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Yglesias on Rev. Wright:

Matthew Yglesias:

Obama's going to have a hard time explaining that I take to be the truth, namely that his relationship with Trinity has been a bit cynical from the beginning. After all, before Obama was a half-black guy running in a mostly white country he was a half-white guy running in a mostly black neighborhood. At that time, associating with a very large, influential, local church with black nationalist overtones was a clear political asset (it's also clear in his book that it made him, personally, feel "blacker" to belong to a slightly kitschy black church). Since emerging onto a larger stage, it's been the reverse and Obama's consistently sought to distance himself from Wright, disinviting him from his campaign's launch, analogizing him to a crazy uncle who you love but don't listen to, etc. The closest analogy would probably be to Hillary Clinton's inconsistent accounting of where she's from (bragging about midwestern roots when trying to win in Iowa, promptly forgetting those roots when explaining away a loss in Illinois, developing a sporadic affection for New York sports teams) — banal, mildly cynical shifts of association as context changes.

This is why I don't, as an American citizen, worry that President Obama would be objectionable. But Americans take their religion seriously and aren't going to want to hear this story. So Obama's going to have to do some awkward further distancing.

Yglesias may well be correct about Obama, but when you're left with the choice of either acknowledging that you had sincere close, personal, and political ties with a minister whose views most Americans find beyond the pale, or defending yourself by using the "hey, I'm just a cynical politician who uses religion to get votes just like anything else, and I don't believe in it any more than I really believe that NAFTA is bad" excuse, I think you may be in for some trouble.

UPDATE: An anecdotal report from my father from discussions with congregants after Friday night's service at a Reform synagogue in the Poconos in Pennsylvania: the congregants have turned against Obama because of Wright, and think McCain is a warmonger. Strong support for Clinton.

CJ2:
Wow. I must say that I'm disappointed, Professor Bernstein. Are there not other options than your two choices? Could Senator Obama, perhaps, agree with his pastor's religious views but not his political views? Or even simply agree with some statements but not others?
3.15.2008 10:38pm
Elliot123 (mail):
Nobody cares about his religious views. The politial views are all that matter here.
3.15.2008 10:42pm
Liberal Laura:
This is a disaster. Obama has been the man based on the perception 1) that he isn't a fire-breather and 2) that he's authentic. Either way you play this incident, a major leg of his campaign just broke away.
3.15.2008 10:52pm
Wugong:
To put it mildly, McCain is going to have as many if not more problems on this front. He's gone to polar extremes in the way he deals with the religious right for clearly political reasons and has cozied up to some folk like John Hagee that many Americans do or will (and should) find repugnant.

By the way, is this the only candidate you will regularly post on, DB? It's going to be long election on the VC.
3.15.2008 11:06pm
Paul Milligan (mail) (www):
"Nobody cares about his religious views. The politial views are all that matter here."

That particular church intermingles them. He chose to be part of that intermingling, with his wife and kids, for 20 + years.

That 'preacher' doesn't just preach on Jesus and God and Heaven and Hell et al, he preaches "God Damn America". And that's not a paraphrase, that's what he's captured on video screaming over and over again, from the pulpit, while giving his sermon, IOW 'officially' in every way.

Personally, I don't want a President who screams 'God Damn America' at the top of his lungs over and over in front of crowds. Maybe you do.

And for Obama to say ' Well, I never heard him talk like that, I didn't know he said those things or held those views' - utter purest BS, if he said it under oath he'd be brought up on perjury. You don't belong to a church, as a regular attendee, for 20 years and not know what the Preacher says on Sunday morning.

IMO, Obama is 'ex candidate walking'. There is NO WAY he's electable in the general, even if he gets that far. Which he well may, it looks like. The people who vote in the Democrat primary have a very different value system than most.

However, if there's on thing that can unify conservatives behind McCain, it's Pastor Wright. They'll hold their noses and pull the lever, it's that simple. And independents will RUN from Obama in the general.
3.15.2008 11:07pm
grackle (mail):
Why can't Obama follow John McCain's lead, accepting Wright's support but not his message? I'm sorry but it's a goose and gander situation. If all McCain has to do is say he disagrees with Hagee, then a similar disavowal should suffice for Obama. After that it's just boring and tedious.
3.15.2008 11:08pm
J Mo:
"when your left"

Are you serious? Arnt you a professor?
3.15.2008 11:10pm
DavidBernstein (mail):
I find Obama's exploits as HLR president interesting from a law geek point of view, especially since I was on the Yale Law Journal at the same time. And I was an "early adopter" of the theory that Wright was going to hurt Obama, in part because I so loathe Farrakhan and follow stories about him, so I've been following that story. If McCain or Hillary do/say something equally of interest, I'll blog about them, too.

CJ, these are the options that Yglesias, who I believe supports Obama, seems to think are viable, and it's pretty hard to separate the politics from the religion if your pastor believes in black liberation theology, which is inherently political.
3.15.2008 11:11pm
Free Trader:
Or, more realistically, real people in the real world (i.e. not David Bernstein) don't really care about this, much less obsess about it.

So, what is more important...

Healthcare, or the fact that the clearly moderate Obama used to have a pastor who made a few unwise comments over the course of a long career?

Which is more important...

The War in Iraq, which has resulted in 3,987 deaths of American Soldiers along with 29,320 wounded including 8,904 who were wounded so badly that they required air transport and has cost not to mention the numerous American citizens who have died while acting as security contractors, or the fact that the clearly moderate Obama used to have a pastor who made a few unwise comments over the course of a long career?

Which is more important...

The fact that we are in the midst of an economic disaster, with even well established financial institutions like Bear Stearns facing failure with huge repercussions for our economy, or the fact that the clearly moderate Obama used to have a pastor who made a few unwise comments over the course of a long career.

Lets get real.

The only reason that David Bernstein is even interested in this stuff is because he is a fanatical libertarian who disagrees with Obama on policy. He is hoping and praying that these silly distractions are enough to derail Obama and ensure 4 more years of dysfunctional Republican rule.
3.15.2008 11:17pm
tvk:
Yes, if those are the two options they are two very bad options. But as has been pointed out above, that is a pretty false dichotomy. Plenty of people have good (though not exceptionally close), personal (always, kind of by definition) and non-political ties with their pastor.

Yglesias is suggesting that Obama is cynical at best and hypocrite at worst. Of all possible charges against someone campaigning against Washington politics-as-usual, that has to be the dynamite. It may be true, but the evidence is still thin at this stage. One can't help but feel that saying he "may well be correct" is a bit much.
3.15.2008 11:19pm
DavidBernstein (mail):
Au contraire, free trader. Ideological liberals will vote for the Democrat regardles, and their conservative counterparts will vote for the Republican. To the muddled middle that has no strong ideological proclivities, and in fact in general has no idea what either candidate stands for, and if they do have no idea whether McCain or Obama's ideas are better (what exactly are there positions on the looming financial crisis? damned if I, for one, know) symbolic issues like this are extremely important. That said, such people are very unlikely to read this blog, and I don't expect my posts to change a single vote, but that doesn't make the issue uninteresting.
3.15.2008 11:21pm
Visitor Again:
Personally, I don't want a President who screams 'God Damn America' at the top of his lungs over and over in front of crowds. Maybe you do.

If you think there's the slightest chance of that with Obama--and apparently you do or why raise it--you are delusional.
3.15.2008 11:23pm
Blue (mail):
A chant of "God Damn America."

That's something a lot of folks will take really seriously. To conflate 20 years of attending a church filled with that level of hate with McCain's Hagee problem is either absurd or intentionally deceptive.
3.15.2008 11:26pm
Paul Milligan (mail) (www):
"So, what is more important...

Healthcare, or the fact that the clearly moderate Obama used to have a pastor who made a few unwise comments over the course of a long career? "

First, government-mandated purchase of health insurance, which is what the code wordds 'health care' mean in today's political debate, is NOT a priority, nor even desirable, to many people.

Second, the preacher did not 'make a few unwise comments', he espoused a philosophy of racial hatred and black supremecy consistently throughout his life. And Obama chose to select this hate-monger as his 'personal spiritual advisor'.


"clearly moderate Obama " ????

Swy what ?? He has the most liberal voting record in the Senate, bar none !!!
3.15.2008 11:32pm
amnyc (mail) (www):

That 'preacher' doesn't just preach on Jesus and God and Heaven and Hell et al, he preaches "God Damn America". And that's not a paraphrase, that's what he's captured on video screaming over and over again, from the pulpit, while giving his sermon, IOW 'officially' in every way.

Personally, I don't want a President who screams 'God Damn America' at the top of his lungs over and over in front of crowds. Maybe you do.

And for Obama to say ' Well, I never heard him talk like that, I didn't know he said those things or held those views' - utter purest BS, if he said it under oath he'd be brought up on perjury. You don't belong to a church, as a regular attendee, for 20 years and not know what the Preacher says on Sunday morning.


If Obama was a regular church-goer, then yes, at some time, he heard Pastor Wright spew out his extreme Black-nationalist rhetoric. But I have no problem believing that Obama took this as his Pastor sermonizing to get attention and did not hold this as an example of Wright's core belief system, because he likely heard very many other sermons by Wright that did not mention AmeriKKKa or similar nonsense.

And I believe this is true from experience. My Rabbi growing up was known for his bizarre sermons: I remember the time he urged the congregation to save endangered species like the whales and the nauga (boycott naugahyde!), or the time he passionately and vociferously condemned the greatest evil in contemporary (early 1990's) society (dwarf tossing), or his occasional sermons given with the aid of hand puppets.

But these sermons were seldom delivered (maybe 1 out of every 20 sermons were ridiculous)- by far, most sermons were plain, ordinary, Torah-inspired, and to be honest, completely unmemorable. It was this potential for the bizarre that kept the congregation going (and explained why the Rabbi was able to hold on to his pulpit for over 30 years.)

So I have no problem believing this to be the case with Pastor Wright: most sermons (and the ones Obama would gladly associate with) dealt with more ordinary topics (the importance of faith, the importance of community service, etc.), and every once in a while, you would get a serving of venomous rhetoric just to keep the congregation from tuning out entirely.
3.15.2008 11:38pm
Cornellian (mail):

That's something a lot of folks will take really seriously. To conflate 20 years of attending a church filled with that level of hate with McCain's Hagee problem is either absurd or intentionally deceptive.


Has McCain done anything to distance himself from Hagee's views?
3.15.2008 11:39pm
CJ2:
Professor Bernstein - if you conclusion was only meant to paraphrase Yglesias, it seems to me that you missed the mark. It came off to this reader as your own suggestion of what the only two options would be.
3.15.2008 11:46pm
Elliot123 (mail):
"Or, more realistically, real people in the real world (i.e. not David Bernstein) don't really care about this, much less obsess about it."

Health care, Iraq, and the economy are obviously serious issues, and they challenge the best minds in the country. They are hard to understand, and hard to solve.

But, a Jesus-Jumping racist Elmer Gantry on TV is easy to understand, easy to judge, and easy to ridicule. And it's awfully hard to believe that Obama didn't know Wright's views over a twenty year relationship. So, for the marginal votes needed to win, Wright's antics and Obama's dissembling will have more impact health care, Iraq, or the economy.

Obama's defense is that for twenty years he was too stupid to know Wright was a loon. Would anyone accept that if it was David Duke rather than Wright?
3.15.2008 11:46pm
Hector Lopez-R:
Look, it's pretty simple:

1. Obama wins: Israel ceases to exist. Formation of American-Arab States (AAS).

2. Hillary wins: Bill opens up a 24/7 drive-thru bribe window at the White House. cf., "It's my money," Gore "investing" $25M, Marc Rich, et al.

3. McCain wins: "John, when you hear phlase 'pineapple junction' you will board Air Force One and order nuc-u-lar destruction of US and Europe. OK? Lememba! Pineapple junction. Ha ha ha ha!

As comic Yakov Smirnov used to say: "Vat a coontry."
3.15.2008 11:47pm
Syd Henderson (mail):
Personally, I don't want a President who screams 'God Damn America' at the top of his lungs over and over in front of crowds. Maybe you do.

Then I suggest if Reverend Wright runs for President of the United States, you vote against him.
3.15.2008 11:47pm
SenatorX (mail):
"To conflate 20 years of attending a church filled with that level of hate with McCain's Hagee problem is either absurd or intentionally deceptive."

I agree. Yet we keep hearing that over and over as if it makes any sense at all.
3.15.2008 11:49pm
DavidBernstein (mail):
I should probably have written, "but IF you're left with the choice," not "but when you're left with the choice" to better convey my meaning.
3.15.2008 11:50pm
Chris Bell (mail) (www):
Syd hits the nail on the head. This would all be a little more important if anyone thought for a moment that Obama felt the same way. Instead, Obama has consistently said that he disagrees, and no one (or at least no one credible) seems willing to say that Obama is lying - that Obama secretly hates America and whites and is just covering it up.
3.16.2008 12:02am
sef:
David:

If Hillary can't carry a synagogue anywhere in the Poconos she is in trouble, and I'll leave the obvious racial overtones out of it. Your suggestion is far from a scientific sampling of PA as the Poconos are heavy on those who escaped from NYC as well as heavy on those who aren't particularly fond of "nonwhites".
3.16.2008 12:09am
sef:
Obama played the story well. One, it reminds everyone he is Christian. Two, he went on Foxnews &every other outlet and looked pretty shaken. Three, this isn't going to be a negative race if it is Obama / McCain save for some 527 ads.

This is a nontroversy in a slow news cycle.
3.16.2008 12:12am
Boynton Cousin:
First, government-mandated purchase of health insurance, which is what the code wordds 'health care' mean in today's political debate, is NOT a priority, nor even desirable, to many people.

Since you have gotten the most basic facts about the healthcare debate wrong (hint: Hillary has been attacking Obama for not including mandates), why should anyone believe your political prognostications?
3.16.2008 12:19am
Boynton Cousin:
sef, don't forget that Obama managed to have this Wright business overpower the Rezko story, which is arguably more damaging, by doing the "ask me any question you want" story to a Chicago paper on Friday. That disclosure plus the earmark stuff he released earlier in the week make him look pretty good compared to Hillary.

Not badly played, given the circumstances in which the Obama campaign would surely, inevitably, find itself given his background with Wright. Seriously, has anything ever stuck to Obama?
3.16.2008 12:28am
glangston (mail):
Well, the synagogues are still powerful.. Are they tax exempt?;)
3.16.2008 12:36am
Thorley Winston (mail) (www):

Obama played the story well. One, it reminds everyone he is Christian.



Only in the sense that the members of Fred Phelps' congregation are "Christians."
3.16.2008 12:40am
overlord:
I think this is damaging, but I don't see it making him lose EVERY remaining state by a landslide, which is what it would now take for Hillary to overtake him.

I think if he goes into the convention with more pledged delegates, he is going to be the nominee.

Now, he could be badly damaged by these tapes being played endlessly in the last 60 days before the election, along with the Rezko deal. But that is not a satisfactory argument for ditching the guy who won the contest according to their rules. After all, Hillary has her own skeletons- pardons, library donors, tax returns, to name only the most obvious. And her poisonous attacks- saying he is not qualified to be commander in chief- make it hard to see how they can now be on the same ticket.
3.16.2008 12:44am
sef:
Except that McCain has a few whackjobs passing off stupidity (anti-catholic, antijewish, etc. bigotry) as religion.
3.16.2008 12:47am
Paul Milligan (mail) (www):
"If Obama was a regular church-goer, "

He CLAIMS to be devout, and to attend at every possible chance.

" then yes, at some time, he heard Pastor Wright spew out his extreme Black-nationalist rhetoric. But I have no problem believing that Obama took this as his Pastor sermonizing to get attention and did not hold this as an example of Wright's core belief system, because he likely heard very many other sermons by Wright that did not mention AmeriKKKa or similar nonsense."

So, you create an unsupported proposition, and then rely upon it for your conclusion.

So, following your 'logic', let's say it was a white guy, who attended KKK rallies 'only once in a while', and 'likely heard other things beside the racial hate that he liked'. You posit that this excuses him from responsibility for attending KKK meetings ? Would that be acceptable to you in a candidate for President, one how only attends KKK rallies 'once in a while', and 'you can guess he kinda doesn't agree with everything'.

Have you ever heard the phrase 'A man is known by the company he keeps' ?

"My Rabbi growing up was known for his bizarre sermons"

Isn't that a bit different than spewing racial hate, and treasonous rants focused on 'God Damn America' ? If that has been his' message', would you stil hvae chosen to call him your spiritual advisor ?

"Personally, I don't want a President who screams 'God Damn America' at the top of his lungs over and over in front of crowds. Maybe you do.

Then I suggest if Reverend Wright runs for President of the United States, you vote against him."

And I will SPEAK against him, both here and elsewhere.

"This is a nontroversy in a slow news cycle."

This is a death-knell for his campaign if he makes it to the general.
3.16.2008 12:50am
Boynton Cousin:
Thorley, what about Hagee and Parsley? Are they more Christian than Wright or not?
3.16.2008 12:54am
Bad (mail) (www):
"Syd hits the nail on the head. This would all be a little more important if anyone thought for a moment that Obama felt the same way. Instead, Obama has consistently said that he disagrees, and no one (or at least no one credible) seems willing to say that Obama is lying - that Obama secretly hates America and whites and is just covering it up."

They don't need to say that outright, that's sort of the point. Anything that allows cowards to chuckle from the sidelines without having to make the incoherent arguments they are implying is considered pretty much A material.

For example:

"Your suggestion is far from a scientific sampling of PA as the Poconos are heavy on those who escaped from NYC as well as heavy on those who aren't particularly fond of "nonwhites."

In other words: maybe Bernstein's dad does hang out with a bunch of racists looking for the slimmest cover for it? If you are going to make that accusation, why not come out and say that directly instead of sliding coyly into it?
3.16.2008 12:59am
BGates:
It's a waste of time to point out facts to Obama's acolytes. The Senator could shoot 5 people at a campaign rally, and people would go to the blogs to argue that McCain shot people when he was in the Navy, it's not relevant that Obama shot people during the campaign because whoever is elected would be very unlikely to carry a firearm with all the Secret Service protection around, and what's 5 deaths compared to the cost of Bush's war on humanity anyway?
3.16.2008 12:59am
Bad (mail) (www):
I did find the bit on tpm amusing though:


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.


It's certainly funny how the mediacycle works, isn't it?
3.16.2008 1:00am
kdonovan:
overlord wrote

"I think this is damaging, but I don't see it making him lose EVERY remaining state by a landslide, which is what it would now take for Hillary to overtake him. "

Clinton doesn't really need to be ahead on pledged delegates if the overwhelming consensus is that Obama is doomed because of this, Rezko or whatever. Enough super-deleagates (and maybe even pledged ones) will jump ship if his campaign implodes over the summer. Still this sort of complete meltdown is unlikely.
Kevin
3.16.2008 1:06am
VFBVFB (mail):
Below is a link to a YouTube clip of a high profile Harlem minister, James David Manning, preaching from the pulpit in favor of Clinton and attacking Obama. It is a shockingly offensive sermon, from a "man of god." While Clinton's relationship with Manning is not quiet the same as Obama's relationship to Wright, the point remains that you cannot always pick your supporters. You should focus on what the candidates have to say, not their supporters.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=khuu-RhOBDU&eurl=
3.16.2008 1:15am
therut:
I will say Obama is lying. I have no problem saying so. No one goes to a Church for 17 years and has the same preacher, gives thousands of dollars to that church, claim the preacher as a close friend and spititual advisor, write a book inspired by the preacher and not KNOW what the preacher thinks and stands for. Espically one that preaches Liberation Theology. It is almost impossible. He is a liar. See someone can say it. I will be real surprised if a Gary Hart moment is not in the future that will prove him a liar. It will be too easy.
3.16.2008 1:18am
DavidBernstein (mail):
If Hillary can't carry a synagogue anywhere in the Poconos she is in trouble, and I'll leave the obvious racial overtones out of it. Your suggestion is far from a scientific sampling of PA as the Poconos are heavy on those who escaped from NYC as well as heavy on those who aren't particularly fond of "nonwhites".
Way to leave the racial overtones out of it, which I should add are "obvious" only in your mind. I don't know these congregants, but I'd bet that at just about any Reform synagogue in the United States the congregants are far more liberal with regard to race than the voting public as a whole.
3.16.2008 1:19am
ScottS (mail):

Thorley, what about Hagee and Parsley? Are they more Christian than Wright or not?


McCain doesn't believe what Hagee believes; that's just pure political opportunism. The straight talk express must kowtow to the agents of intolerance in order to put together a winning coalition, however, so he did.

Meanwhile, Obama has to repudiate an agent of intolerance in order to put together a winning coalition.

The influence of the intolerant Christian right wing isn't going to be forgotten in the general election by independents or Democrats that care about things like the Supreme Court. The Christian right explicitly supported a doctrinaire political movement and President that turned out to be deeply flawed. Wright hurts Obama, but Wright isn't any more of a hater as many far-right Christianist congregations, and it is pretty unreasonable to believe that Obama hates America and holds a secret racial grudge that will somehow manifest itself in an Obama presidency. That will limit the damage, much to the chagrin of Paul Milligan, alas.

In any case, the feeble economy will sink the GOP. The Bush administration is such an abject failure across the board that either Clinton or Obama can win the Presidency with a modicum of help from the other regardless of the sideshows.
3.16.2008 1:26am
ScottS (mail):

Thorley, what about Hagee and Parsley? Are they more Christian than Wright or not?


McCain doesn't believe what Hagee believes; that's just pure political opportunism. The straight talk express must kowtow to the agents of intolerance in order to put together a winning coalition, however, so he did.

Meanwhile, Obama has to repudiate an agent of intolerance in order to put together a winning coalition.

The influence of the intolerant Christian right wing isn't going to be forgotten in the general election by independents or Democrats that care about things like the Supreme Court. The Christian right explicitly supported a doctrinaire political movement and President that turned out to be deeply flawed. Wright hurts Obama, but Wright isn't any more of a hater as many far-right Christianist congregations, and it is pretty unreasonable to believe that Obama hates America and holds a secret racial grudge that will somehow manifest itself in an Obama presidency. That will limit the damage, much to the chagrin of Paul Milligan, alas.

In any case, the feeble economy will sink the GOP. The Bush administration is such an abject failure across the board that either Clinton or Obama can win the Presidency with a modicum of help from the other regardless of the sideshows.
3.16.2008 1:26am
Boynton Cousin:
I will say Obama is lying. I have no problem saying so.

Okay. Did you think there would be a problem resulting from making an anonymous comment on a blog? Is Obama not going to give you a balloon?
3.16.2008 1:29am
SP:
The Hagee dog won't hut. Hagee isn't McCain's mentor. He didn't marry McCain or inspire his book title. Basically, it sounds like Hagee wanted to endorse McCain, and McCain, assuming Hagee was the typical evangelical, said sure.
3.16.2008 1:38am
Warmongering Lunatic:
Uh-huh. Are any of Obama's defenders able to understand the cynical, political lie Obama is telling? That he managed to attend this church for twenty years without noticing what the pastor was saying about America?

If Obama had come forward and said, "I know he's said that sort of stuff, and I strongly disagree with it, just like many people disagree with the political beliefs of their pastors," that would be one thing. But that perfectly reasonable statement is not what Obama said. Instead, he gave us the same "I didn't inhale"-type answer that we could get from Bill Clinton. Hey, didn't Obama mock Clinton's answer in that book of his?

We don't need to jump to any conclusions about Obama's beliefs about America. We don't need to think the underlying matter is of any importance. We can simply view Obama's statement and recognize that he's just a lying hack like all the other candidates.

Now, once we know he's a hack, we can look back at his stand against the Iraq War, when he was . . . oh, yeah. A man in a state legislature from an anti-war district. So he was perfectly safe in opposing the war, because he had no influence and took no risks, while if he supported the war he'd have risked electoral wrath. He didn't need vision or conscience to oppose the war; he just needed his lying, cynical political heart to choose the politically safe course. The exact same type of cynical calculation that resulted in Kerry and Edwards and Clinton all voting for the AUMF. The only change Obama represents is four quarters for ten dimes.

(Now, of course, those pulled in by Obama's pretty, calculated speeches will try to defend their hack's "honor"; after all, there's one thing you can count on a sucker to never do, and that's admit he's been had.)
3.16.2008 1:41am
Boynton Cousin:
If Obama had come forward and said, "I know he's said that sort of stuff, and I strongly disagree with it, just like many people disagree with the political beliefs of their pastors," that would be one thing.

Hey Lunatic, did you bother to read Obama's statement, or did you make up your mind about what he said without doing so? To wit:


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. I made it clear at the time that I strongly condemned his comments.


Somehow I doubt you'll change your tune, but I guess I'm a "sucker" for believing you will.
3.16.2008 1:46am
LM (mail):
Not that I expect it to change any minds, but here's Obama's most recent statement on the issue.
3.16.2008 2:27am
Orielbean (mail):
Scotts is comparing Wright to the right wing loonies. While I agree that both are existing on the fringes of how decent people think and live, that is not the issue here. The issue is the independent and moderate person listening to both groups rant and rave.

One side has been whining about Islamofacists and gays and fifth columnists and treason for seven years, and has had the express support of much of Congress and the Executive Branch since 9-11. The right wing loonies have momentum going for them in the minds of the middle ground, compared to the blame-whitey team that's never quite gained a lot of mainstream traction over the decades.

Wright represents the blame-whitey faction, which instills MUCH more discomfort in the middle ground-ers, independents, moderates, centrists, other undecided voters. The Iraq War, poor Dollar, regulation-free subprime meltdown, Illegal Wiretapping, and Quadruple Guantanamo still can't hold a dim candle to blame whitey...

They will swing gladly back into the empty hypocritical arms of the right rather than associate with the Farrakhan / Wright / Panther crowd... That is the risk, the Gary Hart moment that endangers the Obama campaign. He wins over the middle when we don't see him associate with Jackson and Sharpton - the other firebrand / blame whitey group - and yet he probably won't escape that branding with this Wright incident.
3.16.2008 2:34am
Orielbean (mail):
Scotts is comparing Wright to the right wing loonies. While I agree that both are existing on the fringes of how decent people think and live, that is not the issue here. The issue is the independent and moderate person listening to both groups rant and rave.

One side has been whining about Islamofacists and gays and fifth columnists and treason for seven years, and has had the express support of much of Congress and the Executive Branch since 9-11. The right wing loonies have momentum going for them in the minds of the middle ground, compared to the blame-whitey team that's never quite gained a lot of mainstream traction over the decades.

Wright represents the blame-whitey faction, which instills MUCH more discomfort in the middle ground-ers, independents, moderates, centrists, other undecided voters. The Iraq War, poor Dollar, regulation-free subprime meltdown, Illegal Wiretapping, and Quadruple Guantanamo still can't hold a dim candle to blame whitey...

They will swing gladly back into the empty hypocritical arms of the right rather than associate with the Farrakhan / Wright / Panther crowd... That is the risk, the Gary Hart moment that endangers the Obama campaign. He wins over the middle when we don't see him associate with Jackson and Sharpton - the other firebrand / blame whitey group - and yet he probably won't escape that branding with this Wright incident.
3.16.2008 2:34am
Elliot123 (mail):
"While Clinton's relationship with Manning is not quiet the same as Obama's relationship to Wright, the point remains that you cannot always pick your supporters."

That's true. But Obama did pick Wright.

"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."

Never heard it while in the pews or in a private conversation? How about in a group discussion? Conversation with more than Obama and Wright? Heard it while sitting in a folding chair? Wright's writings? Related by others? Carried in newspapers? In the Church bulletin? On a DVD? While standing in church? Obama leaves open a whole lot of other opportunities to learn about his loony views. Wonder why he didn't just say he had no idea what Wright's ideas were?
3.16.2008 2:35am
Dave N (mail):
I agree with SP.

It is the most insane type of spinning to suggest that the endorsement by a religious leader whose church you do not attend, who you have not met more than a handful of times in your life--and may have met only once is somehow equivilent to Obama's association with Jeremiah Wright.

If you actually believe that then you are smoking something illegal without a prescription.

I think Obama is doing what he can in terms of damage control but I wonder if it is enough. The people who care not a whit about religion and make fun of the religious at parties will not think this is a big deal--unfortunately for Obama, these people are already in his camp for the most part. For the people in the pews, the great unwashed who are obviously morons because they are Bible thumping evangelicals, this is one more reason to not only vote for John McCain, but to do so enthusiastically.
3.16.2008 2:48am
Kazinski:
It is hard for Obama to characterize Wright as just a dear but crazy uncle when Obama is on tape not putting his hand over his heart for the National anthem, and his flag pin quote. Obama's own actions have made him more vulnerable to criticism for Wrights quotes.
3.16.2008 3:10am
Tony Tutins (mail):
Did Wright say God Damn America? The same America that for a century treated his people like farm animals? The same America that for a further century legally treated his people like subhumans? Why, that ungrateful so-and-so. Didn't Dr. King say it was time for us all to join hands and sing kumbaya, and just forget about all that old stuff like it never happened?

whose views most Americans find beyond the pale

"Beyond the pale" is of course the place where the czar did not allow Jews to go, which makes it an odd locution for someone Jewish to use, like saying Tel Aviv is a Mecca for Jews.

my father from discussions with congregants after Friday night's service at a Reform synagogue in the Poconos in Pennsylvania

What did the black members of your father's congregation think?
3.16.2008 3:44am
Jason F:
Am I really the only person here who has ever heard a preacher deliver a jeremiad?

It's probably also worth noting that one of Senator Obama's co-congregationalists is Oprah Winfrey. Maybe the average American will believe that the crypto-Muslim candidate with the funny name wants God to damn America, but Oprah Winfrey? I don't think so.
3.16.2008 3:56am
Marc :
Prof Bernstein said:



"... but I'd bet that at just about any Reform synagogue in the United States the congregants are far more liberal with regard to race than the voting public as a whole."




But er, what is 'liberal with regard to race" these days? Is affirmative action liberal? Is bitter identity politics liberal? What is the difference between Liberal and liberal on race? (I suppose one could add liberal....)

If I prefer MLK's refraining from bitterness over Rev. Wright's race-baiting, doesn't that make me conservative?
3.16.2008 3:59am
JamesB:
>>the great unwashed who are obviously morons because they are >>Bible thumping evangelicals

Great whitewashing. You know, you might care up to read on the beliefs of those who brought you F=ma, probability theory, large portions of telecom theory, and a host of other scientific discoveries. Obviously morons - you couldn't hold a candle to Newton, Pascal or Maxwell any day.
3.16.2008 4:04am
Jim Rhoads (mail):
Here's the nubbin of the problem:

The Rev. Wright's statements are explicitly racist to most white people in the country.

The Black Liberation principle that when folks of the "oppressed race" say this stuff it is "not racist" may be persuasive to 30 % of the country, but it is total bs to the other 70%.

Even in big blue states like Ohio, Michigan, New York, and especially Pennsylvania, the percentages are no better than 45% persuasive to 55% bs. If BHO is perceived by whites as an anti-white candidate, or the least bit racist, he loses the Dem. primary. It is the kiss of death.

And BHO, Hillary and Bill Clinton, and the vast majority of the professional "superdelegates" know this better than anyone else in America. You can take that to the bank.

As the Corleone's said, it's not personal, it's business.
3.16.2008 4:11am
Syd Henderson (mail):
Eh David, can you get it through your thick skull

REVEREND WRIGHT IS NOT RUNNING FOR PRESIDENT

And I don't give a god damn what he says.
3.16.2008 4:17am
Dave N (mail):
JamesB,

I consider myself fairly liberal on theological issues. I understand the theory of evolution and subscribe to it. The world is several billion years old and the Genesis story is myth. That said, I find nothing in modern scientific theory that conflicts with my religious faith. But I do find it amazing when people sneer at religious folks (like you did) because they make assumptions about religious people that are just plain wrong.
3.16.2008 4:25am
Jim Rhoads (mail):
That is impeccable logic, Syd. But logic does not often persuade the "muddled middle". That is why BHO is not as comfortable in his various interviews on this subject this week. He now knows he has the burden to prove that which has up to now been pretty much assumed; that he is neither anti-white nor racist. He understands that it is the last of the ninth with two runners on second and third with one out.

He has a one run lead, and he's the closer.
3.16.2008 4:31am
eyesay:
Paul Milligan wrote that Barack Obama "has the most liberal voting record in the Senate, bar none !!!" What have you been smoking? Obama more liberal than Bernie Sanders (I-VT)? Obama more liberal than Barbara Boxer (D-CA)? Obama more liberal than Russ Feingold (D-WI)? According to the non-subjective rankings of Jeff Lewis and Keith Poole, in the 110th Congress, Obama is tied with Biden for 10th most liberal; there are nine senators with voting records more liberal than Obama.
3.16.2008 5:38am
LM (mail):
JamesB and Dave N,

I hate to break up a perfectly good food fight, but aren't you two arguing past each other on the same side?
3.16.2008 5:43am
Habu:
Ah, this must be the place. Seems like a good deal of "A" types in a large cluster attempting to define whether of not the jerk Re. Wright is a nigger (sorry but I don't enable the PC world and this helps break it) or if Barry Obama is genuine.
To the first, Wright is straight out of the Huey Newton, Bobby Seale, Eldridge Cleaver school of radical blacks. His black liberation theology is a scam, allowing him to fill his coffers with shiny ducats and his flock with HATE WHITE AMERICA propaganda.
Well it won't play and it's not going away, so Obama is finished. The Negro he always sought out, eschewing his white family in favor of the black communities Cincinnatus has been exposed as a ruse. It's just too darn hard to put the toothpaste back in the tube.
3.16.2008 8:36am
arthur (mail):
I was gong to vote against Obama because he's a Muslim, but I guess now I should vote against him because he's a Christian. No doubt, by November someone will amass another body of evidence, and I'll be able to vote against him because he's Jewish (2004 Keynote address: "Barak means blessed". True, in HEBREW), and because he's atheist.
3.16.2008 9:32am
MnZ:
It takes bizarre and twisted logic to say that the Obama-Wright and McCain-Hagee links equivalent. Someone who does this clearly places partisanship above reason.
3.16.2008 10:03am
not so fast:

I'd bet that at just about any Reform synagogue in the United States the congregants are far more liberal with regard to race than the voting public as a whole.


This proves nothing. Of course jews are more liberal on issues of racial discrimination --- it's called self-interest. But along many other lines of racial harmony/interaction (things like intermarriage rates with each other, belonging to the same social clubs / organizations, etc.), I'll bet dollars to donuts that reform jews lag far behind non-jewish whites of similar socioeconomic status. My anecdotal evidence among the reform jews I know is that they are militantly against racial discrimination in law and public accomodation, but personally rather hostile to African-American culture and custom.

I'm not saying it's not justified --- people like Wright can cause a reaction. But the mere fact that most European-Americans don't think twice about Wright (they just consider him a kook) while jews obsess about it only serves to reinforce strong anti-black perceptions among jews.

Flame away!
3.16.2008 10:18am
MDJD2B (mail):

I know is that they are militantly against racial discrimination in law and public accomodation, but personally rather hostile to African-American culture and custom.

It is not raist to dislike someone's culture or customs, or to treasure your won. It is racist to think less of someone because of his provenance than someone whose behabvior is identical but has a different provenance.
3.16.2008 10:37am
c.gray (mail):

It takes bizarre and twisted logic to say that the Obama-Wright and McCain-Hagee links equivalent.



Please. That's a complete crock. Especially so if you've ever belonged to a church congregation.

In the fall, I'll be voting for McCain barring something unforeseeable. But I count his embrace of Hagee against him more than I do Obama's attendance at Wright's church. People _join_ congregations for all kinds of reasons: parental choice, geographic location, spousal preferance, community reputation, walking in at random, etc.. After a while, membership in a congregation can then become like membership in an extended family. Even when you disagree, completely, with the pastor or church elders on important, substantive issues it can be excrutiatingly difficult to walk away. Tolerating occasional over-the-top jeremiad's isn't a sign of a major character defect so much as of a normal personality.

But if you're just a politician pandering for votes, there is really just ONE excuse for overlooking a man's disgusting views while pleading for an endorsement. Obviously, you care more about the endorser's ability to drum up votes than anything he actually tells his followers. In McCain's case, this gives lie to his whole "Straight-Talk Express" image.

I'm a Catholic. It may come as no surprise that I find Hagee even more obnoxious than Wright. But I'm not voting for one of those two. I'm choosing between McCain and either Hillary or Obama. And none of the three seem to have anything in common with the ministers but occasional geographic proximity.
3.16.2008 11:13am
Porkchop:
For what it's worth, Rev. Wright's comments were brought to my attention by a close friend, who called me and said:


"Obama is dust. It is over for him. Have you heard what his minister has said? It is all over talk radio and Youtube. I don't see how anyone could go to that church for 20 years and claim not to have heard that racist crap. As a Black man, I have heard people say things like that for years, and I always turn and walk away. Why didn't he? It is disgusting bigotry. It is wrong. 'God damn America?' Why would he stay and listen to that? I could never vote for Obama now."


There's at least one vote Obama has lost, and it's a Black vote.
3.16.2008 11:15am
anon252 (mail):
Of course jews are more liberal on issues of racial discrimination --- it's called self-interest.
The quote was "more liberal with regard to race," and that includes, I take it, supporting racial preferences, which are hardly in Jews' self-interest. And then how do you explain the Jews that aren't more liberal? Also in Jews' self-interest? Perhaps Jews actually come to their views individually, without being part of a Jewish conspiracy.

But along many other lines of racial harmony/interaction (things like intermarriage rates with each other, belonging to the same social clubs / organizations, etc.), I'll bet dollars to donuts that reform jews lag far behind non-jewish whites of similar socioeconomic status.
You can bet that all you want, but do you have anything resembling data? Anecdotally, there are lots of famous black-Jewish couples/offspring, see Lani Guinier, Alice Walker, Marian Wright Edelman, Lenny Kravitz, Lisa Bonet.

My anecdotal evidence among the reform jews I know is that they are militantly against racial discrimination in law and public accomodation, but personally rather hostile to African-American culture and custom.
What elements of "culture and custom?" I'm sure they are hostile to, for example, the tolerance of anti-Semitism in certain segments of the community that would lead Obama's church to give an award to Farrakhan.
3.16.2008 11:24am
Ai:
The knee-jerk leftists who have no problem with Obama's anti-white spiritual mentor, of course would have no problem with a candidate whose spiritual mentor was a Ku Klux Klansman.

The hypocrisy of the left is repulsive.
3.16.2008 12:02pm
TDPerkins (mail):
If Barak Obama ever wanted to be POTUS, the only thing he can have done when he first heard Wright spew this material--and I believe Obama has been attending Wright's church for over 20 years, and heard it first decades ago--is get up and leave the building right then.

He didn't, he stuck with Wright until last week. He won't and shouldn't be President.

Yours, TDP, ml, msl, &pfpp
3.16.2008 12:06pm
Just Dropping By (mail):
I keep trying to decide whether all the people who are professing to be shocked by Rev. Wright's statements are just lying or are actually that ignorant. Nothing Wright is reported to have said is different than what is said thousands of times a week from the pulpits of predominantly African-American churches across the country. Like it or not, most of Wright's reported statements would probably draw between 20% to 75%+ agreement from African-Americans. If you think being close to someone who makes such statements is a disqualification to be president, then you're effectively taking the position that no African-American for a generation or more should be allowed near the office. (I am willing to bet even Clarence Thomas has close friends and family members who have made statements similar to Wright's.)

There is, however, no evidence that Obama himself agrees with these statements. Again, I can't tell if the self-righteous indignation is faked or the product of a narrow worldview, but in my experience the vast majority of Americans do not appear to actually concern themselves with the political views of their priests/ministers/pastors/rabbis/etc. Maybe somebody, somewhere, interviews potential faith leaders before deciding whether to start attending their houses of worship. And maybe somebody, somewhere, quits a church because of a political disagreement with a faith leader. But I've never heard of someone doing that. I myself have strongly disagreed with the political views of every faith leader in every church I've ever attended, but I go because I enjoy the faith community. But I guess maybe Bernstein and the other commenters above parse every word in a religious service and then jump up and scream, "I denounce and reject!!!!" and run out of the building upon hearing something they disagree with.


With regard to Hagee, I find it very amusing that a number of people say that is different because McCain isn't a regular parishioner of Hagee. While it is a different situation, it actually makes it worse for McCain. He actively sought Hagee's endorsement. Obama began attending his church years prior to running for public office.

I'll close by noting that I know what I've said above doesn't matter one bit. Bernstein has clearly been suffering from "Obama Derangement Syndrome" for months and it's not going to change.
3.16.2008 12:14pm
Wugong:
It takes bizarre and twisted logic to say that the Obama-Wright and McCain-Hagee links equivalent. Someone who does this clearly places partisanship above reason.

Really? Care to explain rather than just state?

I'll have to agree with an earlier poster who pointed out that McCain is clearly more at fault here as he actively sought Hagee's endorsement. People rarely agree with everything their pastors say, even on big issues. My mother is a Catholic who goes to church every Sunday, sings in the choir, listens to her priest rail against abortion, and is pro choice. Should we assume that any Catholic politicians who claim to be pro-death penalty are actually lying because they are at odds with their church's teachings?
3.16.2008 12:18pm
davod (mail):
Did McCain enbrace Hagee or did Hagee endorse McCain. I was not aware that someone had to seek permission of the candidate before endorsing them.

"Maybe the average American will believe that the crypto-Muslim candidate with the funny name wants God to damn America, but Oprah Winfrey? I don't think so."

Just maybe Oprah's audience will look upon here in a new light when they realize she is a member of Wright's congregation. The latest Oprah Book Club pick may also undergo greater scrutiny.
3.16.2008 12:31pm
ATM (mail):
Obama acolytes fail to understand that most of non-black America is trying to figure out where Obama stands on racial issues. A black Democrat is always going to be viewed with suspicion by the population at large. Obama appeared to be unlike black Democrats by having made no inflammatory remarks over the years. But now with the evidence that he has been associated with people bearing views typical of radical black Democrats, the question becomes whether Obama is simply covering up his views to remain electable. And this issue of McCain and Hagee's endorsement of McCain doesn't even compare to the issue of Obama and Wright, given the latter pairs close relationship and mutual support.

While it may turn out that Obama isn't a racist, the fact that remains that Obama chose to remain in the hatemonger congregation for a very long time. If Obama didn't agree with the views, he stayed in the congregation either for the political benefits or because of his wife, who I suspect actually bears views similar to that of Wright.
3.16.2008 12:43pm
MnZ:
Perhaps I should have articulated the basis for my statement that there is virtually no equivalence between McCain-Hagee and Obama-Wright.

c.gray and Wugong,

The Catholic experience is a bit different from most Protestant denominations. Protestants typically don't stay with a church that the disagree with as readily as Catholics.

Moreover, Wright had been pastor at Trinity United for well over 10 years before Obama started attending the church. Prior to Trinty United, Obama did not attend church.

c.gray, just dropping by, and Wugong,

Wright is more to Obama than the guy that just happened to be Obama's pastor. LINK
3.16.2008 12:50pm
Dave N (mail):
While it is a different situation, it actually makes it worse for McCain. He actively sought Hagee's endorsement.
Yeah, and Jeremiah Wright was originally scheduled to speak at Obama's campaign kickoff solely in the role of spiritual mentor.

Let me get this straight. You can attend a bigot's churck for 20 years (and devote 20 pages in your autobiography to the relationship) but that is "Okey-doke" because, hey, you go to church for reasons other than to hear the pastor.

On the other hand, if you receive a political endorsement, and meet with that person for ten minutes, you are stuck with every view of the endorser, no matter how repugnant. In fact, being in the same room with that person makes you a closet bigot.

The liberal hypocrisy disconnect is astounding.
3.16.2008 12:55pm
Elais:
I'm voting for either Obama or Clinton. I'm not voting for Wright or Hagee. Wright's comments certainly will damage Obama, but not enough for me personally to not vote for him.

I'm disturbed by McCain's clear pandering towards the social conservatives/religious right because I don't think it is sincere in the least.

If we're going to a Christian vs Christian smackdown with McCain vs Obama over who is the bestest Christian? Obama or McCain?
3.16.2008 1:11pm
kdonovan:
Just Dropping By wrote:

Maybe somebody, somewhere, interviews potential faith leaders before deciding whether to start attending their houses of worship.


Wasn't this exactly what Obama did? Of course his concern was not that Wright was too radical but rather not radical enough (although Wright was able to allay this concern). Obama then donated tens of thousands of dollars to the church, giving $25K or so in 2006 alone.

Obama did not continue attending this church in spite of Wright's political views but rather sought out Wright's church specifically because of its political content.
3.16.2008 1:21pm
Al (mail):
What Dave N said.

Also, isn't it just a bit odd to have a presidential candidate who has based his campaign largely on unity and overcoming bitter racial and partisan divides also being an active and devout member of a separatist church that preaches "black liberation theology" is a core belief?
3.16.2008 1:21pm
not so fast:

Of course jews are more liberal on issues of racial discrimination —- it's called self-interest.

The quote was "more liberal with regard to race," and that includes, I take it, supporting racial preferences, which are hardly in Jews' self-interest. And then how do you explain the Jews that aren't more liberal? Also in Jews' self-interest? Perhaps Jews actually come to their views individually, without being part of a Jewish conspiracy.

But along many other lines of racial harmony/interaction (things like intermarriage rates with each other, belonging to the same social clubs / organizations, etc.), I'll bet dollars to donuts that reform jews lag far behind non-jewish whites of similar socioeconomic status.

You can bet that all you want, but do you have anything resembling data? Anecdotally, there are lots of famous black-Jewish couples/offspring, see Lani Guinier, Alice Walker, Marian Wright Edelman, Lenny Kravitz, Lisa Bonet.

My anecdotal evidence among the reform jews I know is that they are militantly against racial discrimination in law and public accomodation, but personally rather hostile to African-American culture and custom.

What elements of "culture and custom?" I'm sure they are hostile to, for example, the tolerance of anti-Semitism in certain segments of the community that would lead Obama's church to give an award to Farrakhan.


This is pathetic. First you want to accuse my pointing to a jewish conspiracy, when all I did was repeat a fact: jews showed greater support for anti-discrimination laws in part because of self-interest. To say that this isn't true, because we have to look at people as individuals, well that's just burying your head in the sand. Why don't you just say that blacks aren't disproportionately poor, because we have to look at individuals.

(And check your facts. Jewish opposition to affirmative action is far greater than their opposition to basic civil rights, almost assuredly in part because of self-interest.)

Then, you turn 180 degrees and (in agreement with the exact part of my post that you didn't quote) say that you're "sure" that jews as a group might be hostile to African American culture and custom.

Why yes! The very point of my post. Let me put it as nicely as possible, so as not to offend you further: Jews —- yes, the group —- have pretty good reason for being hostile toward the black community. This has resulted in lower rates of intermarriage between jews/blacks that between non-jewish whites/blacks of similar socioeconomic status and less social interaction. These things have added to the already hostile relationship between the groups. All of this is slightly ironic, given that jews were more supportive of civil rights than non-jewish whites.
3.16.2008 1:21pm
anomie:
Any less than obvious reasons, Professor Bernstein, why you didn't begin your quotation from Yglesias a paragraph earlier?
Which is a long-winded way of saying that I see this as a basically trumped-up issue. Obama's enemies have put this Wright stuff out there in bad faith, not because they're genuinely uncertain as to what Obama thinks, but merely because they think it can hurt him electorally.
3.16.2008 1:25pm
Thomas_Holsinger:
This is a systemic problem for black Democratic candidates for national office. To advance far enough in their party to get the nomination, they have to not merely refrain from denouncing, but willingly and openly associate with, hate-mongering creeps like pastor Rev. Wright of Senator Obama's Chicago Church. But such associations are fatal in the general election.

I pay attention to Democratic campaign advertising on black urban radio stations. It spews the same kind of hate-filled fantasies. This is pretty good evidence that a significant proportion of black voters believe this crap. So it is political suicide for urban black Democratic candidates to openly refute it. Hence Barack Obama turning at least a blind eye to it, and Michelle Obama spouting some of it.

But this is poison in the general election for a Presidental nominee or even a vice-presidential nominee, i.e., the whole ticket would then go down.

In my opinion, the first black President can only be someone who has no possible association with such hate. This almost certainly means a black Republican former general like Colin Powell.
3.16.2008 1:52pm
LN (mail):
Yeah all these crazy black people and their tendency to blame whitey. Why are they so ignorant? As a result I will never vote for Obama in a million years, the taint is to strong.

I just don't see race, you know.
3.16.2008 2:03pm
Ken Arromdee:

I keep trying to decide whether all the people who are professing to be shocked by Rev. Wright's statements are just lying or are actually that ignorant. Nothing Wright is reported to have said is different than what is said thousands of times a week from the pulpits of predominantly African-American churches across the country. Like it or not, most of Wright's reported statements would probably draw between 20% to 75%+ agreement from African-Americans.


Then 20 to 75%+ of African-Americans believe things which would disqualify them from making a good president.

You're talking as if the fact that this view is widespread among blacks means it's okay. It doesn't.


If you think being close to someone who makes such statements is a disqualification to be president, then you're effectively taking the position that no African-American for a generation or more should be allowed near the office.


No, because 75% isn't all, and "close to" is a relative term and not all black people are so close to such preachers.
3.16.2008 2:04pm
elim:
I am sorry but I can't even guess why there is all this blathering-the simple fact is that he went to a church for 20 years, gave the church a lot of money and had the reverend as his personal guru (and the guy spouts racist anti-jew and anti-american garbage that is the equivalent of Fred Phelps). Please explain to me how "God hates fags" is beyond the pale in polite society and we would ostracize someone who claimed Phelps was his mentor but the God Damn America, America is the KKK, We deserved 9/11 stuff is well, just fine for a presidential candidate to adulate. (of course, Phelps wouldn't be acceptable in Hyde Park but Ayers, a mad bomber from yesteryear, is a respected member of the community-all he wanted to do is bomb military recruiters, after all).

We have managed to survive corrupt presidents and incompetent presidents but I am not entirely certain if we have ever had a post-modern america hating president. Is Barack a slightly more urbane version of his america hating mentor-what would tell me the answer is "No""?
3.16.2008 2:07pm
kdonovan:
Thomas_Holsinger wrote:

In my opinion, the first black President can only be someone who has no possible association with such hate. This almost certainly means a black Republican former general like Colin Powell.

There are quite a few black Democrats who escape this problem too. Of the top of my head people like former Gov Wilder of VA, the former mayor of Houston (Kirk IIRC), maybe McCall (treasurer from NY) and Tom Bradley (former mayor of LA) come to mind. What these people share is having to win over multiracial electorates and executive experience. Having to win elections where blacks are not even close to a majority weeds out the race baiters. Executive office allows politicians to flourish based on their results rather than just their rhetoric.
3.16.2008 2:09pm
Roy Mustang:
This is a bad week to be an Obama supporter.

In any case, this scandal is as big as it is because of the type of campaign Obama ran. The "Second Coming of Jesus" campaign doesn't work quite as well when you find out it's Black Jesus only for black people.
3.16.2008 2:13pm
Syd (mail):
davod (mail):
Did McCain enbrace Hagee or did Hagee endorse McCain.


Both. McCain went out of his way to praise Hagee.
3.16.2008 2:27pm
Neo (mail):
Why is it that I keep seeing visions of "Samurai Night Fever" and Samurai's brother (OJ) .. "I don't want to be black anymore .. it was cool in the 60's ..."

Perhaps it's that Obama keeps switching his "blackness" on and off like a light switch.

We'll know it's really bad when Obama starts talking about how he hangs out with (former ? KKK member) Bob Byrd.
3.16.2008 2:35pm
pluribus:

While it is a different situation, it actually makes it worse for McCain. He actively sought Hagee's endorsement.

McCain is clearly more at fault here as he actively sought Hagee's endorsement.


Please provide some evidence that McCain "actively sought" Hagee's endorsement. If he did, I would certainly think less of him because of it.

Farrakhan has endorsed Obama. Did Obama actively seek his endorsement? If he did, I would certainly think less of him because of it.

Does the mere fact of an endorsement prove that the endorsement was "actively sought"?
3.16.2008 2:38pm
pluribus:
This is a huge issue for Obama, if only because up to now the race between him and Hillary has been so close. I know Democrats who have agonized over the choice between Hillary and Obama. The two candidates' positions on the issues are pretty much the same. One is blazing the trail for feminism, the other for racial equality, and both of these causes appeal to dedicated Democrats. But Rev. Wright is going to make it easier for many Democrats to make a decision. If super delegates or Democratic voters in Pennsylvania need something to help them choose, Rev. Wright is just the thing.

I say this with sadness, because I am an independent voter who has been open to Obama's candidacy.
3.16.2008 2:54pm
Bad (mail) (www):
"Did McCain enbrace Hagee or did Hagee endorse McCain. I was not aware that someone had to seek permission of the candidate before endorsing them."

You probably do to hold a joint press conference though, which I'm not aware of Obama arranging with Farrakhan.

"Please provide some evidence that McCain "actively sought" Hagee's endorsement. If he did, I would certainly think less of him because of it."

Um, the endorsement was at a joint press conference with both McCain and Hagee praising each other to their faces. Here's McCain:

"I'm very honored by Pastor John Hagee's endorsement today," McCain said at a news conference. "He has been the staunchest leader of our Christian evangelical movement in many areas, but especially, most especially, his close ties and advocacy for the freedom and independence of the state of Israel"

...until God destroys those faithless Jews and brings the wondrous end times, which can't happen soon enough, according to Hagee. Oh, and the Holocaust was their own fault for being so disobedient, or something. Oh, and those gays in Katrina got what they deserved, praise be.

And so on.
3.16.2008 2:59pm
pluribus:
Elais:

I'm voting for either Obama or Clinton.

The November election is more than seven months off. You believe in making early decisions, don't you?

Wright's comments certainly will damage Obama, but not enough for me personally to not vote for him.


Is there a way impersonally not to vote for somebody?
3.16.2008 3:03pm
Elliot123 (mail):
"The same America that for a century treated his people like farm animals?"

Kenyans and Kansans? When? Where?
3.16.2008 3:10pm
byomtov (mail):
Did McCain enbrace Hagee or did Hagee endorse McCain. I was not aware that someone had to seek permission of the candidate before endorsing them.

As others have shown, McCain sought out Hagee's endorsement, and appeared at a mutual admiration press conference with him. He also had high praise for Rod Parsley, calling him "one of the truly great leaders in America, a moral compass, a spiritual guide…thank you for your leadership and your guidance."

Let's hear the excuses.
3.16.2008 3:23pm
pluribus:
byomtov:

As others have shown, McCain sought out Hagee's endorsement.

Evidence, please. I would like to accept your word for this but since I don't know you, I would prefer some evidence.
3.16.2008 3:34pm
Elliot123 (mail):
"Nothing Wright is reported to have said is different than what is said thousands of times a week from the pulpits of predominantly African-American churches across the country. Like it or not, most of Wright's reported statements would probably draw between 20% to 75%+ agreement from African-Americans."

OK. And they have had a pass on stupidity for a long time. Now they are being called on it. That's what happens when you get in the big leagues. They can no longer hide behind the soft bigotry of lowered expectations. If we don't accept the notion that the US government created AIDS to kill blacks from anyone else, why accept it from blacks?
3.16.2008 3:44pm
David M. Nieporent (www):
Just Dropping By:
And maybe somebody, somewhere, quits a church because of a political disagreement with a faith leader. But I've never heard of someone doing that.
Really? You've never heard of people changing congregations (or even denominations!) because of their pastor/rabbi/minister/etc's views -- for or against -- on gay rights?
3.16.2008 3:51pm
MnZ:

[McCain] also had high praise for Rod Parsley, calling him "one of the truly great leaders in America, a moral compass, a spiritual guide…thank you for your leadership and your guidance."


Stop the presses! A politician said something nice about a man who is respected within his community and who has some views that a number of people would find objectionable. Clearly McCain is unfit to be President.

But seriously, as I pointed out earlier, comparing McCain-Hagee-Parsley to Obama-Wright is comparing apples to oranges.

Has Obama never said nice things about people who have views that a number of people would find objectionable? He would be a truly unique politician if this has never occured.
3.16.2008 3:58pm
elim:
gay rights is one thing, we can brook no disagreement on that. it's not like that is something perfectly acceptable, like preaching hatred towards america.
3.16.2008 3:58pm
LN (mail):
Elliot123 writes:

Kenyans and Kansans? When? Where?

Clever, but you need to work on your reading comprehension.
3.16.2008 4:02pm
Bad (mail) (www):
"Evidence, please. I would like to accept your word for this but since I don't know you, I would prefer some evidence."

How much more evidence do you need than McCain and him holding a joint press conference to announce the endorsement, along with McCain repeatedly talking it up in the days afterwards?

Did you somehow miss this story entirely?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4qNi7tPanUA

I mean, the Catholic League's Donohue was as outraged as he's ever been, which is to say, always is.
3.16.2008 4:04pm
Jeff S. (mail):
Does anyone know if Obama has been asked what exactly it is about Wright that appeals to him so strongly, and if so, what Obama's answer was?
3.16.2008 4:07pm
Lily Bart (mail):
"..the clearly moderate Obama used to have a pastor who made a few unwise comments over the course of a long career?"

You're kidding, right?

1. It's not clear that Obama is moderate. He has a history of very left-leaning voting while in office ("progressive" voting, if you will). He also speaks often of what he calls "social justice" and income redistribution. But mostly, he is very vague when he speaks of "change". What change, Obama? - be specific.

2. A FEW, Unwise comments?!?! This man is spewing hatred from his pulpit, and imbibing his flock with hate and divisiveness to the extreme. And this appears to be a long-term pattern with the Good Reverend.

3. Obama's relationship with this man is not distant. He went to this church for about 20 years, supported it with his money, and describes Wright as a personal mentor and advisor. For goodness sake, he consulted this man and prayed with him before deciding to run for President.

This should trouble us all. Can you imagine an Obama presidency when Rev. Wright is a frequent visitor to the White House, invited to offer guidance and advice? YIKES!

BYW, I have left churches where I felt the true message of Christ was not being taught, including one where the minister spoke hatefully about other religions. If you don't want to leave such a church, then you should get together with other parishioners to change the message or the messenger. But you DON'T continue to sit there and let a "man of God" distort God's message. To just sit there - not very couragous.
3.16.2008 4:09pm
elim:
if that question were asked, he might have to tell the truth-his hatred of this country meshes with my contempt for it perfectly. or, he had a large congregation and I needed him to get elected.
3.16.2008 4:09pm
Elliot123 (mail):
"Clever, but you need to work on your reading comprehension."

OK. Maybe you can help us out a bit. Here's the full para in question:

"Did Wright say God Damn America? The same America that for a century treated his people like farm animals? The same America that for a further century legally treated his people like subhumans? Why, that ungrateful so-and-so. Didn't Dr. King say it was time for us all to join hands and sing kumbaya, and just forget about all that old stuff like it never happened?"

So, help us out. Did America treat Kenyans like farm animals? When? Where? Was his father treated like a farm animal when he came from Kenya and attended the U of Hawaii and Harvard?

And how about those Kansans? Were they treated like farm animals by America? Again, when? Where?
3.16.2008 4:19pm
LM (mail):
Elliot123,

"The same America that for a century treated his people like farm animals?"

Kenyans and Kansans? When? Where?

African-Americans. Haven't you heard?
3.16.2008 4:20pm
eyesay:
ATM:
A black Democrat is always going to be viewed with suspicion by the population at large.
Really? Why is a black Democrat going to be viewed with more suspicion than a black Republican, or an Austrian-American Republican, for that matter?
Obama appeared to be unlike black Democrats by having made no inflammatory remarks over the years.
What inflammatory remarks do you attribute to black Democrats including Los Angeles Mayor Tom Bradley (mayor 1973-1993), Senate candidate Harvey Gantt (candidate from South Carolina in 1990 and 1996), or incoming New York Governor David Paterson? Are these three prominent black Democrats noted for inflammatory remarks?
But now with the evidence that he has been associated with people bearing views typical of radical black Democrats, the question becomes whether Obama is simply covering up his views to remain electable.
That's like saying, with no evidence that John McCain has ever robbed a bank, the question is whether the lack of information about McCain's bank robberies represents a coverup.
While it may turn out that Obama isn't a racist
There is no evidence that Obama is a racist. Period.
If Obama didn't agree with the views, he stayed in the congregation either for the political benefits
Why not the reasons that most people stay in congregations: because of the friendships they have established with other congregants, because they like the liturgy or other aspects of the service, because they've already fully paid into the building fund, because their children like it, because their children are in the midst of religious training, or many other good reasons?
or because of his wife, who I suspect actually bears views similar to that of Wright.
And I suspect that the tooth fairy has eleven toes, but my suspicion doesn't make it so.
3.16.2008 4:25pm
elim:
one more thing-every ounce of venom directed toward the white man was, essentially, directed at the very same loving family that actually raised Obama. thus, Obama seems to be a coward as well.
3.16.2008 4:27pm
LM (mail):
Ai,

The knee-jerk leftists who have no problem with Obama's anti-white spiritual mentor, of course would have no problem with a candidate whose spiritual mentor was a Ku Klux Klansman.

The hypocrisy of the left is repulsive.

Proving again that repulsion is in the eye of the beholder. I get repelled one person at a time, and partisan demagoguery like yours is what tends to do it.
3.16.2008 4:30pm
Elliot123 (mail):
Is it possible Obama is trying to horn in on the ancestry of most American blacks? His ancestors certainly didn't come here in the hold of a slave ship. I suspect his father came in a 707. Is he trying to find common cause with folks whose ancestors were slaves in Alabama? Is he trying to pretend he is one of them? Maybe that's what he was doing in Wright's church. Politics does make strange bedfellows
3.16.2008 4:32pm
Jeff S. (mail):
It seems that if Wright frequently over the last twenty years gave sermons like the ones now at issue there would be at least a few other congregants coming forward to corroborate.
3.16.2008 4:40pm
Lily Bart (mail):
"Like it or not, most of Wright's reported statements would probably draw between 20% to 75%+ agreement from African-Americans." "

This is true? If so, we need to shine a light on it and work to change this. The white communities I know have worked hard to change this pattern, and I guess its time for the Black communities (and Latino Communities) to work for change too. We all have to live together; we are all tied to the same fate. I, like MLK Jr, look forward to a time when we are all judged on the content of our character, not the color of our skin. No matter what color our skin.
3.16.2008 4:47pm
Janie Bird (mail):

It seems that if Wright frequently over the last twenty years gave sermons like the ones now at issue there would be at least a few other congregants coming forward to corroborate.


We have the videos
3.16.2008 4:48pm
LM (mail):
not so fast,

I'd bet that at just about any Reform synagogue in the United States the congregants are far more liberal with regard to race than the voting public as a whole.

This proves nothing. Of course jews are more liberal on issues of racial discrimination --- it's called self-interest.

Evidence? And I mean evidence that self-interest actually is the motive, not just that it might serve self-interest to adopt that political alignment. Because, I assume you know, there are other possible motives.

But along many other lines of racial harmony/interaction (things like intermarriage rates with each other, belonging to the same social clubs / organizations, etc.), I'll bet dollars to donuts that reform jews lag far behind non-jewish whites of similar socioeconomic status.

Evidence?

My anecdotal evidence among the reform jews I know is that they are militantly against racial discrimination in law and public accomodation, but personally rather hostile to African-American culture and custom.

Apparently we know different Jews, so again, unless you have evidence that your Jews are more representative than mine....
3.16.2008 4:51pm
Moneyrunner43 (www):
I'm intrigued by the universal condemnation of John Hagee on this forum. Although I am a practicing Christian, I can't say I have ever heard much about him. I'm not a big fan of the mega-churches and the radio/TV televangelists. But I am curious about the reason that Hagee seems to be compared to the Wright.

We have all seen the Wright videos. Has he been asked if he believes what he is actually saying?

On the other hand, Hagee has a web site and has this to say:



Dear Friend,

After days of media misrepresentation, I feel the need to respond to slanderous media reports. The truth is I am not now nor have I ever been anti-Catholic. That has been demonstrated in a life time of ministry that has assisted Catholics and the Catholic Church. I have given thousands of dollars to the Catholic Church for disaster relief and have personally supported a local convent for many years. Cornerstone Church has operated a social services center that gives food and clothing daily to people who in the majority are Catholic. My wife comes from a Catholic family and millions of my viewers are Catholics.

Many in the media have mistakenly accepted characterizations of my statements which simply are not true. I never called the Catholic Church the "anti-Christ" a "false cult system" "the apostate church" or the "great whore" of Revelations. This is a serious misinterpretation of my words. When I use these terms, I am referring to those Christians who ignore the Gospels and embrace the false doctrines of Jew-hatred and anti-Semitism.

Throughout my career I have been a strong critic of Christian anti-Semitism. I have consistently criticized all Christians -- Protestant and Catholic alike -- for the sin of anti-Semitism. In fact I rarely address this topic without castigating the founder of Protestantism, Martin Luther, for the horrendous anti-Semitism he spouted towards the end of his career. It is a bitter irony that in my zeal to hold my fellow Christians accountable for our past anti-Semitism, I now find my self compared to an anti-Semite.

When I condemn anti-Semitic Christians -- Protestant and Catholics alike -- I am in no way referring to those Protestants and Catholics who have rejected this sinful belief. On the contrary, I have repeatedly praised the "righteous works" of Catholics such as Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict in rejecting anti-Semitism and taking historic steps to reconcile with the Jewish people. I have always had great love for Catholic people and great respect for the Catholic Church and hope this statement sets the record straight.


Sincerely,

Pastor John Hagee



I have learned again and again (most recently in an article in the McClatchy papers by Warren Strobel) that if you want to know the truth, you should go to original sources. Well, in this case, Hagee is an original source for Hagee.

So those of you who claim an moral equivalence between Hagee and Wright, please link to the sermons that Hagee gave that compare to Wright's.
3.16.2008 4:54pm
elim:
I choose not to read that statement but to instead sputter Hagee Parsley Hagee Parsley over and over again, as though I have the slightest idea of what they preach or teach. I also choose not to hold the black Fred Phelps against my Messiah, BHO
3.16.2008 5:00pm
LM (mail):
Black Fred Phelps? That would be funny if it weren't so... no, it's too ridiculous to even take seriously. It's just funny.
3.16.2008 5:06pm
elim:
it would be funny but for the sermons dripping with hatred we have been privileged to hear.
3.16.2008 5:09pm
Moneyrunner43 (www):
I'm still waiting for those clips of Hagee that compare to the clips of Wright. Mind you, I was not even aware of Hagee's existence until today, and I'm willing to be persuaded, but I need some better proof that he is a racist hatemonger that "Bad's" characterizations. Although "Bad" is surely an honorable man.
3.16.2008 5:17pm
Moneyrunner43 (www):
Just in case anyone is wondering, Hagee sells DVDs. Just like the Rev. Dr. Wright. If he is the lunatic "Bad" says he is, it must be recorded somewhere.
3.16.2008 5:22pm
tarheel:
I hesitate to wade into this cesspool, but for Moneyrunner43, see here.

I found this on the system of tubes we call the internets.
3.16.2008 5:27pm
Al (mail):
tarheel,

I'm certainly not a fan of the brand of Christianity that Hagee seems to be selling, but that clip seemed rather tame, particularly compared to Rev. Wright and his cheering masses. Is that the best (or worst) example you have?
3.16.2008 5:53pm
Tony Tutins (mail):
"The same America that for a century treated his people like farm animals?"

Kenyans and Kansans? When? Where?


I did not realize that some people thought Pastor Wright and Barack Obama were the same person. They are not. One preached occasional fiery sermons; the other was a member of his congregation.
3.16.2008 5:55pm
Moneyrunner43 (www):
Interesting, Tarheel. Hagee refers to the "apostate church." Is that the Roman Catholic church? Because his disavowal specifically says:

I never called the Catholic Church the "anti-Christ" a "false cult system" "the apostate church" or the "great whore" of Revelations. This is a serious misinterpretation of my words. When I use these terms, I am referring to those Christians who ignore the Gospels and embrace the false doctrines of Jew-hatred and anti-Semitism.


I would like to see this part in context just as I would like to see the entire sermon by Wright.

Can you use that "internets" thingy to help the rest of us?
3.16.2008 5:56pm
Bad (mail) (www):
I ALREADY linked some of his videos Moneyrunner: maybe if you were sincerely interested, you'd have done the two seconds of looking required to notice that.
3.16.2008 5:56pm
Moneyrunner43 (www):
And tarheel, if you are too fastidious to wade into cesspools don't worry your pretty little head about it. Hillary and Obama will do it for you.
3.16.2008 5:58pm
pluribus:
Bad:

How much more evidence do you need than McCain and him holding a joint press conference to announce the endorsement, along with McCain repeatedly talking it up in the days afterwards?

This is switch and bait. The statement was made here at least twice (and I quoted the instances) that McCain "actively sought" Hagee's endorsement. As proof of this, you give evidence that he "acecepted" the endorsement. I personally think Hagee is outrageous. His statements are outrageous. I thought so long before he endorsed McCain. And I think McCain's acceptance of his endorsement was outrageous. It is not, however, evidence that he "actively sought" the endorsement, which in my mind would have been even more outrageous. People are playing fast and loose with the truth around here. I know that Farrakhan endorsed Obama. Warmly and enthusiastically. I do not infer from that that Obama "actively sought" his endorsement. I do not attribute the garbage that spews from Hagee's mouth to McCain. Nor do I attribute the garbage that spews from Farrakhan's mouth to Obama. Rev. Wright is an entirely different matter, as the relationship there is not just a matter of endorsement, but 20 years of a close and personal association.
3.16.2008 6:13pm
LM (mail):
Moneyrunner43,

I believe that the Hurricane Katrina was, in fact, the judgment of God against the city of New Orleans.
3.16.2008 6:26pm
Moneyrunner43 (www):
You are right, Bad. You did have a cut-and-paste link which I should have used before. I viewed the link and it appears that Hagee believes that the second coming of Christ is imminent. It so happens that I have read and re-read the book of Revelations a number of times. It may be the most difficult book in the Bible. If you believe in it, a whole lot of people of all denominations are going to be in big trouble.

I can also see why the Catholic League would be upset. Yet Hagee has rejected accusations that he is anti-Catholic.


I never called the Catholic Church the "anti-Christ" a "false cult system" "the apostate church" or the "great whore" of Revelations. This is a serious misinterpretation of my words. When I use these terms, I am referring to those Christians who ignore the Gospels and embrace the false doctrines of Jew-hatred and anti-Semitism.



So either he is lying or he is telling the truth when he condemns Christians of all denominations who preach or practice anti-Semitism. This happens to be an unfortunate legacy of both the Roman Catholic Church as well as of most Protestant denominations. Note that he goes back to the Crusades, the Spanish Inquisition and Hitler's "final solution." You may also want to note the Babylonians were so fond of the Jews that they took them home, the Egyptians did not want to let them go once they got there, and a number of other people took the time to trouble them, so anti-Semitism is not a uniquely Christian problem.

Over time, most Christian denominations have renounced anti-Semitism. Not so Islam or Mr. Wright's church. I imagine Hagee and Wright have vastly different views of Israel's right to exist.
3.16.2008 6:32pm
Moneyrunner43 (www):
LM,

Yes that's true. Hagee thinks that God punished new Orleans with Katrina. The sin was sodomy.

Wright believes we were punished on 9/11 for our sins. Check out the sins we committed, why God Dammned America.
3.16.2008 6:42pm
LM (mail):
Moneyrunner43,

I don't get your point. You asked for Hagee material comparable to Wright's. I provided the New Orleans quote. Are you trying to argue that that's not comparable?
3.16.2008 6:57pm
Elliot123 (mail):
"I did not realize that some people thought Pastor Wright and Barack Obama were the same person. They are not. One preached occasional fiery sermons; the other was a member of his congregation."

Well, I'm glad we got that cleared up. Now we know Wright was speaking of Wright's ancestors and not Obama's ancestors, not Kenyans, and not Kansans.

But, shouldn't we show Wright the respect that was denied his ancestors, and treat his ideas with the same scrutiny we apply to anyone else's ideas? The notion that the US government created AIDS to kill blacks is stupid. It's stupid regardless of who says it, and regardless of the problems one's ancestors had. So, Wright's ideas are stupid.

Now, we can ask Obama why he chooses mentors, advisors, and inspirations who are so stupid. It's a reasonable question for a man who wants to be president.
3.16.2008 6:59pm
Mac (mail):
I posted this on the other blog about this issue. I guess it bears repeating for anyone who may actually care about the truth.

As I have said before, it seems that McCain's relationship with these guys grows with every post and blog. How does Hagee and Parsley attending a rally for McCain equate to McCain "seeking them out"?


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.


The truth isn't that hard to find, so I am sure in the next post someone will have Hagee or Parsley baptizing McCain and his children.
3.16.2008 7:16pm
Mac (mail):
I posted this on the other blog about this issue. I guess it bears repeating for anyone who may actually care about the truth.

As I have said before, it seems that McCain's relationship with these guys grows with every post and blog. How does Hagee and Parsley attending a rally for McCain equate to McCain "seeking them out"?


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.


The truth isn't that hard to find, so I am sure in the next post someone will have Hagee or Parsley baptizing McCain and his children.
3.16.2008 7:16pm
Mac (mail):
I have NO idea how I posted twice. Sorry. I swear I hit the button only once.
3.16.2008 7:17pm
Mac (mail):
In the further search for truth, could someone, especially someone who has been claiming that Oprah Winfrey attends Obama's church, please provide a reliable source? I have searched and can't find anywhere what, if any, church she attends.
3.16.2008 7:35pm
LM (mail):
Moneyrunner43,

Here's another clip. In this one he says if we pressure Israel to trade land for peace, God will punish us by unleashing terrorist attacks in the US.

The analogies draw themselves.
3.16.2008 7:37pm
pluribus:
Much of this discussion misses Obama's problem. He is running against Hillary Clinton for the Democratic nomination, not against John McCain. It is no answer to Hillary for Obama to say "McCain did it too" (whatever "it" is). If Obama doesn't get the Democratic nomination, McCain's acceptance of Hagee's endorsement isn't going to mean diddly to him. Whether Wright or Hagee is more outrageous won't help Obama, for endorsements aren't the problem. The problem is a 20-year-long association with an America-hating black minister. Democratic voters are going to have to determine whether a man who has attended a church for twenty years, become a close associate of the pastor, chose the pastor to marry him, borrowed the pastor's suggestion to name his autobiography ("The Audacity of Hope"), and publicly proclaimed that the pastor is like an "uncle" to him, shares the pastor's beliefs that America should be damned not blessed, that 9/11 was just our chickens coming home to roost, and that Imus's offhand remark about Rutgers basketball players proves there have beeno no improvements in race relations in the U.S. Is that representative of Oabama's thinking? Is that representative of Michelle's thinking? Denials alone are not going to make this question go away, because nobody would admit to those kind of beliefs in an American election campaign. He has to offer some solid proof that he doesn't think that way. Again, I say this sadly, because I had hopes for Obama, and I would like to see those hopes revived.
3.16.2008 7:47pm
Mac (mail):
LM,

I went to and listened to the whole clip. I had no idea Hagee was such a staunch and firm supporter of Israel and the Jews. In the context of the Old Testament, (and he is free to believe the Bible remember?) if you are trying to intimate that he is a fruit cake, you failed. I hope everyone goes and listens to the full clip.

I guess if you believe Israel is evil and the Muslims who wish to destroy her either don't exist or are really, really nice peaceful guys, then you may find Hagee objectionable. As for me, it has not done Israel any good to have given up the West Bank and Gaza and, I understand, people in Israel are questioning the wisdom of those actions as well.

Therefore, I am not sure where the smoking gun is. That terrorists hate us for supporting Israel and threaten not only the US but any country who supports her? I think they say that themselves. Hardly out there in left field, I think, unless you are someone who lives in a different dimension.


Thanks for the link. I didn't know anything about him before, but, I have much more respect for the guy now, at least on this issue.

When you are trying to slime someone, you may want to be more careful what you link to.
3.16.2008 7:58pm
LM (mail):
Other than the testimonials of just about everyone who's ever known him, which give no indication that he ever held views anything like this, what sort of proof did you have in mind?
3.16.2008 8:01pm
LM (mail):
(My last comment was for pluribus.)
3.16.2008 8:02pm
Mac (mail):
LM,

Thank you. I was confused.
3.16.2008 8:05pm
Patrick of Atlantis (mail) (www):
"the same America that for a century treated his people like farm animals?"

Did America eat them?
3.16.2008 8:09pm
LM (mail):
Mac,

I happen to support Israel too. The objection to Wright was that his comments could be taken to imply we deserved the 9-11 attacks. Hagee's saying the same thing prospectively. If we continue the current (Bush administration) Middle East policy and we're attacked by terrorists, we'll deserve it. If you want to try to distinguish those on the basis that one attack really is our fault, but not the other, have fun.
3.16.2008 8:15pm
LM (mail):
Moneyrunner43,

One more thing. If you watched that Apostate Church/Whore of Babylon clip and you have any doubt he meant at least the Catholic Church (and I suppose potentially others too), I've got a slightly earthquake damaged span between Oakland and San Francisco that might interest you.
3.16.2008 8:24pm
Mac (mail):
LM,

Wright says we deserved to be attacked because we are so evil. Part of that evil is the Jews.

Hagee says we will be attacked again if we abandon Israel or force her to give up more land.

That is what he said in the clip you linked to. He said NOTHINg about being attacked again if we continue the current (Bush administration) Middle East policy. Wright stands alone there.

Wright hates Israel and Jews.

Hagee is a strong supporter of Israel and Jews and says we must prevent the destruction of Israel.

I see a huge difference there, no?

You'd best not assume what is on a tape. I think you should listen to it yourself.
3.16.2008 8:26pm
Jason F:
And here are some links discussing Senator McCain's courtship of Reverend Hagee's endorsement:

One
Two
3.16.2008 8:31pm
Paul Milligan (mail) (www):
"Clinton doesn't really need to be ahead on pledged delegates "

Or the voters of her party. To hell with 'let every vote count', let's just coronate the bitch and get it done with ! She put up with Bill's whoring, she's EARNED it !!!

Right ???

Scotts -

"but Wright isn't any more of a hater as many far-right Christianist congregations, and it is pretty unreasonable to believe that Obama hates America and holds a secret racial grudge that will somehow manifest itself in an Obama presidency. That will limit the damage, much to the chagrin of Paul Milligan, alas"

Much to YOUR chagrin, I am neither Christian, nor right wing. And I no more stomach the racial hatred spewed by 'Rev Wright' than I stomach that spewed by any 'fundy Xtian', KKK'r, etc.

"In any case, the feeble economy will sink the GOP. The Bush administration is such an abject failure"

Bwahahahaha !!!! Does your Democrat Congress have nothing to say about budgets ???
3.16.2008 8:33pm
Jason F:
Paul Milligana: Do they not teach the difference between nouns and adjectives where you come from? It's the Democratic Congress you want to froth at the mouth about.
3.16.2008 8:37pm
Mac (mail):
Jason F,

thank you. Here is what the article in the NY Times said about Oprah.


Oprah Winfrey has attended services.



Don't you love how she immediately went from "having attended services" (assuming the NY Times got it right. They are so frequently wrong) to being a member?

The article is most interesting. It portrays an Obama and Obama campaign knowing exactly what the Rev. Wright is like and trying to cover him up while still staying in good with Wright. Fascinating. I especially liked Wright's comment about Jewish money drying up for Obama if they knew about him (Wright). What a guy. For some reason, that Jewish money comment disgusts me more than anything else.
3.16.2008 8:40pm
pluribus:
LM:

Other than the testimonials of just about everyone who's ever known him, which give no indication that he ever held views anything like this, what sort of proof did you have in mind?

It will have to be the kind of proof that Democratic primary voters in Pennsylvania, and the super delegates who have yet to line up on one side or the other, will find satisfying. I don't suppose that a statement from the Rev. Wright would help much. (Would he say, "Barack didn't buy that stuff"?) What about others who have known him in Chicago? Maybe fellow congregatants who could stand up and say,"Barack didn't like that kind of ranting--he spoke up about it at the time. He said he didn't like it." (Have there been any statements like that?) Maybe it might be quotes from speeches he gave before he was a candidate in which he spoke up for America, condemned the 9/11 attacks, expressed some outrage about Muslim terrorism, said "God bless America" instead of "God damn America." (Are there any speeches like that?) Since I am neither a Democrat nor a Pennsylvania voter, it isn't up to me to decide what's good enough proof, but anybody who thinks it doesn't matter what the the voters and super delegates from here on out think is delusional. Oh, yes, are Obama voters going to continue to argue that Barack is more electable than Hillary? Of the three major candidates still in the running this year, I like Hillary the very least (and I mean very, very least), but this is all going to redound to her favor in the primaries. And maybe the Republicans will get their wish after all. They've said all along they would rather run against Hillary than Obama.
3.16.2008 8:46pm
LM (mail):
Mac,

I did listen. He said if we pursue the road map strategy, God will unleash terrorist cells already in the US to attack us. (I assume you agree it goes without saying that whatever God inflicts on us Hagee believes we deserve.) Wright suggested we earned 9-11 by nuking Japan and supporting Central American death squads, not Israel. I disagreed with supporting the Death Squads and I disagree with pressuring Israel, but I feel pretty strongly, as I imagine most Americans would, that neither policy makes it our own fault if we're attacked by terrorists. Just as most Americans would dispute Hagee's claim that New Orleans deserved Hurricane Katrina.
3.16.2008 8:46pm
Thomas_Holsinger:
KDonovan, eyesay and ATM,

ATM is correct that SOME black politicians will be viewed with more suspicion than others, and it depends entirely on their backgrounds. Those whose formative political careers were in urban black areas (i.e., most of them) will be viewed with more suspicion, and the Rev. Wright here absolutely confirms those suspicions for Obama.

It is error to go back to the days of the first major black elected officials because those were the early days, and those guys were trail-breakers. They had to be unique.

As for LA Mayor Tom Bradley, he was a sure cure for insomnia in the great tradition of really sporific major California candidates. He was so deadly dull that newspaper and media editors used to threaten errant reporters with assignment to cover Bradley. The Bradley-Deukmejian debates in two successive gubernatorial campaigns were famous for reporters complaining about having to cover those.
3.16.2008 8:55pm
Mac (mail):
Jason F,

Thanks for the other two links, but those are of a far left web site, I think. It always amazes me how a bunch of kooks can say crazy things and then call the other side kooks.

Posters above kept referring to this event as a "press conference". Did you not (and I thank you for this, Jason F) want people on this blog to know that he spoke at a Christians United for Israel conference? Wow. How awful. What a horrible thing to attend.

LM,

I don't think you understand the Biblical context of Hagee's words. And, I don't think saying that, if we abandon Israel we not only will not get peace, but will be attacked, is far out. Look what happened when Israel tried to negotiate with Arafat through Clinton. She gave Arafat 90-95% of what he wanted and he started the Infatada.
3.16.2008 8:57pm
Mac (mail):
Jason F.

I am very impressed with your research skills and thank you once again.
3.16.2008 8:58pm
pluribus:
Jason F:

And here are some links discussing Senator McCain's courtship of Reverend Hagee's endorsement:

Thanks, Jason, someone finally offered some evidence, tenuous though it may be. The links show that McCain met with Hagee's group to discuss Israel and the Midde East, and that McCain sought to demonstrate that his views were substantially the same as those of Hagee's group. Excuse me, but is anything wrong with this? Don't politicians meet with groups all the time to explain their views? Hasn't it been clear all along that McCain supports Israel and favors a strongly pro-Israel policy in the Middle East? In fact, I believe, most US politicians do this as well, and I was under the impression that most of the American people felt the same way. I see nothing in the links about McCain saying he believes Katrina was punishment for a gay parade in New Orleans, or that he shares Hagee's belief that the Catholic church is a whore (which Hagee, by the way, denies).

If the question is whether voters will find a strong pro-Israel policy in the Middle East more or less objectionable than a belief that the US had it coming on 9/11, it won't be hard to find the answer.
3.16.2008 9:06pm
PC:
If the question is whether voters will find a strong pro-Israel policy in the Middle East need to preemptively strike Iran with nuclear weapons in order to bring about a war against all of Islam and usher in Armageddon, more or less objectionable than a belief that the US had it coming on 9/11, it won't be hard to find the answer.


Fixed that for you.
3.16.2008 9:41pm
Mac (mail):
PC,

The only problem is, Hagee didn't say that in the clip.
3.16.2008 9:44pm
Mac (mail):
PC,

Just in case I was wrong, I listened to the clip again. Hagee nowhere says we should nuke Iran. I have already stated I don't know much about the guy. I am using the link provided above. In Biblical terms, I find nothing outrageous about what he is saying. A lot of what you are objecting to are his quotes out of the Bible. Can't help you there. You'll have to take your objections up with God.
Re the dollar bill. He claims Washington wanted to honor the Jews and Israel and put a Star Of David and Menorah on the bill. I don't know if he is right or not, but there is nothing wrong with honoring the Jews. He may be right or he may be wrong, but that is not an evil, bigoted thought. Our country was founded on Judeo-Christian beliefs and values. It is possible.
3.16.2008 10:01pm
LM (mail):
Mac and Pluribus,

Hagee's problem isn't his support for Israel, any more than a majority of Americans fault Fred Phelps for opposing gay marriage or Wright for mentioning that African-Americans have been treated poorly. All that matters in all three cases, Wright, Phelps and Hagee, is that they're willing to exploit public tragedy to validate their deterministic vision of a God who nurses the same grudges they do. It's not whether terrorist attacks are predictable if we support Israel or if we don't. Both cases can be made. But Hagee is saying that when it happens, it will be our fault. That, like his New Orleans smear, is what puts him in the same class as Wright and Phelps.

And yes Mac, I do understand the Biblical argument. I just don't think it matters. Wright can also defend his position with Scripture, and Phelps quotes plenty of Biblical text to justify celebrating the death of American soldiers. Americans may be religious, but when somebody tries to tell us Al Quaida is attacking us because God wants them to, we're neither going to buy it nor appreciate it, whether the scripture cited is Jewish, Christian or Islamic, and whether the policy implicated is one we agree with or not.
3.16.2008 10:06pm
Mac (mail):
LM


But Hagee is saying that when it happens, it will be our fault.


Well then, Hagee and the Left have a lot in common. Politics does indeed make strange bedfellows.

Don't forget Ray Nagan said the same thing re Katrina. They re-elected him.

I still think you are taking what Hagee is trying to say out of context. He is saying God, based on the Bible, wants Israel to continue to exist. If we abandon her, then we will get hit. As I stated in posts above, based on Israel's failed attempts to appease Islam, I agree with him, just not for the same reasons. But it is a stretch to say that Hagee is saying it will be all our fault and that it is in the same context as Wright and Phelps. It is absolutely not.
3.16.2008 10:19pm
PC:
Mac,

Following the end times fundies is a hobby of mine. Hagee is another in a long line of crazies that think they can encourage the second coming. Here's a quote from a speech of Hagee's at an AIPAC conference:

"The United States must join Israel in a pre-emptive military strike against Iran to fulfill God's plan for both Israel and the West... a biblically prophesied end-time confrontation with Iran, which will lead to the Rapture, Tribulation…and [the] Second Coming of Christ."


I asked yesterday in another Wright thread if people really want to go down this road of examining religious leaders' statements. Apparently some people do.

I'm not posting to defend Wright. But if we are going to examine Wright, then let's go back and examine people like Hagee too. He started Christians United for Israel, and politicians like DeLay and Lieberman happily spoke at their conference.

Since religion has now been marked as fair game, let's get to it. Let's air all of the beliefs that the spiritual leaders of our politicians have.
3.16.2008 10:23pm
Mac (mail):
LM,

"The United States must join Israel in a pre-emptive military strike against Iran to fulfill God's plan for both Israel and the West... a biblically prophesied end-time confrontation with Iran, which will lead to the Rapture, Tribulation…and [the] Second Coming of Christ."

Can you give me a link to the whole text? It is, as we have seen, too easy to take a statement out of context.

Remember that Hagee isn't the only one who believes this, if it is true. So does Ahmadinajad and he has his finger on the nuclear button in Iran, at least as soon as he gets one. He has a different take on it in that he wants to nuke Israel and bring about the Rapture. If I were an Israeli, I would find that rather frightening.

If you think that Israel doesn't have plans to attack Iran if they need to, I think you would be very mistaken. It is quite possible it will happen. The attack. I don't know about the Rapture, Second Coming, etc. I can't see Israel waiting to get nuked by Iran once Iran has the capacity to do it.

The difference between Wright and Phelps is that they think we were hit because we are evil. Hagee is saying if we abandon Israel, we will get hit. Many people and a lot of them are on the Left, believe that if Israel just went away, all would be well between us and the Muslim world. Wright thinks we are supporting a terrorist state by supporting Israel so got what was coming to us. He thinks Israel and us are evil, evil, evil. Phelps is just plain nuts.

Hagee is drawing on the Bible to speak to the importance of Israel's continued existence and that if Israel is wiped off the face of the Earth, it won't make us safe. I agree with him, just not for the same reasons. I don't know what we do about Iran. Obama is going to "talk" to them. He is mute about what he is going to do if they tell him to buzz off, which they will. Or worse, say they agree with him and then merrily go about building a nuke.

If you want to worry about something, just consider that your version of Hagee and Ahmadinajad are cut from the same cloth, religiously speaking. Hagee won't have access to nukes, Ahmadinajad will.
3.16.2008 10:57pm
Mac (mail):
Ahmadinejad. Got to learn how to spell this guys name.
3.16.2008 10:59pm
bogie wheel:
"I'm shocked, shocked, to find disgusting rhetoric going on in this place!"

"Your delegates, Senator."

"Oh. Thank you."
3.16.2008 11:12pm
PC:
Mac,

Here's the source of the quote. There are a lot of other Hagee quotes in that article. You can find the actual conference on YouTube. I don't have the patience to site through the entire thing.
3.16.2008 11:23pm
Al (mail):
"The United States must join Israel in a pre-emptive military strike against Iran to fulfill God's plan for both Israel and the West... a biblically prophesied end-time confrontation with Iran, which will lead to the Rapture, Tribulation…and [the] Second Coming of Christ."

I'd also like to see the full text of Hagee's speech. Apocalyptic talk about the Rapture, Tribulation and the second coming of Christ would not seem to be a particularly popular topic at an AIPAC conference.
3.16.2008 11:34pm
Elliot123 (mail):
"I asked yesterday in another Wright thread if people really want to go down this road of examining religious leaders' statements. Apparently some people do."

I'm not sure what we have to lose by examining these folks. If their views are reasonable and valid, they should easily be able to withstand the scrutiny applied to anyone else. Much suffering and dying in the past could probably have been avoided had someone stood up and questioned the tendency of religiously motivated nuts to grasp for political power. Politics hiding behind religion is still politics. Do we really have a choice?
3.16.2008 11:36pm
Mac (mail):
Eliot 123

I agree. Besides, I think we have been doing this for some time. LDS, anyone? It is just that Democrats are not used to having their candidates religion questioned. Ergo, they think it has never been done before. And, many are too young to remember JFK candidacy and the whole Catholic thing.
3.16.2008 11:47pm
Asher Steinberg (mail):
Obama can't possibly share his pastor's views, he's too smart, but what we have learned from this affair is that he's dishonest. There's no way that he had no idea that his pastor had said this stuff until the campaign began. I'm sure his staffers checked to make sure that he was elsewhere on the dates of the sermons we've seen on TV, but he almost certainly heard of them or heard others like them. I also don't understand why he's still in the church. Are his new pastor's views really so different? If you watch the videos, his new, supposedly uncontroversial pastor enthusiastically pats Wright on the back when he says some of his most offensive comments - for instance, when Wright does some pelvic thrusts to graphically illustrate how "Bill did us like he did Monica Lewinsky," or when he says that he's "sick and tired of Negroes" who are for Hillary.
3.17.2008 12:13am
Mac (mail):
Eliot 123,

To be fair, I would add that their is a tendency for secularly motivated nuts to try to grasp power, too. Stalin, Hitler, Mussolini, Chavez, Castro, Mao. to name just a few who managed to kill quite a few people and weren't "religious" in a religious sense.
3.17.2008 12:14am
Mac (mail):
Asher Steinberg


Are his new pastor's views really so different?


You know, I hadn't thought about the new guy. Hmmm. His sermons could be interesting. I wonder how far he will fall from Rev. Wright?
3.17.2008 12:18am
Mac (mail):
Then again. Wright's DVD's were on the web site for Trinity Church when I looked on Friday and gone yesterday so he may lay low until he sees if Obama is going to win the nomination.
3.17.2008 12:20am
Elliot123 (mail):
"To be fair, I would add that their is a tendency for secularly motivated nuts to try to grasp power, too. Stalin, Hitler, Mussolini, Chavez, Castro, Mao. to name just a few who managed to kill quite a few people and weren't "religious" in a religious sense."

Absolutely. None of the nuts should get any special dispensation from scrutiny. Not secular, liberal, conservative, communist, fascist, or religious. We don't shy from scrutinizing most of them, but there is an unfortunate tendency to give a pass to the ones associated with religion.

We have heard much about the support the Republicans get from the religious right, and that's both correct and fair. However, examination of the support the Democrats get from the black churches is just as correct and fair. Nuts come in all colors.
3.17.2008 12:46am
LM (mail):
David Brooks from this morning's Face the Nation:

I thought [Obama's] statement on Jeremiah Wright, his pastor, was perfect. I thought it was a fantastic statement that really elevated the campaign for the first time in two weeks.
[...]

(My transcription.)

To those who'd never consider voting for Obama anyway, Brooks is probably a RINO not to be trusted, just as for those who have anything approaching sympathy for Wright's ideas, Brooks is probably a despicable neocon. But he could be a credible source to the moderates who may be considering voting for Obama, but were troubled by Wright's comments.


Mac,

Well then, Hagee and the Left have a lot in common.

I realize that the meme of a raving left wing that roots against America is popular with the far right, as is writing off Administration malfeasance to BDS (except, of course, immigration policy). Unfortunately, Bush's 90% approval rating following 9/11 until shortly before the Iraq invasion belies the fantasy that there's any more sympathy among liberals for Wright's extremism than there is among conservatives for Hagee's, maybe less.
3.17.2008 12:49am
Jason F:
Mac --

Thanks for praising my research skills, but all it really took was a minute or so on Google.

Here's another article that more explicitly states that Ms. Winfrey is a member of Trinity United Church.

As for Reverend Wright, I remain astonished that his sermon is causing such consternation. It really was a standard issue jeremiad, the kind delivered every week in houses of worship across the nation. Was it provocative? Of course it was. The point of a jeremiad is to provoke.
3.17.2008 12:51am
LM (mail):
Elliot123,

We have heard much about the support the Republicans get from the religious right, and that's both correct and fair. However, examination of the support the Democrats get from the black churches is just as correct and fair. Nuts come in all colors.

FWIW I agree.

And Mac, if anything I said led you to think I might have more sympathy for Ahmadinejad than I do for Hagee, let me set the record straight. I have much, much less.
3.17.2008 12:56am
TLove (mail):
I have no problem with hating whitey etc. etc. Good for you if you do. Attica, Attica. But where did Barack get the idea that when running in an election where 91% of the electorate does not consider itself part of your racial group, that an association with this stuff would be a plus for his campaign? What kind of advice is he receiving? I hate you and you have to vote for me anyway?

Um, actually, bud, no I don't. And his other big problem with his explanations is that most of his audience attends some sort of church and so they can measure his statements against their own experience, and when they hear he's been going to the same church for 20 years, his kids go there, he got married by the pastor in question, and the guy blessed his rezko financed house for chrissakes, his statements that he didn't know what the guy was saying are ludicrous, and also raise the issue of whether Barry also suffers from a killer case of ADD or has an undisclosed head injury or something.

The first black president will be a retired military officer running as a republican. You can run for prez from the left, and you can run for prez while black, but you cannot do both.
3.17.2008 1:02am
LM (mail):
A perspective on Obama's preacher from a founder of the religious right.
3.17.2008 5:02am
therut:
I think the MSM needs to report more on the religious left. Let them report on how their theology and separation of church and state meet. They have been screaming about the religious right for decades. Let the masses be informed of the cramming down our throats the marxist roots of liberal theology and liberation theology. We need some fresh air and sunshine and more balance. I have been waiting for years. Of coarse they will be sympathetic in doing so. Give to Ceasear your money to do Gods work. Sounds about right to me.
3.17.2008 11:58am
Jim Rhoads (mail):
If BHO has audacity, LM, he will take that argument, run with it, and try it out in Pennsylvania.

It is an appealing intellectual argument. He can market test it and see if it plays in a blue collar state like PA. If it does, he has the Red Witch beat, and may have overcome a major hurdle in the general election.
3.17.2008 12:37pm
ejo:
I don't quite understand the Schaefer column and how it helps Obama. Now is when Obama's pastor is preaching his hate whites, hate jews, hate america drivel and now is when Obama was in the seats, drinking this kindness and compassion in-what do I care about what happened in the '70's? I don't expect preachers to say things that will make politicians or the NYT's editorial board happy-that's not their job.

How could one vote for someone when you can't even be sure if, deep down, he doesn'te hate your guts due to the racist sewage he is fed on Sundays?
3.17.2008 12:55pm
neurodoc:
In his "G-d Damn America" rant, Wright says that AIDS came from America. I don't know what exactly he means by that. If it is an epidemiologic assertion that the United States was the epicenter of HIV infection and that the virus spread from here to elsewhere as the SARS virus did from Asia to here, then Wright is factually wrong. If it is an allusion to the nutter idea that HIV was bioenginereed in a US laboratory, then Wright is truly part of the lunatic fringe, a fit companion for Farrakhan.
3.17.2008 2:05pm
Milhouse (www):

"Barak means blessed". True, in HEBREW)

Actually, not true.
3.17.2008 4:51pm
Richard Aubrey (mail):
Obama has a related problem of accumulation.
Wright is the noisiest part of it right now.
Then there's his mouthy wife who thinks America is a mean spirited place because she has to think twice about expenditures from their nearly $500k income. Or something.
Then there's the flag pin, the hand on heart thing, and a couple of nutcase foreign policy advisors.
They all go to the same question: Are you on our side, or are you going to say you're on the side of the Good America, one that most voters wouldn't recognize?
3.17.2008 5:32pm
shawn-non-anonymous:
Whenever I go to vote for president, I am nearly guaranteed to have before me two choices (Dem or Repub) that attend churches who have at some point preached that I am evil. Often they actively provide funding to fight laws designed to provide my partner and I with some semblance of legal equality. Lately, these sorts of laws have become effective tools for Conservatives to attract more voters to the polls. (Because, apparently, voting for president isn't enough of a motive, you need to rally the faithful with fear and hate of the homosexual menace.)

In fact, I am fairly certain both Wright and Hagee will agree on at least one thing: homosexuality is evil. (white homosexuals in New Orleans being the double-whammy, I bet.)

So you'll pardon my chuckle here, but the only thing new about this is that the undeserving target is unaccustomed to being in the cross-hairs like this.

Welcome to my reality.
3.17.2008 5:34pm
Christopher Cooke (mail):
I think the Wright controversy is being pushed by an odd alliance of the Clinton machine and their normal enemies, the far right, to stop the BHO express. The Clintons of course want to win the nomination at all costs, while the right fears that BHO would be a stronger candidate against McCain than Hillary, or they assume he will get the nomination anyway so they may as well start the Swift Boat attacks now.


Regarding the good Rev. Hagee, and his repeated references to the Whore of Babylon, that is a coded phrase used in extreme fundamentalist circles for the Catholic Church. Hagee probably is sincere in saying that he doesn't hate Catholics ("love the sinner, not the sins"), but I doubt he likes the Catholic Church very much.

I think this is a marginal controversy, at best, that might cause some slight dip in the polls for BHO, but not enough to do him any long-lasting damage.
3.17.2008 6:47pm
LM (mail):
neurodoc,

I think irrational and offensive would be fair, but I wouldn't put him in the same category as Farrakhan. NOI doctrine requires a whole higher order of wingnuttery to buy into than your garden variety conspiratorial paranoia over America's motives. If the latter was the standard for lunatic fringe, most of the world would qualify. And though I'd agree there's something almost lunatic about how the world perceives us, calling it "fringe" abuses the meaning of words.
3.17.2008 7:34pm
LM (mail):
Richard Aubrey,

Would it be right to assume there was never much risk of you voting for Obama even without that collection of grievances?
3.17.2008 7:39pm
LM (mail):
Milhouse,

What, if anything, does "Barak" mean in Hebrew? A few years back I mentioned Ehud Barak to an Israeli who had immigrated some years earlier. Obviously out of touch, he'd never heard of Barak. He told me I was mispronouncing "Baruch," because there is no "Barak" in Hebrew. I assured him it was "Barak," and asked why it couldn't have a non-Hebrew origin. He insisted, and when I showed him a newspaper, he dismissed it as American inability to transliterate. I assume by that point he was trying to cover his embarrassment, but he wasn't pulling my leg, and he wasn't stupid. Do you know of a language-based explanation for what he apparently believed?
3.17.2008 8:31pm
Milhouse (www):
Barak, as in Ehud Barak, means "lightning". Barak was Devorah's general. It's cognate to Burak, Mohammed's spirit horse.

Baruch, means "blessed". Baruch was Jeremiah's disciple. It's
cognate to Arabic Barak, as in Barack Obama or Hosni Mubarak.

Th final letter of the word for lightning is the same as the final letter of Irak, or the first letter of Katar; how to transliterate it into English is more or less a matter of fashion. K is preferred by those looking to give English speakers an idea of its pronunciation without mystifying them; Q is preferred by those who are more interested in accurately representing the fact that it's not the same letter as the K in the word for blessing.
3.17.2008 8:57pm
LM (mail):
Milhouse,

Thanks. I can now give him the benefit of the doubt, and assume he was confused by the transliteration to "k."
3.17.2008 9:20pm
Milhouse (www):
Several points about all this:

1. There's a big difference between on the one hand denouncing America's sins and preaching that if they are not corrected we will lose Divine favour and court His punishment; and on the other hand celebrating that punishment when it comes. It is standard religious doctrine to declare that God is just, and everything that comes to us is from God, and therefore that the 9/11 attacks, or Katrina, or the carnage of the Civil War, were related to America's sins. There is nothing objectionable in that, to anyone who takes the Bible seriously.

If Phelps merely said that had America not sinned and had God not turned His face away, we would have success in war and all those soldiers would not have died; had he mourned with us and called on us to repent urgently so as to prevent further loss, he'd be within the bounds of reason. We could quibble about the precise sin that caused this rupture between us and God, and we could certainly question his obsession with one particular sin, and the quite unBiblical weight he gives it, but none of that would make him anti-American. On the contrary, a true patriot, who grieves at every loss America takes, naturally wants to do whatever is necessary to stop those losses, including telling us what's wrong with us. But that's not what he's doing. He's showing up at funerals, not to mourn but to celebrate. He tells us why God let them be killed, not with sadness but with glee. He does not warn America but threatens her.

The prophets denounced Israel for her sins, and condemned her, and in God's name promised punishment; but they identified with Israel and took her side, not God's. They did not say "you have sinned", but "we have sinned, and we must repent if we are to have any hope of staving off the impending disaster", and when the punishment came Jeremiah lamented it in the first person. He didn't stand on a mountain and tell everyone else that they had only themselves to blame and they jolly well deserved it.

As for Hagee, I can't see anything he's said that's in the least objectionable; he has not condemned the victims of Katrina or 9/11, but has called on us in God's name to examine our actions and determine what brought these disasters on us, because something must have - there are no coincidences in God's world. He has not condemned Catholics or Catholocism; but he has condemned the Roman Church's long history of antisemitism, from which it has recently repented, and he's condemned it in much the same terms as the recent popes have done; if that makes him anti-Catholic, then so was John Paul II. As for the allegations of antisemitism, they're ludicrous; what he has said about Jews bringing punishment on themselves is exactly what Jews themselves say in the festival musaf service: "Because of our sins we were exiled from our country and distanced from our land". None of this is in any way comparable to Phelps or Wright, who hate America and want it to suffer.
3.17.2008 9:38pm
LM (mail):
You make a fair point that Phelps takes such joy in our misfortune that he's even more offensive than the more routine religious moralizers. But he seems like the lone outlier in that regard, with Hagee and Wright both cut from the more common cloth. As for whether what they do is objectionable, obviously you and I disagree. I find an element of gloating in both of them that offends me, even if it's not quite celebratory.
3.17.2008 10:13pm
Mac (mail):
Jason F



Here's another article that more explicitly states that Ms. Winfrey is a member of Trinity United Church.



The TV news reports that the LA Times is reporting that Oprah joined this church in 1984 and left 2 or 3 years later as she was not comfortable with the ideology. I have not had time to check the L A Times article myself, today.

Thanks for telling me your search only took a couple of minutes. What am I doing wrong, then? Do you use Google?
3.17.2008 11:39pm
Moneyrunner43 (www):
Many thanks for all who have brought the religious views of various pastors to our attention. Thanks in large part to talk radio (read Rush Limbaugh) much of America is now aware of J. Wright's position of God vs. the U.S.

We now have the comparable positions of the likes of Hagee vs. J. Wright regarding the U.S. and the contrast is interesting. Whose side you consider more persuasive is, of course, based on you view of the morality of American policy.

I would have to agree with my friends on the Left that what Wright says is Biblical, and can be justified as an explanation of Biblical prophecy. According to the Bible, God does punish those who transgress against His commandments.

So on the one hand you have J. Wright who takes the view that 9/11 was God's punishment for our support of Israel, our policies during World War 2, for lying about Pearl Harbor, for being white, for being arrogant, for being a superpower, for inventing AIDS to wipe out black people.

On the other hand we have Agee who thinks that if we allow Israel to be divided and broken up God will punish us with attacks by terrorist. Who believes that anti-Semitism is embodied in the Apocalyptic Great Whore of Babylon.

On the one hand we have J. Wright saying that what America is doing in is no different than what al Qaeda is doing. On the other we have Hagee attending a Christians United for Israel meeting and blaming the Palestinians for making war on Israel.

There are quite a few other parallels we can draw. It may be the "Battle of the Prophets." The Bible is filled with prophesies of the evils that befall a people who turn away from God. Of course a culture that is dismissive of God finds these kinds of pronouncements kooky. But if we take them at face value, and consider them all kooky, which descriptions of God's judgment do we find silly and which do we find repulsive? The answer will be found in the view we have of America. If Obama is the candidate, the American people will have an opportunity to vote in a way that signals their view of the goodness or evil of America.
3.17.2008 11:43pm
Mac (mail):
LM


And Mac, if anything I said led you to think I might have more sympathy for Ahmadinejad than I do for Hagee, let me set the record straight. I have much, much less.


Of course you have not said anything that would lead me to think that. I don't do the "You are a racist", or "you are a fill in the blank thing" just because someone disagrees with me. It never crossed my mind and I sincerely hope I didn't write anything to make you think that it did.
3.17.2008 11:50pm
LM (mail):
Mac,

Not to worry. I don't recall what made me think there was anything to clarify, but I'd remember if you had said anything at all inappropriate, so I'm sure you didn't.
3.18.2008 12:14am
Mac (mail):
Christopher Cooke (mail):

I think the Wright controversy is being pushed by an odd alliance of the Clinton machine and their normal enemies, the far right, to stop the BHO express.


Christopher,
A Clinton Left and Far Right Conspiracy? WOW. People just can't be disgusted and revolted by the hateful Rev. Wright? Obama chose him as pastor, spiritual guide, inspiration for his book on and on. If Obama disagrees with every thing Wright says, then his judgement is still in very serious question. Why stay in this church if you disagree with Wright and you want to run for US President?

Also, Christopher, can you not let a black man make his own mistakes and errors? It has to be a Clinton/Right wing conspiracy? If Obama is that easily tricked and manipulated, maybe he shouldn't be running for President. You will not agree, I presume, but your comment is the most racist one I have heard outside of Wright. NO. I AM NOT CALLING YOU A RACIST. I am suggesting that your attitude is one of poor, helpless, Black Obama. He is one smart person, poor judgement and all. He got himself into this mess and it will be interesting to see if he can get out of it. However, I would not insult Obama as I think you have.

I really don't mean to be offensive and apologize if I have been. I just find the oh, he's just a poor, black boy to be offensive. I think he is a man who has made his own decisions and judgements and will now have to defend them, just like anyone else.
3.18.2008 12:17am
LM (mail):
Moneyrunner43,

I notice you "forgot" to mention Hagee's chalking Hurricane Katrina up to homosexuality. ;>)
3.18.2008 12:18am
Mac (mail):
Christopher,

I wish I had not posted the above. I am sure you heart is in the right place and I am sorry. I just tend to see red when I think someone is patronizing another person because of their skin color, gender or anything else.
Please accept my apology.
3.18.2008 12:30am
Elliot123 (mail):
Isn't it Catholic doctrine that the protestant churches are apostate? Isn't it protestant doctrine that the pope is a false leader?

Both those ideas seem to belong to a different class than the notion that the US government created AIDS to kill blacks.
3.18.2008 12:31am
LM (mail):
Elliot123,

I suppose it depends on whether you think it's more or less evil to give someone a fatal disease than to seduce them into committing their soul to eternal damnation. I'm sure there's a constituency for both arguments. For my money it's splitting hairs.
3.18.2008 12:52am
Christopher Cooke (mail):
Mac: I was not meaning to patronize anyone. I was merely pointing out that the people pushing/publicizing this story are likely (1) Clinton's supporters, who want to drive down his numbers, and (2) people on the right, who dislike Clinton intensely. I find this "unholy" holy alliance ironic, that is all. Barrack Obama can certainly defend himself for the people he associated with.
3.18.2008 1:09am
Christopher Cooke (mail):
Mac: I was not meaning to be patronizing towards anyone. I was merely pointing out that the people pushing/publicizing this story are likely (1) Clinton's supporters, who want to drive down his numbers, and (2) people on the right, who dislike Clinton intensely. I find this "unholy" holy alliance ironic, that is all. Barrack Obama can certainly defend himself for the people he associated with.
3.18.2008 1:09am
Milhouse (www):
Sorry, LM, but Wright is definitely in the same class as Phelps, not that of Hagee, Falwell, and Robertson. None of the latter would say "God damn America" — they warn that unless America mends its ways God may well damn her, just as they make the same warning to every sinner, but they don't want Him to do so, and they certainly don't call on Him to do so; instead they call for repentance in order to avoid that terrible fate. Wright, in the video clip that's been making the rounds, doesn't speak as an American, sharing America's flaws and fate, and desperately trying to avoid the damnation that he thinks she had earned; instead he speaks as an outsider, and tells God "Bring it on"! He is like the psalmist condemning Babylon, and shouting "Happy is he who will pay you back for what you have done to us; happy is he who takes your babies and dashes them against a rock". If that psalmist had been Babylonian himself, that call would have made him a traitor, as Wright's call makes him.
3.18.2008 1:19am
LM (mail):
Milhouse,

A few days after 9/11m Jerry Falwell said,

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'.

I'm assuming Wright says "God damn America" because he believes America as a whole, himself included, bears moral responsibility for the actions of those he's got a problem with, or else America as a whole wouldn't be suffering God's wrath. Falwell, Hagee and the rest, on the other hand, are apparently content to blame just the Americans they consider damn-worthy for our natural disasters and terrorist attacks. I guess their God punishes every American for just the moral failings of our defective brethren. The rest of us are perfectly innocent, but those damn gays and feminists are bringing this reign of terror down on all of us.

If you prefer Falwell and Hagee's theology to Wright's, that's your privilege. As I've said, I consider distinguishing between them to be splitting hairs. But if I'm forced to choose, since nobody caused 9/11 except Osama bin Laden, and nobody caused Katrina, period, I suppose I'm marginally more offended by pointing fingers at identifiable individuals, targeting them for the blame and hatred of lots of credulous others.

But that's just me. Obviously YMMV.
3.18.2008 2:56am
Moneyrunner43 (www):
LM,

I understand your views. I'm fairly confident from your comments that you don't believe in a God who affects the world. I have no idea if you believe in a God at all. As a result you are offended that people who believe their God acts to punish sinners -- in the here and now -- point out those sins that deserve God's punishment. You are in the company of millions of others who lack that faith. And are opposed to millions more who share that faith.

So be it.

You say


I'm assuming Wright says "God damn America" because he believes America as a whole, himself included, bears moral responsibility for the actions of those he's got a problem with, or else America as a whole wouldn't be suffering God's wrath. Falwell, Hagee and the rest, on the other hand, are apparently content to blame just the Americans they consider damn-worthy for our natural disasters and terrorist attacks. I guess their God punishes every American for just the moral failings of our defective brethren. The rest of us are perfectly innocent, but those damn gays and feminists are bringing this reign of terror down on all of us.



Well you may assume that, but you would have to produce evidence of that. In the clips of J. Wright that I have viewed, I do not hear him say anything about his own sins, but the sins of "rich white men" and Hillary Clinton … who is so very rich and so very white.

You would also be wrong about Falwell, Hagee and the others you lump in with J. Wright. It is a "given" of protestant theology that we are all sinners. No more perfect example of this is found that the famous sermon "Sinners in the hand of an angry God." It is, by the way, what Easter is all about. Christ shedding his blood to atone for our sins. Perfect people don't need redemption.

But for people for whom God is a prop for Liberation Theology, for those who don't believe in any God, or for those whose definition of sin is infinitely malleable, I can see how the condemnation of the public affirmation of homosexuality would be as bad as racism.

Oh, and this is rich:

I suppose I'm marginally more offended by pointing fingers at identifiable individuals, targeting them for the blame and hatred of lots of credulous others.


Right: J. Wright's targeting of "rich, white, people," of the Americans who created HIV to wipe out black people, to the bombers of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, to Hillary Clinton (that rich white woman) are not identifiable individuals?

Whatever. See you at the polls.
3.18.2008 9:26am
Richard Aubrey (mail):
LM.
That's safe to say.
I just hit sixty-three and I've been watching the Left since I did the civil rights thing in 67 and 68.
"God damn America" was not invented by Wright, or if he came up with it himself, he's not alone.
The best case that can be made, IMO, for that kind of thinking is that they do indeed want a new America, so grossly different that few Americans would recognize it, or want it.
Wright is the part of the team who ramps up the perception of America's sins as a kind of undifferentiated fuel for the next stage; solutions. The more upset people are, the less careful they are about solutions.
I think that was part of the Alinsky method of community organizing, which Obama has on his resume'.
3.18.2008 11:36am
Elliot123 (mail):
"I suppose it depends on whether you think it's more or less evil to give someone a fatal disease than to seduce them into committing their soul to eternal damnation. I'm sure there's a constituency for both arguments. For my money it's splitting hairs."

Interesting. Do you equate the pope's view of the errors of protestantism with Wright's ideas that the US government created AIDS to kill blacks? Splitting hairs?
3.18.2008 12:01pm
PC:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pWe7wTVbLUU

The candidate answers your collective outrage. Now that the barn door is open, I fully expect Mr. Bernstein to comment on the views of Mrs. Clinton's pastor and Mr. McCain's pastor. Then we can move on to the views of every Senator's and Congresscritter's religious leader. I'm sure there are a lot of fun sermons we can comb over and talk about.
3.18.2008 2:45pm
Elliot123 (mail):
I hope he does comment on anyone identified by Hillary or McCain a mentor and significant influence on their lives. Have either identified their pastors as such?
3.18.2008 3:14pm
PC:
Have either identified their pastors as such?


Not to my knowledge. Some enterprising reporter should get busy.
3.18.2008 3:45pm
LM (mail):
Richard Aubrey,

There's not much I'd disagree with in your comment. One of the reasons I'm still a liberal is I still believe in a proactive roll for government in making opportunity equal. (Obviously I expect little sympathy for that view here.) But I never defended rhetoric like Wright's, and its offensiveness is more obvious now than it was 40 years ago when a lot more obstacles for African-Americans were racist in intent, not just in effect. His style of rhetorical demonization of "the oppressors" was easier to sweep under the rug when there were at least people unapologetically standing up for racism. Even if his goal of equal opportunity was laudable, his demagoguery has aged as badly as his enemies have. I'd only add that the demagoguery of the Falwell, Robertson, Hagee school of televangelists (also of Wright's generation) has no more moral justification than Wright's does. And if their ascendancy may have lagged Wright's by a decade or so, I'd like to believe so inevitably will their passing.
3.18.2008 5:18pm
Elliot123 (mail):
"There's not much I'd disagree with in your comment. One of the reasons I'm still a liberal is I still believe in a proactive roll for government in making opportunity equal. (Obviously I expect little sympathy for that view here.)"

I very much doubt you can demonstrate any opposition here to offering equal opportunities. However, it will probably be very easy to find opposition to the notion that equality of outcome can be used to determine if opportunities have been offered in an equal manner.
3.18.2008 6:52pm
LM (mail):
Moneyrunner43,

LM,

I understand your views. No, apparently you don't.

I'm fairly confident from your comments that you don't believe in a God who affects the world. I have no idea if you believe in a God at all.
Well, you're right about the second part. You have no idea what I believe. I do happen to believe in God. I also believe that saying even that much is more than our founders thought ought to be required to explain oneself in response to sectarian demagoguery.

As a result you are offended that people who believe their God acts to punish sinners -- in the here and now -- point out those sins that deserve God's punishment. I support everyone's right to their religious beliefs. I am offended by someone of any race or religion who presumes to speak for God, and then uses that self-appointed pedestal to rain hatred and scorn on people who have done nobody any harm. It's ironic that your objection isn't to the demagoguery, just to the Biblical interpretation that leads one preacher to blame the people you like as opposed to those who blame the people you hate.

You are in the company of millions of others who lack that faith. And are opposed to millions more who share that faith. As I've already pointed out, you have no idea what faith I have or lack, nor whom I oppose or support.

Well you may assume that, but you would have to produce evidence of that. It's self-evident that as an American, a veteran U.S. Marine, and someone claiming the equal rights promised to American citizens, he believes "America" includes him.

In the clips of J. Wright that I have viewed, I do not hear him say anything about his own sins, but the sins of "rich white men" and Hillary Clinton … who is so very rich and so very white. Any clip that mentions Hillary Clinton is not the one we've been discussing which followed immediately after 9/11. But fine, let's take that one too. It's ad hominem, it's demagogic and it's offensive. Were you confusing me with someone who thought Wright's rhetoric was defensible? If so, you ought to read my comments again.

You would also be wrong about Falwell, Hagee and the others you lump in with J. Wright. It is a "given" of protestant theology that we are all sinners. No more perfect example of this is found that the famous sermon "Sinners in the hand of an angry God." It is, by the way, what Easter is all about. Christ shedding his blood to atone for our sins. Perfect people don't need redemption. But they're not blaming 9/11 and Katrina on all our sins, are they? No, they're only blaming gays, lesbians, the ACLU and People for the American Way. Was that the point of Easter? We're all sinners, but let's scapegoat the gays and liberals? I don't think so.

But for people for whom God is a prop for Liberation Theology, for those who don't believe in any God, or for those whose definition of sin is infinitely malleable, I can see how the condemnation of the public affirmation of homosexuality would be as bad as racism.
Kudos on an excellent straw man. Not one word of it applies to what I said or believe.

Oh, and this is rich:

I suppose I'm marginally more offended by pointing fingers at identifiable individuals, targeting them for the blame and hatred of lots of credulous others.

Of course you quoted me out of context, leaving out the small detail about those people being innocent. So yes, assuming, hypothetically, gay couples walking hand in hand had actually caused Hurricane Katrina, then my complaint about excoriating them publicly for what they had done to us would indeed by "rich."

Right: J. Wright's targeting of "rich, white, people," of the Americans who created HIV to wipe out black people, to the bombers of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, to Hillary Clinton (that rich white woman) are not identifiable individuals? Again you're applying my comments about one quote to a different one you've introduced for the first time. Is that intellectually honest? No matter, as I've said I have no brief for Reverand Wright's vitriolic rhetoric, regardless of the legitimate anger any African-American might feel about the historical treatment of blacks in this country. Nor, on the other hand, do legitimate religious beliefs, including anyone's right to disapprove religiously of homosexuality, excuse Falwell, Robertson and Hagee inciting their congregants to blame Americans who happen to be gay for natural disasters and terrorist attacks. If that comports with either our founding principles or the Sermon on the Mount, I have yet to hear someone explain how.

Whatever. See you at the polls.
You betcha.
3.18.2008 7:18pm
LM (mail):
Elliot,

I very much doubt you can demonstrate any opposition here to offering equal opportunities. However, it will probably be very easy to find opposition to the notion that equality of outcome can be used to determine if opportunities have been offered in an equal manner.

I don't believe in equality of outcome as the measure of equal opportunity. I do think there'd be quite a bit of disagreement, however, over what equal opportunity does mean, and the proper roll of government would be at the center of that disagreement. Just for one example, I believe in providing every child a publicly funded education of equal quality. I know there are well-reasoned, principled libertarian objections to that, and I disagree with them.
3.18.2008 7:27pm
LM (mail):
The text and video of Obama's speech today.
3.18.2008 8:51pm
LM (mail):
At this point I may be talking to myself, but having just read Obama's speech, I'm too moved to leave this thread without adding a comment about the speech. But rather than try to convince anyone that I could give an unbiased review, I'll let Charles Murray do my talking:

I read the various posts here on "The Corner," mostly pretty ho-hum or critical about Obama's speech. Then I figured I'd better read the text (I tried to find a video of it, but couldn't). I've just finished. Has any other major American politician ever made a speech on race that comes even close to this one? As far as I'm concerned, it is just plain flat out brilliant—rhetorically, but also in capturing a lot of nuance about race in America. It is so far above the standard we're used to from our pols.... But you know me. Starry-eyed Obama groupie.
3.18.2008 9:40pm
Moneyrunner43 (www):
LM,

I'm sorry that I seem to have created so much hostility in you via my posts to you. I certainly did not mean to. In no way are you required to explain your belief in the divine to me or anyone else. On the other hand, since you expose your opinions in this thread, no one will be inhibited from commenting on your opinions with some specious references to the founders. I'm not sure why you drag them into a discussion of various expressions of religious opinion. The founders, after all, did not fence off religious expressions from criticism, a job you have taken on yourself with a great deal of vigor.

Regarding demagoguery, I object to it in any form. However, demagoguery appears to be in the eye of the beholder. I can readily believe that someone who reads and believes in the Bible would consider homosexuality a sin. It is considered a sin not just in the New Testament, but I remind you of the Old Testament story of the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah. Sodom ….. get it? There are still millions of people who believe the God of Abraham is the God of 2008; and who don't believe that he has become politically correct. He is, after all, not running for office.

And please don't be silly by saying things like:


It's self-evident that as an American, a veteran U.S. Marine, and someone claiming the equal rights promised to American citizens, he believes "America" includes him.


The America is asks God to damn does not include him, unless you think he includes himself as one of those who dropped atoms bombs on Japan, and spread the HIV virus to kill off black people.

You apparently have no regard for traditional Christian theology and I am neither surprised nor too disappointed. But we have been discussing a sideshow.

The reason J. Wright is an issue and Hagee is not is because Obama is a blank slate and McCain is not. Hagee could stand on a street corner and kill someone and it would be no more than a blip in anyone's radar screen. That's because McCain has an established public persona. We know who McCain is and what he believes and no snark about Hagee or any other fundamentalist preacher will change that.

McCain is not going to criticize homosexuals, much less excoriate them and everyone knows that. McCain is going after the Catholic vote and will get his share no matter what Hagee says.

Obama is a different case. He is a blank slate. He is for change, hope and the future. Now there's a platform that you can get your teeth into.

He's for not invading Iraq although he's considering invading Pakistan. Set the wayback machine Sherman.

I'll bet if asked that he's for motherhood and if pressed will swear his undying love for apple pie.

And he's sticking to that.

So if a candidate whose acolytes faint at his mere words is such an enigma, we have to look at the people he surrounds himself with to get an idea of his values. So we look at his skinny but telling voting record. We consider the fact that he is part the Chicago political machine, not a bunch of nuns. His beliefs are reflected in his wife's less guarded comments. So we get Mr. Rezko and his land purchase and the Reverend Wright and his anti-white anti-Semitic rants. And today we get a speech, which I have read in full, in which he contradicts what he told an interviewer just yesterday about what he knew about Wright's sermons. A speech in which he manages to both disavow Wright while embracing him. A very neat trick. Anyone who has followed this saga can conclude he gives a great speech, as long as someone gives him a good script. I wonder who wrote it?

Obama has become the Democrat's nightmare; derailing the second coming of the Clintons. I hope for the country's sake he does not become America's also.
3.18.2008 11:08pm
LM (mail):
Moneyrunner43,

I think our responses to Obama's speech are a pretty fair litmus test for our views on the Hagee, Wright issues. In fact I'm content to let Obama's political future rise or fall on how people who actually see or read the speech respond to it.

As for my hostility levels, you needn't worry. I think the tone of my reply was appropriate to your presumptions about what I believe, oppose and am offended by. If I were convinced otherwise, I'd apologize. But despite the contrary impression I seem to have given you, I don't take any of it personally, and I don't draw personal conclusions about you from your comments. I'm way too close to people with views a lot more objectionable than anything you've said to allow myself that kind of knee-jerk response. For me to pretend I know Moneyrunner43 just because you accused me of opposing millions of religious Christians would be like, say, Barack Obama rejecting his preacher for making numerous offensive and intemperate remarks.
3.19.2008 12:18am
Moneyrunner43 (www):
LM,

Our discussion has been a useful one and resulted in one of my recent posts on my blog.

Regarding your last comments, it's simply a fact that millions of Christians agree with Hagee's brand of theology, just as there are millions of American who agree with J. Wright's brand of theology. It is certainly anyone's right to stand in opposition to either or both and my comments were not an "accusation" simply an observation.

Regards.
3.19.2008 9:09am