04-14-07, 10:24 PM #1
Hutcherson Between Rock and Hard Place
Local liberals are grinning quietly to themselves at the sometimes hilarious exchange between the White House and local preacher Rev. Ken Hutcherson. No, you're not really expected to know Hutcherson, at least if you're not from the area. But he's the pastor of an influential local church, and recently was accused of attempting to bully Microsoft, of all companies, in the run up to a state legislative vote on gay rights. And it is for his outspoken homophobia that most in the area know of him. Apparently, however, liberals are not the only ones he annoys.
If you’ve been following the strange saga of Pastor Ken Hutcherson’s travels abroad as a “Special Envoy” for the White House, you’ll remember that when this whole thing started, Hutcherson promised to produce a video tape that would prove the White House had given him the “Special Envoy” status he was claiming.
That was more than three weeks ago.
Since then, the White House has repeatedly denied that it gave Hutcherson any titles, “Special Envoy” or otherwise, in advance of his trip to Latvia.
There have been numerous accounts, however, of Hutcherson suggesting or outright stating that he was representing the White House as he lobbied against efforts to promote gay rights in Latvia. A local lawyer, Dave Coffman, has suggested that these claims by Hutcherson could have violated federal laws against posing as an official U.S. representative while abroad .... (Sanders, "Share")
Eli Sanders of The Stranger has followed the story since his first report last month. Hutcherson is alleged to have used a bogus appointment as a White House envoy to meet with the Latvian government:
The controversy began when reporters at The Stranger and the Seattle Times noticed an unusual claim in a March 16 e-mail from Hutcherson to his "Prayer Warriors," a group Hutcherson regularly asks to pray for everything from his lost luggage and his foot injuries to his appearances on cable talk shows. "I was honored to receive a commission by the White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives as a Special Envoy," Hutcherson wrote. He told his "Prayer Warriors" that his new purview included "the following areas: Adoptions, Family Values, Religious Freedom, and Medical Relief." He added that the new title "allowed me to meet with the Latvian government."The one thing about this story is that if it's true, Hutcherson's got a set to be envied. I mean, really, posing as an envoy, finagling a meeting, and then not only criticizing the host nation but demanding a full report on the issue?
Hutcherson said that on his trip, in addition to meeting with Latvian government officials, he'd used a meeting at the U.S. embassy in Riga to express his concern that officials there "support the homosexual agenda," and asked for a "full report" on the matter. In a phone interview, Digne Lubina, a spokeswoman for the U.S. embassy in Riga, confirmed for The Stranger that Hutcherson held a meeting at the embassy. Lubina then requested that all other questions to be sent via e-mail, and did not respond by press time to a query about whether Hutcherson presented himself as a "special envoy." Ivan Boryagin, a member of New Generation, the conservative Latvian church that Hutcherson visited on his trip, told The Stranger in a phone interview and in subsequent e-mails that [b]Hutcherson had presented himself as having "a mandate to represent the White House."[b] In an audio recording of Hutcherson's visit, provided by Boryagin via e-mail, a man who sounds like Hutcherson can be heard saying: "I have the power and the commission to ask these questions." (Sanders, "Voice")
That's gotta count for something. Right? And, even better, according to Sanders' March 19, 2007 blog entry: "Hutcherson apparently used this title during his recent travels to Latvia, where he complained to the U.S. Embassy there about its alleged monetary support for gay rights groups, and where he also reportedly appeared with Scott Lively, an American who claims gays were responsible for (not victims of) the Holocaust."
What? It's true that some of the Nazi upper echelon tried buggery. They also tried methamphetamine and genocide. Not everything makes sense. But yeah, Lively's all that.
So here's this guy who manages to make a spectacle of himself no matter what he does, and apparently doesn't care. He promised a video, but he's not coughing it up. According to Sanders' reports, Hutcherson stated, "I’m not going to give you information so you can go and attack the White House ... Either way you win."
So he's trying to martyr himself, as well.
Stay tuned. This one's going to be fun.
Sanders, Eli. "Hutcherson Says He Won't Share His White House Tape (At Least Not With The Stranger)". TheStranger.com, April 12, 2007. See http://slog.thestranger.com/2007/04/...white_house_ta
----- "Voice of America?" TheStranger.com, March 21, 2007. See http://www.thestranger.com/seattle/Content?oid=180552
----- "Update: White House Contradicts Local Pastor ...." TheStranger.com, March 19, 2007. See http://slog.thestranger.com/2007/03/...icts_local_pas