Monday, March 17, 2008

Obama and Jeremiah Wright

Quite frankly, I am somewhat surprised by the harsh reactions being levied against Obama because of his association with Wright and with his Church. That people would simply dismiss so casually every piece of evidence that exonerates Obama and shows the sum of his life to be nothing like the ugly things that Wright said is not the sign of a prudent, open, and reflective mind. Jumping on the "Obama is Toast" bandwagon is nothing more than a convenient excuse for people whose prejudices and demons regarding race that Obama has challenged to simply revert back to the comfort of these prejudices and demons. That even his supporters would turn against the man on a dime indicates to me an unserious and uncritical mind, and makes me wonder if such people really were on nothing more than a feel-good bandwagon.

Well, I have two things to say in defense of Obama: (1) Anyone who would judge Obama not on his own words and how he has lived his life, but on the words of another, is someone who doesn't want what Obama is offering in the first place. People who call Obama a fraud and a racist because of his association with Trinity Church of Christ and Jeremiah Wright don't want to move beyond the polarizing narrative of prejudice, they want to perpetuate it themselves. (2) When it comes to one's Church, especially in Protestant churches where there is a tradition of the "priesthood of the believer," the mettle of one's faith community is not and never has been wrapped up in the single character of one Pastor. People in particular Church communities, who live through multiple Pastors, grasp on to the Church and its mission and its congregational community above and beyond (and sometimes in spite of) the Pastor.

In short, I am as troubled and as put out by some of the things Jeremiah Wright has said as the next person; but there's nothing at all in Wright's ugly moments that would cause me to believe that these things reflect in any way on Obama. Obama is defined by what he has done with his life and how he has acted on what he has heard, not because he might have sat in a pew and heard some unpleasant things said by his Pastor. Like many things I admire about Obama, he transcends the ugliness of racism (of all varieties and expressions) all the while recognizing that he is also not immune to finding himself wrapped up in the messiness of it all.

7 comments:

S said...

Dear Pathetic Koolaid-drinker:

So, you don't get it? Well, that's why you support Obama in the first place. Thinking ain't your thing.

About your two "points":
"(1) Anyone who would judge Obama not on his own words and how he has lived his life, but on the words of another..."

See? Nobody is judging Obama for his preacher's words but for the LACK of HIS OWN words. When confronted with bigotry, anti-patriotism and lunatic conspiracies, this great candidate of yours did NOTHING.

That's the problem. That's the critique. Not his preacher's words. Obama just sat there, and came back and back again for more. Wow, I'm impressed.

"(2) When it comes to one's Church, especially in Protestant churches where there is a tradition of the "priesthood of the believer," the mettle of one's faith community is not and never has been wrapped up in the single character of one Pastor..."

Great, so it makes it even easier to stand up, take your family with you, and go to another church a couple of blocks away. Not to stay there for TWENTY YEARS and call that preacher your friend and mentor.

Why did he stay? Not because Obama himself is a bigot, in that we agree, but because it was politically convenient for him to be associated at that time with that church. In other words, because your “great” Obama is nothing more than another run-of-the-mill politician… only with a better snake-oil-salesman pitch…

You pathetic Obamites are going to accomplish the impossible, to make the party nominate an unprepared, flawed candidate that will be slaughtered by the Republicans and lose and election that should be an easy Democratic victory.

Too bad zombies don't have self-awareness or you would understand the stupid trance you people are in...

Saivan (Miami)

Huck said...

Saivan - I gather your choice is Hillary? If so, then that makes you a suspect kool-aid drinker, too. Whatever he may be, Obama is certainly not just your run-of-the-mill politician. Hillary is nothing if not a run-of-the-mill politician.

Has it ever occurred to you that Trinity United Church of Christ is not defined by the intemperate rantings of its pastor? Have you not considered that what may have attracted Obama to Trinity was that its on-the-ground programs to help the poor and disenfranchised spoke to his sense of social justice and solidarity work?

As a Catholic who has felt disconnected and disappointed in his Church, I can tell you it's not that easy simply to walk down the street to take up a seat in another faith community. Maybe that's easy enough for you to do, but it's a sign to me of an unserious and fickle person of faith.

If you agree that Obama is not a bigot, then what's the problem? That he didn't go church shopping the moment he might have heard something in the pulpit that he disagreed with? What is essential is that Obama is not a bigot. And based on everything I know about Obama, I'm willing to give Obama the benefit of the doubt that perhaps there are less cynical reasons than you suggest for why Obama found a spiritual home at Trinity and why some occasional ugly words from the pulpit didn't run him off.

D-BB said...

Why are you so surprised? Look at all the heat Huckabee took and he never even sent out a homophobic spiritual choir as a warm-up act. This is Obama’s spiritual mentor! You think none of this racist and anti-Semitic crap ever came up?

Watch the congregation’s reactions to these sermons of hatred, racist and anti-Semitic remarks by Wright while campaigning for a presidential candidate. BTW, these sermons are for sale on Wright’s website; the new improved and sanitized one.

Huck, B.O. is either stupid or a liar. He says he didn't know of these sermons until he began his presidential campaign. Yeah, and now he’s worried that he lied and Santa won’t bring him anything next Christmas.

Wright's tax exempt little world of hate should be rebuked by Obama, just as any white candidate should be expected to do if his preacher and spiritual mentor was preaching hate and had ties to David Duke.

He should drop out of the race so that McCain can be defeated. This is the standard we would hold anyone too in this situation, that is unless Ferraro was right.

Eric said...

I don't consider this to be that big of a deal. I personally have people who have been positive influences in my life, and who I otherwise respect, but who are also bigoted racists or hold other views I find highly offensive. I think it is actually honorable of Obama to reject his pastor's rhetoric while also publicly defending their relationship.

I'll still never vote for him though.

S said...

You ask: "Has it ever occurred to you that Trinity United Church of Christ is not defined by the intemperate rantings of its pastor?"

That's odd, coming from the supporter of a candidate that says that one defining moment, the vote on Iraq, dooms Hillary. One moment in time.

All churches, I know, try to do significant social work. None, that I know, used the weekend after Sep.11 to proclaim anti-Americanism in the most vulgar manner.

So, yes, that would define such a church, and so does those who had the JUDGEMENT to stay put like nothing is going on for the next rant.

Saivan

jkim said...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pWe7wTVbLUU

I was waiting for you to write something about this. Being away from the country, it is hard to get a good idea of exactly what is going on. Anyway, I found this video to be intriguing and I may dare say inspiring, especially from a "minority" standpoint that I suppose I inevitably have. Perhaps you have already seen it, but if not, it certainly merits a view. Keep on upchuckin!

D-BB said...

LMAO, that YouTube link, they censor the comments. Someone asked, "That was beautiful, did he write it?"

I responded, "Yes, and I wrote freakin' Hamlet".

Says "awaiting moderation".

Wanna bet my comment doesn't make it? I would love to see what is being censored.