Saturday, March 15, 2008

Wright May Be Gone, But His Message Still Scares Me

It looks as though Obama went farther than expected t distance himself from his longtime pastor and spiritual adviser, Rev. Jeremiah Wright, in his statements yesterday. ("Obama denounces pastor's inflammatory remarks Obama denounces pastor's inflammatory remarks").

According to the AP,

Obama called the pastor's statements widely aired on television and the Internet "completely unacceptable and inexcusable" in a Fox News television interview Friday night and said they did not reflect the kinds of sermons he had heard from the Rev. Jeremiah Wright while attending services at Chicago's Trinity United Church of Christ.

And he said in his blog statement:

"I categorically denounce any statement that disparages our great country or serves to divide us from our allies," Obama said in his blog posting. "I also believe that words that degrade individuals have no place in our public dialogue, whether it's on the campaign stump or in the pulpit. In sum, I reject outright the statements by Reverend Wright that are at issue."

All things considered, in my opinion that's about as far as anyone can expect Obama to go in repudiating, denouncing, renouncing, etc.

(And I am so grateful that ABC and Brian Ross put this stuff out there where it badly needed to be).

So why am I still so disturbed by Wright and his hateful preaching? I'm not disturbed because I really think Obama's views are identical with Wright's, or that he's going to place Wright in a position of prominence in his administration. Obama is a lot smarter than that.

Wright's preaching bothers me on its own account. Because he represents what a lot of people--a whole lot of people--think about their own country. When I hear the audio of Wright goddamning America, or crowing about the 9/11 attack, or ranting about Nagasaki, it isn't his raspy, ugly voice that makes me want to turn it off. It's the deafening roar of the unnamed, unknown thousands in his congregation who are beside themselves with enthusiasm for what he is saying.

We already know that Michelle Obama--who has lived a much more privileged life than me or most of my family--would not list pride of country as one of her attributes. This episode with Wright is also the first time, really, that Obama has spoken of his love for country, and it should be borne in mind that he is only saying it in reaction to the firestorm over Wright.

The menace of Jeremiah Wright is not that he controls Obama, but that Obama, when he had a free choice wher to worship, and under what kind of leader, and in what kind of spiritual community, chose to be in a church that cheers when its pastor does a victory dance after 9/11, and tells his flock that it's "in the Bible" to say "god damn America."

It's human nature that we seek out those who think like us. It's even more the case that leaders and executives seek out those who think like them. Wright may be safely under the Obama bus, but there are thousands--millions--more out there who see America the way he does. How many of them will find their way into a President Obama administration?

C. Edmund Wright, no relation, wrote this yesterday for American Thinker.

Pastor Wright and Barack Obama: The media finally notices

C. Edmund Wright

Dr. Jeremiah Wright Jr. has been saying things like "God damn America" for a couple of decades to a congregation that has grown to the thousands, and his sermons only go out via webcast, podcast, telecast, broadcast, cable cast. And for the technologically challenged, audio cassettes and books. I mean, just how deep should we expect our intrepid media mavens to dig? It's hard to find that haystack in the needle, ain't it?

[Editor's note: American Thinker has been
covering Pastor Wright's radicalism for a year now.]

But under the Biblical principle of being grateful for what you have, I am thankful that millions more are aware of this now than were just 48 hours ago. You know, back in the good ole days before "client number 9" was a household word.

(I must wonder, however, how this got past Clinton, Inc, for so long. Maybe it's just me, but since we've been told that white Iowans and so on loved the non-threatening post racial nature of Obama....I can't help but think that a little Jerry Wright sprinkled in early and often might have nipped this hoax in the bud. Just a thought.)

It is critical now, however, that more understanding of this dynamic be circulated. People need to understand the unique nature of a large independent church pastor and his congregation. It is very different from the relationship that exists in more traditional denominational churches.

Jeremiah Wright is not simply a pastor who was assigned to Trinity United Church of Christ by a synod or diocese as the latest in a long line of such assignments. Jeremiah Wright is the TUCC. Or, more accurately, the TUCC is simply one of "Jeremiah Wright's ministries." This is how it works with these independent churches.

These churches exist for the sole purpose of spreading the pastor's specific ministry. If there is a market for such a ministry (and in Chicago there has been one), then the church will grow. Most of these churches, in fact, are founded by (and for) the pastor.

TUCC was not founded by Wright. But almost. He has pastored it from a membership of 87 to one now of over 6000. It is his doctrine, direction, interpretation and emphasis that is TUCC. Wright is TUCC and TUCC is Wright. Period.

And with this dynamic, being an active member and significant benefactor of such a church for 20 years is by natural extension an endorsement of the pastor's message. With one of these churches, if you do not buy into the pastor's specific direction, you go to another church. It is not at all like going to your family's 3rd generation Methodist Church and having varying degrees of agreements with the numerous pastors as they flowed through the pulpit.

Barack Obama sought out the message of Jeremiah Wright, joined and remained in and supported TUCC because of that message, and in fact named his book after a sermon of that message. He even used that message so that black voters in Chicago would not focus on the half of Obama that is white, and on his privileged Hawaiian education. To paraphrase the good pastor, he "was riding dirty" on that message.

In other words, he embraced Wright and TUCC's agenda to get his black street cred and to escape his "white half." Now, he's trying to divert attention away from his black street cred. And a little sober reminder here... he is doing this so he can occupy the Oval Office.

The media will of course try to tie any conservative candidate to any outlandish statement made at any time by any pastor who endorses such a candidate. Last night, MSNCB was trying to change the subject by linking John McCain to one of John Hagee's statements about Catholics years ago. As far as I know, McCain and Hagee have never even met and the Catholic statement is not the founding principal of Hagee's ministry.

But if that's the standard, then it portends disaster for the Obama campaign. As long as the message can get out. Because Barack Obama and Jeremiah Wright have met. Often. For decades. And hating America always has and always will be the driving principal of Jeremiah Wright and his followers.

God help us if the message does not get out and one of those followers ends up in the Oval Office.
C. Edmund Wright is not related to Pastor Wright.

1 comment:

Eyes said...

Nice blog>D I think OB is still in hot water. Let's face it, the only place a white person would hear that kind of hateful rhetoric would be a KKK cross burning.

I blogged about their 'black values' a month ago - replaced 'white' for 'black' and it's pretty shocking.