With Rabbi Daniel Lapin as one of his trusted advisors -- Lapin's the man who helped Lobbygate figure and now-convicted-felon Jack Abramoff in his rise to infamy -- Antioch Bible Church minister Ken Hutcherson yesterday officially launched his latest gay-bashing campaign, stumbling as he left the gate. The Business Wire refused to issue his press release, which urges his fellow anti-homosexual followers to buy up Microsoft stock to theoretically gain some control of the Gates empire and reverse its support for gay-rights measures in the state.
It's a Hutcherson fantasy, of course -- a fund-raising effort disguised as a moral crusade. (He effectively concedes it's a pipe dream but if his flock follows his lead -- buying three shares of stock and giving one of them to his Eastside church -- Hutcherson can use the money to finance other tax-free religious ventures and grow his empire).
But the worldwide clients of The Business Wire, a leading press release firm, won't be hearing about it through the Wire's network. The church's new financial Web site, Antioch Global Network Financial (AGN), is up and running, the church said in a message to its Prayer Warriors, but "There was a glitch, however, with the Press Release. The Business Wire refused to release it, stating that they had the right to do so, based on the content. Please continue to pray for the news to get out!"
A spokesperson for the pro-business Wire was unsure why the release was rejected. But it might have had something to do with the headline Hutcherson put on it: "Microsoft told by AGN to put shareholders first and stop financing ungodly ventures 2-billion Christians find offensive."
The ego-driven, Bible-thumping Hutcherson -- he wants, he says, "to be to Christianity what Gretzky was to hockey, what Beckham is to soccer, what Jordan was to basketball, what Martin Luther King was to African-American rights, what the Pope was to Poland" -- believes in a literally bully pulpit. He told Microsoft officials "I could be your worst nightmare because I am a black man with a righteous cause, with a host of powerful white people behind me."
One of them, Lapin, a sometimes-radio talk show host who helped -- unknowingly, he says -- Abramoff launder funds as part of the Christian conservative's Lobbygate schemes - wouldn't necessarily seem the type to aid in a fund raiser. Federal tax forms show that Lapin's Mercer Island charity, Toward Tradition, had negative balances in recent years even while Lapin was raising his annual salary to $160,000.
In 2006, the U.S.Senate Finance Committee, after looking into the laundering of $50,000 by Abramoff's corporation through Lapin's charity so he could supposedly hire the wife of an aide to then Rep. and GOP leader Tom DeLay, concluded that Toward Tradition and four other Abramoff-linked groups "appear to have perpetrated a fraud on other taxpayers."
That seems more than a little ironic in light of Hutcherson's comments in his press release yesterday: "Corporate America has stepped in to fund organizations and individuals seeking to redefine morality, family values and the definition of marriage. It?s time this stops." Hear hear.