As per this Fox News article, the theme of today's Easter sermon at the Trinity United Church of Christ was “How to Handle a Public Lynching,” the victim in question being the Rev. Wright. The controversial pastor's successor, the Rev. Otis Moss III, lit into the national media, coming up with a string of plays on their names to express his contempt:
No one should start a ministry with lynching, no one should end their ministry with lynching. The lynching was national news. The RNN, the Roman News Network, was reporting it and NPR, National Publican Radio had it on the radio. The Jerusalem Post and the Palestine Times all wanted exclusives, they searched out the young ministers, showed up unannounced at their houses, tried to talk with their families, called up their friends, wanted to get a quote on how do you feel about the lynching?” he said.
My best effort at deciphering the Moss code leads me to conclude that by RNN, Roman News Network, he was for whatever reason referring to CNN, that the Jerusalem Post might be the Washington Post [though there is of course an actual paper named the Jerusalem Post], and that the Palestine Times is the New York Times [which would seem to run contradictory to Wright's notion that America is stacked against the Palestinians, but whatever]. But one of the nicknames is unmistakeable: the reverend expressly mentioned "NPR" when dubbing it "National Publican Radio."
Does Rev. Wright's successor see NPR as a cat's paw of the evil Republicans? Now I suppose it's possible, as a reader has suggested, that Rev. Moss was alluding to the parable of the publican and the Pharisee described in Luke 18:10-14. The publican there was a government tax collector, which would be more in keeping with the spirit of NPR. But that would have no relevance to the matter at hand.
The reverend was speaking in a political context about a media conspiracy against Rev. Wright and by extension against Obama. So it seems more likely he had the GOP allusion in mind. And if so, the suggestion that the NPR is a Republican front would make the allegation of a government conspiracy to send crack into the inner cities sound downright plausible.
Update: Could there be an anti-Semitic undertone? Here's the Merriam-Webster definition of publican:
1 a: a Jewish tax collector for the ancient Romans b: a collector of taxes or tribute
- Main Entry:
- Middle English, from Anglo-French, from Latin publicanus tax farmer, from publicum public revenue, from neuter of publicus
- 13th century
Hat tip: Allan J. Favish