On MSNBC, Schaeffer Sees GOP 'Pathological Hatred,' Want to 'Stop the First African-American President'

Appearing as a guest on Friday's PoliticsNation on MSNBC, during a discussion of conservative Christians making plans to push their agenda, liberal guest Frank Schaeffer charged that Republicans have a "pathological hatred" of President Obama, asserted that the GOP's goal is to "Stop the first African-American President from succeeding at all costs," and then drew a parallel with racist opposition to school intregration decades ago.

After recounting conservative concerns about same-sex marriage, Schaeffer continued:

But there's something else going on, and this is something I think so many Americans -- especially white Americans and others -- find so embarrassing, they don't want to deal with.

And that is the real agenda of the GOP for the last six years has only been one thing. Stop the first African-American President from succeeding at all costs. And I'll give you a historic parallel. When schools began to be integrated in this country, all of a sudden coincidentally a whole bunch of evangelical private schools started and just happened to all be white. They said they were reacting to bad education in the public schools.

He concluded:

But what was really going on was an unspoken agenda. So I think really we got to be honest about this. The evangelicals are organizing again to try to damage the White House in 2014 and to make sure that this presidency finishes off in their view as a failure. And it comes from their pathological hatred of this President.

Turning to guest Maria Teresa Kumar of Voto Latino, host Al Sharpton gave credibility to the charges as he responded:

What he says is very, very startling. He's saying this really has nothing to do with values, this has nothing to do with religious beliefs. They really want to stop the first African-American President. And since they couldn't stop his re-election, they want to make sure that they in many ways obstruct his last two and a half years in office. Your reaction to that. That's a very, very, very strong statement.

Below is a transcript of the relevant portion of the Friday, January 3, PoliticsNation on MSNBC:

AL SHARPTON: You know, Frank, let me go back to this Republican Congressman Steve King for a minute. He weighed in on the Duck Dynasty star's recent controversial statements, and this is what he said. "I've been in similar situations to the one Phil Robertson finds himself in now. I have learned to navigate the left's intolerance while holding firm to our values."

Now, we've all gone back and forth on Phil Robertson, but this emphasis on our values, is this part of what they're trying to sell the American people, that it is our values that are under attack rather than people having the civil right to agree or disagree with whatever point of view you or I may have in terms of our religion or other matters?

FRANK SCHAEFFER, AUTHOR OF AND GOD SAID BILLY!: Yeah, well, you know, as you know, Reverend Al, there's really two agendas here. One is the surface discussion that we're all aware of in these statements, but underneath that there's two things really going on. There's a rear guard action being fought by the evangelicals and the religious right who see America becoming diverse. They see gay marriage being accepted. They're losing their own young people in their churches who are more broad-minded than often their parents are.

But there's something else going on, and this is something I think so many Americans -- especially white Americans and others -- find so embarrassing, they don't want to deal with.

And that is the real agenda of the GOP for the last six years has only been one thing. Stop the first African-American President from succeeding at all costs. And I'll give you a historic parallel. When schools began to be integrated in this country, all of a sudden coincidentally a whole bunch of evangelical private schools started and just happened to all be white. They said they were reacting to bad education in the public schools.

But what was really going on was an unspoken agenda. So I think really we got to be honest about this. The evangelicals are organizing again to try to damage the White House in 2014 and to make sure that this presidency finishes off in their view as a failure. And it comes from their pathological hatred of this President. Underneath that-

SHARPTON: Now, Maria-

SCHAEFFER: Underneath that-

SHARPTON: Let me bring Maria in on that, Frank, because, Maria, what Frank has said, and Frank was an evangelical, a big leader in that movement, what he says is very, very startling. He's saying this really has nothing to do with values, this has nothing to do with religious beliefs. They really want to stop the first African-American President. And since they couldn't stop his re-election, they want to make sure that they in many ways obstruct his last two and a half years in office. Your reaction to that. That's a very, very, very strong statement.

MARIA TERESA KUMAR, VOTO LATINO: It's a very broad sweeping statement. I can't imagine that all evangelicals feel this way, but I do think that the GOP starting from inside the leadership Mitch McConnell who basically said, we're going to be the party of no when it comes to any action that President Obama puts forth, that they want to see imminent failure. So, if anything, if that's the case on, with the part of the evangelical movement, what you're hearing is, is that they're actually reciting what the Republican leadership has said from the very beginning.

That they want a failure for Barack Obama. And a lot has to do unfortunately with race. And it's one of these things, Reverend Sharpton, that we've discussed in the past is that we don't as a country right now we want to steer away from having race conversations. But it's because we're afraid of our reactions. But unless we have frank conversations and, yes, acknowledge that the first African-American President has been able to do great things despite the opposition and actually talk about what the future of race relations in this country, we're going to get stuck in a hamster wheel. And we need to be able to have direct conversations.

SHARPTON: Well, no, Frank, she's right. We in America are not a stairway from race, and when we bring up race, you're pulling the race card. But if you hand me the race deck any card I pull is going to be a race card. The question here is, have you, who was an evangelical leader himself, ever seen any sitting President or any other sitting politician that disagreed on religious grounds or other grounds with some of what the far right religious far right evangelicals have stood for, treated in the same way you've seen President Obama treated?

SCHAEFFER: Never. And it's not a coincidence that my book And God Said Billy! is set in apartheid South Africa where the whole system was geared to fitting in with reformed theology of Protestantism. That is the same theology we've had here. And it has a broad streak of racism in it. I quickly say of course there are progressive evangelicals who feel differently, but the fact of the matter is, this President has faced a level of opposition and bigotry that I have never seen in my lifetime directed at anybody as consistently.

Even to the point where, as one of your guests said before, we see a situation where things that George W. Bush was for or for that matter Romney and his health care reform here in Massachusetts where I`m sitting was for. Hey, as soon as the black man in the White House wanted to do this, all of a sudden it becomes a matter of almost theological principle-

SHARPTON: Yeah.

SCHEFFER: -to oppose him. And when you see the religious right organizing, what you see is two things.

SHARPTON: I've got to go.

KUMAR: Frank, I think what the President really is symbolizing is a changing demographic in America. And that's what makes it so uncomfortable.

SCHAEFFER: Right, I agree.

KUMAR: Those principles of that demographic change, that, not only was elected once but twice by that same demographic change.

SHARPTON: I'm going to have to leave it there really. We're going to pick this back up, believe me. Frank Schaeffer and Maria Teresa Kumar, thanks for your time this evening.

--Brad Wilmouth is a news analyst at the Media Research Center. Click here to follow Brad Wilmouth on Twitter.