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Obama: The "Wright" move? (updated)
Posted by: McQ on Friday, March 14, 2008

Interesting that Obama has chosen to distance himself from his controversial pastor via a blog - namely the Huffington Post. And during a favorite dead time for politicians who want to dump a story - a Friday afternoon with the entire weekend in front of us.

You can read the post here. It is fairly straight forward and specific, but it probably is going to create more questions than it answers.

For example:
Most importantly, Rev. Wright preached the gospel of Jesus, a gospel on which I base my life. In other words, he has never been my political advisor; he's been my pastor. And the sermons I heard him preach always related to our obligation to love God and one another, to work on behalf of the poor, and to seek justice at every turn.

The statements that Rev. Wright made that are the cause of this controversy were not statements I personally heard him preach while I sat in the pews of Trinity or heard him utter in private conversation. When these statements first came to my attention, it was at the beginning of my presidential campaign.
This should be like waving a red flag in front of a bull to the media. What is being claimed here is the only time the good Reverend ever preached like that was when Obama wasn't in attendance. In fact, if you're literal about this, it appears that these sorts of sermons only began near the beginning of the Obama presidential campaign. Before that - not a word.

What were being asked to believe is that a disciple and leading proponent of black liberation theology for decades never included it in a message, never preached about it when Obama was around and, apparently, only recently decided it was ok to do so.

I believe there's an old saying that uses turnips and trucks to make the desired point. So for those of you hoping this will go away - I don't think so. And if the MSM does its job and isn't beaten out by some blogger, we'll eventually find out if the claims made in Obama's post ring true. 23 years is a long time. I'll be interested to see if, on any of those nearly 1200 Sundays, these sorts of sermons were ever preached, and equally as interested to see how Obama managed to avoid them all if they were.

UPDATE: From Obama's book, "The Audacity of Hope" via Rich Lowery:
The title of Reverend Wright’s sermon that morning was “The Audacity of Hope.” He began with a passage from the Book of Samuel—the story of Hannah, who, barren and taunted by her rivals, had wept and shaken in prayer before her God. The story reminded him, he said, of a sermon a fellow pastor had preached at a conference some years before, in which the pastor described going to a museum and being confronted by a painting title Hope.

“The painting depicts a harpist,” Reverend Wright explained, “a woman who at first glance appears to be sitting atop a great mountain. Until you take a closer look and see that the woman is bruised and bloodied, dressed in tattered rags, the harp reduced to a single frayed string. Your eye is then drawn down to the scene below, down to the valley below, where everywhere are the ravages of famine, the drumbeat of war, a world groaning under strife and deprivation.

“It is this world, a world where cruise ships throw away more food in a day than most residents of Port-au-Prince see in a year, where white folks’ greed runs a world in need, apartheid in one hemisphere, apathy in another hemisphere…That’s the world! On which hope sits!”

And so it went, a meditation on a fallen world. While the boys next to me doodled on their church bulletin, Reverend Wright spoke of Sharpsville and Hiroshima, the callousness of policy makers in the White House and in the State House. As the sermon unfolded, though, the stories of strife became more prosaic, the pain more immediate. The reverend spoke of the hardship that the congregation would face tomorrow, the pain of those far from the mountaintop, worrying about paying the light bill…
We heard what Wright had to say recently about Hiroshima. It sounds as though it might have been a favorite theme. It also sounds as though Obama may have heard what he condemned today (and claims he never heard while attending services) if the Hiroshima reference was used in the same context as was recently.

UPDATE II: This is interesting. It's an article on the United Church of Christ website essentially ignoring the statements of Rev. Wright while extolling the virtues of the Trinity UCC church. The interesting part is to be found in the comments. Take a moment and read through them. It gives you an idea of why this will have legs.
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Previous Comments to this Post 

Written By: Neo
URL: http://
Obama was, apparently, on Countdown tonight...

So we’re still waiting for him to talk to actual reporters... :)
Written By: Scott Jacobs
URL: http://
In an argument today with a Obama devotee, I noticed a disturbing similarity to Michelle Obama’s initially innocuous "never been more proud" comment which ties back to Reverend Wright’s preaching. Despite all the rhetoric of hope, the uplifting dream of positive change, the Obama campaign has at its base a seething hatred of the United States as propagator of that which is not perfect. Unlike Reagan, whose positive rhetoric was built upon dreams of restoring America’s greatness, Obama’s positive rhetoric seems to be founded in changing America, turning it from its evil past. Whereas Reagan spoke of the perfect, he stressed achieving good first, Obama (evidently via his wife and chosen Pastor) eschews the good of this nation in lieu of a dream of perfection for this nation. It is a significant nuance of perception - a focus upon what this nation has done right verses what this nation has done wrong. Whereas Reagan wanted to build upon our history, Obama wants to change from our history.

It seems that Sen. Obama’s hope-iness and change-itude is based upon collective self-loathing, dwelling upon faults then fantasizing about the perfect. Granted, I would not have voted for him before, but this incident compels me to campaign against, a President Obama - he is Jimmy Carter resurrected.
Written By: bains
URL: http://
"I did not have sex with those statements."

I saw Obama on Fox (with Major Garrett, broadcast on Hannity & Colmes), on CNN interviewed by Anderson Cooper (who amazingly asked real and skeptical questions and questioned his own judgment from the night before that this was a non-story), and I saw the interview with Olbermann on MSNBC in which that imbecile managed to act like a reporter for five minutes.

In each of these interviews Obama tried to take the most powerful argument against him — that he’d been with the church for 20 years — and turn it inside out by, as McQ points out, saying that he had never seen Wright preaching those controversial, inflammatory, race-baiting, sermons, and that they could only be but a few ("cherry-picked" is a phrase that was apparently used by his campaign earlier in the day) sermons from Wright’s whole career of sermonizing.

(I should interject here that a couple months ago when this same matter was discussed here on the basis of the "black values system" being taught at this church, these sorts of sermons were virtually predicted by that discussion. In other words, they were what one would expect to find by inferring the pulpit practices of Wright from the "black values" foundation — racist and separatist sermonizing.)

It was essentially "I had no idea (until I began running for president a year ago) that Wright engaged in such talk."

So now it comes down, not to proving conclusively that Obama was present in the congregation, but to demonstrating that these sorts of sermons, with exactly these sorts of themes, were fairly standard fare from Wright.

But the idea that Obama didn’t know about this stuff is preposterous.

Obama also tried to rationalize Wright’s attitudes as those of an older generation (Obama apparently never turned around in church to see who was most wildly drinking in Wright’s hatred, but of course Obama claims not to have ever been there for these "incidents" in the first place), but that he, Obama, represented a new generation dedicated to another path. That path appears to be the "let’s get slick and pretend this isn’t what we believe and get ourselves some real power."
Written By: Martin McPhillips
Obama’s response isn’t even a "modified, limited hang-out route" which Nixon contemplated when trying to handle damage control on Watergate.

Meanwhile The Black Value System is still part of the Trinity website, though its points are no longer listed on the "About Us" page and it is no longer, from what I can tell, a clickable destination. It still contains the the sick and paranoid point 8: "Disavowal of the Pursuit of ’Middleclassness’" which posits America as a captor society bent on killing blacks, fostering an environment in which they kill each other, and putting blacks into concentration camps. Which is just another way of saying "God damn America."

Yes, of course Obama knows about this, so he’s dishonest too, and I’m certain he buys into this anti-American thinking more than he lets on.
Written By: huxley
URL: http://
It seems that Sen. Obama’s hope-iness and change-itude is based upon collective self-loathing, dwelling upon faults then fantasizing about the perfect.
Exactly, bains. Even when Obama is being positive, the context is always America’s faults.

When I heard Michelle Obama’s saying—twice—that Obama’s campaign was the first time as an adult she had been proud of America, I became certain that Obama couldn’t win in November.

Now I’m not sure Obama can even win the nomination in August.
Written By: huxley
URL: http://
"...were not statements I personally heard him preach while I sat in the pews of Trinity"

Hah! I was right, he did sleep through the sermons, and now he is ’shocked, shocked’ to find out what was being said whilst he slumbered.
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
"Now I’m not sure Obama can even win the nomination in August."

The smile on Hillary’s face must be something to behold (but only in a mirror).
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
Captain Ed had a good take on this: it’s about judgement.

Obama has told us that no matter what the experience level, when that 3 am phone call comes, whoever takes it needs good judgement.

So, we have Obama taking advice from the Reverend Wright, making Wright part of his campaign, while Wright is spewing his vitriol.

We have Obama earmarking $1 million for the hospital where his wife works, and where his wife’s salary went from $120K to over $300K right after Obama was elected to the Senate.

We have the shady real estate deal with Mrs. Rezko, where Obama himself admits he committed repeated lapses of judgement.

So, Obama has neither experience nor good judgement.
Written By: Steverino
URL: http://
"Located in the heart of Chicago’s impoverished Southside,"

"Trinity UCC’s vast array of ministries include career development and college placement, tutorial and computer services, health care and support groups, domestic violence programs, pastoral care and counseling, bereavement services, drug and alcohol recovery, prison ministry, financial counseling and credit union, housing and economic development, dozens of choral, instrumental and dance groups, and diverse programming for all ages, including youth and senior citizens."

"From 2003 to 2007, Trinity UCC gave more than $3.7 million to Our Church’s Wider Mission, the UCC’s shared fund for connectional mission and ministry."

There seems to be an awful lot of money floating around a church serving an impoverished area.

Maybe Wright is correct about our country being racist, etc. After all, even Obama, Jackson, etc. are still forced to sit in the back of the limosine.
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
This preacher here, although I think he’s three-quarters out of his mind (I’ve watched a handful of his videos), at least has a sense of humor. He doesn’t like Obama, for a variety of reasons, including the white mother.
Written By: Martin McPhillips
There seems no way around it. Instead of being an advancement in racial relations, Obama’s candidacy is going to be a setback.

If Obama were simply an up-and-coming young senator who happened to be black and qualified to run for president, Obama would be a big breakthrough, win or lose. Instead he’s a candidate who hasn’t finished even one term in national office and has no other experience or accomplishments besides his lifelong quest to be black, and has all these weird associations to radical anti-Americanism.

Seeing Obama’s racist preacher and preachers, like the one Martin links to, is going to ratchet up tensions. Whites are going to realize that Obama has been shucking them in a fundamental way and blacks are going to see their angers and hurts that American society is rigged against them validated.

Written By: huxley
URL: http://
"This preacher here, although..."

Whee! That was fun. He is right, he ain’t no diplomat.
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
I find it interesting that every time an angry Black man says something, it gets a knee-jerk reaction from White people. No one seems to be actually listening to the substance of Rev. Wright’s comments. I agree that his style of delivery leaves little to be desired, but the substance of his words speak a very hard truth. People need to LISTEN to his words before they cast blame and throw around the "racist" label. Nothing he says is racist. Fact: America was and is controlled by White men. And it has a lot of sins that it needs to fess up to. White fear is at the core of many of this nation’s problems. When White people get scared, America ends up going to war, interns other non-White Americans (the Japanese internment camps during World War II), creates Jim Crow laws to maintain White superiority, supports the trafficking of weapons in other countries, supports the oppression of other people (apartheid in South Africa), and the list goes on and on.

On the other hand, Barack Obama is not an angry Black man. He has proven to be calm, considerate, and intellectually informed. He has consistently been fighting for unity, whether it be in the political arena or in social matters, such as race, gender, class, etc. He stands in direct contrast to Rev. Wright and has acknowledged that there is a generational difference between them and the way they assess racial problems in America.

I find it absolutely ridiculous the way that many people cannot seem to get their heads around the complexity of these issues. In the 30 second clips that the media is exploiting, Rev. Wright is shown operating out of anger and frustration and uses it to condemn America’s "sins." But that is all we see of him. We are not allowed to see the bigger picture. We are left to assume that Obama has been influenced by this angry Black man’s rhetoric for nearly 20 years. We do not see all the good this pastor and his congregation have done in the community. We do not see that Obama might have been attracted to this church in his search for identity and was drawn to the church because it was in its own process of defining a strong and positive African American community that addressed issues of poverty and social justice head on.

I think it’s time for Americans to have a candid and open discussion about race relations. I think many White people would like to believe that these problems don’t exist, that we’re past all that. We need to understand that there is a lot of healing that needs to happen in order for our country to move forward. And that healing won’t happen if we keep favoring the needs and desires of the status quo and continue to pacify White fear, rather than engaging in a real discussion of these issues. I think that Rev. Wright was trying to get at that point when he was going on with his “Hillary doesn’t know...” rant. The truth is that she wouldn’t be adequately equipped to really bring this conversation to the table. We need someone to be a voice for all Americans, and Obama is the first candidate whose talent, experience, education, and unique background can bring all those voices to the table. And we stand to lose all that if this flavor of the week media storm gets out of hand.

No more fear. It’s time to listen and hear the voices of all Americans.

- from an American who is neither Black nor White
Written By: Henry - Oakland, CA
URL: http://
Yes, Henry, we all know the sad sorry awful horrible story of America. It’s just terrible.

But Jeremiah Wright is a racist, and no one sits in the man’s church for twenty years without noticing it.

The point of America is not who "controls" it. The point of America is to get at it, get at your life, to the fullness of your ability.

We are decades past, or should be, racial recriminations and "hating whitey," unless the teacher is Jeremiah Wright, who wants blacks to separate themselves, with their black Jesus, who was killed, you know, by Romans, who were rich, who were European, which means they were white. Get it?

Wright is a racist. He is not simply looking back at racism or the lingering effects of an objectively racist past in America. He is cultivating an objectively racist present in which whites, you know Europeans, rich ones, rich white people, are viewed by his followers like the Jews were, you know rich ones, rich Jews, who controlled everything.

Can you understand that?

Here’s my solution to this problem: everyone carry a little light around in their hearts and minds and do the right thing by one another regardless of their skin shade. And stop the bloody bullsh*t.

Barack Obama’s unfitness to be considered for President of the United States has nothing to do with his skin color; it has to do with who he chose as his mentor and spiritual guide: the black equivalent of a Klansman. That he needed to hide that, and has been hiding it, and is now trying to pretend that "I did not have sex with those particular sermons" is what you need to know about the sub rosa elements of his candidacy.

Any "rich white person" who spent 20 years in the pews of a Christian Identity church that preached the "white values system" and blamed blacks for all the problems white people were having (Oh, excuse me, I forgot: white people don’t have any problems in America, least not that they could blame them on some other group) wouldn’t dare try to show his face in a national political contest. He’d be laughed off the stage.

In other words, Obama preaches racial reconciliation, but his church says the opposite. That’s called a double-bind, and Obama has been trying to enforce it by using the fear of race. Don’t look at me, he’s saying, just follow me, and look at yourselves, but don’t you dare look at me because we’ve got to get beyond the politics of race.

And if you look at Obama, you see precisely the politics of race. He’s parlaying that double-bind with an avalanche of cognitive dissonance and the bottom line is that it’s a total, unmitigated con.
Written By: Martin McPhillips
"And it has a lot of sins that it needs to fess up to."

Oh puhleeze. If you have not heard the endless mea culpas about America’s many sins you just have not been listening.

"We do not see all the good this pastor and his congregation have done in the community."

And Mussolini made the trains run on time, the Black Panthers supplied free lunches for poor children, Hitler put Germany back to work, etc.

" rather than engaging in a real discussion of these issues."

Where have you been for the last 30 years or so?
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
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Written By: 3
I am tired of being told that we as whites have to apologize for the slavery injustice that was done to the African-Americans. I had nothing to do with that I was born in 1952 and had nothing to do with slavery. It was NOT my fault, I did not start it, neither did anyone else alive today. I an not racist I am just so sick of everything being blamed on color and using it as an excuse for getting away with things. I grew up in the north, my relatives DID fight in the civil war for the UNION, we all bleed red, we all have hearts when is the hate going to stop. If it doesn’t even stop with a pastor, I cannot even begin to know when if ever the racial divide will close. Pastor Wright is encourgaing hatred, there is no other way to take it. Jesus preaches love not hate, how can he justify those remarks. I had really been thinking about voting for Obama, but this ended it. I will not and cannot trust anyone who sits in a church for 20 years and then tells me, he never heard any of those remarks, I am not stupid and neither are the American people. If he got in office I would fear for my life.
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URL: http://
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