Disgraced former Seattle talk host Rabbi Daniel Lapin, in his role again as "show rabbi of the religious right," appeared onstage Saturday to help Glenn Beck "non-politically" reclaim Martin Luther King legacy for himself.
Beck gathered every religious leader in America corrupt enough to be publicly associated with him. The charming, yarmulka-ed Dan Lapin, not surprisingly, was front and center. (Restoring Honor?..." Daniel Lapin?)
The didactic Lapin can be tedious; to boot, it was the Sabbath, so he couldn't use the microphone. Hence, for those live-streaming, watching teevee, or not on the dais, Lapin's speech was just so much arm-waving. (Shows Beck was so desperate to have the imprimatur of a rabbi standing on his stage, he took Lapin despite there was no chance his voice could be heard. Need a Jew to tread where Jews ne'er dare to tread? Dan's your man, will travel. Bet he doesn't come cheap, either).
Lapin has long been a sort of "pet Jew" for the usually Jew-distrusting Christians and
right-wingers. He's "one of the good ones," a KVI listener once told us.
Someone gave Alternet a recap of Lapin's speech: he described America as "a precious flower" that could not be separated from its religious roots. His four-part challenge to attendees: study the Bible, make more money, buy his books and CD's, and say extra prayers for America.
Lapin's off again on again Sunday radio show on San Francisco's KSFO is off again. He closed down his brokered KTTH Sunday show in 2006 after the fall, and has had a diminished local profile after intense media, Congressional and Justice Department scrutiny of his pal, lobbyist Jack Abramoff.
Lapin got very close to the levers of power during the Bush years. Fatefully, he was the one who introduced sleazy House whip Tom Delay to his old friend, Abramoff.
When the Abramoff fraud apparatus imploded, Lapin had to fold his longtime not-for-too-much profit organization, Toward Tradition whose two-term and founding board president was Abramoff. (Another board member: host and BFF, Michael Medved (KTTH m-f 12-3p). TT was exposed as one of a cluster of tax-exempt organizations through which Abramoff secretly routed tribal Indian and other gambling clients' funds to an aide to DeLay in return for favorable legislation. Almost comic relief around the Senate hearings were Lapin's embarrassing but "jocular" emails agreeing to gin up some fake awards and credentials from TT to help get Abramoff into a elite DC club.
Abramoff went off to prison, but no charges were filed against the small fish, Lapin. But in his secular/political world, though, the revelations meant he was a dead fish. He makes his living now speaking on Biblical Greed to fundamentalist Christian and Jewish conventions, retreats and evangelical hoedowns. He spends a lot of time in Texas according to his website.
Raised the son of a famous (he says) Orthodox rabbi in white separatist, supremacist South Africa in the 1950's, he has a long record of crazy-pants talk about the supremacy of Judeo-Christianity and its elevation of Europe and America over the heathen wogs and kafirs of Asia and Africa. (OK, 'heathen wogs' is Rudyard Kipling). In fact, Lapin has declared many times that non Judeo-Christian cultures and secular liberalism are closer to the animal world than God's Own.
He delighted blow-dried KKK "thinker" David Duke who used Lapin's words to buttress his and Adolf Hitler's belief that liberal Jews are largely responsible for "filth and debasement" of Western culture. The amazing thing," wrote Duke, "is that there are so few honest voices like that of Rabbi Lapin." Lapin has defended holocaust deniers and says "enough already" about all this Holocaust stuff.
This, from a piece we did on him in the SF Bay Guardian:
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.
Fighting recycling is pretty tame compared to the war on seculars, apostates, Democrats and other heathens Lapin says he and his friends are waging against us and our friends:
"I am absolutely convinced that God is far from finished with the story of the United States of America," he said. "First of all, [there's] the matter of the little battle that must be fought, just as it was in the 19th century." There were, and are, "two incompatible moral visions for this country. We had to settle it then. We're going to have to settle it now. I hope not with blood, not with guns, but we're going to have to settle it nonetheless. The good news is that I think our side is finally ready to settle it. Roll up its sleeves, take off its jacket, and get a little bloody. Spill a little blood. We'll settle it. And we'll win. And then there's no holding us back." (emphasis ours).
Expect Lapin to use his new connection to Glenn Beck's media for entrée back in from his desert of shame. We, for one, hope Americans can resist such an easy redemption.
The BlatherWatch Lapin files: