Wright and Obama: A Union of Thought

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"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." - Senator Obama on The Huffington Post

I wrote about that statement in my blog here, in which I called Barack a liar for it. Shortly thereafter, Senator Obama delivered his now-famous race speech, A More Perfect Union, which I wrote about here. Here is an excerpt from the speech:

"Did I know him to be an occasionally fierce critic of American domestic and foreign policy? Of course. Did I ever hear him make remarks that could be considered controversial while I sat in church? Yes. Did I strongly disagree with many of his political views? Absolutely -- just as I'm sure many of you have heard remarks from your pastors, priests or rabbis with which you strongly disagreed."
Senator Obama, A More Perfect Union"

Today at Powerline there's a post up about the Senator's first sermon at Trinity United Church of Christ, which he wrote about in his autobiography Dreams of My Father. This sermon excerpt was also previously discussed at The Corner.

Read on for an excerpt ...

“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!”

Senator Obama was inspired by the sermon that day. He was moved, and joined the Church. John at Powerline notes, "By his own account, Obama wasn't repelled by Wright's racism, it was the very quality that drew Obama to Wright's church!"

The Senator has yet to move on from that first sermon's theme. He's blaming "greed", white racist greed you know, for the housing crisis. Yet he would have us believe that he'd have left the church if Reverend Wright had stayed. Why?

Senator Obama never repudiated the message about overarching white racism as the driving motivational force in America. His speech, his blog post, and his media statements don't treat that theme derisively, or with dismissal, or even with the intimation that Wright is wrong about it. Just that he ought to have more hope that someday it will change. He's isn't Obama enough, that's all.

In his speech about race, Senator Obama used some clever phrasing and a beautiful concept to cover an ugly truth. Twenty years ago, young Barack Obama was inspired by a message. That message is the same message the Wright Reverend has preached ever since, and its thematic elements are evident in all other aspects of the Senator's life. Senator Obama can't lead us to a more perfect union or bridge the racial divide. He doesn't repudiate or condemn Reverend Wrights divisive worldview. He has spent twenty years staking a claim to it, and figuring out pretty packages with which to deliver it to the White House.

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Today on "The View," Obama was asked if about leaving TUCC, and he said he would have left recently had Rev. Wright not resigned, AND ... here's the lie ... had Rev. Wright not admitted that his words were wrong and offensive and had denigrated America. WHEN did Rev. Wright issue this statement? Did I miss something?

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A merry fellow, quick with a song, captain of the table.

Tom by kchand

"Did I miss something?"

NOPE.

What everyone seems to be missing is the unimportance of whether or not Sen. Obama has "witnessed" outrageous sermons by Rev. Wright.

The process of joining a church is similar to getting married (unless you are unserious about your intentions). The typical process would be to casually "date" several churches, seriously date one church and then join the church that most expresses your positions. You are joining a CHURCH, not a pastor. The pastor is an employee of the church chosen for his compliance to the views and mores of the church body. Several powerful pastors have been kicked to the curb when they have been found wanting by their congregations. Rev. Wright has never been found wanting by his congregation for his hateful and vicious views.

The scary thing about the sermons of Rev. Wright is that he is the spiritual leader chosen by 8000 Americans that make up the Trinity United Church of Christ. The really scary thing is that one member of that church is a serious contender for the presidency of the United States and half the people of those United States don't care.

When someone joins a church, they are not ONLY joining the pastor, but a congregation. Many pastors, especially one as powerful as Rev. Wright, are not mere "hirelings" but they are "shepherds of a flock," in the Scriptural sense. It is true that Rev. Wright both shared and reflected the views of the congregation, and we can say that he helped shape the view of the congregation as well. You are correct, it is disturbing that 8,000 congregants there apparently embraced the Pastor's viewpoints, but if you visit their website, you see that this is systemic within that church's theology. Furthermore, it is reflective of a larger movement that dominates many African American seminaries...the black liberation movement, as articulated by Dr. James H. Cone and others (this information can also be found on the TUCC website). I have not yet heard the word "madrasa" mentioned concerning the centers of disseminating some of this theology, but I would not be surprised, should stories continue to surface of links or sympathies with terrorists, to see this term employed.

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A merry fellow, quick with a song, captain of the table.

It's not just Obama! who is sitting in the pews, hearing the Rev. Wright's racist BS that's the very scary thing here. It's the fact that there are 7,999 other fellow travelers sitting around him.

I'll go you one better and voice concern for the total number of adherents to Black Liberation theology in this country. How many hundreds of thousands of our fellow citizens are going to go to church tomorrow morning and hear some variation of "Kill whitey and/ or the Jews" from the pulpit?

It's been amazing (and incredibly entertaining) to watch the Democratic party balkinize itself and rupture over the identity politics they've embraced over the last several decades. ("Do I vote for Hillary? Can't do that, I'd be a racist! But if I vote for Obama I'll be a sexist! Hillary? Obama? AAAAAAAAAAAAAgggh!") However, I'm starting to get concerned over the long term effects the Hillary! vs. Obama! fight is going to have on race relations in this country. Let's say Hillary manages to pull out a win for the Democratic nomination in a vicious floor fight in Denver. Does that mean Detroit, Baltimore, and Oakland will burn to the ground?

I need to go stockpile some more ammunition and bottled water.

But that's my point. A pastor may shepherd his flock just as a president leads the nation. Neither can lead where the flock won't go.

There are several super-pastors that seem to be not so much men in front of a congregation but men with congregations behind them such as Rev. Haggard; oh, yeah, never mind.

All pastors serve at the pleasure of their congregations. I admit that some pastors would be hard to dislodge but a pastor as controversial as Rev. Wright, as political as Rev. Wright, could not stay, or keep a congregation that is out of sync with his views. I've traveled some and, so, attended several churches; all long term relationships. I haven't always known what political persuasion the pastor followed (when the pastor refrains from political posturing and attends to the Message politics are irrelevant) but the pastor's and the congregation’s basic values were never a mystery.

Whether the chicken (pastor) or the egg (congregation) came first, any member of Rev. Wright's church that was unaware of the message being presented would either be a fool or attending for reasons other than the message. Said another way, whether the pastor reflects the views of the congregation or the other way around the views should have been apparent to someone that has attended the church for 20 years.

The argument that "I wasn't there when those sentiments were expressed" doesn't wash. The issue isn’t whether Sen Obama heard those views overtly expressed but why he attended a church that would countenance those views. Or are we to assume that all black Americans seethe with anti-Americanism, anti-Semitism and anti-white sentiments?

This issue is vitally important. Should we also excuse the attendance of southern gentlemen at KKK rallies because of the harshness of Reconstruction; or because of social imperatives? Shall we apply the same standards to all or look the other way in an adolescent fervor to prove ourselves able to overcome racial bias and in the process prove our inability to overcome that very bias?

every comment called "Reply to This." Use it to reply to comments.

And your last paragraph sums it up so nicely.
Now, will America allow him to brig it to the WH, or will she stand up and say a resounding "NO! Not in our country."
Time will tell.

...the bit about us evil whiteys, in the version he recorded to share with others. The irony is that nobody would know he was lured into the church during a sermon that both chastises people for judging them by the color of their skin while doing so later... if Obama hadn't told us about it himself.

Here's a link to the recording of Audacity To Hope, with the reference to the white man's greed mentioned in the version Obama and his congregation heard notably missing. Could it be that all these claims that he was a well respected minister among other church leaders (as many Obama defenders have claimed) is because he censored out or tempered his typical racist rhetoric in what they heard?

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- "Make love not war? Real men can do both!"

 
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