For years, whenever we have thought about black conservatives getting diarrhea of the mouth, the first people to come to mind have usually been Ben Carson and Allen West. But in recent weeks, another prominent black conservative may be giving Carson and West a run for their money–Jesse Lee Peterson. To hear him talk, Bill O’Reilly wasn’t fired because his history of sexual harassment finally came to light. No, no. It was because their lawyer, Lisa Bloom, was an open and unashamed liberal and “child of the lie” who was hellbent on destroying a man who was a force for good. To hear Peterson talk, Bloom followed the longstanding practice of her mother, Gloria Allred, of dragging women “up out of hell” to bring down “men of power” with a history of doing good.
So now we know that if it were up to Peterson, the political leanings of those who stand up for victims should matter. Well, on Thursday, Peterson may have sunk even lower than that. He delivered a message to the divorced men and women in his audience–if you even think about marrying again while your kids are still with you, you’re not much of a parent.
Peterson spent part of the last hour of Thursday’s show wagging his finger at divorced parents who have kids and decide they want to give marriage a second go. People for the American Way’s Right Wing Watch got a clip.
Starting about 10-and-a-half minutes into the third hour of Thursday’s show, Peterson put divorced parents who want to remarry on blast. As far as Peterson is concerned, “so-called integrated families” are “not good for the children.” He claimed–with a straight face–that parents who are divorced, remarry, and bring their kids into their new marriage are “selfish parents.” Supposedly, something in the “spirit” of kids who have been through divorce makes them only want their natural father and mother. For that reason, they don’t want a “stranger” who could be “standing between their families and their parents.”
Peterson claimed that divorced parents “owe it to your children” not to have a romantic relationship, let alone remarry, until the kids are grown up and are out of the house. While he directed most of his ire to parents who have children out of wedlock, he claimed with a broad brush that blended families “are not ordained by God.”
Later, Peterson claimed that parents who think they want to marry again “admit that you’re wrong” by divorcing or having kids out of wedlock. He claimed that “in their hearts,” kids will never accept a stepfather or stepmother, and divorced parents “do a disservice” to their kids by remarrying.
There is so much wrong with this that I don’t know where to start. Has it occurred to Peterson that maybe, just maybe, there are divorced mothers to get a positive male influence into their kids’ lives by remarrying a good, solid man? Or divorced fathers who think their kids need a mother? You would think it would have, considering that he has been counseling families for more than a quarter-century. His stock in trade is “rebuilding the family by rebuilding the man” through his nonprofit, the Brotherhood Organization for a New Destiny (BOND).
I have a number of friends from both sexes who divorced after having kids still with them, and later found new boyfriends or girlfriends–relationships that ultimately led to remarriage. For the record, many of them are good, solid Christians, and their kids are doing better than okay in those new relationships and marriages. Is Peterson willing to tell them to their faces, rather than the comfort of his studio in Los Angeles, that they are “selfish” and putting someone between their kids and their natural father or mother?
And that’s before we even talk about parents who fled abusive relationships. I say this as someone who was married to an emotionally abusive and controlling woman for three years. You mean to tell me, Jesse Lee, that if that woman gave me kids, they wouldn’t have deserved a chance at having someone in their lives who could be a real mother? And you mean to tell me that women who leave abusive relationships shouldn’t give their kids a fighting chance at having a real father? This sort of talk harkens back to the days when divorced people might as well have had a scarlet letter on them.
By Peterson’s own standard, Donald Trump is a selfish parent. Remember, folks, when he divorced Ivanka and married Marla Maples, Donald, Jr. and Ivanka were teenagers and Eric was eight years old. When he married Melania, Tiffany had just celebrated her 10th birthday. But wait a minute–as far as Peterson is concerned, Trump is a shining example of what a man ought to be. Which is it, Jesse Lee?
You may recall that Peterson invited me to call into his show whenever I got the chance to do so in order to discuss the O’Reilly matter. But after listening to this, I wadded up that invitation and threw it back at him. Many of you know that I long for the days when sitting and talking with those with whom we disagree wasn’t verboten. But we have to have some standards. I’m not in the habit of appearing on shows hosted by people who think they can trash private people with impunity–including parents who want their kids to have real fathers or mothers. And I’m not about to start now.
Peterson owes every divorced parent who is in a solid relationship or marriage an apology. Let him have it on Facebook and on Twitter.
(featured image courtesy BOND’s Facebook)