Saturday, March 15, 2008

The Rev. Wright

Talk radio was utterly dominated on delivery day this week by the untoward words of the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, Barack Obama's minister and spiritual mentor.

In classic talk radio style, we were given no more than a half-dozen sentences from his sermons, devoid of all context, then hours of criticism and analysis tearing down the man.

It was a dismal day, brightened only by the fact that it kept ex-Gov. Spitzer off the radio. And by a brief exchange Sean Hannity had with a member of the Congress of Racial Equality. Hannity said the Rev. Wright had suggested that the U.S. government was responsible for the AIDS virus. He demanded repeatedly whether the CORE spokesman believed that was true.

The man from CORE mostly sputtered. As I often do, I mentally grabbed his microphone. "No, Sean," I said to the audience (me) inside my car, "I think that's nonsense. But I also think it is nonsense to say that the Earth is 6,000 years old. How come I have never heard you attack a candidate whose minister makes that claim?"


Eric said...

I didn't research it until I read this post (no time for talk radio) but I did, and if I was a jouranlist like yourself I'd give it more ink than a brush-off.

This guy officiated at Barack Hussein Obamas wedding, baptised his children, and is a trusted friend, mentor, and campaign advisor to the Obama campaign.

And he hates white people.

The last time I checked, you are one of the group he hates.

What would you say if it was Karl Rove spouting such racism?

David said...

Eric, I didn't hear him say anything that sounded racist. What did you hear?

Vince said...

eric probably "heard" something from a comment on his own blog, which I notice he's pulled the plug on. That's a good thing since it had become the local hangout for the white supremacists and KKK-types.

Mark T said...

It's guilt by association, classic agitprop, right out in plain view, and working beautifully nonetheless.

Ed Kemmick said...

I don't think Obama's pastor was being racist, but there's no question he espoused some pretty extreme views. If a Republican presidential candidate attended a church where the pastor spoke fondly of Jim Crow and poll taxes, I don't think there would be much time lost in establishing guilt by association.

David said...

Ed, You may be right, but I still haven't heard more than a half-dozen sentences, lacking all context, and I am reluctant to draw any conclusions. None of what I heard sounded comparable to someone supporting Jim Crow, but maybe it's in there somewhere.

Mark T said...

For an example of comparative treatment, see how the press treated McCain's endorsement by the Reverend Hagee. This guy is diagnosable, a certified loony who wants a current strike on Iran in order to accelerate Armageddon, among other positions. He knows that billions of people will die in that event, and thinks that's OK, as the bible sanctions it.

Is it right to impugn McCain for the endorsement of this man? No. Of course not. Not unless McCain says he is "very honored" and "very proud" to accept the endorsement, which he has.

Media reaction ... chirp.

Anonymous said...

Hagee is a goofball. But his situation is nothing like Wright's. McCain didn't attend his church for 20 years, give him thousands of dollars, get married by him, borrow lines from his sermons for book titles, etc. etc. I doubt if McCain would have known Hagee if he had passed him on the street a year ago.

Why do we care about this stuff at all? Many of us want to know what kind of judgment our presidential candidates have. The Wright case tells us a lot more about judgment over a period of years than the Hagee situation does.

Granted, this guilt by association stuff can be tricky, but in these two cases it is not even a close call. There are huge differences.

But don't worry. There will be a GOP candidate who will come along who we will learn has had close ties to someone who has a terrible reputation for one thing or another. And you and the press will be able to have a heyday raising a fuss about it.

David said...

Anonymous 316,
I don't know where you get the idea that I would jump on a Republican in a situation similar to Obama's. Not so. I'm just not keen on holding candidates responsible for things other people say.

I have enough trouble defending the things I say. If I have to account for my friends, too, then there's no hope.

Anonymous said...

I'm wight and I know the Rev.Wright is speaking the truth, more so than the major TV networks. This country's guardians of truth and democracy have turnede into political whores .We need a little house cleaning

Jill said...

Wright's comments are no different than that heard often by prominent Christian ministers with connections to the White House. In the following excerpt Falwell and Robertson blame Americans for the 9/11 attack. While Wright's speech was inflammatory in language, as an American he has the right to question the government and even find's called the first amendment.

ERRY FALWELL: And, I know that I'll hear from them for this. But, throwing God out successfully with the help of the federal court system, throwing God out of the public square, out of the schools. The abortionists have got to bear some burden for this because God will not be mocked. And when we destroy 40 million little innocent babies, we make God mad. I really believe that the pagans, and the abortionists, and the feminists, and the gays and the lesbians who are actively trying to make that an alternative lifestyle, the ACLU, People For the American Way -- all of them who have tried to secularize America -- I point the finger in their face and say "you helped this happen."

PAT ROBERTSON: Well, I totally concur, and the problem is we have adopted that agenda at the highest levels of our government. And so we're responsible as a free society for what the top people do. And, the top people, of course, is the court system..

JERRY FALWELL: Pat, did you notice yesterday the ACLU and all the Christ-haters, People For the American Way, NOW, etc. were totally disregarded by the Democrats and the Republicans in both houses of Congress as they went out on the steps and called out on to God in prayer and sang "God Bless America" and said "let the ACLU be hanged". In other words, when the nation is on its knees, the only normal and natural and spiritual thing to do is what we ought to be doing all the time - calling upon God. ~~

MargeRobin said...

I think if you go into any church, or temple, on most any Sabbath day you will hear vivid speech about the horrible things that God will do to those who do not believe as you do. These descriptions are usually delivered with glee and they are so prevalent, it leads me to believe that this hate speech is why many people go to church or temple.

I do not believe that Jesus is recorded as ever having used this type of speech, except in one incident with the money lenders. I wish our pastors would not, but they might lose most of their congregation.

Should Obama have left the church because of this language?

He is a black man in America - if he were to leave any venue where hate speech occured he would probably have to have left the Senate, the Illinois legislature,
College, law school . . .
You get my point.

America's fear of Black people is partly guilt. We know we did wrong. We know we did it for a long time. We kind of expect pay-back. I think we should be very happy that this man who is black has a very forgiving and tolerant nature.

MargeRobin said...

I listened to many of the clips of Reverend Wright and I heard very strong language used to put across concepts that many excellent scholars have put across.

"America's chickens have come home to roost". That refers to the fact that we put Sadam Hussein in power and supplied him with arms to keep him in power for many years. Now we are getting some of the consequences of those actions. I don't think that implies hatred of anyone. It's just the facts.

I did not hear hate. I heard frustration and anger. I heard a strong desire to communicate. I heard the unspoken hope beneath that communication. If it were hopless, why talk about it? I did not hear any things said about the "system" that were not true. Was he angry about them? Yes.

Should we all be angry about them? Yes.

The one thing he said that seems wrong to me is "God Damn America". I think he just got carried away and tried some phrase that would emphasize that some of the things our governement has done are not so blessed. And we know that is just the facts.