Godtalk Update: after Rabbi Lapin discussed Berkeley's actively discouragement of Marine recruiting, a listener writes: "This is a Godtalk topic?!?" Later Lapin managed to get into the religious conversation: "I don't like the BBC, I don't like PBS, and I don't like NPR... they shouldn't exist."
Another listener comment forwarded this to us: "Please, please PLEASE, get Rabbi Daniel Lapin OFF THE AIR!!! You are insulting every minute Bernie spent on the air. I have been a faithful listener for years, but no more until Rabbi Lapin is history. He gives us nothing to contemplate, but much to hold in contempt. While Bernie spoke to the best in all of us, the Rabbi makes even the pacifist want to consider mayhem. He is narrow-minded, condescending, self-absorbed, and about as deep as one layer of vaneer. As Bernie would say, "He parked his brain at the door and picked up his Crayolas." The loyal God Talk audience deserves FAR BETTER. If you keep him, you would do well to rename the program "God Forbid Talk."
Godtalk, Bernie Ward's interfaith dialogue is too popular to cancel at San Francisco's KGO (Sundays, 6-9a). But what would he say if he could comment on how his show is being shepherded over by one of the most virulent clergymen in the American religious right?
For three weeks now, former KSFO right-wing talker, Rabbi Daniel Lapin of Seattle has hosted the weekly, liberal, one-world exchange of views that often range far afield from those of the Judeo-Christian practitioners whom Lapin's always championed as the sort of "Master Race" of religionists.
We've written about him here for years. He's David Duke's favorite Jew; was inextricably involved as a bagman and sock puppet for Jack Abramoff;
addressed the 1996 Republican convention; and has been a controversial
voice in the far, far right his entire career. (check the links below)
(Despite all his high-toned, moralistic rhetoric, Lapin's moral authority is equal to Newt Gingrich's, who once claimed Lapin as his "spiritual adviser;" which, judging both men's behaviors and beliefs, is no doubt true).
Besides all that political stuff, Godtalk's gentle listeners may not know how the smooth-talking, former South African rabbi really feels about beliefs and believers outside the Judeo-Christianity he believes is superior in every way.
Our 2006 piece, "Rabid Rabbi" for The San Francisco Bay Guardian, spells it out rather devastatingly:
Lapin often says non-Judeo-Christian cultures and secular liberalism are more of animals than of God and holds historically contentious theories that Western scientific superiority was developed directly from Judeo-Christianity. "Why didn't the periodic table surface among the Eskimos?" he asked in a 1996 Eastside Week article. "It doesn't make sense that Africa hadn't figured out the wheel by the time England was at the end of the Industrial Revolution."
The reason, Lapin said in that article, is because they never had the opening lines of the Bible, “In the beginning, God created the heaven and earth."
His mission, as stated on his Web site, is "standing astride America's secular path to decline, decadence, and depravity." But his version of Judeo-Christianity looks like a right-wing Republican wish list. Lapin believes that currency and capital markets are revelations granted by God to the Jews and passed on to Christians.
As a man of God, he not only supports stable marriages, family life, faithfulness, and integrity, but (along, he says, with God) favors tax cuts, property rights, sodomy laws, school prayers, school vouchers, arranged marriages, and elimination of government social programs. He opposes promiscuity, abortion, homosexuality, welfare, crime, funding for the arts, gun control, environmental laws, and black people giving their kids "funny" names.
"Recycling," Lapin told the Guardian, "is the sacred sacrament of secularism." He told KSFO listeners recently that saying a prayer over your dead pets is sick and bizarre.
According to Lapin's writings, Terri Schiavo's death was a "premeditated murder-plot," and he's said on the radio that living wills are "suicide notes." Tattoos, birth control, piercings, abortions, and assisted suicide are all sinful because, as he told us interviewing him for the Guardian piece, it's not your body, thank you very much, you're only a tenant. And tenants, in Lapin's view, have no rights, especially when it comes to moving or evictions.
Lapin crusades against gays and is a headliner and co-organizer, with virulent Seattle homophobe Rev. Ken Hutcherson, of the effective, anti-gay Mayday for Marriage rallies, one of which drew some 150,000 supporters to the Mall in Washington, DC, just before the 2004 elections. He makes appearances on the pulpit of Hutcherson's megachurch near Seattle and they've jointly been involved in other political activities. (Hutcherson, along with Lapin and others on the national religious right have been engaged recently with a cockamamie attempt at buying Microsoft stock to affect the company's "liberal" politicking. Hutcherson is the evangelical who bullied Microsoft in 2005 into withdrawing support for a gay rights bill before the Washington State Legislature, which effectively killed it).
These are views that have got to be abhorrent to those who love Godtalk.
That Lapin is taking over this radio bastion of the religious left is an example of tin-eared KGO programmers. There's got to be a better choice: KGO news reporter Ravi "RJ" Peruman, has been a more-than-adequate fill-in for some time; and a closer fit with the show's philosophy of anti-dogma.
Our Lapin files:
Daniel Lapin: The Right's favorite Rabbi; Bill Berkowitz, Media Transparency
Meet the Lapin Brothers; Rick Anderson, The Seattle Weekly
More abramoff embarrassment for rabbi daniel lapin
Rabbi Daniel lapin's name resurfaces in investigation
Seattle Times: rabbi daniel lapin abramoff connections
Rabbi Daniel Lapin: show rabbi of the racists
Rabbi Daniel Lapin: "The Man Who Stands By His Scandal-Ridden Friends"
Rabbi Daniel Lapin: More National Embarrassment
Rabbi Daniel Lapin, a long look backward