The Rev. Jeremiah Wright seems determined to stay in the news. Over the last couple of days, in speeches to the Detroit NAACP and at the National Press Club in Washington, Wright has only strengthened the perception that he is an unhinged racist, according to ABC’s Jack Tapper. First, there’s the NAACP speech:

The bulk of his remarks addressed, however, different groups seeing each other as deficient. He acted out the differences between marching bands at predominantly black and predominantly white colleges. “Africans have a different meter, and Africans have a different tonality,” he said. Europeans have seven tones, Africans have five. White people clap differently than black people. “Africans and African-Americans are right-brained, subject-oriented in their learning style,” he said. “They have a different way of learning.” And so on.

After jokingly mocking the Boston accents of former Presidents John F. and Sen. Ted Kennedy, D-Mass., Wright said, “nobody says to a Kennedy, ‘You speak bad English,’ only to a black child was that said.” Wright said that he believes “a change is going to come, ’cause many of us are committed to change how we see others who are different.”

Anyone white who said that “white people clap differently than black people” or that blacks are “right-brained” (implying whites are “left-brained”) would be assumed to wear sheets and hoods in his spare time. Individuals may be right-brained or left-brained; races may not. Individuals may have different musical abilities or styles; races do not. Having a Boston accent doesn’t make one a poor speaker of English; bad grammar does. For one who claims to have been prophetically fighting racism his whole career, Wright looks like a mirror image of what he supposedly has been fighting.

Then there’s the speech at the Press Club this morning, in which Wright reiterated his most lunatic charge:

On his contention that the U.S. government had created AIDS as a method of committing genocide against African-Americans, Wright referred to a hotly-disputed 1996 book Emerging Viruses: AIDS And Ebola : Nature, Accident or Intentional? by Leonard G Horowitz, which contends that AIDS and the Ebola viruses evolved during cancer experiments on monkeys.

He also referenced Medical Apartheid: The Dark History of Medical Experimentation on Black Americans from Colonial Times to the Present by Harriet Washington, and said based on the Tuskegee experiment — in which the U.S. Public Health Service conducted a 40-year study on 400 poor black men in Alabama with syphilis whom they did not properly treat — “I believe our government is capable of anything.”

There’s no doubt that the Tuskegee experiments were a horrible episode, a black stain on the federal government and the medical professionals who participated. But those experiments no more prove Wright’s AIDS allegations than the Holocaust proves that Germany is currently exterminating Jews. For proof, Wright turns to tinfoil hat dentist Leonard Horowitz, whose Web sites paint a picture of a genuine crackpot. On Wikipedia he’s described this way:

Author of more than sixteen books, Dr. Horowitz is globally known as the most outspoken critic of what he calls “the ongoing genocide committed by the ‘military-medical-petrochemical- pharmaceutical cartel,’” (a phrase he coined). He has been a staunch proponent of natural healing using sound, color, oxygen, nutrition, and water-based therapies.

Many persons internationally recognize Dr. Horowitz as a prophet. Including Rev. Richard S.C. Kirby, President and Chaplain of the Kepler Academy, Inc., and Chaplain in the World Network of Religious Futurists, wrote extensively of Dr. Horowitz’s prophetic calling in the Foreword to Dr. Horowitz’s book, Walk on Water. A few Bible scholars even say he is an Apostle for his revealing works that are changing generations.

In this regard, Dr. Horowitz claims to be guided by the revelatory angel of the Messianic community in Philadelphia (Rev. 3:7-13) to herald the “key to the House of David” that opens doors no man can close, and closes doors no human can open. That “key,” Dr. Horowitz insists, has everything do do with the Divine and sacred nature of water, increasingly proven by advances in water science, to fulfill the prophecy of Revelation 14:1-6 for hosting the concert for the 144,000 required to secure Peace on Earth.

Sorry for the extended digression (I just thought that stuff about Horowitz too funny to pass up). The point is that this is the sort of cross-fertilization between nutcases that causes the rest of us to shake our heads and wonder why the United Church of Christ continues to defend Wright. There’s yet another example of that defense today at the Washington Post‘s “On Faith” page, where UCC seminary president Susan Brooks Thistlethwaite again takes Wright’s critics to task:

I have spoken to many white Americans regarding this controversy and it has become evident to me that while many are shocked by the language of judgment on America, it is the form of the sermon presentation that is more upsetting. People can come to accept that Rev. Wright is interpreting the judgment on the nations represented by the biblical prophet Malachi and yet still be unable to get past the form—the image of what appears to be an angry African American man in African garb shouting and waving his arms. It is the seemingly angry African American man that is shocking white America and I think, at bottom, this is what I think many white people can’t get past.

Actually, what I can’t get past is the image of a man with an earned doctorate swallowing the patent medicine of nutballs like Horowitz whole, and spewing out racist nonsense at which white liberals like Thistlethwaite don’t bat an eye. That the UCC’s leadership continues to defend this man is a testimony to the politicized depths to which all too many in mainline leadership have fallen.

UPDATE: Dana Milbank of the Washington Post adds to what’s above:

Speaking before an audience that included Marion Barry, Cornel West, Malik Zulu Shabazz of the New Black Panther Party and Nation of Islam official Jamil Muhammad, Wright praised Louis Farrakhan, defended the view that Zionism is racism, accused the United States of terrorism, repeated his view that the government created the AIDS virus to cause the genocide of racial minorities, stood by other past remarks (“God damn America”) and held himself out as a spokesman for the black church in America.

His views on Farrakhan and Israel? “Louis said 20 years ago that Zionism, not Judaism, was a gutter religion. He was talking about the same thing United Nations resolutions say, the same thing now that President Carter’s being vilified for and Bishop Tutu’s being vilified for. And everybody wants to paint me as if I’m anti-Semitic because of what Louis Farrakhan said 20 years ago. He is one of the most important voices in the 20th and 21st century; that’s what I think about him. . . . Louis Farrakhan is not my enemy. He did not put me in chains, he did not put me in slavery, and he didn’t make me this color.”

Do I really have to cite quotes from Louis Farrakhan in which he spoke of Jews, not Zionism, in the most hateful and incendiary ways? Here’s just one:

“Do you know some of these satanic Jews have taken over BET?… Everything that we built, they have. The mind of Satan now is running the record industry, movie industry and television. And they make us look like we’re the murders; we look like we’re the gangsters, but we’re punk stuff.”

Ed Morrissey of Hot AIr has more, if you’ve got the stomach for it.