Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Shut the *&%@ Up!

Why won't the Rev. Wright just shut up? Out of the one side of his mouth he says he wants Barack Obama to become the next President of the United States and then, from the other side, goes on tirade after increasingly media-saturated tirade sure to damage Obama's chances with voters somehow unable to separate the minister from the parishioner.

Is Wright so full of pride, so offended, so selfish, so forgetful of what real Christianity looks like that he is willing to destroy something beautiful so he can resurrect what was a fading issue and have a second 15 minutes of fame? He says he is confronting the powers that be on behalf of black Americans everywhere. But what he is really doing is trying to make himself look good at the expense of the first African American in history with a real shot of sitting in the Oval Office. What he is really doing is injuring a man he claims is his friend.

For me, this is about context, not content. But the content is worth noting. I keep running into Christian friends who are horrified, aghast and enraged that Wright has dared to compare certain American actions to terrorism, has dared to prophetically confront this country's role in 9/11, has dared to level the charge that America's woes are the consequence of her own sins.

Oh, really?

Where was this rage and self-righteousness when Pat Robertson declared a tsunami would crush America's coastline or that God would assassinate the town of Dover, Pennsylvania for kicking Intelligent Design out of the school system?

Where were the incensed Christians when Rev. John Hagee claimed that Hurricane Katrina was the direct result of God smiting New Orleans’ sinful lifestyle?

Where were the shocked believers when Jerry Fallwell preached that September 11th was God removing his shield of protection over this nation because of its gathering wickedness?

Where is the incredulity when hundreds of pastors on any given Sunday preach that if America will not return to God, God will destroy it; God will, yes, “damn it”?

Where are the appalled Christians then?

Lunatics and liars? Yes. Every single one of them. But how about a little consistency from those on the religious right. Is a lack of blatant hypocrisy too much to hope for?

And as for you Rev. Wright, shocking as this may sound, this isn't about you! It's about something far larger than you. It's about some of the very ideals you have worked your whole life to see enacted finally blossoming into fruition.

If you’d shut the &%$@ up long enough, you just might realize it.


Blogger Peter T Chattaway said...

Seems to me that lots of Christians were appalled by those various things, though I guess I run in different circles than some. Interestingly, it has been argued that Pat Robertson's warning of "something as bad as a tsunami in the Pacific Northwest" did come true, sort of; click here for a December 2006 story that has some of the details, and here for a January 2007 story on how Environment Canada's list of the year's top weather stories included: "November blew in with fury as the West Coast was hit hard and often by drenching rain, howling winds and high tides that even prompted a rare tsunami warning."

As for Wright's motives, Steve Sailer has been arguing at least since January 15 -- two months before those sermon clips went public -- that Wright has been trying to sabotage Obama's campaign because to let it succeed would undermine Wright's whole thesis that America isn't ready to give the black man an even break. More recently, Sailer has argued that Wright sees himself as an intellectual and is offended that both Barack and the mainstream media have tried to dismiss him as a crazy uncle:

"Obama and Wright have both been saying that the Youtubes of Wright's sermons are just snippets, but they are trying to imply different things by that. Obama wants you to believe that Wright is actually much more moderate than a few out-of-context clips might show. Wright, on the other hand, means that he's got lots more where that's coming from, that he's actually a deep thinker who has elaborate reasons backing up the opinions summarized in the notorious clips."

Others, meanwhile, have suggested that Obama's father figure is behaving like "a quintessential Bad Father" or, alternatively, like a "spurned lover. He’s making all kinds of news damaging to Obama like some bitter ex-husband making the rounds of his and his ex-wife’s friends hoping his side of the story is the one that sticks. Most striking is that Wright hasn’t been at all subtle about implying Obama wasn’t serious in denouncing God damn America, etc… but that Obama was only saying what he had to 'as a politician.'"

For whatever that's all worth.

1:28 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


Why won't the good reverend shut up? Because he utterly lacks judgment, a point that has been clear from the start and which is made all the more evident every time he opens his mouth anew.

Still, I like it when he talks. It makes me feel like I'm able to experience more of what Obama has experienced, more familiar with the influences Obama has had -- and has chosen to have -- in his life. The more Wright speaks, the more I feel like I'm getting to know the young Barack, during the years in which he made such a memorable mark in the Illinois State Legislature before playing such an active leadership role in the U.S. Senate. Furthermore, it helps explain where some of Michelle Obama's ideas may have been formed -- or, to be more exact, how her Ivy League education has been buttressed with similar themes heard elsewhere. In fairness to Barack, I suspect Michelle liked Wright's sermons more than he did. Still, with a pastor who wants America to be damned and a wife who's never been proud of it (until now), Obama's supporting cast doesn't exactly evoke Jeff Smith, the title character in Frank Capra's classic.


1:41 PM  
Anonymous POD said...

I don't particularly remember outrage towards any of the pastors that you mentioned except perhaps against Fallwell and Robertson. I will give the media its due when it comes to reporting the negative comments made by them in the past. Especially Fallwell - I DO remember feeling very outraged at those comments that he post 9-11, especially since it was in context of knowing personally someone who perished in the Pentagon on that day - and also dealing with another non-related personal tradgedy in my family to boot.

However, the reason why this story has so much legs is because Rev. Wright WAS Obama's PERSONAL spiritual mentor, and that is what disturbs many people. Fallwell and Robertson are know for their ties with the Christian Right, not as personal mentors to any sitting or formerly sitting presidents... or potential presidents for that matter.

I don't consider Obama to be someone who overtly covets the literal translation of some of Rev. Wrights teachings, but one has to wonder what he might hold on the subconscience level, especially when he is alone with himself and his thoughts and away from the spotlight, with his mask "off" so-to-speak.

Unfortunately Brandon, the Rev. Wright issue will probably not subside, no matter how much you may want to will it away. I know that you really respect the man - and there are many things about the man that truly warrants our respect - but most of the American public are trying to understand the man innately... and that is why the "someone we can sit down and have a beer with" analogy applies very well when it comes to picking people to vote with for president. At least with Hillary and McCain, most people have a know quantity, and either generally like or dislike them for whatever reason or another. America is still trying to figure out what makes Obama tick, and Rev. Wright, for better or worse, right or wrong, is part of the Obama tapestry for the time being.

8:54 AM  
Anonymous Chris said...

The moral equivalency argument between Wright and Pat Robertson/John Hagee/Jerry Fallwell is incorrect. They are all correct to say that God judges a nation for sin, but to tie a specific disaster to a specific sin of a nation is a stretch. The bible has many instances of God judging both Israel and gentile nations. The pattern that you will often find is God sends a profit to speak to the people of a nation in order to provide a chance for repentance. Unless God was using the aforementioned men as profits and spoke directly to them, they are also incorrect.
The problem with Wrights comments is they are anti-American and racist. The list of racist and anti-American comments of Rev. Wright includes, but is not limited to; the U.S. Government invented HIV to commit genocide on minorities, the United States is a terrorist nation. This man has made millions proliferating hate and racism behind the pulpit.
The American people will “judge” Obama in November not because of what Rev. Wright has said, but because of what Obama has not said. He listened to this man preach for over 20 years and said nothing. Obama allowed Rev. Wright to conduct his weeding ceremony and said nothing. Obama allowed Rev. Wright to baptize his children and said nothing. Obama was silent about Wright’s comments until they began to hurt him politically. Obama’s “sin” in the eyes of the American people is the sin of omission and that will certainly damn him in November.

2:16 PM  
Blogger robyn said...

First I should say that I didn't really think that anything Rev. Wright said was that appalling or that beyond the pale as far as 9/11 conspiracy theories and even the stuff about race.

What this proves - particularly the accusation that Rev. Wright is racist which I find hilarious and an intellectually sloppy attempt to equate the justified skepticism and defensiveness of a certain generation of blacks who have lived through a traumatic era of American history with the acts of rednecks, the KKK and rich whites who discriminate out of a feeling of superiority, exclusiveness and to maintain their privilegde - is that Americans are still not mature enough to have an open discussion about race.

As someone stated above, the racial understanding gap in this country is so wide that people cannot understand why Michelle Obama, a black woman, is anything other than perpetually ecstatic about a country that has systematically oppressed people in her community. And not just in the 60s, but continues to do so! Please check out the wealth of studies on hiring practices, racial weighting of credit scores, redlining, white flight, if you feel as if the race problem has been solved. Or just go on any internet message board and see how much racial hatred is spouted by people under the veil of online anonymity. Michelle Obama's sentiments are NOT the exception among many people of color.

Wright is a war vet, someone who has done tireless community work, an intellectual and obviously vainglorious and looking for attention. But how many of these white politicians go to churches that espouse sexism, appalling homophobia and are expressly political and yes, slyly racist as well? Ask why that is not being thrown into this discussion. People are looking for reasons to return Barack to the comfortable category of angry black man and the best they can come up with is his pastor's words some of which were taken out of context. The 9/11 quote was him quoting an ex military advisor.

And from what I remember both Falwell and Graham were CLOSELY linked to Bush himself if not actual "advisors", which is parsing it a little close.

2:39 PM  
Blogger Peter T Chattaway said...

Obama's church strikes again!

11:19 AM  
Blogger Brandon said...

Wouldn't it be nice if these preachers just preached...oh, I don't know, THE GOSPEL!?

4:39 PM  
Blogger Peter T Chattaway said...

It would indeed -- but I don't think "the gospel" is what drew Obama to TUCC in the first place. At any rate, Obama has apparently resigned as a member of that church now. I am curious to know what his wife makes of that, and what "the black community" makes of that -- and I am curious to know whether there are any other spiritual mentors and advisors and earmark beneficiaries ready to pop up and embarrass Obama like this. I mean, even if the man has finally ditched his church, he still has something like 20 years of affiliation with the place to account for.

6:49 PM  
Blogger Brandon said...

And I prefer not to judge a man's spiritual condition or what draws him to or away from a church. That is not my place and danger lies the way of that sort of thinking.

7:26 PM  
Blogger Peter T Chattaway said...

Oh, absolutely. But the problem with Trinity United -- and Obama's professed reasons for associating with it -- have always been more political than spiritual in nature. And Obama is, after all, a politician (even if it pains him to hear Wright and others say that).

The whole point of politics is to get the voters to judge you worthier of the job than the other guy (or gal, in the case of Hillary). Since this is an election season and Obama is running an election campaign, Obama has essentially asked the country to judge him. What's more, he has made his church part of his sales pitch to the country; he has asked you to judge him based, in part, on his religious affiliation. So if he is now telling you to disregard that church, then that, too, needs to be taken into account.

Obama is running on his "judgment" and "character". What do these two facts -- the fact that he has willingly associated with this church for most of his adult life, and the fact that he is now ditching the church when it has become problematic for his political campaign, after issuing various mutually contradictory defenses of his association with that church -- say about Obama's "judgment" and his "character"? That is the question any half-aware voter should be asking right now -- and should have been asking a year or two ago when these questions were first being raised, long long before Wright's sermons were plastered all over YouTube.

7:40 PM  
Blogger Peter T Chattaway said...

Jeremiah Wright has a new book coming out in October. And he will promote it. Probably not quietly.

6:09 PM  
Blogger Brandon said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

12:23 PM  
Blogger Brandon said...

Not true. Click here.

12:24 PM  
Blogger Peter T Chattaway said...

You would trust a mere blog over a legitimate media source? ;)

4:50 PM  

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