Feathered Bastard

Joe Arpaio, Walkin' on the Water? Wacky, Nativist African-American Preacher Compares Sheriff Joe to Jesus Christ

Usually, folks like to compare Sheriff Joe to rather nefarious historical figures, you know, like Bull Connor, Idi Amin, Augusto Pinochet, Benito Mussolini (well, they're both Italian), and so on.

But the Man from Galilee? The Prince of Peace? The Light of This World? Jesus Christ himself?

That's the insanity sputtered recently by this nutty, nativist preacher-man, the Rev. Jesse Lee Peterson, who apparently likes Arpaio because our Mexican-chasin' "shurf" is down on the brown. Kinda ironic, considering that Peterson is an African-American gent. But then, bigots come in all colors.

"When I think about your situation," Peterson told Arpaio, who was apparently a guest today on Peterson's LA-based radio show. "And I'm not calling you Christ, of course, but it reminded me of what he had to go through fro standing up for what is right. And that's all you're doing is standing up for what is right."

Journalist Eduardo Barraza of the independent, Phoenix news source Barriozona.com captured Peterson playing lickspittle to our corrupt county constable. You can listen to the audio he captured, here.

Now, there are a lot of Biblical characters that you could liken Arpaio to: Pontius Pilate, Ramses II (you know, the guy who goes toe-to-toe with Charlton Heston in The Ten Commandments), or my favorite, Nimrod, which in Arpaio's case, would be pronounced "Dim-rod."

But...dying on the cross Jesus? Loaves and fishes Jesus? The same cat who preached about the Good Samaritan? Healed the sick, championed the poor, and all that jazz?

Before you accuse Rev. Peterson of smokin' the good ganja, keep in mind that Peterson's a long-time wingnut who's made a career off of bashing the Rev. Jesse Jackson, the NAACP, and gays, and for telling The Nation that undocumented immigrants have a "savage personality to what they're doing."

Peterson was also once a member of the now-defunct anti-immigration group Choose Black America, a front organization created by FAIR, the Federation for American Immigration Reform, which the Southern Poverty Law Center has tagged (rightfully) as a nativist hate group.

Peterson's sycophancy towards Joe, then, is to be expected. So is his mischaracterization of the facts surrounding the U.S. DOJ's investigation into Maricopa County's supreme scoundrel.

"This Justice Department...has some serious issues," Peterson observes as Joe listens on. "They're going after you for trying to uphold the law..."

Er, no, Rev. The DOJ is investigating Arpaio over charges that he has engaged in a pattern and practice of racial profiling, as well as other civil rights violations. Racial profiling is against the law. And there are other, alleged criminal violations being looked into by a federal grand jury.

Peterson goes on to contrast Joe's situation with the DOJ to one involving the Justice Department and the New Black Panther Party. The logic's so twisted, Peterson even loses Joe on that one.

One thing's for certain, if Joe's indicted by the grand jury, he won't be crucified, but he may have to spend some time in his own pink Underoos.

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Stephen is a former staff writer and columnist at Phoenix New Times.
Contact: Stephen Lemons