Chicago Mayor and former White House Chief of Staff to President Barack Obama, Rahm Emanuel, has invited the controversial Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan to help in the city’s efforts to address the epidemic of crime that has engulfed it.
As things stand now, by the time this year comes to a close Chicago will have become a cauldron of violence and destruction with an annual murder rate of 504 dead. That is over 40 people killed per month.
Last month, seven year-old Heaven Sutton was caught — and slaughtered — in the crossfire between two thugs who opened fire on one another.
The Mayor of “the Windy City” used the tragedy as an occasion to share some rather peculiar thoughts. Unlike the iconic figure of Elliot Ness — at least the Elliot Ness that, thanks to television programs and films like The Untouchables, is forever ensconced in the popular imagination — Emanuel didn’t have any particularly tough words for Chicago’s new gangsters.
“Don’t touch the children of the city of Chicago,” he instructed all would-be purveyors of violence. “Don’t get near them.” Rather, “Take your stuff away to the alley.
Emanuel took advantage of this tragedy to as well express his thoughts on what he perceives to be the real problem plaguing his city. Paradoxically — shockingly — he said: “It’s not about crime, it’s about values.”
More recently, while interviewed by CBS’s Scott Pelley, Emanuel elaborated.
“As I said then,” he began, “who raised you? How were you raised? And I don’t buy this case where people say they don’t have values. They do have values. They have the wrong values.”
In a sense this may be correct, but it is far from clear how it is relevant to addressing Chicago’s exorbitant crime and murder rates.
But this wouldn’t be the first time that Emanuel has spoken or acted questionably.
And as his decision to conscript Louis Farrakhan into the service of lowering the city’s scandalous crime rates has already proven, it isn’t his last.
Farrakhan has anything but an unblemished history himself. A one-time protégé of a sort of Malcolm X, he betrayed his mentor and called for his death when Malcolm had his falling out with Nation of Islam founder Elijah Muhammad. Farrakhan admitted his culpability in Malcolm’s murder decades after the fact when he joined Malcolm’s daughter for an interview with Mike Wallace on 60 Minutes.
For most of his life, Farrakhan — like Malcolm before him — has subscribed to, and tirelessly advanced, the Nation’s racial orthodoxy, a dogma according to which every single white person is “a devil.”
Today, though, when Farrakhan is derided, his critics more frequently than not refer to his derogatory comments toward Jews, as opposed to those he makes about whites generally.
Farrakhan was the closest of allies with Moammar Gadhafi and was awarded the “Lifetime Achievement Award” by President Obama’s “spiritual mentor,” as Obama once described him, and pastor of over 20 years, Jeremiah Wright.
Interestingly — and perhaps just a bit embarrassingly — Emanuel is calling on Farrakhan’s help almost immediately on the heels of condemning Chick-fil-A for CEO Dan Cathy’s position against so-called “same sex marriage.”
When asked by online Baptist Press about his views on marriage and the family, Cathy unhesitatingly stated that his company is “very much supportive of the family — the biblical definition of the family unit.” He continued: “We are a family-owned business, a family-led business, and we are married to our first wives,” something for which he gives “God thanks [.]”
Cathy also said that he prays that we are not “inviting God’s judgment on our nation when we shake our fist at him and say, ‘We know better than you as to what constitutes a marriage.’ ” That attitude, he concluded, is excessively “prideful” and “arrogant.”
In reply to Cathy’s comments, Emanuel joined mayors from across the country in disinviting Chick-fil-A from his city.
“Chick-fil-A’s values are not Chicago’s values,” Emanuel stated. “They [Chick-fil-A] disrespect our fellow neighbors and residents.”
Considering that the very city over which he presides is engulfed in an on-going orgy of violence, many may take comfort in knowing that the enormously successful Christian restaurant chain does not affirm “Chicago’s values.”
More troubling for Emanuel, though, is that the man with whom he is now busy allying himself has made remarks upon homosexuality and “same-sex marriage” that make Cathy’s seem tame by comparison. Just a couple of months ago, at the end of May, Farrakhan told an audience at the California Convention Center in San Diego, that President Obama, in endorsing “same-sex marriage,” is the first American president who has “sanctioned what the Scriptures forbid.”
Farrakhan was quick to head off the commonplace objection that he is homophobic: “Now don’t you dare say, ‘Farrakhan was preachin’ hate. He’s homophobic.’ I’m not afraid of my brothers and sisters or others who may be practicing what God condemned in the days of Lot,” he insisted.
Farrakhan was adamant about his objectives: “Our job is to call us to sanity. Our job is to call the people to righteous conduct.”
Not only did Farrakhan imply that homosexuality is insane and immoral, he went one step further and challenged politicians and clerics who he insinuated were acting hypocritically and cowardly on this issue. As for politicians, Farrakhan asked: “Why is [it] that … you … take your oath of office on the Bible? If the book is no good, what the hell are you using it for to take an oath of office to uphold, not the Bible, but the Constitution?”
To clerics, he posed a similar challenge: “The reverend, synagogue leader, Catholic priest — is this the book that you say you believe in? But now you are backing down from an aspect of it because people will get offended?”
It remains an open question as to whether Emanuel’s alliance with Farrakhan will help or harm him as far as his political battles are concerned.
Photo: In this May 18, 2012 file photo, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel speaks during an interview with the Associated Press at his City Hall office.: AP Images