Hannity criticized gay Episcopal bishop for "partisan hatred," but called partisan Rev. Falwell a "very dear friend"
Research ››› ››› HANNAH DREIER
On his Fox News show, Sean Hannity claimed that Rev. Gene Robinson "bashed President Bush" in a prayer published in GQ magazine and then stated: "You know, all along, I actually thought pastors were supposed to spread the love of God, not fan the flames of partisan hatred." However, Hannity frequently praised the late Rev. Jerry Falwell, whom he described as a "very dear friend," despite Falwell's history of inflammatory partisan statements.
On the January 13 edition of Fox News' Hannity, Sean Hannity claimed that Rev. Gene Robinson -- the openly gay Episcopal bishop from New Hampshire whom President-elect Barack Obama has selected to deliver the invocation at his inauguration kickoff -- "bashed President Bush" in a prayer published in GQ magazine. Hannity then stated: "You know, all along, I actually thought pastors were supposed to spread the love of God, not fan the flames of partisan hatred." However, Hannity did not criticize his frequent guest, the late Rev. Jerry Falwell -- whom Hannity called a "very dear friend"-- despite Falwell's history of inflammatory, partisan rhetoric directed at Democrats.
According to the Episcopal Church website, Robinson said he would use some of the prayers that he wrote for GQ -- which do not mention Bush by name -- in drafting his prayer for the inaugural event. In one prayer, titled "A Prayer for Barack Obama," reproduced on Boston Globe religion reporter Michael Paulson's Articles of Faith blog, Robinson wrote in part:
O God, we give you thanks for your child Barack, as he assumes the office of President of the United States.
Give him wisdom beyond his years, and inspire him with Lincoln's reconciling leadership, FDR's courageous boldness and vision, and JFK's ability to enlist the best efforts of our people.
Give him a quiet heart, for our Ship of State needs a steady, calm captain for these times, not a fierce warrior who knee-jerk reacts to every real or perceived threat.
Give him stirring words, for we will need to be inspired and motivated to make the personal and common sacrifices necessary to facing the challenges ahead.
But while Hannity criticized Robinson for "partisan" remarks, he frequently hosted Falwell, founder of the conservative Moral Majority and frequent critic of Democrats and progressive positions. Falwell had a history of inflammatory statements about former President Bill and Secretary of State-designate Hillary Clinton. For example, Falwell publicized, co-financed, and distributed The Clinton Chronicles, a video that contained anti-Clinton allegations of drug trafficking and murder. On the October 22, 2003, episode of CNN's Crossfire, Falwell said, "I think that we needed Bill Clinton, because we turned our backs on the lord and we needed a bad president to get our attention again." Falwell also called Hillary Clinton "a bad person with a criminal mind," and said during the lead-up to the Democratic presidential primary, "I think Hillary would be the worst thing that would ever happen to America." Falwell also told the Associated Press, "I don't think anybody doubts that the Republicans have a better record and a better commitment to national security than the Democrats do."
Despite these and other partisan remarks by Falwell, Hannity devoted an entire broadcast of Hannity & Colmes to Falwell the day after his death, during which he referred to Falwell as "a very dear friend of mine" and said, "He may have misspoke once or twice. But he devoted his life, to his religion." Before his death, Falwell was frequently a recipient of Hannity's praise. On the January 24, 2007, broadcast, Hannity discussed filmmaker Alexandra Pelosi's documentary about evangelical Christians with her and said, "I hope you also capture people like Franklin Graham and the Reverend Falwell. They spend millions of dollars a year to help people in a lot of very positive ways. Did you capture that?" Pelosi responded, "Listen to you. You're just doing P.R. for them." Also, during a discussion of children born into poverty on the July 2, 2006, edition of Hannity & Colmes, Hannity cited Falwell as an example of people who are "charitable" and said, "Jerry Falwell has a home for any girl who's pregnant. He'll send them to school. He'll give them free health care if they have their baby." Hannity also delivered the commencement address at Falwell's Liberty University in May 2005.
As Media Matters for America noted, Hannity applied a double standard on the January 12 broadcast of his show when he said, "I don't like the lyrics that refer to women as 'B's' and 'ho's,' and we've had many discussions about this," despite the fact that he previously aired concert footage of rock musician and right-wing activist Ted Nugent calling Obama a "piece of shit" and referring to Hillary Clinton as a "worthless bitch." After airing the clip, Hannity referred to Nugent as a "friend and frequent guest on the program."
From the January 13 edition of Fox News' Hannity:
HANNITY: In other transition news, the president-elect is calling upon Gene Robinson, the Episcopal Church's only openly gay bishop, to jump-start inaugural activities with an invocation on Sunday afternoon. Now, Bishop Robinson has talked about the need for unity, but his notion of "E pluribus unum" is somewhat untraditional. In a prayer published in GQ magazine, Robinson wished Mr. Obama the best and bashed President Bush, saying, quote, "Give him a quiet heart, for our Ship of State needs a steady, calm captain for these times, not a fierce warrior who knee-jerk reacts to every real or perceived threat."
You know, all along, I actually thought pastors were supposed to spread the love of God, not fan the flames of partisan hatred. Yeah, silly me.
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