Last month I saw a tweet from St. Stephen’s pastor, Kevin Cosby, to Judge Sandra McLaughlin, a poorly rated judge, seeking re-election: “@McLaughlinJUDGE it was great to have u n church today. U r one of the most outstanding public servants n r community. Thanks for all u do!”
WFPL reports that McLaughlin was recorded making inappropriate remarks about courtroom defendants. Regarding a defendant who wore an Obama shirt to court, she said, “He’s lucky to get out of here alive. Did you see his T-shirt? ‘Barack Obama, Let’s Do It Again.’ That was a double whammy.” Naturally, I was surprised to read Cosby’s tweet supporting a judge who is seemingly biased against the kinds of people he seeks to pastor.
Here is an abridged version of our online debate after I criticized his endorsement; the full exchange is available on Twitter.
Me: So @KWCosby endorses @McLaughlinJUDGE as “most outstanding public servant” despite lowest judge rating & documented bias? #dumbfounded
Kevin Cosby: @jaisongardner I hope I am invited on your show to share what is going on at Simmons College. We are on the verge of being designated Louisville’s first HBCU. We are currently the fastest growing college in the commonwealth. I hope you can come by and see what’s going on. Much success to you on your new radio program.
Me: You can come and talk about the college if you will also talk about your faulty social leadership and choice to endorse the worst judge.
KC: I would love to however I don’t remember endorsing anyone. I simply gave a shoutout to a friend who visited our church.
Me: You called her one of the best public servants and said thanks for all you do. Not a personal endorsement? So then you DON’T endorse her?
KC: A shoutout should not be confused as an endorsement. I have not nor will I ever publicly endorse anyone. Anyone who visits our church who is a public official, I acknowledge as a courtesy. I don’t endorse her or anyone else for that matter! I do endorse the great work of Simmons College! I believe the best way to keep people out of her court is by the promotion of the great work of Simmons College. Simmons is blowing up. Please come and visit. YOU WILL BE AMAZED!
Me: Thanking them for visiting is one thing, but you endorsed and complimented her work as a judge despite evidence to the contrary. Do you really take folk for that big of fools to not see a veiled public endorsement? Why not email or call the judge to thank her? You also all-but-endorsed Anne Northup in the 90s while claiming [not] to to endorse. Veiled endorsements are what u do. Financially driven?
KC: No veiled endorsement. I don’t know enough about her or anyone else to endorse her. I don’t know who her opponent is. But if she attends [my] church, I will do the same for her.
Me: If you admittedly don’t know about [Laughlin], why did u call her “best public servant”? Please answer that. Do you acknowledge now that you misspoke in that regard, considering her admitted infractions?
KC: I repeat I have not endorsed her or anyone. If her opponent comes she will be afforded the same graciousness. Furthermore, show me anytime in which St. Stephen has benefitted financially from a politician. Public funds cannot go to churches.
Me: Government funds went from Community Based Organizations to churches under [President] Bush and Northup and their faith based initiatives in the 90s. You know that.
KC: I admit that if my statement was taken as an endorsement that was a mistake on my part. It simply reflects the limits of Twitter! It is easy to be misinterpreted when you only have 140 characters in which to communicate.
Me: No way to misinterpret your direct quote. [Laughlin] isn’t the best public servant. In fact, she is the worst according to ratings. But thanks for the clarity.
KC: My words are not an endorsement! I simply respect public figures because I know how easy it is to become a target by haters. It’s the uncivil culture we live in.
Me: Don’t mistake critical thinking and discernment for haters. Dr. King had haters. Obama has haters. You and the judge have critics.
The conversation ended with Cosby pledging to call me. He hasn’t.