The religious right has spent the better part of the last four years bending over backwards to keep evangelicals loyal to Donald Trump. In so doing, the nation’s so-called moral guardians have either ignored or defended some of Trump’s worst outrages. That alone would be enough to question where their compass was. But recently, a prominent evangelical leader did something even worse than that. How do you get worse than running interference for Trump? Simple–by giving equal time to a chest-beating anti-Semite who claims to be a pastor.
On November 22, Rick Wiles burnished his reputation as one of the most rabid anti-Semites on the tubes. On that night’s edition of “TruNews,” he railed that the impeachment push amounted to a “Jew coup” against Trump. No, this isn’t snark. People for the American Way’s Right Wing Watch got a clip.
In a screed that made him sound like the equal of Richard Spencer or Andrew Anglin, Wiles claimed the impeachment push was a textbook case of how Jews supposedly do business.
They are deceivers. They plot. They lie. They do whatever they have to do to accomplish their political agenda.
Wiles urged the Christian community to wake up to the fact that Trump was being bullied by a “Jewish cabal,” and suggested that this “cabal” was spoiling for a bloodbath. This screed was so outrageous that YouTube deleted the November 22 broadcast from TruNews’ YouTube channel and banned Wiles from posting there for a week.
When religious right activist Michael L. Brown saw this, he responded with a furious article calling it out for the anti-Semitic bile that it was. Wiles’ rant hit an especially raw nerve for Brown, who was raised Jewish in New York City before becoming a charismatic Christian in the 1970s.
Brown wrote that he had spent most of 2019 calling out Wiles’ more outrageous statements on his podcast, “Ask Dr. Brown.” For example, watch a clip from Brown’s March 1 show here.
But Wiles’ rant about a “Jew coup” was the final straw for Brown, who said he now had no option but to “publicly rebuke” Wiles for his “dangerous rhetoric.”
For instance, Brown argued–rightly–that Wiles’ ranting about a “Jewish cabal” could lead “unstable people” to attack Jews. Brown slammed this as “absolute rubbish”–and that’s being kind to it. It’s hard to blame Brown for being upset. After all, he was born in 1955–part of the first generation of Jewish kids born after the Holocaust.
That set Wiles off. On Wednesday, he took to his blog to google down on his venom. Wiles claimed that Brown was “sent…into orbit” at just because Wiles said “Jew coup.” He accused Brown of smearing him as a “neo-Nazi,” while ignoring the voluminous evidence that the impeachment effort was “led and financed by leftwing Jews.” Indeed, Wiles claimed, the Jewish imprint on the impeachment effort is so strong that “the wheels would fall off” without the influence of “leftwing secular Jews.”
And yet, with a straight face, Wiles insists that he’s not doing this out of hatred for the Jews, but because “I simply can count.” This from a man who accused Jews of being agents of the devil and who vouched for the supposed accuracy of “Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion,” one of the most notorious anti-Semitic forgeries in history. Indeed, Wiles then undercut his own argument by churning out another common anti-Semitic smear–the Bolshevik Revolution was Jewish, and resulted in thousands of Russian Orthodox Christians being slaughtered.
Incredibly, Charisma saw fit to run Wiles’ entire screed in full, unedited. In an editor’s note, Charisma claimed that “we respect both men as Christian leaders,” though it urged Wiles to “reconsider his extreme views.” It also ran a response from Brown. He pointed out that he wasn’t the one calling Wiles a “neo-Nazi”–it was a Jewish news site. Brown then pointed out that Wiles’ red-baiting was “why I sound the alarm” about anti-Semitic attacks.
Brown has been wrong on quite a few things in the past, but he is absolutely right to call out Wiles here. But one has to wonder–why did Charisma have to give a forum to hate in the name of equal time? That wasn’t just questionable, but completely unnecessary given that Brown linked to Wiles’ screed at TruNews in his rebuttal. All readers would have to do is click over to Wiles’ rant and let people judge for themselves.
The most benign interpretation here is that Charisma founder and publisher Steve Strang have a dangerous misunderstanding of what equal time means. We need not imagine what the outrage would be if a mainstream newspaper, magazine, radio station, or television station allowed the likes of Spencer, Anglin, Nick Fuentes, or Paul Nehlen to publish or broadcast a hate-filled rant unedited, and then defend it by saying it was in the interest of equal time.
Let’s say it all together as a group–when one side is made up of anti-Semites, racists, and white nationalists, there is no other side. And if Strang and Charisma don’t understand that, then there is no doubt–they are morally bankrupt.
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