Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Obama Names Wright's Error

Barak Obama has taken some heat for things his former pastor, Jeremiah Wright, said. I think Obama's previous repudiations of Wright's crazy comments should have been more than enough to put the issue to rest.

Today in Philadelphia Sen. Obama gave a great speech on race
. He reiterated his repudiation of Wright's crazy talk. Then he went beyond that repudiation, and named the underlying error that his pastor made. In this statement I hear the Joshua generation giving the right answer to a disappointed member of the Moses generation:

The profound mistake of Reverend Wright's sermons is not that he spoke about racism in our society. It's that he spoke as if our society was static; as if no progress has been made; as if this country - a country that has made it possible for one of his own members to run for the highest office in the land and build a coalition of white and black; Latino and Asian, rich and poor, young and old -- is still irrevocably bound to a tragic past. But what we know -- what we have seen - is that America can change. That is true genius of this nation.



Anonymous said...

He may have very eloquently named Wright's error but staying in a church that supports that type of thinking is his real mistake.

His claim that he did not know these were Wright's beliefs concerns me. If, after 20 years following a pastor, he cannot discern the man's agenda, how can he possibly discern the agenda of world leaders?

Gruntled said...

I there any church without errors?

Anonymous said...

"I there any church without errors?"

You can do better than that Gruntled. Let's don't condone errors by saying eveyone does it. It's the 2 wrongs don't make it right argument we would never accept from our children. If a conservative attended David Duke's church for TWENTY years I doubt you would defend him by saying "is any church without error?". Your bias is showing.

Gruntled said...

No, I am allowing any congregant some distance from the pastor's convictions. We can all think critically. I have never had a pastor I agreed with completely, and some of them have preached things I disagreed with quite a bit.

Moreover, black preachers are more likely to preach emphatically on controversial subjects that white preachers are, especially middle class white preachers. The UCC has been proud of Trinity Church for decades because it has responded directly to real misery and preached on hard subjects.

Moreover, I take Obama at his word that he was not present when Rev. Wright preached the "God damn America" sermon now on YouTube.

And suppose Wright had expressed himself more sedately, but with the same sentiment? Suppose he had said "we are used to congratulating ourselves for our moral superiority, and commanding 'God Bless America.' But I say that our injustices mean that we deserve condemnation for our sins." How about Thomas Jefferson saying "I tremble for my nation when I consider that God is just, and his mercy will not stay his justice forever"?

Anonymous said...

As a Catholic, I believe that the Church needs a higher authority than a pastor. If a Priest says something that is obviously against the doctrine of the Church, I take comfort in the fact that the Church has it right but this man has it wrong. Protestants follow a Pastor more often than the doctrine of a religion. That is the problem - they are following the message of Rev. Wright, not the message of the UCC. (I converted from Protestantism and my husband's family is Protestant and I have seen the devotion to a Pastor.)

Quite frankly, I find it very doubtful that Mr. Obama never heard these things from Wright. I don't think he thought it would come back to haunt him.

Sedately or not, Wright cannot justify the terrorism of fanatical groups as condemnation for our sins. Anti-Americanism is anti-Americanism even if it's gift wrapped and tied with a pretty bow. We are the most generous nation, likely in the history of the world, and to say that we are to blame for 9/11 is offensive.

Gruntled said...

Thank you, Mike Huckabee:

“And one other thing I think we've gotta remember. As easy as it is for those of us who are white, to look back and say "That's a terrible statement!"...I grew up in a very segregated south. And I think that you have to cut some slack -- and I'm gonna be probably the only Conservative in America who's gonna say something like this, but I'm just tellin' you -- we've gotta cut some slack to people who grew up being called names, being told "you have to sit in the balcony when you go to the movie. You have to go to the back door to go into the restaurant. And you can't sit out there with everyone else. There's a separate waiting room in the doctor's office. Here's where you sit on the bus..." And you know what? Sometimes people do have a chip on their shoulder and resentment. And you have to just say, I probably would too. I probably would too. In fact, I may have had more of a chip on my shoulder had it been me.”

That’s Mike Huckabee explaining to Joe Scarborough this morning, and I gotta say I love it.

peter hoh said...

I appreciate Huckabee saying what he said.

I don't know if Martin Marty has added more to what he said earlier, but he clearly said that he's attended Trinity on many occasions and that he always felt warmly welcomed. It's hard for me to believe that Wright preached nothing but the message in the snippets that are being replayed.

Anonymous said...

"Moreover, I take Obama at his word that he was not present when Rev. Wright preached the "God damn America" sermon now on YouTube."

You may have not heard but Obama has since stated that he in fact has heard Wright's hate filled rhetoric during his 20 year affiliation. For goodness sake his own wife has only become proud of America a month or two ago. Are these the kind of leaders America needs right now?

Gruntled said...

This is a serious question. When ministers call sinners to account, is that "hate-filled" speech? When any of thousands of pro-life preachers say God will judge America for 40 million abortions is that hate speech?

Anonymous said...

Two wrongs still don't make a right.Calling sinners to account is not hate speech, though it can be done in a hateful manner.Obama's Reverend preaches God Damn America from the pulpit of his church. Is that calling sinners to account? Obama in a recent interview stated that his racist grandma was like the typical white person. Is this the person who is supposed to close the racial divide in America?

Anonymous said...

Oh, I would so be in trouble if I were judged by the various ministers I sat under. I am African American and grew up in African American churches. Before I am judged as a liberal African American who would naturally support Obama, I am a fiercely conservative black female. As gruntled said, African American preachers are inclined to be more provocative, so please be very careful not to judge Obama so harshly on this issue. While my ministers never used the language Rev. Wright used, I heard some less than holy words come over the pulpit and many messages along the same lines as Rev. Wright's message. I think that there is another issue to consider. Why did Obama stay at such a radical church for 20 years? What church was more devoted to the streets of Chicago than this church? For a young man seeking to make a difference among the people in Chicago, what better church to join than one that was so active. Obama did not grow up with the benefit of having known the African American heritage. I think that this church, in a way, provided him with the "street cred" to relate to the people that he wanted to serve in Chicago. It does seem counterintuitive for him to join such a radical church for political reasons, but on the local level it makes sense. So let us consider Obama's record in Illinois. Does Rev. Wright's message correlate in any way to Obama's record?

Anonymous said...

What record?

Gruntled said...

Ah, the ambiguities created by anonymous posting. Perhaps the anonymous posters could pick a pseudonym, so we can follow both sides of the argument?

Obama does have a record as a community organizer and a state legislator. He built up local institutions, not racial division.