Huffington Post writer and White House adviser Eboo Patel asked who deserves to be called something greater than an “American patriot?” Even a “faith hero” – something Patel only bestows upon the “true giants of history?” Van Jones. Yes, Jones, the former “Green Jobs” czar who resigned in September when controversies surrounding him, such as him being a communist, began to emerge.
In a March 5 article on Huffington Post Religion, “Van Jones, Faith Hero,” Patel, however, put all of Jones’ troubles aside and put him on a pedestal. Although if Patel was only receiving his news from the traditional media it would be understandable because they largely failed to report Jones had his name on a petition that questioned if 9/11 was orchestrated by the U.S. government.
Patel is new to Huffington Post and, according to his bio, he is the founder and Executive Director of Interfaith Youth Core (IFYC), a Chicago-based institution building the global interfaith youth movement. He “is also a regular contributor to the Washington Post, National Public Radio and CNN” and a “a member of President Obama’s Advisory Council of the White House Office of Faith Based and Neighborhood Partnerships.”
So perhaps he missed the efforts of Fox’s Glenn Beck to report on Jones’ past. In Jones’ acceptance speech for the President’s Award from the NAACP he mentioned Beck, whom Patel labeled as a “chief hounder.” Jones stated, “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.”
That was simply too much for Patel to handle. He fawned, “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.”
It didn’t stop there. “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.”
Patel didn’t explain why exposing the truth about a member of the administration was equivalent to being a tormentor. Nor did he say how exactly Beck supposedly used violence.
And it got even worse. Patel listed people who have forgiven those who have wronged them, implying that Jones belongs in the same category as Nelson Mandela, the Prophet Muhammad, and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. After all, “To offer roses to those who throw stones is a rare and remarkable quality.”
Just in case that wasn’t enough for Jones to earn the prestigious “Faith Hero” award, Patel offered another example from his NAACP acceptance speech. Apparently Jones invoked in a “Biblical image” by stating, “For a country that beautiful, that prosperous, that innovative, that united, I am willing to walk through fire and brimstone.”
But really none of the controversies were supposed to be Jones’ fault. Patel lamented how “he was a victim of arson.” He also quoted NAACP’s Ben Jealous as calling Jones “an American treasure and the most misunderstood man in American.” Patel failed to mention even once why Jones resigned.
That may partially be due to Patel’s affiliation with the White House.
But really, what’s not to love about Jones after all? After all Patel exclaimed that Jones, “has no interest in fighting back.” Hmmm….wonder why? Patel also described how Jones will be teaching at Princeton and was also, “too busy planning a prayer pilgrimage to Jerusalem.” How touching.