder of Eugène Ney Terre'Blanche on April 3 of this year.

"African Blacks deeply angry because of past wrongs, choosing to react with violence over perceived wrong doing on the part of whites," Smithson writes, stating that such violence can be seen here with "Blacks rioting in protest to perceived white racism." Being from California, is Smithson referring to events like the the 1992 Los Angeles riots that stemmed from the acquittal of four Los Angeles Police Department officers accused in the videotaped beating of African-American motorist Rodney King?

Basically, we know where Smithson stands on Islam, or essentially any other faith that does not believe in Jesus Christ as their lord and savior, but his stance on race is another issue.  It sounds remarkably similar to Franklin Graham's comments and backtracking regarding Islam, where to dispel rumors of Islam-hating, Graham gave the "I have Muslim friends" response, which is similar to what people say when accused of being racist - "I have black friends."  Smithson's articles never clearly condemn racism towards African-Americans, and actually blur the lines between race and Islam, which he has acknowledged believing as evil, and by default, anything associated with the religion being evil as well.

So, the real question is, is John Smithson a racist?  Let it be known that I am not accusing Smithson of racism, and I am certain that he will probably attack this article as another example of leftist Marxist race baiting, but the fact of the matter is Smithson has done nothing to prove he is not a racist.


  1. studies(polls)in Europe and U.S., have shown that Islamophobia is linked to anti-semitism---an individual who dislikes/hates Islam is just as likely to hate Jews to the same degree. ---it is a surprising finding.

    In the U.S., some Evangelicals appear to "support" Isreal---but if you look deeper, their support for Isreal is based on the idea that Jesus Christ will come back and WIPE OUT THE JEWS!(and others---only Christians will be "saved")

    In Europe--anti-semitism is deep rooted. The Jews have always been considered the "other" and now Islam/Muslims are the "other"---they are not considered part of the European identity.

  2. Interesting.

    The thing that would confuse me are the statements claiming Islam is evil, and the claims that all faiths that don't believe in Jesus Christ to be atheist.

    If there is such a strong belief that there is only one true faith, and that one is the Christian faith, why show support for a nation that believes your savior is not God on earth?

    My thinking was that the religious far right only supports Israel because they serve a purpose of holding the holy land from Muslims, and there is some desire for mutually assured destruction between Jews and Muslims - either by war or what you suggest (Jesus coming back)...


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