McCann and the US evangelist…

We had an email from a Michael Marcavage after we re-printed Eamon McCann’s column on New Orleans pulling Eamon up on some of the detail of the quotation. In this weeks column, McCann repents for the misquotation, but not the import of his original piece.By Eamon McCann

I’ve been called to repentance by Michael Marcavage, and he may have a point.

Mr. Marcavage is the director of the website Repent America whom I quoted here a couple of weeks back blaming the devastation of New Orleans by Hurricane Katrina on the city’s positive attitude to gays. The Journal piece was reprinted by blogger Mick Fealty on the prestigious Slugger O’Toole site, which is where Mr. Marcavage came upon it.

He’s now written to Slugger complaining of being misquoted. “It has come to my attention that your website is reporting: ‘New Orleans lived too long in a fool’s paradise. Southern Decadence fills the French Quarter of the city with drunken homosexuals engaging in sex acts in the public streets and bars. Hurricane Katrina has at last put an end to this annual celebration of sin.’ (and) ‘May this act of God bring us trembling before the throne of the Almighty.’”

Mr. Marcavage declared flatly: “These comments are inaccurate.”

True enough, the statement above isn’t word-for-word what appeared on Repent America. I took it from a US site, where it had been quoted and then attacked as an example of daft fundamentalism. I should have checked the passage against the original.

Here’s the original, posted on Repent America on August 31st.

“’Southern Decadence’ [an annual gay festival] has a history of filling the French Quarter section of the city with drunken homosexuals engaging in sex acts in the public streets and bars. Last year, a local pastor sent video footage of sex acts being performed in front of police to the mayor, city council, and the media. City officials simply ignored the footage and continued to welcome and praise the weeklong celebration as being an ‘exciting event’. However, Hurricane Katrina has put an end to the annual celebration of sin…

“’Although the loss of lives is deeply saddening, this act of God destroyed a wicked city…’ stated Repent America director Michael Marcavage. ‘From the devastation may a city full of righteousness emerge,’ he continued…

“’May this act of God cause us all to think about what we tolerate in our city limits, and bring us trembling before the throne of Almighty God,’ Marcavage concluded.

“’[God] sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.’ (Matthew 5:45.)”

Readers can observe the extent to which Mr. Marcavage was misquoted and decide for themselves how seriously his views were misrepresented.

First published in the Derry Journal, 4th December 2005

Mick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the Internet on politics and the wider media and is a regular guest and speaking events across Ireland, the UK and Europe. Twitter: @MickFealty