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Trinity Church:

With Barack Obama's Trinity Church and its recenlty retired minister Rev. Jeremiah Wright very much in the news lately, I came across an interesting, and generally very sympathetic, article on the church published in the Christian Century last May. Of particular interest:

TRINITY'S CRITICS SPEAK as though it is a political organization constantly advocating for social change, like Operation PUSH or the National Action Network. But it is neither more nor less than a church. "Trinity's activism is a write-your-elected-official activism, not one that mobilizes thousands to picket," Hopkins said. The only signs of politics that I saw in Trinity's packed worship bulletin the day I visited were a list of polling places in advance of an upcoming citywide election and a reminder to "boycott Wal-Mart." Not exactly the stuff of revolution.

There is no denying, however, that a strand of radical black political theology influences Trinity. James Cone, the pioneer of black liberation theology, is a much-admired figure at Trinity. Cone told me that when he's asked where his theology is institutionally embodied, he always mentions Trinity. Cone's groundbreaking 1969 book Black Theology and Black Power announced: "The time has come for white America to be silent and listen to black people.... All white men are responsible for white oppression.... Theologically, Malcolm X was not far wrong when he called the white man 'the devil.' ... Any advice from whites to blacks on how to deal with white oppression is automatically under suspicion as a clever device to further enslavement." Contending that the structures of a still-racist society need to be dismantled, Cone is impatient with claims that the race situation in America has improved. In a 2004 essay he wrote, "Black suffering is getting worse, not better.... White supremacy is so clever and evasive that we can hardly name it. It claims not to exist, even though black people are dying daily from its poison" (in Living Stones in the Household of God).

Wright agrees. When I asked him whether white Americans are right to maintain that the racial situation has improved since the days when Africentric Christianity was born, Wright pointed to the racist remarks by radio host Don Imus: "And you say things have improved?"

therut:
Sure. Liberation theology is totally political. To say otherwise is a lie. Might as well preach from Uncle Karl Marx manifesto itselfs instead of trying to dress it up with a distortion of the Bible. Sad. I will not buy sugar coating of this angry racist ranting and hijacking of Christianity. Nor will the majortiy of Americians. Maybe the Ivory Tower clan and MSM will think it no biggie but not the large mainstream.
3.15.2008 12:08am
John (mail):
"All white men are responsible for white oppression.... Theologically, Malcolm X was not far wrong when he called the white man 'the devil.' ... Any advice from whites to blacks on how to deal with white oppression is automatically under suspicion as a clever device to further enslavement. "

I was a liberal at Princeton in the 60's when this was the usual fare. That Obama's mentor and advisor--and the guy he sends his kids to listen to every Sunday--still talks this way 40 years larer is disgusting. It's not enough for anyone to "disavow" this crap now. Why was Obama supporting it before his presidential run?

Yeah, Obama is the guy to heal the rift between white and black America.

Right.
3.15.2008 12:16am
Colin S (mail):
First, John, Wright didn't say the above "white devil" quote. That was said by Cone in the 60s. All that is attributed to Wright here is that blacks' social position is getting worse rather than better, which is at least worthy of consideration.

But more to the point.

Is it really possible for a politician these days to pick a religious faith which we can't nitpick and criticize? Every faith has its loonies.

Make no mistake, I'm no advocate of Christianity, or of such extreme strands of Black Liberation Theology specifically. However, it seems that almost every faith can be attacked from some angle.

The Catholics for abortion, feminism, gay rights, etc. Baptists for racism, sexism, gay rights, etc.
Mormons for racism, polygamy, homophobia, etc.
Mormonism


Just about every religious faith has some tenets that the general public and especially the readership of this blog will find troublesome. There are divisive figures in every religion.

Does Minister Wright's viewpoint frighten and offend me, a middle class white male, a little? Yes, sure. But not especially more than figures in other faiths.
3.15.2008 12:48am
Kevin. (www):
Obama is being criticized for his choice of religious mentor for himself and his family, not for his general faith or denomination or because divisive figures just so happen to be of the same religion.
3.15.2008 1:20am
John (mail):
Colin--a minor point, but I didn't say the words were Wright's; just that "he talks this way," which seems to be the case from the quotes of his that have been in the papers.
3.15.2008 1:27am
Mike S. (mail):

"Just about every religious faith has some tenets that the general public and especially the readership of this blog will find troublesome. There are divisive figures in every religion.

Does Minister Wright's viewpoint frighten and offend me, a middle class white male, a little? Yes, sure. But not especially more than figures in other faiths."


While certainly "cherry picking" words out of a single sermon, I have never read a Bible verse or heard another sermon suggesting "God Damn America." Seems a bit over the top, and certainly not likely to heal racial rifts.

Politics is of course about perception, and even "cherry picked" words can be troublesome to those vying for political office. Obama has, like it or not, had a perception problem unwittingly laid on his lap, and how he chooses to handle it will be a test of his political skills.
3.15.2008 1:28am
Elliot123 (mail):
"Just about every religious faith has some tenets that the general public and especially the readership of this blog will find troublesome. There are divisive figures in every religion."

It appears Obama agrees. He said "I reject outright the statements by Rev. Wright that are at issue."
3.15.2008 1:31am
SP:
Yes, the "I disagree with everything he has said and will say that you find politically controversial" trick.
3.15.2008 2:06am
Paul Milligan (mail) (www):
It's been suggested that the ObaMessiah became unelectable tonight. I wouldn't be suprised if it were so. After all, his 'I chose this man to be my spiritual guide for 20 + years, but I never knew what he really preached about, I wasn't there those days' is as believable as "I didn't have sex with that woman, she ha sex with me".

At the same time, he will likey still win the primary, assuming HRC's Machine can't get her coronated in Denver as she is trying.

Net result - President McCain !

What an EXCELLENT and EXCEPTIONAL job by the Circular Firing Squad !!!!
3.15.2008 2:40am
pete (mail) (www):

Wright agrees. When I asked him whether white Americans are right to maintain that the racial situation has improved since the days when Africentric Christianity was born, Wright pointed to the racist remarks by radio host Don Imus: "And you say things have improved?"


That is a pretty incredible statement. A crude joke by a radio host that was widely condemened by people of all races and which led to him being suspendied means that there has been no improvement in the racial situation in 40 years.

And Obama goes to this man for advice?
3.15.2008 11:07am
fishbane (mail):
Not a huge Obama fan myself, but I'm still waiting for all those up in arms about Wright to ponder Hagee, who considers the Catholic church a "whore".

...
3.15.2008 12:15pm
ejo:
okay, I condemn it. how does that change or affect in the slightest the simple fact that Obama has had a white hating, America hating, conspiracy spewing bigot as his spiritual mentor for the last 20 years?
3.15.2008 12:50pm
MDJD2B (mail):

Not a huge Obama fan myself, but I'm still waiting for all those up in arms about Wright to ponder Hagee, who considers the Catholic church a "whore".

Did Sen. McCain belong to Hagee's church? Does he go to Hagee for spitirual advice? Does he call Hagee a mentor?

Or are you just grasping for something parallel to Obama's relatinship with Rev. Wright?
3.15.2008 12:59pm
ejo:
it's just grasping. it's not about a preacher saying one or two things that will make a politician squirm-it's not the job of preachers to act as arms of the DNC or RNC. it's about the simple fact that Obama affiliated himself with a jew hating white hating america hating loon-went to his church, subjected his children to the diatribes of hatred, had this guy as his sounding board and spiritual muse. it makes Obama look a lot less like the uniter everyone imagined him to be and a lot closer to the strain of hatred exemplified by Farrakhan and Wright, doesn't it-just much more deceptive.
3.15.2008 1:06pm
BT:
From living in Chicago and for many years listening to Farrakhan on the radio and tv, Wright's rhetoric and his passion is very similar to Farrakhan's. Until recently I had never heard of him but I wonder if he really is out of the mainstream of black thought on race issues, etc., that many are trying to say. I have also spent a fair amount of time listening to black oriented talk radio (WVON)and it just seems to me that a great deal of time is spent blaming "whitey" for all the world's evils and especially for the plight of black america. While there are voices of reason and valid grievances that are aired, the overwhelming position of callers and hosts is as I have outlined.
3.15.2008 1:23pm
Boynton Cousin:

Or are you just grasping for something parallel to Obama's relatinship with Rev. Wright?


How about McCain's "spiritual guide" Rod Parsley? The U.S. was founded to destroy Islam--got a defense of that one?
3.15.2008 1:42pm
Vernunft (mail) (www):
Tu quoque is a fallacy, though, so the whole discussion seems moot. Got a defense of that?
3.15.2008 1:57pm
Boynton Cousin:
You're right, the whole discussion is moot, since neither McCain nor Obama are responsible for what Wright or Parsley have said. Agreed?
3.15.2008 2:08pm
Mac (mail):
To the question of judgement, Obama had Presidential ambitions for some time, it seems. Now, why did he not realize how awful his self-proclaimed spiritual advisor and his church would appear to most Americans? We keep hearing how smart Obama is. This was smart? This was judicious?

And, unlike the other candidates mentioned above, he financially supported this church and sent his children there to learn conspiracy theories and the evils of Jews and Israel and whites, etc.
And, now he says he never heard this stuff. In 20 years, he never heard this stuff? He wants to be President and he didn't know what was going on in his own church for 20 years? The guy has these sermons on DVD's for sale, for God's sakes!

And, shades of Gary Hart, Obama now says he never personally heard one of these sermons expressing these viewpoints. Uh oh. Back to a question of judgement, He didn't see what happened to Gary Hart when he threw down the gauntlet to the Press to "catch me"?

About his judgement, he and his wife send their kids to this church and they don't even know what it being taught? At a minimum, he had to know of Wright's honoring of Farrakhan. And, he sends his kids to this guy's church to learn this crap?
3.15.2008 2:28pm
PC:
Tu quoque is a fallacy, though, so the whole discussion seems moot. Got a defense of that?


If the issue is who presidential candidates look to for advice and support, how is questioning McCain's choice a fallacy? It's perfectly fair to examine who Obama looks to for spiritual advice. It's also perfectly fair to look at who McCain seeks support from. It's interesting that Conspirators have been harping on Wright, yet there's nary a peep about a man that says Jews brought the Holocaust on themselves.
3.15.2008 2:31pm
Mac (mail):
If the issue is who presidential candidates look to for advice and support, how is questioning McCain's choice a fallacy?

About 20 years relationship, financial support for, exposing his kids to, etc.

I am not finding all this closeness in fact that McCain is alledged to have with this guy. It seems to be growing exponentially every time someone posts on it. McCain is not particularly religious. It, in reality, is hard to imagine him seeking any advice from a religious figure, let alone the parties mentioned above. If you can't see the difference between making nice while accepting an endorsement and a strong 20 year relationship, one in which he exposed his kids to the pastor's conspiracy theories and racism, then I can't help you.
3.15.2008 2:38pm
Mac (mail):
Sorry, should have put a block quote on the first sentence above and attributed it to PC.
3.15.2008 2:39pm
Christopher Cooke (mail):

nd, unlike the other candidates mentioned above, he financially supported this church and sent his children there to learn conspiracy theories and the evils of Jews and Israel and whites, etc.



Maybe you would care to quote from a sermon that (1) Obama and his children heard Wright deliver and (2) which taught "conspiracy theories and the evils of jews and Israel and whites?

If you cannot, I think this just typical slander that passes for comment on this blog.
3.15.2008 2:58pm
Mac (mail):

Maybe you would care to quote from a sermon that (1) Obama and his children heard Wright deliver and (2) which taught "conspiracy theories and the evils of jews and Israel and whites?



Christopher Cooke,

Where have you been? I said, the guy has these rants for sale on DVD's. It's all over the internet. Even ABC covered it. And, as i said, Obama has thrown down the gauntlet to the press just like Gary Hart did. It probably won't be too long before someone will say that Obama was in the church during one of these sermons. Or, are we supposed to presume that in 20 years Obama never noticed his pastor's support for Farrakhan? In 20 years this guy never make any of these remarks in the presence of Obama? Obama said this guy has been his spiritual advisor for 20 years. If he didn't know what Wright stood for and believed, it puts his judgement and acumen in serious question. This is a no win for Obama. Either he knew what Wright believed or he was around this man and in his church for 20 years and never noticed.
3.15.2008 3:08pm
Boynton Cousin:
I am not finding all this closeness in fact that McCain is alledged to have with this guy.

So you're saying that someone McCain has called his "spiritual guide" actually isn't? "Spiritual guide" seems far beyond "making nice while accepting an endorsement."
3.15.2008 3:08pm
Boynton Cousin:
Where have you been? I said, the guy has these rants for sale on DVD's. It's all over the internet. Even ABC covered it.

So you don't have anything except "it probably won't be too long." Got it.

It probably won't be too long... until we find out that McCain is a Manchurian Candidate for the Viet Cong

It probably won't be too long... until we find out that McCain's wife is actually a Martian

Hey, this game is fun!
3.15.2008 3:11pm
Mac (mail):
Boynton Cousin,

You are being silly. I clearly drew a comparison to Gary Hart and "probably won't be too long" was a minor point. It was a foolish thing for Obama to say. Please read and respond to my last 2 sentences.
3.15.2008 3:15pm
Elliot123 (mail):
It sounds to me like Obama is just another Chicago politician who had to build a base of support. Blacks with stupid ideas vote, and Obama courted their votes by belonging to a loony church. Then he put on another hat and cozied up to the Univ of Chicago crowd. Votes are votes.
3.15.2008 3:20pm
Boynton Cousin:
Hey, you were the one to make a specific claim about what Obama and his kids have heard. Either support it or drop it. Claims about what you presume Obama to know are just ridiculous since you can't read minds. Or maybe it probably won't be too long until you're saying that you can.
3.15.2008 3:21pm
Mac (mail):
Boynton,

What don't you get about the Rev. Wright selling tapes of these sermons on his web site? He made no attempt to cover anything up. Wright gave an award to Farrakhan. Obama knew that because he has commented on it. If you are saying there is no way to prove that Obama knew about all or any of Wright's statements in a 20 year relationship, then that alone says a lot negative about Obama's acumen.
3.15.2008 3:25pm
Elliot123 (mail):
Perhaps now we will need transcripts of KKK meetinge before lambasting someone for attending. Maybe lawyers care. Maybe a court would care. But I doubt the American public will demand transcripts.
3.15.2008 3:28pm
Christopher Cooke (mail):
Mac: I went to a church for many years, growing up and as a young adult. I listened to the priest's sermon each Sunday. I have no idea what he said to others outside of church. I don't find it too hard to believe that Obama, who was busy being a politician, wouldn't have the time to order Rev. Wright's DVDs from the website and listen to them. Why should he?

This is a typical "guilt by association" smear that has no substance unless you have evidence that the politician agrees with, or condones, the hateful views or criminal conduct of the "guilty person."
3.15.2008 3:38pm
joeblow (mail):
McCain said Parsley was "a spiritual guide," which he no doubt is for many people, not "my spiritual guide." Apples and oranges with regard to Obama and Wright's longstanding close relationship.
3.15.2008 3:42pm
JosephSlater (mail):
To paraphrase Elliot123 above:

It sounds to me like McCain is just another Republican candidate who had to build a base of support among right-wing Christians. Right-wing Christians with stupid ideas vote, and McCain has courted their votes by backing off on his "agents of intolerance" line and cozying up to Hagee and McCain's "spiritual guide," Parsley. Then he tries to put on another hat and cozy up to Wall Street and moderate voters. Votes are votes.

Make sense?
3.15.2008 3:46pm
Elliot123 (mail):
"This is a typical "guilt by association" smear that has no substance unless you have evidence that the politician agrees with, or condones, the hateful views or criminal conduct of the "guilty person."

If Obama identifies Wright as a mentor and significant influence, it's reasonable to ask Obama about Wright's loony ideas. It's also reasonable to Obama how he vets those he chooses as significant influences, and how he filters out their loony ideas. For example, would he choose David Duke as an advisor if he thought Duke had good ideas on long term flood control on the Mississippi?
3.15.2008 3:48pm
therut:
Cooke----the tapes are from his "preaching" in CHURCH not some studio. Maybe you should watch a few. Espically the one given the Sunday after 911 and his "nice" Christmas sermon.
3.15.2008 3:49pm
Mac (mail):

I have no idea what he said to others outside of church.

Christopher Cooke,

You really need to go do a tiny bit of research. The DVD's are copies of the Rev. Wright's sermons that he gave in the church. You seem to be holding to the idea that the Rev. said all this stuff in a clandestine manner so Obama couldn't really know what the Rev was saying. If that is your defense for Obama, that won't fly. And, if Obama, in 20 years, never knew what the Rev. was saying in the church, such as he won't say "God Bless America, but rather, God Damn America", then I can hardly wait for Obama to sit down with Akmadinajad (sp?) or Kim Il Jong and tell us how much they really, really, love America.

joeblow,

Thank you for setting the record straight. It didn't sound like McCain. He is is not in trouble with the Christian Right for having too close a relationship with them.
3.15.2008 3:53pm
Mac (mail):
Ahmadinejad.
3.15.2008 3:55pm
Elliot123 (mail):
"Make sense?"

Sure does. The skill is in how close the politician gets to the loon. McCain hasn't portrayed his relationship to the loon to be nearly as close as Obama has to his loon. Obama is having trouble breaking away. McCain still hasn't been caught in the web. McCain is a more skillful player.
3.15.2008 3:56pm
Just my 2 cents:
This obviously doesn't look great for Obama but I really see a lot more smoke than fire. The guy is a fiery preacher railing against societal ills. Yes, his style is way over the top and a lot of these quotes are extremely offensive to many people, but it's not clear to me that he actually hates white people or is out to get anyone (from what I understand the Church actually has white members).

To people who are not inclined to trust Obama anyway, this association is clear proof of whatever bad qualities they believe he has. It's true that the association is much closer than many of the other examples like McCain-Hagee, and that it is the result of Obama's choice.

But I don't really buy the argument that Obama is obligated to apply a political or cultural purity test to his pastor. Those who say "well you can't choose your uncle" imply that if it were up to them, they would rather not be related to their racist relatives. That's a pretty cold point of view. Why is it so hard to believe that Obama admired many things about Wright without condoning his wacky political outlook?
3.15.2008 4:04pm
Harry Eagar (mail):
Two words: Bear Stearns.

Most years, I'd have said that a candidate with a wife on the verge of public mental breakdown, an America-hating spiritual adviser and a bedbug crazy foreign policy adviser who wants to invade Israel would be unelectable. Matter of fact, I'm down for a couple of lunches if McCain loses.

But I got hit with a cluebat this week. Americans vote their pocketbooks first, last and always, and come November they're going to be worried about their jobs and houses and anybody breathing and not a Republican can win.
3.15.2008 4:05pm
JosephSlater (mail):
Elliot123:

Except McCain isn't doing nearly the rejecting and distancing that Obama has been doing. So maybe some folks are more skillful at trying to make this an "issue" for Obama than the folks opposing McCain; or maybe middle America is (or some folks think it is) scared more by radical-intolerant black preachers than radical-intolerant white ones.

The question is not how many folks on a right-wing libertarian blog think this is a problem for Obama, but rather how many folks who really would be "swing" voters would count this as a significant issue comparted to, say, the economy, Iraq war policies, etc. At the end of the day, I wonder.
3.15.2008 4:19pm
BruceM (mail) (www):
As long as African Americans worship at a Christian church, the joke is on them. Black Christianity is the last badge of slavery. We kidnapped Africans from their native homeland and took them away from their own religions, hauled them across the ocean to be brutalized as slaves, and we forbid them to learn or read, except for learning about the Bible which tells slaves to respect their masters and work hard as slaves. The fact that African Americans still worship our white god and his white son over a century after slavery has been abolished is shocking. We forced Christianity on black slaves to (1) make them behave better as slaves and (2) to make us feel better about slavery. When will African Americans discard this last remaining shackle of slavery? And why are they so damn enthusiastic about it? They love our white, slavery-approving god more than we do. It's one thing to adopt your master's religion under fear of being whipped, beaten, overworked, or starved. It's another thing for freed slaves to keep and embrace the slavemaster's religion - particularly when it means believing in a god that doesn't represent your people. As far as I'm concerned, black christians are an embarassment to their enslaved ancestors. As long as black people are praying to a white god and saying a white guy is their lord and savior, they truly are second-class citizens and are (wrongly) conceding they are an inferior race. I'll never understand it. I have infinitely more respect for the African Americans who distance themselves from the shackle of Christianity and either revert to their native African religions, or pick other religions to follow.

So, I just laugh at all these militant anti-white Churches like Trinity. Guess what guys, as long as your savior is a pale-faced white guy, all your condemnations of white people are utterly meaningless. The joke is on the Reverend Wrights and Jessee Jacksons and Al Sharptons of the world. If the white man is the devil, then the devil is your beloved lord and savior.

Even though he's a nutjob, Farrakhan at least has the common sense to cast aside the foreign religion forced upon his ancestors by their slavemasters.

Okay, feel free to flame away at me. I preemptively stand by my comments.
3.15.2008 4:24pm
Bart (mail):
Elliot123:

The question is not how many folks on a right-wing libertarian blog think this is a problem for Obama, but rather how many folks who really would be "swing" voters would count this as a significant issue comparted to, say, the economy, Iraq war policies, etc. At the end of the day, I wonder.

Scott Rasmussen's national tracking poll shows Obama's 8 point lead over Clinton has vanished last night as he fell into a tie with Clinton while his favorable/unfavorable ratio fell to Clintonesque depths of 50 to 49%.

Obama may be in serious trouble.
3.15.2008 4:25pm
Carolina:
BruceM,

I don't even know where to start with your comment. Should I start with the fact that many (most?) of the principal movers in the abolitionist movement in the US (and worldwide) were Christians?

Should I ask why you approvingly cite Farrakhan for rejecting the "slave religion" when the religion he picked (Islam) permits slavery **right now** in Africa?

Should I ask who, other than maybe the KKK, would possibly claim Jesus was a pale-faced caucasian?

I'm tempted to go on but I am now starting the think your yanking my chain with a satirical post, so I'm signing off.
3.15.2008 4:41pm
Mac (mail):

II'm tempted to go on but I am now starting the think your yanking my chain with a satirical post, so I'm signing off.


Carolina,

Let us hope so. Let us also hope that Bruce M picks up a real history book sometime if his post is not satirical. I can understand spouting such factually and historically incorrect nonsense if a person is in college. But, libraries are free and there is no excuse for remaining so ignorant once one is out of college.
3.15.2008 5:11pm
Elliot123 (mail):
"Except McCain isn't doing nearly the rejecting and distancing that Obama has been doing. So maybe some folks are more skillful at trying to make this an "issue" for Obama than the folks opposing McCain; or maybe middle America is (or some folks think it is) scared more by radical-intolerant black preachers than radical-intolerant white ones."

McCain isn't doing as much rejecting because he didn't position himself as close to his loon as Obama positioned himself to his loon. And I would never discount the efforts to push a candidate closer to their respective loon. Some have tried to push McCain, and it hasn't worked. With Obama, he has put himself so close that only a little push is needed. The Wright clips portray Obama as a black candidate along the lines of Jackson and Sharpton rather than as the unicolor candidate who transcends race.

I'm not sure anyone is scared of the preachers. It seems they are more an object of ridicule, and if that ridicule rubs off on the candidate, he is finished. That's why they are in play.

The clips of Wright preaching will be used against Obama just as the clip of Howard Dean giving a war hoop was used against him. Once people start laughing at a candidate, there is nowhere to go. I'll be interested to see if Wright shows up on Saturday Night Live tonight.
3.15.2008 5:16pm
A. Zarkov (mail):
Shall we get back to the main point of this thread—liberation theology? Is it religion or politics? Is BHO's Trinity Church primarily a political or a religious entity? From Wikipedia on liberation theology:
"Emphasis is placed on those parts of the Bible where Jesus' mission is described not in terms of bringing peace (social order) but bringing a sword (social unrest), e.g. Matthew 10:34, Luke 22:35-38 and Matthew 26:51-52. These passages are interpreted as a call to arms to carry out what proponents see as a Christian mission of justice -- literally by some. Marxist concepts such as the doctrine of perpetual class struggle are also significant."
If Wright and his Church subscribe to this interpretation of liberation theology then it undermines BHO's fundamental political stance. BHO promotes himself as a man who unites, not divides, and as one who brings peace not war. Thus BHO must reject his church and his pastor on theoretical grounds alone. He's in a box here. He cannot reject his church after 20 years of attendance and not look like a phony. He cannot accept it without shredding his own political message and alienating white voters.

To answer the main question, liberation theology is both a political and a religious entity and has merged both into one entity.
3.15.2008 6:08pm
PC:
So just to clear things up. A candidate's religion is now fair game? Is that what I'm hearing? I vaguely remember a few months ago, talk about magic underwear was considered uncouth. I really don't remember anyone digging up any of Huckabee's sermons, but according to these new rules, that would be perfectly acceptable. Having been raised Southern Baptist I know what kind of fun those fire and brimstone pastors are.

Someone should really write these rules down somewhere. I don't want any of the people going after Wright to get offended when someone brings up questions about a conservative politician's faith.
3.15.2008 6:16pm
therut:
You might find something comparable in Christian Idenity "churches". Neither type of political religion is Christianity. This pastor is wrong on so many points it is undeniable. First God is not a respecter of persons. If the so called Rev. would start there he may lend his flock to the true Promised Land instead of a cesspool of ignorance. Jesus did not come to set up a political system. He did not come to preach his Kingdom is of this earth. And it is sheer blasphamy and pride to preach that mankind can bring his Kingdom to this earth by their own deeds. Silly. But one main point is how the left wing and MSM NEVER screams separation of church and state when this kind of blantant political religion is preached. They agree with this man made circa. 1960's new religon. I just can not get on that train. Talk about theocracy in a nutshell. Scary YES.
3.15.2008 6:36pm
A. Zarkov (mail):
PC:

It's one thing to have a fringe theological belief like "end time" or the anti Christ, but quite another to have a fringe political belief. The former need not affect policy, but the latter does. With liberation theology the preacher becomes the politician, and politician becomes the preacher. The conservatives have some wiggle room, BHO doesn't.
3.15.2008 6:38pm
BruceM (mail) (www):
PC: what people believe is and should always be fair game. Why shouldn't it? Anyway, it's not so much Obamas religion that's being questioned, but rather the questionable teachings and statements of the religious leader he purports to follow and admire.

Carolina:

Many (most?) of the principal movers in the abolitionist movement in the US (and worldwide) were Christians

So? Many/most of the southern slaveholders were Christians. Just goes to show how religion can mean whatever anyone wants it to mean.

Should I ask why you approvingly cite Farrakhan for rejecting the "slave religion" when the religion he picked (Islam) permits slavery **right now** in Africa?

I don't approve of Islam any more than I approve of Christianity. In fact, if I had two buttons, one which would wipe Islam off the planet and one that would wipe Christianity off the planet and could only push one, I'd push the "Islam" button. I simply said I respect Farrakhan for not perpetuating the worship of the religion that was forced on his enslaved ancestors by their tormentors and kidnappers.

Should I ask who, other than maybe the KKK, would possibly claim Jesus was a pale-faced caucasian?

Sure, factually speaking Jesus of Nazareth, like all middle-eastern people living at his time and place had a darker shade of skin. But all the pictures, paintings, and sculptures of Jesus, in white churches and african american churches alike, depict Jesus as being as white as possible, often with rosy cheeks. Maybe I'm wrong, maybe Trinity Church has depictions of a black Jesus. Maybe Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson believe Jesus and his father were as black as they are. Somehow I doubt it. Whatever shade skin color Jesus actually had, he certainly was not African.

If Christianity had not been forced upon the African slaves by their cruel white masters, no contemporary African American would be a Christian. African American Christianity is the last remaining scar of slavery.
3.15.2008 6:48pm
PC:
With liberation theology the preacher becomes the politician, and politician becomes the preacher.


Well, Huckabee is pretty much the embodiment of that concept. But let's look at another political/religious movement, Christian Reconstructionism. This is who McCain is courting in the form of Hagee and Parsley.

I'm all for bringing up the ideas that politicians and their chosen spiritual leader(s) believe in. By all means, let's get it all out there. But until the MSM started attacking Obama's pastor, I had always assumed we weren't allowed to do that in polite company. Any reason those rules have changed?
3.15.2008 6:56pm
A. Zarkov (mail):
PC:

If Christian Reconstructionism really includes theonomy then you have a point. McCain has less of a problem because he's not as close to those preachers as BHO. As I said, the conservatives have more wiggle room. Liberation theology goes further into the political domain than theonomy. Huckabee is out of the picture. Had he come as close to getting the nomination as BHO his theology would have become as issue.

"But until the MSM started attacking Obama's pastor, I had always assumed we weren't allowed to do that in polite company."

And well they should. He attacks all of us, which includes the MSM. When you make declarative assertions of fact like the US government created the AIDS virus, you go beyond mere theology.
3.15.2008 7:14pm
Elliot123 (mail):
"I'm all for bringing up the ideas that politicians and their chosen spiritual leader(s) believe in. By all means, let's get it all out there. But until the MSM started attacking Obama's pastor, I had always assumed we weren't allowed to do that in polite company. Any reason those rules have changed?"

The rules haven't changed at all. Wright has just provided great theater. There are tapes of him whipping up the crowd like Elmer Gantry and spouting nonsense. TV editors everywhere are speeding through them to get 30 seconds to put on the air. I wonder if the Church is still filling orders for the DVDs?

Now Obama is saying he didn't know Wright was a loon. So, it becomes a question of what did he know and when did he know it? All the stories of Harvard Law Review fade away with a good 30 second spot of Wright hooping and hollerin'.
3.15.2008 7:39pm
sbron:
I think both Obama and McCain could learn from this guy.

"the only colors that should matter are red, white and blue."
Bobby Jindal quoted by Time Magazine

"I oppose set-asides and quotas. An insightful man got it right 40 years ago: people should not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character."
Bobby Jindal quoted in the 2003 Times-Picayune

The Democrat's solution to an economic downturn -- cancel
the Bush tax cuts. Bobby Jindal's solution to LA's anemic economy, thus far, offer businesses tax breaks.

To those who believe that "social justice" can only be achieved by a non-white male president, be careful what you wish for, Jindal might be the first such person.
3.15.2008 8:48pm
EIDE_Interface (mail):
Wow, loads of racism on this thread.
3.15.2008 9:05pm
PC:
A. Zarkov:
If Christian Reconstructionism really includes theonomy then you have a point. McCain has less of a problem because he's not as close to those preachers as BHO. As I said, the conservatives have more wiggle room. Liberation theology goes further into the political domain than theonomy.


Christian Reconstructionism is pretty much the same as Dominionism. All civil law should be derived from the Bible. I'm only familiar with Catholic Liberation theory, so I can't say much about the views of Obama's pastor. If they are batsh*t insane, by all means, bring them out. I would also expect people to start talking about the views of luminaries like Hagee, and the influence of the Christian right on conservative politics. Namely things like starting a war with Islam (over 1 billion people) in order to bring about Armageddon, aka, the end of the world.

Huckabee is out of the picture. Had he come as close to getting the nomination as BHO his theology would have become as issue.


Is Huckabee still being tossed around as a possible VP candidate? McCain has the Hagee and Parsley backing, but a lot of the Religious Right is still uncomfortable with him. Not that he hasn't been trying to make inroads with the millenialists.

Elliot123:
Now Obama is saying he didn't know Wright was a loon. So, it becomes a question of what did he know and when did he know it? All the stories of Harvard Law Review fade away with a good 30 second spot of Wright hooping and hollerin'.


I guess it makes for good entertainment. If people really want to go down the road of questioning others' religious beliefs, I say bring it on. I'm an atheist and I think the spectacle would be quite entertaining. Just be careful what you are asking for.
3.15.2008 9:06pm
PC:
To put this into perspective, here's a quote from a TPM reader:

What drives me crazy is how this could have been avoided so easily if Wright was the slightest bit media-savvy. Had he merely controlled his tongue and limited himself to advocating an attack on Iran to encourage massive worldwide Muslim attacks leading to a fulfillment of the biblical prophecy of end-times and bringing about Armageddon and the summary slaughter of every Jew, Muslim, Catholic, and non-believer on the planet while rapturing him and his flock up to heaven, then followed it up by denouncing Catholics as cult members and blaming Hurricane Katrina on gay people, this story wouldn't be metastasizing like this. One five minute milquetoast repudiation by Obama and it would all be behind him.

But what does Wright do instead? He spews this vile "God damn America" bile. What a psycho.
3.15.2008 9:11pm
Elliot123 (mail):
"I guess it makes for good entertainment. If people really want to go down the road of questioning others' religious beliefs, I say bring it on. I'm an atheist and I think the spectacle would be quite entertaining. Just be careful what you are asking for."

I'm not sure what religious belief is being questioned. People are questioning Wright's assertion that the US government lied about inventing the HIV virus as a means of genocide against people of color, blacks have made no social progress in the last forty years, the US brought 911 on itself, and Fahrakin(sp) is an insightful social critic. Those aren't religious beliefs. I hope we haven't arived at the point where anything said by a loony minister is considered a religious belief.
3.15.2008 9:26pm
Elliot123 (mail):
"But what does Wright do instead? He spews this vile "God damn America" bile. What a psycho."

Wright really isn't the issue. Loony ministers are a dime a dozen. The issue is that Wright has been successfully hung around Obama's neck, and Obama did most of it himself.
3.15.2008 9:30pm
Mac (mail):
So just to clear things up. A candidate's religion is now fair game? Is that what I'm hearing?

Uh, PC didn't you watch any of the debates or other interviews with Romney, Huckabee et al? You never heard them grill Romney on the LDS Church? Never? You would have had to have your head in a bucket full of water not to have heard the MSM grilling the Republican candidates about their religions. They never asked the Democrats those questions, though, or whether they believed in the Bible's creation version of creation. I watched them pull that stunt in the Republican debates. Fred Thompson (whom I really admired for this) told them to go to hell. The others tried to answer.
You weren't around for JFK, I presume?
3.16.2008 12:20am
Mac (mail):
Here is part of an article on this issue. At this point, I rather imagine McCain is damn sorry he ever went to this rally what with Cunningham and Parsley giving him nothing but trouble.

According to the campaign, McCain met Parsley for the first< time three weeks ago, when the pastor served as an introductory speaker at a February 26 rally in Cincinnati.

McCain praised most of the leaders in attendance, saying of Parsley: "I am very honored today to have one of the truly great leaders in America, a moral compass, a spiritual guide…thank you for your leadership and your guidance. I am very grateful you are here." (Coincidence note: This was the same event of the infamous Bill Cunningham remarks)

A number of blogs and magazines (inc. here, here, and here) are citing the "spiritual guide" line to make the case that Parsley is an important influence for the Arizona Senator. International publications are also picking up on the endorsement--a headline in the Tehran Times this morning screams, "McCain advisor: Destroy Islam."

A campaign official disputes that argument, adding that any comparison between the Wright and Parsley situations is "totally absurd." The official notes that Rev. Wright married Obama, baptized his children and has served as his spiritual adviser for 20 years, whereas McCain received Parsley's endorsement at one event and has never attended his service.


My Bold added for emphasis, not the author of this news article.
Now, do you understand the difference?
3.16.2008 12:49am
Mac (mail):
Sorry, should have left the Bold out of it. Made a mess of it.
3.16.2008 12:50am
Orielbean (mail):
All I know is that if the repub smear machine is anywhere near as sharp as they cut a few years back, they could get away with another election. The democrats always do an amazing job picking the wrong candidate and being late to the smear ads, so I don't expect this contest to come out any better than the last one.

Is it sad when our only hope to avoid another republican president in full policy-failure regalia is a tanking economy driving voters to vote their wallet?
3.16.2008 2:11am
Dave N (mail):
If Christianity had not been forced upon the African slaves by their cruel white masters, no contemporary African American would be a Christian. African American Christianity is the last remaining scar of slavery
None? Really? Not a single one? Um, we are discussing Barack Obama, who according to his own autobiography, was raised by an agnostic mother and whose paternal religious heritage (though the father was absent) was Muslim. Obama became a Christian as a choice. So there is at least one.
3.16.2008 3:27am
Dave N (mail):
And how amazingly arrogant it is to speak for all black Americans--as if they are not smart enough to decide their religious beliefs for themselves. How paternalistic. How racist to assume that all should fit into your box that they are all somehow religiously deluded based on what happened to their ancestors.
3.16.2008 3:29am
Kevin. (www):
hopefully, this will close the extra bold tag.
3.16.2008 3:34am
Dave N (mail):
Kevin,

Thanks. I appreciate saving bold for the important stuff. But could you explain how you did it?
3.16.2008 4:28am
BruceM (mail) (www):
Dave N: None. Really. Not one. Do you really believe Obama would have become a Christian if he had not wanted to succeed in national politics? He subtly concedes as much in his book when he says he came to understand "the power of the African American religious tradition to spur social change" and he joined Trinity Church a few years after he had started being active in local politics.

I don't have to, nor do I claim to, speak for all African Americans. I'm clearly not speaking for any of them since not one seems to recognize their continued worship of Master's White God as being a remnant of their former abduction and enslavement. All religious people are deluded, African American Christians are merely deluded on multiple levels. Particularly the ones like Rev. Wright who run a "United Church of [white] Christ" which preaches anti-white messages. I can't be the only one who sees the pathetic irony in this, though I may be the only one with the gall to point out such a politically incorrect realization.
3.16.2008 8:46am
davod (mail):
The atheists are having a field day on this blog entry.
3.16.2008 12:57pm
Dave N (mail):
BruceM,

I am sorry you consider me deluded because I do not share your faith and worship at the altar of atheism. But I have better things to do than deal with your smug arrogance.
3.16.2008 1:08pm
Mac (mail):

Kevin,

Thanks. I appreciate saving bold for the important stuff. But could you explain how you did it?


Kevin,

Ditto what Dave N said and my apologies for starting it, although I have no idea how I managed to do that,
3.16.2008 1:24pm
BruceM (mail) (www):
Dave, if it makes ya feel better, I think you're less deluded than some other people.
3.16.2008 3:34pm
David M. Nieporent (www):
Bruce, aside from your loony anti-religion views, you might want to consider that there are plenty of blacks who were never enslaved, whose ancestors were never enslaved, who are nonetheless Christian.
3.16.2008 8:30pm
Ratel (mail):
I fail to understand how the claim can rationally be made that McCain is not closely tied to Hagee. He intentionally sought out and received Hagee's endorsement.
3.17.2008 10:45am
Kevin. (www):
Sorry for the delay. Mac had an extra bold open tag (which is <b>). The closing tag for bold is:

</b>

I checked the source html to make sure there was only one unmatched bold tag and then started my previous post with the close tag above.
3.17.2008 2:04pm