Do We Mind Disturbing the Priest? Not at All, Not at All, Not in the Least


Here's Hillary Clinton on Barack Obama's former pastor, Jeremiah Wright.

"I think that given all we have heard and seen, he would not have been my pastor," Clinton said at a news conference after being asked if Obama should have left the church.

Clinton was ready for the question at her news conference, and read much of her response from notes, unlike her handling of other questions.

"We don't have a choice when it comes to our relatives," she said. "We have a choice when it comes to our pastors and the churches we attend. Everyone will have to decide these matters for themselves. They are obviously very personal matters."

If Wright were her pastor, she said, "the choice would be clear."

Here's the pastor of Hillary Clinton's former church, Dean Snyder, on Jeremiah Wright.

To evaluate his dynamic ministry on the basis of two or three sound bites does a grave injustice to Dr. Wright, the members of his congregation, and the African-American church which has been the spiritual refuge of a people that has suffered from discrimination, disadvantage, and violence. Dr. Wright, a member of an integrated denomination, has been an agent of racial reconciliation while proclaiming perceptions and truths uncomfortable for some white people to hear. Those of us who are white Americans would do well to listen carefully to Dr. Wright rather than to use a few of his quotes to polarize.

See, this is what happens when you play keep-away with the eucharist—you empower religious leaders to run the debate. And really, I can't imagine Clinton doing a worse job of handling this. She avoided commenting on Wright for twelve days. At the height of the controversy Marc Ambinder reported that "campaign manager Maggie Williams issued an edict to staff members" to shut up about the story. They were clearly waiting to see if the story would torpedo Obama, and when it didn't, and the "Bosnia hawk down" story started to get traction, Clinton yelled "Hey! Look over there!" It might be the most disingenuous statement about religion in politics since Jim Traficant got beamed up.

I am moving closer and closer to the conspiracy theory that she is setting up Obama to play Al Smith to John McCain's Herbert Hoover.

Headline explained here.