An entry for our Useful Idiots Department from the St. Petersburg Times, with thanks to Olivia:
TEMPLE TERRACE – During his seminary days, Pastor Warren Clark earned the nickname “el hippie.”
An avowed pacifist, he also believed the ministry should promote nonviolence and social justice. He worked in shanty towns in Argentina during the time of the “disappearances,” when thousands vanished at the hands of the military.
When he resumed the pulpit seven years ago, he chose First United Church of Tampa, whose core missions closely matched his own convictions – to be open and affirming to individuals of any sexual orientation, and to actively promote peace with justice.
Today Clark, 58, has taken on a cause that some perceive to be outside the Christian mainstream: He is an outspoken supporter of Sami Al-Arian.
Al-Arian is the former University of South Florida professor who was tried on charges that he supplied money to the Palestinian Islamic Jihad.
Clark, and several church members, were very visible during the trial, from attending court proceedings, to holding prayer vigils, and staging rallies for a fair trial.
The church council also passed a resolution on human rights and issued a call for a fair trial, which it then submitted to the prosecuting attorney, the attorney general and the judge.
It is not always an easy position to defend….
You can say that again.
Clark does not believe Al-Arian has received a fair trial.
Still, he points out that Al-Arian was cleared of the “major charges” against him. In those on which the jury could not agree, only two out of 10 jurors found him guilty.
“Helloooooo,” Clark said. “He’s been found by a jury of his peers, after a lengthy trial, to be innocent on all major charges, and hung on the others because of only two votes. Gosh, I think he should be a free man.”
Subsequent court hearings have focused on whether the prosecutor will attempt to retry Al-Arian, so for the meantime, he is still being held in jail….
Clark believes Hamas’ recent political victory is a positive sign for peace.
“One thing you can say about Hamas is that they’re honest,” he said. “Let’s let the process work, and let’s see what good will come of that. They will not be able to lead and still advocate terrorism because the majority of the Palestinian people want an end to the violence.”
Yes, that must be why they voted in such large numbers for a murderous terrorist organization.
As for Al-Arian, Clark said he feels the issue has already grown to unreasonable proportions. Al-Arian, he said, was just a flash point. People should refocus their energies on the real problem, which is securing a lasting peace with justice for the Palestinian people, and for Israel.
“It’s a much broader issue than just Sami Al-Arian,” Clark said. “Get off it already. Let’s use our energies for what will help to bring peace. Sami would say that too.”
Yes, I’m sure he would, in between shouts of “Death to America!” and “Death to Israel!”