Van Jones, faith hero

I spoke to Van Jones about a month after he got hounded out of his White House job and asked … Continued

I spoke to Van Jones about a month after he got hounded out of his White House job and asked him what he was going to do next. “This is a time for personal reflection,” he told me, “not professional decisions.” Van had no interest in fighting back. In fact, even while his name was still on the curl of the lip of certain cable news types, Van barely betrayed much anger at all. He was too busy planning a prayer pilgrimage to Jerusalem.

Van came back into the public spotlight recently. He will be teaching at Princeton, taking up a position as a Senior Fellow at the Center for American Progress, and he just received the prestigious President’s Award from the NAACP, the venerable civil rights organization.

In an eloquent piece, NAACP president Ben Jealous wrote that Van was both an American treasure and the most misunderstood man in America.

If America watched this video of Van’s acceptance speech, I think we would understand him better.

The video displays the Van Jones I know, not the one caricatured on cable talk shows. He speaks of skilled machinists in Detroit, out of work and down on their luck. “I know there’s a future out there for them,” Van says. “Let them make the wind turbines and the smart batteries and the solar panels to repower this country.” He talks about a woman in Appalachia, at risk of losing her land. “Let her put those wind turbines up, let her grow an energy crop … let’s get everyone involved in repowering America.”

And then he invokes a Biblical image in the national interest: “For a country that beautiful, that prosperous, that innovative, that united, I am willing to walk through fire and brimstone.”

Classic Van, I thought to myself. Van wasn’t hit by an accidental house fire, he was a victim of arson, and yet there was no whiff of ‘woe is me’ in that speech at all. Other people would have used that stage to vindicate themselves, even attack their attackers. But Van was doing what he’d always done – use the platform he was given to lift other people up.

Towards the end of the speech, there is a slight change in Van’s voice, and a turn in his narrative. He invokes the name of his chief hounder, Glenn Beck, and I half thought he was going to say something like, “So look at me now, Mr. Beck.” But not Van. Instead, he says, “To my fellow countryman Glenn Beck, I see you and I love you brother, and you cannot do anything about it … Let’s be one country.”

Did he really say that? I thought to myself. Did he call Glenn Beck “My fellow countryman” and tell him “I love you”? Are you kidding me? I went back in the video and listened again. He really did it. I took a deep breath, and closed my eyes, and thanked God for that glimpse of grace.

What Van displayed is what religion is all about to me – to give love in the face of hate, to show mercy to your tormentors, to have a vision of unity that embraces those who violently pushed you out.

There is a story that Sufi Muslims tell of Jesus. One day, Jesus was in the marketplace when those around started abusing him. Jesus turned and blessed them. When the Disciples saw this, they asked incredulously, “How can you bless those who abuse you?” Jesus responded, “I give only what I carry in my purse.”

To offer roses to those who throw stones is a rare and remarkable quality. History is made of the witness of such moments. I think of Nelson Mandela bringing his jailers from Robben Island onto the platform at his Inauguration. I think of the Prophet Muhammad granting amnesty to those in Mecca who for two decades tried to destroy him. I think of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. staring down the dogs and fire hoses of hate, insisting that he had no anger, that he was too focused on redemption, on reconciliation, on building the beloved community.

In my last post on Van, I called him an American patriot. That is high praise in my book. But watching Van’s speech at the NAACP, I have another title for him, one that I reserve for the true giants of history. Van Jones is a faith hero.

About

  • jckdoors

    Not that there was any doubt, but we know who the bigger man is.

  • ignoranceisbliss

    “Jones never denied his past affiliation with the radical left. In the ’90s, he was involved with the group Standing Together to Organize a Revolutionary Movement (STORM), which sympathized with Maoist-inspired peasant movements throughout the world…)Glenn Beck said: ” What I want you to do is give me ten minutes. I need you to take a good hard look at who Van Jones is. I told you, well, for the last couple of months that this guy is an avowed, self avowed radical revolutionary communist. In the last few days George Soros and the left have been trying to scrub this guy’s image clean to the point where they are actually now claiming that he has totally transformed from communist into raging capitalist.”Van Jones was not a case of some innocent great man being railroaded from his position. It was a skulking liberal extremist and avoyed revolutionary communist sneaking in the back door opened wide by Barack Obama, another liberal extremist radical, and someone shining the light of fact and knowledge on him. Van Jones ran himself out of his position, just by being himself, and someone that the majority of Americans don’t think has a place in our Government.America rejects radical liberal extremism every time the light is shown on them.I can’t wait until November. Hopefully more moderate Democrats will take back control of the party from the liberal extremists, that actually liked Van Jones.

  • haveaheart

    “The best thing for the country would be if those seditionist fascists were violently disposed of. I won’t be the one to do it, but I’ll be cheering if it happens.”Violent removal of ideologues always backfires. As with suicide bombers, for each one that dies, five more will spring up in his place.People like Beck and Limbaugh have the kind of rabid fans who would incite mayhem in retaliation for the murder of their heroes.Besides, the worst punishment Beck and Limbaugh could suffer would be to lose their audience. Because they’re such one-trick ponies, it won’t be long before no one will be listening to them anymore, and they’ll be neutralized, marginalized, and impotent.For those guys, irrelevance is a far greater and more painful punishment than a bullet to the head.

  • bfromcharlotte

    Glen Beck never even one day preached hate, do an ounce of homework before running your mouth on here. He is informative, and reports things that the liberal mainstream media refuses to. Like the fact mr. jones is a self admitted communist. Perhaps you liberals should keep your hate (see some above posts) in check, and watch his show for 5 seconds which I gaurantee you have never done but somehow know enough to comment. This article and about 3 others in the last month or so, is a PRIME example of why liberal newspapers are dying. See you back in the loser category in November!

  • landrperite

    Eboo,Bob

  • chatard

    Let’s see…Eboo Patel…. appointed by Obama to his “Faith “panel and writing columns in WAPO’s “On Faith” forum. But what is on his mind? Crying that Van Jones, the Communist, was ‘hounded out of office”. Claiming that Jones was ‘caricatured’ on TV. No, Eboo, those were actual videotapes and those were Jones’s actual words.. You are disingenuous, Patel. And since you are educated and know the difference between caricature and presentation of fact – photograph vs. childish drawing – you are not only disingenuous, you are criminally disingenuous. You are a liar and Barack Obama is a liar for claiming he put you in his administration to smooth out matters of faith and make everything sweetness and light. Your purpose is to portray radicals as the girl next door. Now ask us to believe you when you tell us Islam is a peaceful religion.

  • hit4cycle

    “Hounded out of his job”? Not really. Once it was revealed to America what he is, Obama canned him because he bacame a political liability. We owe a debt of gratitude to people like Glenn Beck for flushing out leftist radicals like this character. Frankly, I don’t think it’s too much to expect that people in our government who have power should actually love their country. America needs advocates in government, not bureaucrats intent on taking us down. This article is a load of manure.

  • mtaper

    This was a beautiful piece about love and forgiveness. It reminds me of the two Iraqi War vets who are crossing the country on a “lovemission”.

  • mvd78209

    Van Jones, like his moral mentor Barack Obama, was at first only a poverty procurer and racialist shakedown artist. Finding most of the low places at that hallowed trough taken by the likes of Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton, Jones’s native cunning led him to become the first ENVIRONMENTALIST poverty procurer and racialist shakedown artist.

  • acebojangles

    It is possible to caricature someone with actual video of them and quotes. A few videos could easily give you an incomplete picture of a person.What’s most telling about the comments on this story is the implication that someone can’t be a communist and a loving person. Did Eboo Patel say that he supported Jones’ politics? No. He said he was gracious. That seems to be true. A lot of people are so wrapped up in partisan politics that they can’t see any good in someone from the other side of the political spectrum.Glenn Beck is an entertainer who manipulates people by preying on their fears.

  • leilaash

    Uh… did Mr. Patel just compare Van Jones to Jesus? lol

  • Senator_Salesman

    Van Jones is a Self-Proclaimed Communist. Thank God for people like Glenn Beck who is a true American patriot. Enough said, Time to turn the page on Van. His 15 minutes of fame is up

  • cosciousness

    Thou shalt not covet thy neighbors goods. I’m sure Van Jones considers this a pathetic statement.

  • bowspray

    Eboo Patel lives in Oz and enjoys teasing us and bringing some attention to his wacky world.Van Jones was exposed being himself in his own words on video and audio…again and again.Like the Soviet era revisionists,Jones is attempting to reinvent himself.We know [on factual statements]that Van is a rascist,radical leftist and America hating pseudo intellectual.He will always have a home in academia.He will never again be an employee of the U.S. government,unless he enlists in the military.All the puff pieces and revisionist drivel can`t put Van Jones together again.

  • jeffreid1

    “What Van displayed is what religion is all about to me – to give love in the face of hate, to show mercy to your tormentors, to have a vision of unity that embraces those who violently pushed you out. “Hate? For bringing to light what he actually said? Beck simply used what Jones said. That’s hate?Voilence? C’mon man. nobody smacked him. Now, him calling people a**holes is certainly showing love isn’t it?

  • fishcrow

    Mr. Patel, you would do well to remember both sides of Jesus’ public ministry. Naturally he forgave all, but he also pointed out their sins; sometimes rather harshly. Beck never condemned Jones; he pointed out what he didn’t like about his philosophy. You can only forgive someone if you first believe they did wrong.

  • ksanders32

    You people who are brain washed by Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh are pathetic. Glenn Beck spouts hate and fear for his own personal gain. He preys on those with low IQ’s for proft, and throws in “Thomas Jefferson” and “forefathers” every few sentences..and POOF! he’s a PATRIOT!…his prominence is a sad commentary on our discourse.

  • YEAL9

    Eboo Patel has his own dark secrets?Eboo Patel pays himself well from his Interfaith Youth Core non-profit group’s receipts (donations etc.) which, based on the group’s IRS Form 990, appears to be more of a stock holding company for Mr. Patel than it is a non-profit.Did Mr.Patel’s Interfaith Youth Core work for Obama’s election campaign as we see Eboo is not only on the recent Chicago Council of Global Affairs’ task force but also on Obama’s Faith advisory council?Did a Faith Intiative grant from the State Department help defray the cost of CCOGA’s report and Mr. Patel’s task force pay?

  • Cornell1984

    Van Jones uses divisive and racially insenstive language. He sided with radicals and 9/11 truthers. He had added to the polarization of this country.The rehab of Van Jones by the radical left-wingers is sad.

  • houstonian

    If you didn’t get the jest of what Van Jones meant then your too naive to be of public service. Alarms go off when people say false things. You of all people should know how to pick up on these things. Your allowing your judgment to be clouded and yes we do judge. We say it’s going to take more then this to prove your sincere. Van Jones is not sincere. He’s as false as his comment is about loving Glen Beck. Your too gullible and your wrong about Van Jones being a patriot. Live in a country with a nation fill with Van Jones and you will see Van Jones for who and what he truly is. You will hear people talk like Van Jones does all the time. The only difference is they don’t hide who they are by saying they love someone. They come right out and say how much they hate someone which what Van Jones was telling Beck with I love you. Now do you get it.

  • mgd1

    Van Jones’ “forgiveness” of a journalist who did his profiessional job is consistent with Mr. Jones’ lack of remorse or understanding how he offended Americans.Then again – he is being honored by the NAACP so why should he feel bad about hurting anyone or doing anything wrong? He is a hero to those who fan the flames of hatred.This article/opinion piece is just sad.

  • StewartIII

    NewsBusters — Patel: ‘Van Jones, Faith Hero’

  • iamredwolf

    Let’s see…I’m a half breed, Liberal

  • douglaslbarber

    This column would be more impressive had the Muslim columnist addressed Anthony Jones’ signature on a petition for 911Truth.org in a forthright manner rather than writing as though it didn’t exist and implying that only neanderthal brutes would be concerned by it.

  • mharwick

    Van Jones is a favorite of Barak Obama. That is the real story here.

  • Emmetrope

    The only GOP victories lately have been Van Jones and ACCORN. Too bad the pimp, O’Keeffe, is facing charges that could land him in federal prison for 10 years for messing with phone lines in a congressional Dem’s office.

  • DwightCollins

    like you, van jones is a self centered opportunist…

  • yasseryousufi

    Glenn Beck, Michael Savage, Billy Graham, Osama Bin Laden, Benjamin Netanyahu, Bal Thackeray etc. all they do is sell hatred to their customers! There will always be enough buyers around to keep these morons in buisness!

  • douglaslbarber

    The columnist wrote, “…what religion is all about to me – to give love in the face of hate, to show mercy to your tormentors…”I wonder if that is how the descendants of Jawaharlal Nehru view Islam? They have some experience of it.

  • yasseryousufi

    DwightCollins,”he is also a racist as much as you hate christianity…”can you prove this? I dont think Eboo has ever expressed hatred of Christianity. If anyone criticizes the whacko Christian fundo’s like Beck doesn’t mean he hates Christianity. Do you see the Christianity of Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh being similar to that of Jesus Christ??

  • yasseryousufi

    “I wonder if that is how the descendants of Jawaharlal Nehru view Islam? They have some experience of it.”The descendents of Jawaharlal Nehru were killed by Sikh and Hindu extremists/suiciders. All you Islamophobes might look less dumb if you actually google info before posting this garbage~!

  • iikamo

    Dwightcollins:All I see is van jones and eboo patel preaching love above all else. I wish I could say the same for Glenn Beck.

  • MALBENNET

    One does not declare winter when the first snowflake falls. Jacob wore an animals skin to fool his father for the inheritance. Van Jones will convince me of his love when it endures. The world we live in has used the word “love” to fool many. When I no longer hear the garbage that has spewed from Van Jones” lips over a period of time and when I hear him repent of the opinion the Bush created 9/11 will I give his words any credence. In the meantime I wonder if you are in the market for the Brooklyn Bridge. The president claims to be a christian but I doubt that he even knows what the word implies.When Jesus was asked what the greatest commandment was he replied “love the Lord your God with all your heart and all your soul.” Does Van Jones love in that manner?

  • thgirbla

    Well now, that was awfully white of him ???

  • pgr88

    Van Jones is a dedicated Marxist and also a politician. The fact that the author wants to make him into some kind of saint is just too laughable.

  • bleon2000

    Christianity as practiced and advocated by many Conservative pundits, politicians and entertainers like Glen Beck and Rush Limbaugh does not resemble the teachings of Christ. Their brand of Christianity is inauthentic since it corrupts and ignores many of the major tenets of Christ. For instance, Jesus commanded his followers to “love your enemies,” to “bless them that curse you,” to “do good to them that hate you,” and to “pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you.” (Matthew 5:44 KJV) This is radical stuff! Van Jones is, therefore, an authentic Christian since he practices the very radical teachings of Christ in regards to love and forgiveness.

  • DCEsq

    Ah, The Post comments are out in full force, displaying their characteristic hateful rhetoric and their easy use of barely understood knee-jerk terms like “Marxist.” Kudos to Mr. Patel for inspiring the proof that love is, truly, far more difficult than hate.

  • Emmetrope

    The only GOP victories lately have been Van Jones and ACCORN. Too bad the pimp, O’Keeffe, is facing charges that could land him in federal prison for 10 years for messing with phone lines in a congressional Dem’s office.By the way did FOXNEWS cover the story were New York police cleared the ACORN workers of any wrong doing? The police watched all the video not the edited version FOXNEWS was promoting.

  • lextenou

    Thank you for this column. It speaks to me on a level that demands full and joyful sharing.

  • evesgold

    What was there to forgive Glen Beck for? Jones is proud of his beliefs and ideology.

  • Nymous

    I’m a patriot who sincerely hopes that someone will shoot Glenn Beck & Rush Limbaugh. The best thing for the country would be if those seditionist fascists were violently disposed of. I won’t be the one to do it, but I’ll be cheering if it happens.Van’s a bit nicer guy than I am, and I can admire him for that. He’s more of a patriot than any of his critics, and he’s got the sort of decency about him that I admittedly struggle with.

  • 12thgenamerican

    thank you glenn beck. dems are toast in november. van jones is a dangerous man. wonder if he’ll show at the rev. wright hatefest today with calypso louie?

  • 12thgenamerican

    emmetrope, can anything good come from new york?

  • DANSHANTEAL1

    I COME FROM OAKLAND, TOO, LIKE VANN AND RON AND BARBARA. WE WEREN’T PREACHING MARXISM IN MY DAY…NO LESS BEING SELF-PROFESSED MARXISTS OR COMMUNISTS. TODAY, I AM NOT EVEN AWARE OF A COMMUNIST PARTY IN AMERICA. IS THERE ONE? DO THEY REQUIRE YOU TO CARRY A MEMBERSHIP CARD AND PAY MONTHLY DUES LIKE IN THE OLD DAYS? I’LL BET VANN WASN’T EVEN A COMMUNIST BUT ONLY BRAGGED HE WAS ONE. IT. IN YOUR NEXT COLUMN KINDLY SPELL OUT VANN’S PHILOSOPHY ALONG WITH THAT OF RON AND BARBARA.

  • Keesvan

    Lord your God with all your heart and all your soul.” Does Van Jones love in that manner?POSTED BY: MALBENNET | MARCH 5, 2010 11:02 AM

  • lkovathana

    Thank you, Mr. Patel, for making forgiveness the centerpiece of this article.

  • JonathanHess

    An article in WSJ today quotes Hamas’ founder’s son ( a convert to Christianity) calling Islam as having a terrorist God/prophet. He says Muslims have been fooled into believing a terrorist God for last 1400 years.

  • daniel12

    Eboo Patel below:”Did he really say that? I thought to myself. Did he call Glenn Beck “My fellow countryman” and tell him “I love you”? Are you kidding me? I went back in the video and listened again. He really did it. I took a deep breath, and closed my eyes, and thanked God for that glimpse of grace.”No Eboo, what he said was: “To my fellow countryman Glenn Beck, I see you and I love you brother, AND YOU CANNOT DO ANYTHING ABOUT IT… Let’s be one country.” Must be true love, right? Telling another person you love him or her and that they cannot do anything about it. Just what everyone wants to hear from wife, girlfriend, boyfriend and so on. I can see all the boys in high school imitating the hero Van Jones and telling their girlfriends they love them and that they, their girlfriends, can do nothing about it. Must make their girlfriends breathe easier, right?Eboo, tell your wife you love her and that she cannot do anything about it. Tell her at dinner. Then add to it and rub dessert in her face because you pretty much already did rub your love in her face.

  • razzl

    Jones made a political mistake of a type not tolerated well in Washington and paid the usual professional price. What all this religious posturing is about, other than using a lot of WAPO column space on behalf of a friend, I don’t know, but it hardly merits consideration as a religious issue…

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