CNN’s Martin Twice Equates Rev. Wright Scandal With Catholic Sex Scandal

Roland Martin, a talk radio host out of Chicago and contributor to CNN, appearing on the network immediately Barack Obama’s "race speech" on Tuesday morning, compared the reaction to Rev. Jeremiah Wright’s much-publicized comments to the reaction to the Catholic sex scandal. Co-anchor Heidi Collins asked, "He [Obama] didn't disagree strong enough to go to a different church though. He stayed for many, many years. How do you think that will play?" Martin’s responded, "But frankly, I think that is irrelevant, because I don't -- look, I was born and raised Catholic. The first 25 years of my life of my life, I was Catholic.... And there are a number of people out there who are still Catholic today, even though the Church dropped the ball when it came to the whole issue of sex offenders, and some who left. But that's fine. But the reality is a person's faith is a personal decision."

Martin made similar comments on Monday’s "Newsroom" program during a discussion of Rev. Wright’s comments with co-anchor Don Lemon and Republican strategist Cheri Jacobus at the bottom of the 3 pm Eastern hour. "[Y]ou have a number of people who have said that, for Catholics, will you leave the Catholic Church because of what the church did when it came to sexual abuse victims? And you know what? A lot of folks have stayed."

In both appearances, Martin then went on to also equivocate Rev. Wright’s comments to controversial comments made by conservative Christian ministers. During the "Newsroom" segment, Martin first said of Wright’s comments, "[L]ook, that is not, frankly, the most outlandish comment I've heard coming out of the pulpit, whether from the left or the right, Republican or Democrat," and later brought up two ministers who have endorsed John McCain -- John Hagee and Rod Parsley, something that Jacobus objected to.

MARTIN: Don, here's the problem you also see for John McCain....When you have Pastor John Hagee out of San Antonio who calls the Catholic Church a white whore, then you have Pastor Rod Parsley, who calls for the destruction of Islam as a focal point of the United States...

JACOBUS: Roland, I --

MARTIN: No, no, no. Cheri, Cheri, Cheri, Cheri...

JACOBUS: You're trying...

MARTIN: ... Cheri...

JACOBUS: You're comparing apples and oranges...

MARTIN: No, no, Cheri...

JACOBUS: ...and you know it.

MARTIN: Cheri, I am making the point as somebody who is an Evangelical, whose wife was an ordained minister for 20 years, that what you have is you have pastors on both ideological sides who will make comments, who endorse candidates...

JACOBUS: I agree.

MARTIN: ...and the candidates...

JACOBUS: Obviously they do.

MARTIN: ...are put in a position where they have to denounce them...

JACOBUS: Roland, there is a big difference between...

MARTIN: When they are not running for president.

JACOBUS: ...somebody else endorsing a candidate and that candidate endorsing that person to the point where they have them sitting -- as a leadership on their campaign and there's no...

MARTIN: Did John McCain call Rod Parsley a spiritual guide for America?

JACOBUS: Roland --

MARTIN: Rod Parsley created the Patriot Pastors that elected George W. Bush.

JACOBUS: Reverend Wright has --

MARTIN: Come on, now.

JACOBUS: Reverend Wright's comments have been known to Barack Obama for well over a year, and hee has kept him around. And you know that John McCain has said that he does not agree with the comments of the other -- these other people that have endorsed him.

LEMON: Cheri --

JACOBUS: So I really think you're being disingenuous and you're...

MARTIN: No, you've got folks on both sides who are making inflammatory comments, Cheri.

During the segment after Obama’s speech on Tuesday, Martin brought up not only Hagee and Parsley, but also Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell.

MARTIN: But what he also said in his speech, Heidi -- he also broke down the good the church is trying to accomplish. And so, I think we measure a man, we measure a woman, we take -- in the words of Anderson Cooper's show -- a 360 degree view of a person, as opposed to a 90 degree view of a person. And so, does anybody out there who says, well, why didn't you leave Trinity United Church of Christ? I would say the same thing to anybody who goes to Pat Robertson's church, Jerry Falwell's church, John Hagee's church, to Rod Parsley's church, to any number of other pastors who have made critical comments that we have condemned. So, I don't necessarily believe that anyone should say, well, you should have left the church, and I think what he did in this speech was speak to the good of Trinity, the bad of Trinity, the good of America, the bad of America, and say, we all -- white, black, Asian, Hispanic, male, female, gay, straight, Christian, non-Christian -- should be focused on a more perfect union for the United States of America.

Matthew Balan
Matthew Balan
Matthew Balan is a news analyst at Media Research Center