The Wright-Obama Divide

What does the pastor say about the man?

The important thing about Jeremiah Wright, the inflammatory former pastor of Barack Obama's church, is not that he thinks America is "controlled by rich white people," that the 9/11 terrorist attacks were the result of our "chickens are coming home to roost," or that God should "damn America" for its sins against blacks. It's that Wright is supporting a presidential candidate who clearly believes none of these things, but instead puts his faith in what Lincoln called "the better angels of our nature."

It's as if the Minuteman Project were to endorse a candidate who favors more Hispanic immigration. Wright has gotten behind a leader whose success badly undercuts the pastor's belief in the irredeemability of America.

That is a good thing. If there are people, black or white, who hold such a bitter, distorted view of this country, it's reassuring that the most congenial political figure they can find is one who radiates—in fact, embodies—our national faith in freedom and progress.

Wright apparently sees this nation as defective and divided beyond repair. Obama thinks the defects are only a part of the story, and that a unity transcending ancient racial distrusts is achievable.

What has fueled his candidacy is neither black anger nor white guilt, but a desire by people of different complexions to minimize the role of race in our society. In his book, A Bound Man, Hoover Institution scholar Shelby Steele writes that Obama is "a living rebuke to both racism and racialism, to both segregation and identity politics... [H]e also embodies a great and noble human aspiration: to smother racial power in a democracy of individuals."

If the pastor truly believed his more vitriolic comments, he would have no choice but to treat Obama as a fool for aspiring to the presidency. Instead, Wright has been forced to entertain the notion that white people would choose a black male for the most powerful office on Earth.

When Ronald Reagan ran for governor of California in 1966, liberals attacked him for getting support from members of the ultra-conservative John Birch Society, which regarded Dwight Eisenhower as a Communist agent. Reagan responded, "If anyone chooses to vote for me, they are buying my views. I am not buying theirs."

His career illustrates that political shrewdness often requires attracting not only savory but unsavory people to a cause. When he ran for president, he was criticized for tossing the occasional bone to racist white Southerners by endorsing "state's rights." But by appealing to many of those who had once supported the venomous white supremacist George Wallace, Reagan helped defang those forces, while advancing his own political agenda.

George W. Bush followed a similar route in 2000 by speaking at Bob Jones University, which had lost its federal tax exemption for banning interracial dating and whose founder once called Bush's father a "devil." Being politicians, Reagan and Bush found ways to lure in bigots at little cost, while rejecting their most cherished beliefs.

Obama likewise hopes to co-opt black radicals, whose convictions will be sorely tested if he wins the presidency. A candidate should not be condemned if he or she can persuade extremists to support a campaign that offers no extreme positions but many sensible ones.

In this case, of course, the complaint is that Obama doesn't merely accept Wright's support but that he joined his church and remained there. Why didn't he leave? One reason, as Obama said in his speech, is that the outrageous statements are only a small part of what he knows about the man, and that Wright's spiritual guidance and the church's vital missions in the community were far more important.

Anyone choosing a church has to accept its flaws, which can be considerable. Good churches and good pastors can be hard to find, and perfect ones impossible. I suspect Obama figured that if Trinity United Church of Christ excelled in its most important functions, he could put up with some foolishness in the peripheral area of politics—something lots of white churchgoers are accustomed to doing.

What is crucial, though, is Obama simply can't accept the view he heard expressed from the pulpit that America is an evil, oppressive, racist society. Come November, Wright may have serious grounds for doubt as well.

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  • Elemenope||

    You're being far too reasonable. Get on the honky hate train!

  • ||

    It's a fine sentiment, Mr. Chapman, but you've been mislead.

    In the same sermon in which Wright used the phrase "God damn America," - the one about how God is eternal, while governments change and are unreliable - he talks about how America has changed, and how much better it became under Harry Truman and after the civil rights movement and under Bill Clinton.

    These are not the thoughts of someone who considers America irredeemable, but they are the thoughts you can find if you view more than the 10 decontextualized seconds of the sermon that his political enemies decided to edit into that smear video.

  • ||

    Fine article, Mr. Chapman.

  • Untermensch||

    I've got to agree with Joe here. The snippets we get from the sermons are about as accurate as if we did a cut from a libertarian on a talk show saying "we need to get rid of the curse of welfare" with nothing there to show how the libertarian might be proposing to address poverty (private contributions, eliminating structural barriers to employment, growing the economy, etc.). I think that Wright has been rather grossly misrepresented of late.

    On the other hand, even if he did believe America irredeemable, there would be no contradiction in supporting Obama. You can expect the worst but work for the best. That's a position most libertarians should be used to.

  • Mad Max||

    joe,

    All right, let's play out this scenario.

    Rev. Wright has made some totally unobjectionable sermons which right-wing Republican smear artists have viciously distorted. Rev. Wright is also a personal friend of Sen. Obama's who helped the Senator become Christian.

    Then Senator Obama buys into the lies of the Republican noise machine by saying in a nationally televised speech how he fundamentally disagrees with Rev. Wright's views as expressed in his sermons. Then the Senator adds that he isn't going to repudiate Rev. Wright because Rev Wright is like his racist white grandmother.

    joe, I can't believe you would support a Presidential candidate who would lie about a close friend like that. Having attended most of the Rev. Wright's sermons, Sen. Obama is presumably aware of the full context, not just a few clips. So this denunciation of the Rev is by someone who has every reason to know how innocuous and praiseworthy the sermons actually were.

    So a Presidntial candidate is willing to publicly misrepresent his good friend's views, compare him to a crochety old white woman, and compare him to other preachers whom parishioners put up with despite their objectionable views. All this in order to grub for white votes. Such is the necessary conclusion, if we accept the premise that Rev. Wright's sermons are actually great and insightful stuff.

    I prefer to adopt a more charitable view of Sen. Obama's actions. I would venture the hypothesis that the Senator would only criticize a good friend in public because that friend has truly objectionable views on politics.

  • Mad Max||

    Just to recap, here's what Sen. Obama said about his good friend Rev. Wright. If Sen. Obama is wrong (and the Senator has actually heard most of his friend's sermons, so he can't plead that he was misled by a few clips), then he's really sold his good friend down the river:

    "But the remarks that have caused this recent firestorm weren't simply controversial. They weren't simply a religious leader's effort to speak out against perceived injustice. Instead, they expressed a profoundly distorted view of this country - a view that sees white racism as endemic, and that elevates what is wrong with America above all that we know is right with America; a view that sees the conflicts in the Middle East as rooted primarily in the actions of stalwart allies like Israel, instead of emanating from the perverse and hateful ideologies of radical Islam.

    "As such, Reverend Wright's comments were not only wrong but divisive, divisive at a time when we need unity; racially charged at a time when we need to come together to solve a set of monumental problems - two wars, a terrorist threat, a falling economy, a chronic health care crisis and potentially devastating climate change; problems that are neither black or white or Latino or Asian, but rather problems that confront us all."

  • joe||

    Keep working it, Mad Max. I'm sure you'll find some angle to keep pimping this.

  • Elemenope||

    The real flaw with your theory, MM, is that you fail to take into account that Obama surely is knowledgeable about the extent to which he can alter people's perceptions of the incident as it has been presented. i.e. Not Much.

    If Obama had done any version of "well, all this shit is out of context, and Wright is really a nice patriotic guy" he would have been booed off the nat'l stage, no matter how true it may have been.

    He can only work with people's perceptions of Wright as they stand. Wright, for his part, told him a while ago that he had no problem with Obama disowning him publicly if his sermons became an issue, so there is also that.

  • joe||

    Exactly, he was putting out a fire, to try to bring the temperature down to the point where it would be possible to have an intelligent discussion.

    Dick Durbin apologized for saying that waterboarding was like something the Khmer Rouge did. You know what? It IS something the Khmer Rouge did, but knowing the eagerness of his opponents to carry out every debate in the area of shrieks and wails, he decided to put it to bed and have the fight on friendlier ground.

    It doesn't bother me that he took away their chew toy.

  • Episiarch||

    If there are people, black or white, who hold such a bitter, distorted view of this country, it's reassuring that the most congenial political figure they can find is one who radiates-in fact, embodies-our national faith in freedom and progress.

    No. Obama is the one figure they can find whose speechwriters know how to write really, really well and can deliver said speeches.

    But I'm probably wasting my time. Those of you who have climbed on the Obama Train aren't getting off, and will rationalize anything the guy does. I am astounded at how many people, who are otherwise very skeptical of politicians (for timeless reasons), are being hypnotized by Obama.

    It's creepy. Honestly. Obama is a fucking politician, not the Messiah.

  • joe||

    Cynicism is a sorry kind of wisdom.

    - Barack Obama

  • Episiarch||

    Whoops, I change my mind. Because a politician said cynicism is bad, I now think he's the cat's pajamas*.

    Eliot Spitzer busted up prostitution rings, and spoke about cleaning up politics. But Obama is different, right? Why? Because he speaks eloquently, of course!

    Enjoy your cult of Obama while it lasts.

    * where the hell did this expression come from?

  • joe||

    Smell the wisdom.

    The striking thing about the entire body of your posts on this subject, Episiarch, is that you don't need to actually know anything about the subject, and you can write exactly the same comments.
    "
    _______________ is a politician. Why are you even bothering?" Cut, paste, repeat, glory in how much smarter you are than everyone else.

  • ||

    Meaning comes from context. As you put the Rev. Wright in successively larger contexts, the reaction to his remarks changes.

    Some contexts to consider:

    The joe Context: Other remarks that he has made that were not inflammatory, together with the assumption that what we have heard so far is the sum total of his inflammatory remarks.

    The "black liberation theology" context: A larger context than the joe context, in which Rev. Wright is hailed as one of the mainstays of black liberation theology by its founder, and in which his remarks are seen as consistent with a larger and bitterly racialist worldview.

    Take your pick, folks.

  • ||

    RC, have you watched the sermon?

    It's on You Tube. You don't have to guess here.

  • ||

    You know those black liberation theologists (actually, you don't, you heard the term for the first time four days ago on National Review's website, but bear with me).

    You know that black liberations theologists: always going on about how white presidents like Harry Truman, Abe Lincoln, and Bill Clinton producing meaningful change that improved the lives of black people.

  • Episiarch||

    _______________ is a politician. Why are you even bothering?

    joe, you were an admirer of Eliot Spitzer (before HO NO!), correct?

  • ||

    Having these debates is fairly silly, though I do occasionally take part.

    Being objective takes a huge amount of skeptical discipline on a consistent, measure basis.

    Most people post-hoc rationalize almost all of their emotionally determined view points. It is a fairly well understood psychological phenomenon, and really no one is immune. Joe's not going to change his mind, nor is Episiarch, unless something emotionally resonant happens.

  • ||

    No, Episiarch, incorrect.

    I never thought much about Spitzer one way or the other.

    I actually reserve my opinions for political figures I can make an educated statement about.

    It's almost like you can't just substitute one office-holder's name for another and make a meaningful statemet.

    damon,

    I have changed my mind. I wrote a several comments about how terrible Wright's politics were, too, back when this story broke. You can go back to the threads last week, if you're interested. I got suckered, just like everyone else (except, as far as I can tell, Fluffy), and changed my mind when I educated myself by watching the sermon.

  • ||

    BTW, it's titled "God and Government" if you want to search on You Tube.

  • ||

    A candidate should not be condemned if he or she can persuade extremists to support a campaign that offers no extreme positions but many sensible ones.

    looking hard for the sensible ones....


    looking....


    looking....

    nope, can't find 'em. just platitudes and glittering generalities. mmmm, apple pie for everybody!

  • JohnD||

    I see that Joe is off his meds again.

    Does this fool really believe what he posts or is he a Reason plant to keep this forum controversial?

  • ||

    Wach the video, JohnD. Don't be a dupe your whole life.

  • ||

    I gotta defend joe here. I might not agree with him all the time, but he's as sensible as just about anyone that posts here.

  • Episiarch||

    No, Episiarch, incorrect.

    Well, be that as it may, I think you get my point. A lot of people thought Eliot was a paragon of justice, and he turned out to be...a scumbag politician.

    Obama has serious charisma. I find myself thinking "he seems like a good guy" and then I slap myself and remember that he's a serious leftist. So I see why people like him and support him.

    But that freaks me out even more because even I feel the pull.

    I think Obama is going to disappoint a lot of people. Including you. Not through a sex scandal or anything so primitive, but rather through failing to come through on anything, and being exposed as a slick talker with zero substance.

  • joe||

    A lot of people thought Eliot was a paragon of justice, and he turned out to be...a scumbag politician.

    That is a fair point; people draw conclusions based on little evidence and lots of emotion.

    The antidote to this is to learn more and draw finder distinctions based on an educated judgement. Not to treat ignorance as a virtue and draw blunter conclusions based on lumping unlike things together.

    I don't base my decisions on "He seems like a good guy," or "all politicians are the same." Those are just two sides of the same coin.

    A healthy skepticism is admirable, but when your skepticism leads you to conclude that there is no point in learning the truth about the specifics before drawing a conclusion, it ceases to be healthy.

  • Phillip Conti||

    I really dont see how anyone on hit and run could support this man, he is a professional politician who will say ANYTHING to get elected, another example of liberal guilt leading to the suicide of the west.

  • ||

    he is a professional politician who will say ANYTHING to get elected

    Assuming he really will say anything to get elected, that really would not differentiate him from McCain or Hillary. I don't even think I have to post links for that one.

  • Phillip Conti||

    Assuming he really will say anything to get elected, that really would not differentiate him from McCain or Hillary. I don't even think I have to post links for that one.

    I disagree, I believe that both McCain and Hillary have ideologies that they will not waver from, maybe ideologies that I personally dislike but at least they have conviction.

  • Neu Mejican||

    Phillip Conti,

    McCain? Unwavering?

    Really?

    You're kidding, surely.

  • joe||

    Wait a second, is he a professional politician who will say ANYTHING to get elected or is he another example of liberal guilt leading to the suicide of the west

  • ||

    ...because he can't be both a complete cipher without core beliefs AND an exemplar of an ideology of civilizational import.

  • Elemenope||

    I disagree, I believe that both McCain and Hillary have ideologies that they will not waver from, maybe ideologies that I personally dislike but at least they have conviction.

    At what point did "conviction" become a higher virtue than thinking?

    I value a certain pragmatism in politicians; not so crass as to be devoid of all principles, but flexible enough to apply their ideas to reality (which tends to be messy and does not often accord with expectations and predictions of theory).

  • fyodor||

    I see no inherent contradiction between joe's interpretation of Wright's comments and Obama's criticism of it, largely because anyone who expects his comments to go beyond the room he's talking in has to take into account that some of what he says will be repeated apart from the whole thing. If he doesn't like the way some of those things are going to look taken individually, he shouldn't say them. Thus Obama's criticism is valid. But if Wright has indeed given examples of America moving towards being redeemed, then it would simply not be correct to say Wright sees America as irredeemable, and joe would be correct to point that out (I got plenty of time to blab but no time to watch the speech, go figure!).

  • Phillip Conti||

    I am pretty sure that McCain has supported the war from day one and will continue to do so.

    When I mentioned liberal guilt I was specifically referring to the inability of whites to criticize non-whites for racism, this has nothing do with the actions or inactions of obama

  • Phillip Conti||

    I value a certain pragmatism in politicians;

    To the point where one cannot be sure exactly what a politician stands for?

  • Phillip Conti||

    But if Wright has indeed given examples of America moving towards being redeemed

    Precisely why does 'AMERICA' have to talk of being redeemed? would anyone of any race prefer to live in africa? should whites apologize for producing the most compassionate and economically productive society in mans history?

  • ||

    this just in: Detroit mayor in deep pudding.

  • highnumber||

    I got suckered, just like everyone else (except, as far as I can tell, Fluffy)

    AHEM!

    Waiting for my props.

  • Steve Verdon||

    Is it just me, or am I the only one sitting here wondering why so many libertarians here at reason seem taken with Barack Obama. After all, Obama is promising even more fiscal irresponsibility after Bush. Apparently the idea of smaller/limited government is truely dead.

  • Kolohe||

    "If anyone chooses to vote for me, they are buying my views. I am not buying theirs."

    I totally agree with this; for instance, it is why I didn't care that Don Black loved Ron Paul.

    When he ran for president, he was criticized for tossing the occasional bone to racist white Southerners by endorsing "state's rights." But by appealing to many of those who had once supported the venomous white supremacist George Wallace, Reagan helped defang those forces, while advancing his own political agenda.

    George W. Bush followed a similar route in 2000 by speaking at Bob Jones University, which had lost its federal tax exemption for banning interracial dating and whose founder once called Bush's father a "devil." Being politicians, Reagan and Bush found ways to lure in bigots at little cost, while rejecting their most cherished beliefs.



    I disagree with this analysis. By explicitly pandering to those with odious views, you are not 'defanging' these forces, but rather giving them political traction and to some extent legitimizing them. It is why for instance, I no longer supported Ron Paul after his pandering anti-immigrant ads (I didn't give two shits about the newsletters)

    Now, I'm not too overly critical of what Bush and Reagan did, because 'everyone does it'. But on the political 'profiles in courage' scale, I have to give some props to Obama for this 'Sistah Souljiah' momement - as well as to Clinton I for the original one. Reagan & Bush II are more or less neutral on this scale because at least they didn't try to have it both ways. McCain, though, is a disappointment; he went from 'agents of intolerance' to seeking out the endorsement of these clowns.

  • Elemenope||

    should whites apologize for producing the most compassionate and economically productive society in mans history?

    I'm not sure where you get off calling the USA the most "compassionate" society in history...if only because I would have no clue by what rubric one would even judge such a thing, but if I could I would imagine it would include the quantity of carnage caused by its military operations (yes, that would be in the "minus" column).

    My more serious objection is the idea that "whites" built this society. The economic success of early America benefited greatly from slavery (i.e. labor value stolen from Black people), and there is very little, especially in the realm of cultural production, that has not been heavily influenced if not outright created by cultures other than "white" culture.

  • joe||

    I don't recall, highnumber. But that does sound like you.

    And it's not really surprising that the only people still trying to keep this "scandal" going are those who write things like would anyone of any race prefer to live in africa? should whites apologize for producing the most compassionate and economically productive society in mans history? when discussing America's dark history of racism.

    They should be GRATEFUL.

  • Kolohe||

    And, FWIW, I more or less agree with Mad Max's analysis, because otherwise Obama is the most cynical and craven politician around today if he threw one of his best friends under the bus only because the clips of him are the most tightly edited and looped video since the Rodney King incident.

  • Neu Mejican||

    inability of whites to criticize non-whites for racism

    You are kidding right?

    No one has ever criticized Louis Farrakhan as a racist?

  • Neu Mejican||

    And more to the point, I believe the main stink surrounding Wright has been criticism of his statement's underlying racism, which has come from white and black commentators alike.

  • Elemenope||

    ...because otherwise Obama is the most cynical and craven politician around today if he threw one of his best friends under the bus only because...

    Does it change your analysis at all that his best friend basically told him to?

  • Neu Mejican||

    Now the real question.

    Given that both black and white commentators have criticized Wrights basic position...

    Which race gets to claim Obama's criticism in their column?

  • Kolohe||

    LMNOP-
    Yes, and it actually makes me respect Wright.

  • fyodor||

    Precisely why does 'AMERICA' have to talk of being redeemed?

    That's a different issue from the one I was addressing.

  • Mad Max||

    "Keep working it, Mad Max. I'm sure you'll find some angle to keep pimping this."

    joe, thank you for acknowledging that you cannot defend your position on its own merits.

    Doesn't it strike you as an odd coincidence, joe, that everyone who disagrees with you happens to be a moron, a pimp, a partisan hack, or a racist?

  • ||

    I don't have to defend my position. All I have to do is keep writing "watch the video."

    Because the thing speaks for itself.

  • ||

    Doesn't it strike you as an odd coincidence, joe, that everyone who disagrees with you happens to be a moron, a pimp, a partisan hack, or a racist?

    No, I don't think that's coincidental at all.

  • Mad Max||

    Here's a fairly simple question: In the quotation I provided, was Sen. Obama telling the truth, or not?

    I happen to think the Senator was telling the truth.

  • ||

    joe, I've actually been somewhat aware of the more rant-prone members of the black clergy for awhile (dating back to when I would listen to black talk radio in Richmond, VA).

    I hadn't heard specifically about black liberation theology until it Obama/Wright made it national news. Neither had you, so stop pretending you're all tight with the black church leadership and deeply versed in black evangelical theology.

    I've done a little reading about it, probably about as much as you. I found it to be an artifact of the '60s, neo-Marxist class/race resentment dressed up in priest's robes. That Obama would spend 20 years marinating in a church widely recognized as one of the major outlets of this stuff bothers me.

    It also bothers me that it doesn't bother you.

  • Mad Max||

    "No, I don't think that's coincidental at all."

    Whoa, I didn't know joe would step so willingly into that trap.

  • Elemenope||

    That Obama would spend 20 years marinating in a church widely recognized as one of the major outlets of this stuff bothers me.

    It also bothers me that it doesn't bother you.


    Yeah, him AND Oprah Winfrey. And to think, a lot of white people trusted HER too!

    Occasionally, you will even find Republicans in Unitarian Universalist congregations; honestly, people go to churches and pick which one they will attend for all sorts of reasons, but far, far down most people's list is the political ideology of the pastor.

    I give *most* people more credit than to assume that their pastors have much sway over their political proclivities and behaviors. Politics in this way is much like sex; if pastors were at all effective, catholics would have died out long ago fro shaming sex into non-existence.

  • ||

    Does the Fallwell/Hagee/Robertson/Parsely crowd bother you, RC?

    What about the more extreme elements of the Catholic Church?

  • fyodor||

    That Obama would spend 20 years marinating in a church widely recognized as one of the major outlets of this stuff bothers me.

    What are your concerns regarding what this portends for an Obama presidency?

  • joe||

    Four days ago, RC Dean started following links from right-wing web sites who set out to convince him that black churches are really scary.

    So now, he doesn't actually have to watch Wright's sermons to know he's a scary, scary bad man. He can just take the most ungenerous reading of the most extreme versions of black liberation theology, and assume that they accurately and fairly describe the entirety of Wright's ministry.

  • Elemenope||

    Are people really worried that Obama will use his radical black nationalism to disproportionately fund Sickle Cell Anemia research, or something? Or increase aid to African nations at the expense of some mid-western white farmer's subsidies?

    I'm having trouble of thinking how such an ideology would even have much policy impact at all, frankly. And seriously, there are worse things than having a person pay better attention to the needs of a historically neglected community.

  • ||

    How do you square the assertion that Wright is a racist and an America hater with the passage in the "God and Government" sermon in which he provides examples of how enlightened, white presidents in America have helped bring positive change to the country, and to black America in particular?

    You saw that part, right RC?

  • ||

    My own feeling on this whole Obama/Wright thing (and, admittedly, I'm just pulling this out of my a$$) is that Obama, because he was a relatively well off and well educated mulatto, had trouble relating to, and being accepted by, other blacks his whole life. In his mind, joining that church (which many black commentators have admitted is not so atypical for a black church) was a good avenue to gain said acceptance. That would explain his staying for 20+ years while not necessarily agreeing with everything the Pastor was saying.

    If he does win the general election, I'm hoping that the victimhood wing of the current black leadership (Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton, etc.) will lose a lot of credibility, and we can move on to mending the wounds of past racism rather than reopening them over and over again. (i.e. How can you claim such over-the-top black oppression when our president is black?) There is still the worry, however, that he'd pander to the Jesse Jacksons of the world and just make things worse. I would have liked to have seen a little more Bill Cosby in his speech.

  • ||

    I would have liked to have seen a little more Bill Cosby in his speech.



    I think you might see that in the general election.

    Its well known Sharpton and Jackson secretly can't stand Obama.

  • highnumber||

    NAL,
    I have belonged to a UU church for about ten years. Is that because I have trouble relating to and being accepted by the upper class whites in my town?

  • ||

    I would have liked to have seen a little more Bill Cosby in his speech.

    He'd look ridiculous in those sweaters.

    Do they still sell Pudding Pops?

  • Mike M.||

    It's that Wright is supporting a presidential candidate who clearly believes none of these things

    I am certainly willing to acknowledge that this statement may very well be true, however, it isn't nearly as clear to me as it may be to other people, as I don't have the ability to read minds.

    Politicians are known to occasionally lie, especially when they're trying to get elected, and many politicians are really good at it. He could just as easily be lying about his personal views on race as he is about his personal views on things like free trade.

  • ||

    I suspect Obama figured that if Trinity United Church of Christ excelled in its most important functions, he could put up with some foolishness in the peripheral area of politics-something lots of white churchgoers are accustomed to doing.

    OK -- Is accusing the (rich, white) people in charge of the U.S. government of funding a secret program to create and spread the AIDs virus with the purpose of waging a campaign of genocide against black people -- is that a 'bit of silliness'? Or is it vile, bigoted, racially-tinged slander?

    If I thought it was just silly, I might be with Chapman, but that's not the way it seems to me. It seems much more, to me, on par with the rantings of white supremacists. And I'm really not at all sure I want a president who'd sit calmly and listen to that (and bring his children along).

  • ||

    And I'm really not at all sure I want a president who'd sit calmly and listen to that (and bring his children along).



    My parents took me for years to a Church that said anyone who didn't follow the dictates of a bunch of old men in Rome would burn in hell. Not only that, but unbaptized babies wouldn't go to heaven either.

    You might have heard of it. Its called the Roman Catholic Church.

  • Mad Max||

    "What about the more extreme elements of the Catholic Church?"

    Yeah, like the Spanish Inquisition. Let's not forget *them.*

  • Mad Max||

    "My parents took me for years to a Church that said anyone who didn't follow the dictates of a bunch of old men in Rome would burn in hell. Not only that, but unbaptized babies wouldn't go to heaven either.

    "You might have heard of it. Its called the Roman Catholic Church."

    Amazing - a thread about a Protestant pastor and a Presidential candidate, and it turns out it's all about teh Pope and teh Catholics.

    I take it from your criticism that you think unbaptized babies *do* go to heaven?

  • Charles||

    I think today is the day we finally settle this thing out. I've got a really good feeling about it.

  • ||

    It seems much more, to me, on par with the rantings of white supremacists.

    There's a rather big difference: Wright never talks about "white people" as a race being evil, or inferior. Unlike white supremacists, who point to membership in a racial, ethnic, or religious group as making one a "bad guy" in and of itself. Wright, on the other hand, belongs to a majority white church (the United Church of Christ), and welcomes white people into his services. From all reports, they seem to be quite welcome.

    Wright has a great deal of anger towards the government, and buys into some silly conspiracy theories about it, but it is a distortion of the facts to claim that he, either personally or theologically, denounces white people.

  • ||

    Mad Max-

    I'm not anti-Catholic. I was making a point by putting Catholics beliefs in the worst light possible, the way people do with Wright.

    I think all religions are equally bullshit, FWIW.

  • ||

    Oh, and unbaptized babies who die go to the same place we all do--six feet underground.

  • Geotpf||

    Episiarch | March 24, 2008, 9:30am | #

    No. Obama is the one figure they can find whose speechwriters know how to write really, really well and can deliver said speeches.


    To be fair to Obama, the speech in question was written solely by Obama personally.

  • ||

    I have belonged to a UU church for about ten years. Is that because I have trouble relating to and being accepted by the upper class whites in my town?

    I have no idea.
    Regarding Obama, it's just a feeling I have from hearing him talk and knowing what little I do about the black culture (Which consists of growing up in a K-12 school district which was 30% black, and I took two "Black Studies" college electives...I was the only white guy in both classes). Nevertheless, I thought I'd share while I wait for my code to compile (bored here at work).

    He'd look ridiculous in those sweaters.

    I really meant the dance that BC does at the intro to
    "The Cosby Show". That would have given the speech more authenticity.

    Do they still sell Pudding Pops?

    I think they do. We've had them within the past 3-4 years or so.

  • ||

    ...it is a distortion of the facts to claim that he, either personally or theologically, denounces white people.

    A distinction without a difference, as far as I'm concerned. Wright emphasizes that the government is controlled by rich, white people. Presumably, in Wright's mind, the same rich white people who funded the government programs to create and spread the AIDs virus -- or do you think Wright had people of another race in mind when he was theorizing about the politicians, bureaucrats, and government scientists responsible for killing so many millions of black people in the U.S. and Africa with the AIDs pandemic?

    One can be an anti-Semite without believing that Jews are genetically inferior but 'only' believing that Jews are rootless cosmopolitans, and greedy, money-obsessed, connivers who control the banks and the media and conspire to direct U.S. foreign policy for the benefit of Israeli rather than U.S. interests. And if someone said that to me and then explained that he was talking about Jewish 'culture' not Jewish 'genes' that wouldn't make it OK.

    I believe Wright harbors and expresses a great deal of racial animosity against white people. He feels free to accuse them of a monstrous, genocidal secret conspiracy that makes the Jewish blood libel seem mild in comparison (when you stop to think about it rather than just pass over it as 'silliness'). Does Wright believe white people are genetically inferior? Perhaps not, but I don't think that matters -- just as I don't think it much matters if antisemitism is 'genetic antisemitism' rather than 'cultural/ethnic antisemitism'.

  • highnumber||

    Regarding Obama, it's just a feeling I have from hearing him talk and knowing what little I do about the black culture (Which consists of growing up in a K-12 school district which was 30% black, and I took two "Black Studies" college electives...I was the only white guy in both classes).

    Crap. My sarcasm detector is in the shop (again!). Can somebody help me out here?

  • ||

    Wright has a great deal of anger towards the government, and buys into some silly conspiracy theories about it, but it is a distortion of the facts to claim that he, either personally or theologically, denounces white people.

    I don't know Joe, by saying "rich white people" run the country and then saying that HIV was invented to kill blacks (presumably by the same rich white people), and referring to the USA as the "U.S. of KKK A." (i.e. essentially calling all American whites racists) taken all together can easily be read to imply that "white people are bad".

    I think it's too much to ask to let Reverand Wright off the hook on the racism issue.

  • ||

    It absolutely boggles my mind that someone as intelligent as joe can be exposed to the Rev. Wrights of the world, presumably do a little background reading on their "black liberation theology", and say "nope, no racial animosity here. Nothing divisive, folks. Just move along."

  • ||

    Crap. My sarcasm detector is in the shop (again!). Can somebody help me out here?

    I'm in a weird mood today, but most of my post was genuine and not being sarcastic. Let's face it, there's a little bit of non-logical, gut-feeling in the way we judge all people, especially politicians.

  • ||

    Slocum,

    The fact that you cannot see the difference between "the rich white people who control the government" and "the white race" does not mean that everyone else is equally blind.

    Rich white people run our government. Yes, yes they do. I do not run our government, despite being white.

    Libertarians denounce the government a lot, too. They often observe that the people running the government are mostly rich and white. Uhh...so what?

    And if someone said that to me and then explained that he was talking about Jewish 'culture' not Jewish 'genes' that wouldn't make it OK.

    That's just the point: Wright doesn't talk about "white culture" or "white genes" or about the white race as a whole. You're assuming he does, for whatever reason, but I defy you to find me an example.

    As opposed to white supremacists, who do organize their thinking in racial categories.

    So, RC, still haven't bothered to find out what you're talking about, eh? Just too much trouble to find those videos on You Tube?

    Would you like me to find them for you, and post the links? Or is that ignorance nice and wallowy for you?

    Watch the videos. You are speaking from the ignorance of a manipulated sucker. Educate yourself.

  • ||

    presumably do a little background reading on their "black liberation theology"

    That's the difference between you and me. I bother to actually find out about Jeremiah Wright, the individual, while you follow some links to some propaganda about a group he belongs to, and assume you can learn about him from the most extremist writings of other black theologians.

    Some people just can't get beyond thinking in terms of groups.

  • ||

    "Jeremiah Wright is a hateful racist" is one of those memes that so many people "know" that no one can actually put together an argument to prove it.

    Wagging your head and expressing shock that someone disagrees doesn't actually demonstrate anything, except your own inability to formulate an argument.

    But...but...but...I saw a heavily-edited video! And Cliff May says...

    Pathetic.

    Lemmings.

    You strike this world-weary, cynical, knowing pose, but when the media tells you a story you want to believe, you turn into gullible children.

  • ||

    "Jeremiah Wright is a hateful racist" is one of those memes that so many people "know" that no one can actually put together an argument to prove it.

    Jeremiah Wright believes that the government designed and spread AIDs to kill black people -- and I believe he finds this theory convincing because and only because he believes that the government is controlled by rich white people who are genocidal racists. Who else could he think was planning and carrying out such a scheme? And what other motivation for them might he have in mind than malevolent racism?

    I'm really not interested in whether or not this constitutes a 'proof' of 'hateful racism' on Wright's part or what label you put on it. And I don't think I want a president who's comfortable spending decades in an environment where such toxic, crazy ideas are considered 'normal'.

  • ||

    Such an attitude would be wholly incompatible with what Rev. Wright has said about people like Harry Truman and Bill Clinton - who, btw, are white people who control the government.

    Watch.

    The.

    Sermon.

    You've been walked down the garden path, and I see you've taken every step that was so carefully laid out for you. Now, you can either educate yourself, or you can believe what the people who set out to manipulate you have planted in your head.

    Your choice. It's easy enough to go to You Tube.

  • ||

    It's too bad the main stream media doesn't get it the way that you do.

  • ||

    Mr. Chapman,

    Obama has obviously appealed to race throughout his campaign: To pose as the "post-racial" candidate is to appeal to--race. It's tautological.

  • ||

    Yeah, him AND Oprah Winfrey. And to think, a lot of white people trusted HER too!

    I thought that Oprah Winfrey quit the church after a couple of years because she found it too divisive.

  • ||

    Let's see. We have a radical preacher who damns our nation, and Obama, challenges the public to think about race! A beautiful presentation in smoke and mirrors. How about one apology from the good pastor!
    We have a Political preacher with a very smooth presentation, and poof! he is exonerated by the lovers of symbols and images, the press. The press is free of racism, now it just fires off the sexism at Clinton every cycle.
    We have now, yet another article, celebrating the cult of Obama, the man who deserves no scrutiny or analysis. Of course he is different than the pastor, he is the Messiah!
    If we could just get this vapid, kool-aid industry of our society to drop their propoganda and elitism, we might have a culture and some real leadership. or, no, go ahead, call me a racist for opposing the Messiah. go ahead, its such a new way of politics! Amen!

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  • Nike Dunk Low||

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