On a March, 1998 trip to Africa with President Clinton, Rev. Jesse Jackson, who was serving as Clinton's ‘‘spiritual adviser'' and seeking to stem the fallout from the Monica Lewinsky affair, told New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd, ‘‘Sex is not the one string on the guitar. There are nine other commandments.''
Perhaps Jackson could so easily offer absolution to the president because Jackson was breaking the same commandment.
Jackson says he had an extramarital affair with a woman on the staff of his Rainbow-Push Coalition and fathered a now 20-month-old child with her. He added, ‘‘I fully accept responsibility and I am truly sorry for my actions.''
He says he has asked God, his family and friends for forgiveness and their prayers.
That, of course, is between Jackson, God, his family and his friends. True repentance is a beautiful thing and no one is above the temptation to which Jackson has succumbed. But as a very public man who has been one of Bill Clinton's chief defenders and organizers of support within the African-American community, Jackson's incredible hypocrisy deserves at least as much scrutiny and comment as that given in the 1980s to fallen television evangelists Jimmy Swaggart and Jim Bakker. The extramarital activities of those men were the subject of entire ‘‘Nightline'' programs and numerous jokes by late-night comedians.