Sunday, April 15, 2007

Death Threats, Love Offerings

It’s all on schedule. After Googling “sharpton death threat” today, 365,000 hits will lead you to news about the Rev. Al’s beefed-up security after hate mail resulting from his courageous stand against the Evil Imus.

‘Twas ever thus. In 1991, while protesting racism in Brooklyn, the Reverend was stabbed by a drunken Italian gentleman and had to wait 12 years before a court case ended with New York City paying him $200,000 and covering a $7447 hospital tab for failing to provide enough security.

This could not be described as a “love offering,” which is Sharptonese for money that underwrites his expensive causes and extensive, often luxurious travel.

There are so many it’s hard to keep track:

*The $80,000 provided by admirers to pay off his defamation liability in the Tawana Brawley fake rape case.

*The $25,000 donation from folks seeking Harlem fast-fried franchises as the Reverend stood up for the “underchicken” and denounced Kentucky Fried Chicken’s fowl cruelty.

*The $100,000 misunderstanding that resulted in having to return Federal funding for his 2004 presidential campaign.

*The $240,000 a year the Reverend was getting to do commercials for Loan Max, which he renounced after an uproar over the firm’s 360 percent-a-year interest charges that often resulted in taking away cars from the poor.

*The $1.9 million the National Action Network reported in 2002 mostly from unidentified contributors, according to a New York Times report in 2004 on the Reverend’s finances:

“A recent filing with the election commission...provided new details about Mr. Sharpton's income. He disclosed that in 2002 he earned $381,900--$78,000 from the National Action Network; $75,000 from Kensington Publishing, the publisher of his book 'Al on America'; $25,000 from Pepsico for sitting on an advisory board; $3,900 from Inner City Broadcasting for a radio show; and $80,000 from various companies for consulting work.

“Another $120,000 came from speeches and sermons through a company he identifies in his filing and in court papers as Rev. Als Productions...actually RevAls Communications, a corporate identity he created in 1999, of which Rev. Als Productions is a subsidiary.”

But why go on? Uplifting the downtrodden is hard, dangerous work, and we should all pray for the Rev. Al’s safety and appropriate earthly rewards for his endeavors.

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