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Rev. Wright on Louis Farrakhan:

Today, at the National Press Club:

MODERATOR: What is your relationship with Louis Farrakhan? Do you agree with and respect his views, including his most racially divisive views?

WRIGHT: As I said on the Bill Moyers' show, one of our news channels keeps playing a news clip from 20 years ago when Louis said 20 years ago that Zionism, not Judaism, was a gutter religion.

And he was talking about the same thing United Nations resolutions say, the same thing now that President Carter is being vilified for, and Bishop Tutu is being vilified for. And everybody wants to paint me as if I'm anti-Semitic because of what Louis Farrakhan said 20 years ago.

I believe that people of all faiths have to work together in this country if we're going to build a future for our children, whether those people are — just as Michelle and Barack don't agree on everything, Raymond (ph) and I don't agree on everything, Louis and I don't agree on everything, most of you all don't agree — you get two people in the same room, you've got three opinions.

So what I think about him, as I've said on Bill Moyers and it got edited out, how many other African-Americans or European-Americans do you know that can get one million people together on the mall? He is one of the most important voices in the 20th and 21st century. That's what I think about him.

I've said, as I said on Bill Moyers, when Louis Farrakhan speaks, it's like E.F. Hutton speaks, all black America listens. Whether they agree with him or not, they listen.

Now, I am not going to put down Louis Farrakhan anymore than Mandela would put down Fidel Castro. Do you remember that Ted Koppel show, where Ted wanted Mandela to put down Castro because Castro was our enemy? And he said, "You don't tell me who my enemies are. You don't tell me who my friends are."

Louis Farrakhan is not my enemy. He did not put me in chains. He did not put me in slavery. And he didn't make me this color.

Oren:
... when Louis Farrakhan speaks, it's like E.F. Hutton speaks, all black America listens. Whether they agree with him or not, they listen.
Listening to people we don't agree with? Unamerican!
4.28.2008 6:54pm
Factchecker:

So what I think about him, as I've said on Bill Moyers and it got edited out, how many other African-Americans or European-Americans do you know that can get one million people together on the mall?


False. It was called the "Million Man March" even before it took place, and all independent counts placed the crowd as less than one million. See Joel Best's Damned Lies and Statistics.
4.28.2008 7:06pm
Wayne Jarvis:
I remember back in summer of '32 when E.F. Hutton informed the country that Zionist-controlled government invented the Polio virus. What a scandal that was!
4.28.2008 7:06pm
wuzzagrunt (mail):
...one of our news channels keeps playing a news clip from 20 years ago when Louis said 20 years ago that Zionism, not Judaism, was a gutter religion.

Screwy Louie said that Judaism is a gutter religion. Jerry's got that old time revisionism.
4.28.2008 7:08pm
Wayne Jarvis:
But...on the topic of conspiracy theories. Rev. Wright has got to be closet Republican. Perhaps Big Oil, Big Tobbaco, and Big Underwear have him under their thumb(s)?

There are no other rational explanations that I can think of. He must want to ruin Obama.
4.28.2008 7:09pm
Tony Tutins (mail):
Who said this forty years ago?

"No, I am not going 10,000 miles to help murder kill and burn other people to simply help continue the domination of white slavemasters over dark people the world over. This is the day and age when such evil injustice must come to an end."

and this?

"I Ain't Got No Quarrel With The Viet Cong...
No Viet Cong Ever Called Me Nigger"


Why don't we criticize that person today?
4.28.2008 7:10pm
SenatorX (mail):
Do you agree with and respect his views, including his most racially divisive views?

"Louis Farrakhan is not my enemy. He did not put me in chains. He did not put me in slavery. And he didn't make me this color."

In other words : The white man is my enemy, the white man put me in chains, the white man made me this color?

The more this guy talks the worse it gets.
4.28.2008 7:10pm
billb:
Louis Farrakhan is not my enemy. He did not put me in chains. He did not put me in slavery. And he didn't make me this color.


Having God as your enemy has to suck.
4.28.2008 7:11pm
EKGlen (mail):
The National Review Online had something like 10 or 15 posts up recently about Wright.

Kind of odd to see the same sort of posts here and VC.

Or maybe not.
4.28.2008 7:15pm
The Unbeliever:
Having God as your enemy has to suck.

Maybe he gave God a pass and blames his parents instead.
4.28.2008 7:18pm
Eugene Volokh (www):
EKGlen: Odd, I never saw the Treaty of Tordesillas dividing the world between the National Review Online and the Volokh Conspiracy. I had thought we had concurrent jurisdiction with them -- as we say in the law biz -- with the power to cover important commentary from spiritual mentors to political candidates and not just the narrow technical fields of copyright law, Vogue covers, Supreme Court decisions, voting behaviors, song lyrics, supposed regional differences between the "savage" and the "diplomatic," and underage sex.
4.28.2008 7:19pm
donaldk:
I hope no one here thinks that he actually believes the garbage he talks! More than half white, comfortably middle class home, best schools - he decided at some point that his path to fame and fortune was to become a demagogue preacher. And he turned out to be damned good at it.

He was good enough to gather a congregation of 8,000 haters, who could look forward every Sunday to hear a heartfelt denunciation of Whitey and all his works.

He is like a buffoon in a blackface minstrel show, with a crucial addition: villainy.
4.28.2008 7:20pm
Juan Inukshuk:
EKGlen,
Andrew Sullivan -- Andrew Sullivan! -- has a post up about this the vileness of this speech.
4.28.2008 7:21pm
EKGlen (mail):

with the power to cover important commentary from spiritual mentors to political candidates

Delightful. Glad to see this is a general interest and not directed specifically at Mr. Obama.

In that vein, I am anxiously awaiting your thoughts on Pastor Hagee (whose support and endorsement was solicited by Mr. McCain).

If you aren't familiar with his views, you might want to google "Hagee jews 'christ-killers'"
4.28.2008 7:23pm
Bored Lawyer:

you get two people in the same room, you've got three opinions


I thought only Jews had this quality.


Louis Farrakhan is not my enemy. He did not put me in chains. He did not put me in slavery. And he didn't make me this color.


The parallelism is striking.
4.28.2008 7:23pm
Unsurprised:

Louis Farrakhan is not my enemy. He did not put me in chains. He did not put me in slavery. And he didn't make me this color.




Is Wright on Senator McCain's payroll? Because this guy's a gift that keeps on giving. I guess when you're bitter at God, you can't cling to religion, huh?
4.28.2008 7:26pm
Thorley Winston (mail) (www):
Andrew Sullivan -- Andrew Sullivan! -- has a post up about this the vileness of this speech.


He must have said something unflattering about gay people.
4.28.2008 7:31pm
Thorley Winston (mail) (www):

But...on the topic of conspiracy theories. Rev. Wright has got to be closet Republican. Perhaps Big Oil, Big Tobbaco, and Big Underwear have him under their thumb(s)?

There are no other rational explanations that I can think of. He must want to ruin Obama.


I was thinking that Karl Rove must have gotten the old Mind Control Ray working again. We'll know for sure if Howard Dean starts saying something stupid in the press.
4.28.2008 7:36pm
genob:
Is Hillary paying this guy? If not, she should find a way to get him a jet and a microphone. Obama needs to figure out fast how to get completely detached from this guy if he is serious about a national election. Particularly one where he was running on the notion of unifying the nation.

In the same breath that Wright claims the "chickens coming home to roost" statement is out of context, he clarifies that it means exactly how it sounds: America is a terrorist state and had it coming:

"Jesus said, 'Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.' You cannot do terrorism on other people and expect it never to come back on you. Those are biblical principles, not Jeremiah Wright bombastic principles," he said.

He also thinks there is a military draft:

"My goddaughter's unit just arrived in Iraq this week while those who call me unpatriotic have used their positions of privilege to avoid military service while sending over 4,000 American boys and girls to die over a lie," he said.

And of course Mr. Wright has never been in chains or made a slave, nor is there a white American alive today that has owned a slave. But apparently white America is his enemy.
4.28.2008 7:39pm
Bill Poser (mail) (www):
According to this post on the Nation of Islam site, which contains a letter from Louis Farrakhan himself, he called Judaism (not Zionism), a "dirty religion". Farrakhan gives an explanation for this which I don't find persuasive, namely that he was referring not to Judaism per se but to Jews who distort Judaism. Of course, the idea that Judaism as we know it (from the earliest biblical times to the present) is a distorted form of Islam, which is claimed to have been the religion of Adam and Eve, is the standard Muslim view.
4.28.2008 7:41pm
SenatorX (mail):
EKGlen you do understand that most grown-ups understand that you can't excuse bad behavior by pointing to someone else and saying "But they do it too"? It's one of the known fallacies called Tu quoque.

Besides that you would have to be dishonest to compare the Mcain/Hagee relationship to the Obama/Wright relationship and say they were the same. The reason you don't see lots of posts about it is because it's stupid, already analyzed, and tossed out for lacking substance.
4.28.2008 7:41pm
Dave N (mail):
EKGlen's true motives show:

Why, EKGlen doesn't think we should talk about Jeremiah Wright, whose church Barack Obama attended for 20 years without talking about John Hagee, whose church John McCain has never even attended, as far as I know.

The better parallel is comparing the pastors of Trinity United Chuch of Christ and North Phoenix Baptist Church, since Obama has been a member of the former for 20 years and McCain has attended the latter for the past 16 years.

So instead of trotting out Hagee everytime Wright is mentioned, how about trotting out Dan Yeary, and point to anything he has ever said that matches Jeremiah Wright's level of hate.
4.28.2008 7:44pm
EKGlen (mail):
SenatorX

Oh heavens no, I don't want to stand in the way of anyone castigating the bad behavior of others. I'm all for it.

I just noticed that there have been a few posts about Rev. Wright and with EV's clarification, I am eager to see the condemnation rain down on Mr. Hagee.

As for your last paragraph, since it is a fallacy to try to compare Obama/Wright with McCain/Hagee, I don't know why you brought it up.
4.28.2008 7:46pm
EKGlen (mail):
DaveN

I don't know anything about Dan Yeary, but I would be interested in hearing people's thoughts about what it says about Mr. McCain's judgment that he solicited the support of a man who doesn't hesitate to refer to Jews as "Christ killers."
4.28.2008 7:48pm
autolykos:

EKGlen: Odd, I never saw the Treaty of Tordesillas dividing the world between the National Review Online and the Volokh Conspiracy. I had thought we had concurrent jurisdiction with them -- as we say in the law biz -- with the power to cover important commentary from spiritual mentors to political candidates and not just the narrow technical fields of copyright law, Vogue covers, Supreme Court decisions, voting behaviors, song lyrics, supposed regional differences between the "savage" and the "diplomatic," and underage sex.


*whap*
4.28.2008 7:49pm
ShouldBeStudying:
Tony Tutins,

Although I wasn't alive at the time, I believe that Mohamed Ali (Cassius Clay) was highly criticized for his comments. I'm also sure that some people who were alive at the time still resent him for those views. However, Ali, in his current condition, does not seem to be making similar statements anymore, or making an effort to standby the comments he once made.
4.28.2008 7:51pm
Elliot123 (mail):
"Louis Farrakhan is not my enemy. He did not put me in chains. He did not put me in slavery. And he didn't make me this color."

Nobody put Wright in chains.
Nobody put Wright in slavery.
Wright's color is due to his Negroid and Caucasian genes.
4.28.2008 7:54pm
Dave N (mail):
EKGlen,

I know quite a bit about Jeremiah Wright, and I am interested in hearing what it says about Barack Obama's judgment that he sat in the pews of Wright's church for 20 years while Wright spewed hate from the pulpit.

Where you choose to attend church, if you choose to attend church, speaks volumes about what you value.

In answer to your question, John McCain sought a political endorsement. In hindsight, it may have been ill-advised. But if you can't see the difference between seeking an endorsement and sitting in a pew, listening to hate year after year, then there is no point in discussing things further.
4.28.2008 7:54pm
A. Zarkov (mail):
"Louis Farrakhan is not my enemy. He did not put me in chains. He did not put me in slavery. And he didn't make me this color."

"I read a funny story about how the Republicans freed the slaves. The Republicans are the ones who created slavery by law in the 1600's. Abraham Lincoln freed the slaves and he was not a Republican."


I guess these two speak to the same audience.
4.28.2008 7:59pm
EKGlen (mail):
Dave N

I am confused, I thought EV said that this is something that Wright said in the past couple of days at a speech.

Is it your understanding that Obama was in the audience at the time?
4.28.2008 8:04pm
MXE (mail):
He did not put me in slavery.

Whoa, Jeremiah Wright was a slave? Now that's a story I want to hear about.
4.28.2008 8:09pm
A. Zarkov (mail):
Wright is not a stupid man, far from it. He also has a distinguished military record. I don't think he hates his country or white people. I must conclude that he actually wants to sabotage BHO's campaign because he fears change. Change is the enemy of today's race hustlers. It's too bad that Wright choose the dark side because a man of his talents could have accomplished a lot in improving race relations. But that wouldn't make as much money. Like Bill Clinton he's tragic figure.
4.28.2008 8:10pm
ERH:
Listen as an Obama supporter, I find Wright offensive. And having been to my share of black churches I take exception to the developing story that Wright is just reflective of that particular milieu.

However, I don't think Wright reflects Obama's views. In fact if he's like most church-goers I know, he probably wasn't paying attention half the time he was there. Let's face it, as discussed here many times it's almost a requirement for a candidate for a major office in the US to have a religious affiliation. And Obama found a church that would help him in his political rise in Illinois. The problem has become what was a benefit on the local level has become a liability on the national level. And I think the best way for him to handle it is just repeat just as he has said, "Yes, he's a bit of a nut, but he's not the whole church. And the church on the whole is a good one."
4.28.2008 8:11pm
alan:
If you aren't familiar with his views, you might want to google "Hagee jews 'christ-killers'"

But does he support Isreal?
4.28.2008 8:17pm
A. Zarkov (mail):
"He did not put me in slavery."

When Wright talks this way he means American blacks as a group both in the present and history. Don't take "me" literally.
4.28.2008 8:23pm
GV:
Was Wright's problem that he blamed the U.S. government for 9/11 instead of blaming abortionists, feminists, gays, lesbians, the ACLU, and the People for the American Way, as Falwell did? Or was it because he didn't say that 9/11 was what "we deserved," as Falwell did? Or was Wright's problem that he blamed the U.S. government for inventing AIDS instead of praising God for inventing AIDS to kill homosexuals, as Falwell did?
4.28.2008 8:28pm
EKGlen (mail):
Dave N said:


So instead of trotting out Hagee everytime Wright is mentioned, how about trotting out Dan Yeary, and point to anything he has ever said that matches Jeremiah Wright's level of hate.


I did a google search and Mr. Yeary doesn't seem to have much of a published record. He is sort of a pre-confirmation Clarence Thomas of pastors, I guess.

But he did say this back when the controversy first started:


All preachers have a tendency to overstate because our passion is so intense. But I thought Obama did a fine job in response. He preserved his friendship with his pastor while disagreeing with him


So it seems that McCain's pastor was satisified by Obama's reaction. I guess you're not.

So are you proposing that Obama hold a news conference and give a response every time Wright says something idiotic?

Or should he just stone him and put an end to it?
4.28.2008 8:31pm
Oren:
Of course, the idea that Judaism as we know it (from the earliest biblical times to the present) is a distorted form of Islam, which is claimed to have been the religion of Adam and Eve, is the standard Muslim view.
Of course you haven't actually read the Koran. I suggest you actually pick it up one day, you might learn something.
It is He Who sent down to thee (step by step), in truth, the Book, confirming what went before it; and He sent down the Law (of Moses) and the Gospel (of Jesus) before this, as a guide to mankind, and He sent down the criterion (of judgment between right and wrong). —Qur'an 3:3
Say (O Muhammad): We believe in Allah and that which is revealed unto us and that which was revealed unto Abraham and Ishmael and Isaac and Jacob and the tribes, and that which was vouchsafed unto Moses and Jesus and the prophets from their Lord. We make no distinction between any of them, and unto Him we have surrendered. -Qur'an 3:84
4.28.2008 8:33pm
Dave N (mail):
EKGlen,

You are not confused, you are being disingenuous. You want to trot out John Hagee anytime Jeremiah Wright is criticized. My point was that the true person to compare Wright with is Dan Yeary--now you want to change the subject again as to whether Obama actually was in the audience.

I was not the one who refused to disavow Jeremiah Wright--somebody else did refuse to disavow, though, snd in fact equated him with a member of his family--I think that might have been the junior Senator from Illinois, but I could be wrong.
4.28.2008 8:34pm
Dave Hardy (mail) (www):
"And he didn't make me this color."

Seeing his pic, I wonder what color that is? I'm darker skinned than he is (by virtue of living in AZ, mostly, maybe a little due to an Indian ancestor). Maybe someone should sing Danny Boy. If he breaks down, we'll know he's really Irish thru and thru.
4.28.2008 8:36pm
byomtov (mail):
GV,

You don't understand. Falwell (and Robertson) were closely associated with Republicans. That put them above criticism.
4.28.2008 8:36pm
Dave D. (mail):
...ERH, Being in close association with a race baiting hatehusler makes you poor material for the Presidency. This is only going to get worse for Mr. Obama. Continuing to split the difference will cost him any chance at the election.
4.28.2008 8:38pm
EKGlen (mail):

My point was that the true person to compare Wright with is Dan Yeary-

I guess you missed my post where I quoted from Yeary.

He seemed satisified by Obama's reaction. But I guess you're not.

Obama already gave one speech stating his views about Wright. Do you think he should give a speech in response to every Wright appearance?
4.28.2008 8:42pm
someone_not_you:
VC now focusing on political BullSh*t as much as fox, cnn, msnbc, and all the other embarrassing examples of 'American news'? I see several posts today about political garbage. How about you focus on real issues instead of aiding the constant flow of misinformation and selective bias the media spills in order to get people to vote over mindless things like flag pins, friends' viewpoints, flag salutes etc. etc. etc.
4.28.2008 8:43pm
Steve2:

Who said this forty years ago?

"No, I am not going 10,000 miles to help murder kill and burn other people to simply help continue the domination of white slavemasters over dark people the world over. This is the day and age when such evil injustice must come to an end."

and this?

"I Ain't Got No Quarrel With The Viet Cong...
No Viet Cong Ever Called Me Nigger"

Why don't we criticize that person today?

Tony, there's what Shouldbestudying already said.

There's also this:
I don't criticize him for saying those statements because I don't think they're grounds for legitimate criticism. The second doesn't strike me as anything more than a probably-true factual statement to be contrasted to the unstated but probably-true factual statement that plenty of white Americans had so called him. And, you know, the Viet Cong started out as a nationalist movement to oust the French from Vietnam, which certainly gives subsequent U.S. action against them the appearance, though not necessarily the substance, of going to bail a dying European (white) empire out of trouble. As for the geopolitics that brought the U.S. into it, I can understand why those wouldn't be very compelling or relevant to him, especially given that he'd grown up under Jim Crow laws (remember, the sort of thing that necessitate the 2nd Amendment) and thus - I don't know for certain, but I'll guess is the case - was likely in the group of people that Communism promises a better life (whether or not it can deliver). So, seems to me his first statement reflected the most reasonable opinion for a black man born in 1942 to hold. He may well have been right, too: Jim Crow was, after all, exactly the sort of situation the tools protected by the 2nd Amendment are supposed to be there to prevent.
4.28.2008 8:43pm
genob:
GV,

Actually, those kinds of statements by the likes of Robertson and Falwell were widely critcized, and the reality is that any politician that claimed either of those two as a "spritual mentor" or whatever it is that Wright is to Obama, would quite certainly and rightly be marginalized, and be rendered non-viable in a national election. Do you really beleive otherwise. The amazing thing is that Obama has not been marginalized, at least by the Democratic party. There is a huge difference between giving a speech at Liberty University, and sitting in the pews for 20 years and claiming the man as a hugely important influence in his life. Had Obama given a speech or two at this church, there would be zero controversy. But that's not the situation.
4.28.2008 8:45pm
astrangerwithcandy (mail):
a. zarkov -

you sure? the guy is clearly insane, why is not possible that he actually thinks he is some kind of 21st century prophet channeling the anguish of some american slave?
4.28.2008 8:45pm
alias:
I'm not sure what's particularly offensive about the quoted excerpt. Most of the quibbles I see are with the semantics.

* So the Million Man March wasn't actually a million people? So what? Change Rev. Wright's statement to "a quarter of a million people" or "a half million people" and I think he's still got a point.

* Is it implausible to equate "Zionism" with "Jews who distort Judaism"? If not, then Rev. Wright is probably not misrepresenting what Farrakhan said.

The whole excerpt of Wright's remarks makes him seem evasive. Of course he doesn't share every last opinion of Farrakhan's, but that's not what the question was. As I read the excerpt, he's saying one of two things:

(1) Regardless of my agreement or disagreement with any of Farrakhan's specific views, I refuse to denounce a friend at this time in this forum, or

(2) I don't much care one way or the other about anti-Semitism because I'm not Jewish, and in light of all of the good things that Farrakhan has done for black people, his views on Judaism should be beside the point.


(1) is reasonable, in my view. (2) is open to criticism, but I don't see anyone on this thread making that criticism. OTOH, I'm not especially familiar with the specifics of what Farrakhan or Wright have said in the past on these matters, so maybe I've missed something important.
4.28.2008 8:47pm
Mitch (mail) (www):
I don't think this guy even rises to the depths of Falwell and Robertson. He's something more like L. Ron Hubbard if, as I suspect, he is cynical enough to lie in God's name and trash people's souls for his personal enrichment. If he actually believes the demented slander he spews, comparisons to Marshall Applewhite would probably be more accurate.
4.28.2008 8:50pm
dupree biggins:
Um, anybody notice that on any of PBS' good-time doo-wop money-raisin' specials, all of the septuagenarian performers' duds seem to come from the same costume supply agency: Saucy embroidery wif' plenty o' rhinestones 'n' fancy stitchins on dacron fused dinner jackets.

Anybody notice Rev. Wright's preachin' outfits?
4.28.2008 8:52pm
whit:
"Louis Farrakhan speaks, it's like E.F. Hutton speaks, all black America listens"

what complete and utter crap. first of all, black america doesn't listen to any ONE man. and when one lists the people that "black america" (realizing there is a heck of a lot of diversity amongst black americans) pays attention to, let alone admires, farrakhan is WAY WAY WAY WAY WAY down the list.

ALL BLACK AMERICA listens to farrakhan? yea, about as much as ALL WHITE AMERICA listens to rush limbaugh, ALL ASIAN AMERICA listens to michelle malkin, and ALL JEWISH AMERICA listens to michael savage.

iow, not so much.

you can sit and deconstruct his stupid speech and find plenty more examples of stupid rhetoric, but that's just one perfect example of how he says dumb things.

reverend wright is LOVING his 15 minutes though.
4.28.2008 9:00pm
GV:
genob, but Republicans, for years, clung to Falwell and sought out his support. Why was that okay or any different than Obama's situation? Yes, I understand that Wright was Obama's spiritual advisor, but that seems to make his situation better not worse. Lots of people have spiritual advisors who they differ from on politics. But Falwell was specifically sought out for his political support.

Some "popular" conservatives have really, really odious views about Muslims, about gays, and about a lot of things. Falwell is one example. Ann Coulter is another. And Rush. Yet it's not incendiary to associate yourself with these horrible people. Why? It's obviously selective outrage.
4.28.2008 9:01pm
A. Zarkov (mail):
"you sure? the guy is clearly insane, why is not possible that he actually thinks he is some kind of 21st century prophet channeling the anguish of some american slave?"

I'm not sure. And I never met the man. But at one time I actually had job assignments that took me to various Negro (as they said in those days) Churches in Newark and Brooklyn. As such I got to see these guys up close and while they sound like they're nuts, they really aren't. They're just out for a buck and they do very well at what they do. At the time I was not happy when as I witnessed how they exploited well meaning and sincere black people who wanted to be religious. Unfortunately things have gotten much worse since then because of the likes of Sharpton and Jackson.
4.28.2008 9:01pm
Elliot123 (mail):
"When Wright talks this way he means American blacks as a group both in the present and history. Don't take "me" literally."

Nobody put present day blacks in chains.
Nobody put present day blacks in slavery.
Present day blacks' color is due to the ratio of Negroid to Caucasian genes.
4.28.2008 9:02pm
SMatthewStolte (mail):
One of the things I think is interesting is the way that my liberal acquaintances are responding to Rev Wright. As soon as he proves himself to be a man of sophisticated thoughts, they think it throws him into a whole new light, and they are a little befuddled that others of us are still quite offended by his controversial remarks. You can see a YouTube video of Rev Wright's sermons in their wider context, with the same attitude: "Here's what the mainstream media shows you," and "Here's the context." And I respond, "okay, he says some nice things, some moderately offensive things, and some very offensive things. I never said the man hated his mother and skinned cats."

I'm actually quite surprised by my liberal friends at their more positive reaction, &in all honesty don't know what to make of it.
4.28.2008 9:02pm
byomtov (mail):
the reality is that any politician that claimed either of those two as a "spritual mentor" or whatever it is that Wright is to Obama, would quite certainly and rightly be marginalized, and be rendered non-viable in a national election.

Nonsense. Both men enjoyed close ties to prominent Republican politicians, and considerable influence in the party. Robertson even got a reasonable number of votes when he sought the nomination, and even spoke at the party convention.
4.28.2008 9:05pm
GV:
One more point. I don't understand some of the outrage regarding the connection between Wright and anti-Semitism. How many horrible, horrible things have some popular conservatives (including some elected members of Congress) said about Muslims? If we scratched out the word "Muslim" and inserted the word "Jewish" in a lot of their quotes, you'd never hear the end of on it on this blog and elsewhere. But not only is there not any outrange, there's often silence when some of this awful things are said. Why is that?

Denigrating muslims is no more defensible than denigrating muslims. But Obama is being vilified because he has a connection to someone who has a connection to someone who is anti-Semitic, but republican connections to those who are anti-muslim is deemed irrelevant.
4.28.2008 9:11pm
GV:
blah, my grammar in that last post stinks, but I think my point is clear.
4.28.2008 9:12pm
Hoosier:
"Denigrating muslims is no more defensible than denigrating muslims."

By definition.

(I understand your plight, GV. I'm recovering from a kidney infection--ouch--and my spelling has been attroeshus today.)
4.28.2008 9:17pm
grackle (mail):
I don't see what you find so offensive. In what sense is it his responsibility to disavow the views of Louis Farrakhan? For whom? To make you feel good? You have no bigotry of your own to worry about? These seem like moderate mainstream African American views based on average African American experiences to me. In other words, yawn. Pardon my boredom at your faux outrage.
4.28.2008 9:19pm
Hoosier:
SMAtthew--"I'm actually quite surprised by my liberal friends at their more positive reaction, &in all honesty don't know what to make of it."

I've noticed the same thing, and most disturbing to me is their reference to his many degrees and his intellect. That whole: "See! Wow! He ISN'T dumb AT ALL!"

So . . . it's my liberal-academic friends ("colleagues," really, for the most part) who are amazed to find a religious black man who is highly intelligent. "Wow!"

I never said he isn't smarter than I am.

But he accuses people of doing horrible things that they did not do. I don't do that. He could bloody well earn a D. Div. from the Univeristy of Great God Almighty Himself for all I care. He's still nauseating as long as he doesn't apologize for the AIDS lie.
4.28.2008 9:23pm
The Unbeliever:
genob, but Republicans, for years, clung to Falwell and sought out his support.

Maybe they were just bitter and there wasn't a gun nearby. I blame Clinton, for no apparent reason.

In what sense is it his responsibility to disavow the views of Louis Farrakhan?

Apparently in the same sense it is important for McCain to disavow the views of Hagee. Which he has, by the way, several times, without any references to his grandmother or weasel words about being unable to disown him.

Ain't tu quoque grand?
4.28.2008 9:24pm
Hoosier:
grackle--Only if you'll pardon my boredom with your boredom. That would make us pretty much come out even. And we average, mainstream non-black Americans go for that sort of thing.
4.28.2008 9:25pm
The Ace (mail):

However, I don't think Wright reflects Obama's views. In fact if he's like most church-goers I know, he probably wasn't paying attention half the time he was there. Let's face it, as discussed here many times it's almost a requirement for a candidate for a major office in the US to have a religious affiliation. And Obama found a church that would help him in his political rise in Illinois. The problem has become what was a benefit on the local level has become a liability on the national level.


I just love the moral equivocation here.

Great job! Really, it is.

And if John McCain went to Fred Phelps' church, I'm sure you'd be saying the same thing.

You leftist hypocrites are pathetic.
4.28.2008 9:30pm
Zed:
Since Wright was speaking figuratively on behalf of all black people in history, I'm pretty sure that other blacks have put blacks in chains and sold them into slavery. Black chiefs sold the blacks as slaves to the European trading ships.

And black parents makes someone black in skin color.

So Mr. Wright, please blame blacks for your problems instead of always "da white man."
4.28.2008 9:31pm
The Ace (mail):

Was Wright's problem that he blamed the U.S. government for 9/11 instead of blaming abortionists, feminists, gays, lesbians, the ACLU, and the People for the American Way, as Falwell did? Or was it because he didn't say that 9/11 was what "we deserved," as Falwell did? Or was Wright's problem that he blamed the U.S. government for inventing AIDS instead of praising God for inventing AIDS to kill homosexuals, as Falwell did?


Actually clown, Wright's problem is that Falwell apologized.

Again, just love watching the lack of principles at work.

Racist, idiotic bigot associated with your preferred candidate?
Wave the hands and shout "Republicans do it too!"

It never ceases to amaze me how Republicans are, according to you leftists, "racists, homophobic, stupid, jingoist," etc. etc. etc. Yet when a leftists is found to be acting just like those "evil" Republicans, it's ok because, well, um, Republicans act that way.

You stay principled you hypocrites!
4.28.2008 9:35pm
The Ace (mail):

Republicans, for years, clung to Falwell and sought out his support. Why was that okay or any different than Obama's situation? Yes, I understand that Wright was Obama's spiritual advisor, but that seems to make his situation better not worse. Lots of people have spiritual advisors who they differ from on politics. But Falwell was specifically sought out for his political support.


Exactly backwards. A political endorsement is not on par with being someone's "spiritual advisor"

At all.

The fact you think that a political endorsement, in fact an almost meaningless gesture in today's age, is worse than what Wright preached to Obama demonstrates you are incapable of thinking critically about this topic.
4.28.2008 9:43pm
The Ace (mail):
Wright is not a stupid man, far from it. He also has a distinguished military record. I don't think he hates his country or white people.

What does his military record have to do with anything?

Oh, just more arm waving. Nevermind.

He doesn't hate whites?

Hmmm here is what crazy uncle Jerry said this morning:

I do not in any way disagree with James Cone. Jim is a personal friend of mine.


And here's a sample of his "personal friend" in action:

I

f whiteness stands for all that is evil, blackness symbolizes all that is good. "Black theology," says Cone, "refuses to accept a God who is not identified totally with the goals of the black community. If God is not for us and against white people, then he is a murderer, and we had better kill him. The task of black theology is to kill Gods who do not belong to the black community … Black theology will accept only the love of God which participates in the destruction of the white enemy.


Try again, because you lose.
4.28.2008 9:50pm
MXE (mail):
Nobody put present day blacks in chains.
Nobody put present day blacks in slavery.
Present day blacks' color is due to the ratio of Negroid to Caucasian genes.


Exactly.
4.28.2008 9:55pm
Uncommon Nonsense:
Yawn. Wake me up when anyone can name someone who had not already made up their mind about Wright before hearing this. Can we have actual issues, now? Thanks
4.28.2008 9:56pm
Russ (mail):
He did not put me in chains. He did not put me in slavery.

Neither did we, as slavery hasn't existed in this country for over 140 years. You weren't a slave, your father wasn't a slave, your grandfather wasn't a slave. This country is supposed to be about who you are, not what your ancestors did.

And he didn't make me this color.

No, God did that. Should he damn himself?
4.28.2008 10:02pm
A. Zarkov (mail):
"Try again, because you lose."

This is really amusing. I used those very quotes myself in writing about black liberation theology, and I had to fend off attacks that the statements were taken out of context.

But I'm not defending black liberation theology, or Wright. I'm offering an alternate explanation for his behavior. One that does not reflect on him well either. He's not necessarily crazy or a racist. Of course he's making racist statements, but not necessarily out of true animus towards white people. He's simply a self promoter who doesn't even care if he sabotages BHO's campaign. He doesn't care about anything except making money.
4.28.2008 10:05pm
davod (mail):
"Wright is not a stupid man, far from it. He also has a distinguished military record."

What is a distinguished military record?
4.28.2008 10:20pm
Fearless:

Neither did we, as slavery hasn't existed in this country for over 140 years. You weren't a slave, your father wasn't a slave, your grandfather wasn't a slave. This country is supposed to be about who you are, not what your ancestors did.


I am glad to hear that you are advocating a 100% inheritance tax.
4.28.2008 10:21pm
JM Hanes:
Farrakhan didn't put Wright in chains, enslave him or make him black. Farrakhan didn't set him free either. 350,000 dead Yankees did that.
4.28.2008 10:28pm
holdfast (mail):
Let's be practical - the vast majority of Jews vote Democrat - I have no idea why, since it is totally against our self-interest, but it is a fact. The vast majority of African-Americans also vote Democrat. There are a number of reasons why that is the case, but I would think that some prominent racist statements / actions by various Republicans (let's ignore Byrd) features among those reasons. I don't believe that secular law requires us to love our neighbor - frankly you may hate his guts as long as you don't hurt him or commit various other crimes or torts.

Obama has surronded himself with people who are hostile to Jews and/or Israel (not the same thing, but interests at least overlap). That's fine - I don't believe in forced pieties - but it will cost him if he is the candidate. Farrakahn is clearly a Jew-hater. Wright is less clear but he also gives me that vibe. Wright was Obama's pastor for twenty years, performed his marriage, baptized his kids and was the inspiration for Obama's book. Obama has given tens of thousands of dollars to his church. Wright was Obama's [meal] ticket into Chhicago black politics - there is no way that Obama can distance himself enough without totally denouncing Wright and thereby losing base.

Those are the facts.

Another inconvenient fact - there many of the people who traded in slaves at places like Zanzibar shared Farrakahn's faith. Saudi Arabia and other similarly faithed countries still practice de jure slavery against black Africans. America doesn't.
4.28.2008 10:33pm
genob:
I have to agree with the Ace...seeking the political endorsement of a person who has a lot of loyal followers is simply politics. It doesn't imply some sympathy with the viewpoints of that person, and particularly not with the more extreme viewpoints of that person. Obamas problem isn't seeking political endorsements. (My guess is that he'd like to be endorsed as many leaders of large groups of voters he can get....black, white, radical, or otherwise). Had he gone to speak at this church in hopes of getting Wright's endorsement and winning some or all of the congregation as Obama voters, there would be no issue here. Obama's problem is that he has a long and deep relationship with Wright that indicates that he truly identifies with this guy.

It's like I said the first time...Going to Liberty University to give a speech in the hopes of getting some people there to recognize that they might want to vote for you is very, very different than being a disciple of Jerry Falwell. The speechmaker wins elections. The disciple is relegated to nut-job fringe candidate. Obama is the disciple.
4.28.2008 10:44pm
SIG357:
Toxic stuff, I agree. But in fairness, it's no worse than the Hispanics come out with. And for some reason they fly below the outrage radar.
4.28.2008 10:52pm
Diggity Steve (mail):
holdfast - you're wrong on all counts. Jews voting against their interest by voting Democrat? Nonsense. Jews don't vote their wallets or pocketbooks. Never have and never will. Jews vote Democrat because they believe in the welfare state, a progressive tax system, reproductive rights, science, rationality, not throwing poor people and minorities under the bus, etc., etc.


Obama has surronded himself with people who are hostile to Jews and/or Israel (not the same thing, but interests at least overlap). That's fine - I don't believe in forced pieties - but it will cost him if he is the candidate. Farrakahn is clearly a Jew-hater. Wright is less clear but he also gives me that vibe. Wright was Obama's pastor for twenty years, performed his marriage, baptized his kids and was the inspiration for Obama's book. Obama has given tens of thousands of dollars to his church. Wright was Obama's [meal] ticket into Chhicago black politics - there is no way that Obama can distance himself enough without totally denouncing Wright and thereby losing base.


How disingenuous can get you get? What role has Farrahkan played in Obama's campaign? When has Obama surrounded himself with Farrakhan? Wright is not part of Obama's campaign. Additionaly, conflating those who may be critical of Israel based on substantive reasons (some of Obama's foreign policy advisors) and those who hate Jews (no one who has or is connected with Obama's campaign) is a cheap trick. Shame on you.
4.28.2008 11:03pm
Bill Poser (mail) (www):
Oren:

Of course you haven't actually read the Koran. I suggest you actually pick it up one day, you might learn something.


Of course, you haven't the faintest idea what you are talking about. For your information, I first read the Koran 39 years ago, in the translation by Mohammed Marmaduke Pickthall. I have since re-read it in English, and have read small portions in Arabic. I have also read numerous books and scholarly articles about Islam and the history of the Middle East.

What I wrote above about Islam projecting itself back historically and claiming that Judaism and Christianity are deviant offshoots of Islam is exactly correct. You will find this position explained in authoritative sources, and if you read carefully, you will find that it is not contradicted by the passages which you have cited.

For example, in Philip Carl Salzmann's recent book Culture and Conflict in the Middle East, by an anthropologist with long experience in this area, we read at p. 151:

Far from accepting that Islam was an historical phenomenon that followed Judaism and Christianity and drew on them for inspiration, Islam is projected back in time to the origin of humanity, defining Judaism and Christianity as minor, corrupt offshoots of Islam.


On the following page, he quotes Sheikh Kamal Khatib, vice-chairman of the Islamic Movement of Israel as saying:

for us Islam is not only the religion of the prophet Muhammad, but also the religion of Moses, Jesus, and Abraham.


Indeed, the Qur'an even denies that Abraham, the first Jew, was a Jew:

Abraham was not a Jew nor yet a Christian; but he was true in Faith, and bowed his will to Allah's (Which is Islam), and he joined not gods with Allah. (3.67)


You also have a very deficient idea of how to study a religion if you think that you can understand it by means of a couple of isolated quotations from one source. Not only is the Qur'an internally inconsistent and in many places opaque, but Islam is also based on the extensive traditions of the life and sayings of Mohammed.

Lest you think that Salzmann's view is somehow invalidated by his not being a Muslim, here's an explanation from a Muslim web site aimed at converting non-Muslims:


Islam is the religion which was given to Adam, the first man and the first prophet of Allah, and it was the religion of all the prophets sent by Allah to mankind.


The same site makes it clear that Islam does not accept Judaism and Christianity as equally valid:


It is our opinion that whoever claims that any religion other than Islam is acceptable, such as Judaism, Christianity and so forth, is a non believer.


The passages that you have quoted are entirely consistent with this view. The Muslim view is that Islam is the original religion and is what was known to the Jewish prophets and to Jesus. Muslims consider that Jews have deviated from the Islam of Moses and that Christians have deviated from the Islam of Jesus. Muhammed was given a final revelation in order to straighten things out.
4.28.2008 11:13pm
Chimaxx (mail):
I'm trying to see what's so remarkable in that oft-regurgitated quotation from Cone. Why should black churches accept and worship a vision of a God who was complicit in their slavery and oppression rather than working for their liberation, as he did when he led the Israelites out of Egypt? Why is it even remarkable that they would reject the very idea of a God complicit in their slavery to be a lie, a dead letter, a story and a liturgy that must be rejected and opposed, and that any God who gives aid and comfort to the oppressor must be "killed," must be considered false and void, and replaced with a God dedicated to opposing social hierarchies and liberating the oppressed from their oppression?

Is it only my atheism that makes the metaphors in Cone's words so obvious and personally inoffensive and the black church's emphasis on the narrative line that emphasizes a God and a Jesus as the champion of the oppressed seem so obvious, natural and essential to the 20th century black church? Is there something I'm supposed to be outraged at and take personally that I'm missing?

Ace's hard-ball politics attempt to cynically twist the discourse through faux outrage toward a particular political goal I understand, but SMatthewStolte's apparently sincere negative reaction simply mystifies me. Please help me understand what I'm supposed to be so outraged over.
4.28.2008 11:13pm
Hoosier:
"I first read the Koran 39 years ago, in the translation by Mohammed Marmaduke Pickthall."

Didn't we encounter him in the Pickwick Papers?
4.28.2008 11:33pm
Hoosier:
Re: the black E F Hutton, two questions—

1) I am 40 years old. Does this commercial-reference mean anything to Americans younger than I am?

2) My dean is black. So is my senior associate dean. At no time have I heard them saying that they just have to get home early to catch that wonderful Min. Farrakhan on TV. Nor do either of them, nor their sons, wear cheap-looking clip-on bow ties.

I'm not sure that these two are "listening." They seem, rather, to be doing their jobs, raising their families, and having nervous breakdowns. Like the rest of us.
4.28.2008 11:58pm
Can't find a good name:
I'm not sure why anyone is disputing the statement that "[Farrakhan] did not put me in chains. He did not put me in slavery. And he didn't make me this color."

If Wright was never put in chains or slavery, then undisputedly Farrakhan didn't put him there.

Nor did Farrakhan make anybody any color, except his own children and grandchildren, and even in their case, only genetically and not by his conscious decision.

So when Wright manages to state three consecutive sentences which are completely true, there's no point in criticizing him for that.
4.29.2008 12:02am
TerrencePhilip:
I would imagine the McCain campaign is very concerned right now that Rev. Wright seems to be "peaking early"-- they wish like heck this were taking place in September.
4.29.2008 12:02am
Laika's Last Woof (mail):
These seem like moderate mainstream African American views based on average African American experiences to me."
AIDS inflicted on black people by a U.S. government conspiracy seems like an average experience to you?
That explains the remainder of your apologia.
4.29.2008 12:15am
GrownUpTime:
Poser, true to his name, said:
[I]...have read small portions [of the Qur'an] in Arabic.
And then tells us what it all Really Means.

First, by his own admission, he has only read "small portions" of the Qur'an. It's a basic belief about the Qur'an. Translations of it are mere interpretations. One can only read the Qur'an in Arabic.

Second, religions such as Islam and Christianity and Judaism clearly only have one doctrinal core. They have no off-shoots, variations, sects, etc. That never happens, ever, in the history of religion. Indeed, we can say that all Christians believe precisely the same thing. That was what all those religious wars were about, after all. People were just so worked up over agreeing with each other!

To pretend that what one group of people says a religion stands for is in fact what the religion stands for is just plain, and pardon me for this, dumb. You can read as many scholarly articles as you like. It's no less dumb.

I think it's patently absurd to pretend that this is just a good-faith discussion of Wright's points of view, or of the role of spiritual advisers for presidential candidates. This blog is contra Obama, whatever else it may be. If you all are unwilling to admit that, then you're remarkably ignorant for being such professedly insightful people. Just like this blog has a pro-Israel slant. And it's perfectly fine to be anti-Obama, pro-Israel, or whatever else you want to be. But just admit it, people. I won't defend Obama, and I won't attack Israel. But let's stop acting like children.

I know, I know, that's what the blogosphere is for; if you couldn't be petulant here, you wouldn't bother coming here. But really...

Grow. Up.
4.29.2008 12:22am
alias:

This blog is contra Obama, whatever else it may be. If you all are unwilling to admit that, then you're remarkably ignorant for being such professedly insightful people. Just like this blog has a pro-Israel slant.
Perhaps, in addition to the list of conspirators, there should be a running tally of general characterizations of the blog made by commenters. So far I've got "supposedly libertarian," "contra Obama," and "pro-Israel."
4.29.2008 12:37am
Thorley Winston (mail) (www):

I would imagine the McCain campaign is very concerned right now that Rev. Wright seems to be "peaking early"-- they wish like heck this were taking place in September.


September is when the other shoe drops.
4.29.2008 12:51am
GrownUpTime:
Yes, general characterizations, alias.

But I noticed you didn't deny them.

Even if not every member of this blog shares a point of view, there are trends that are so overwhelmingly obvious that it would be silly to deny them.
4.29.2008 12:54am
Visitor Again:
Oh, come on, the way Wright sees it, the establishment is trying to force him to dance to its tune by condemning Farrakhan, and he's not going to do it--not because he necessarily agrees with Farrakhan about everything but because he's not going to be anyone's puppet and certainly not going to condemn a fellow black minister. No one should expect any different.

Volokh, the jurisdiction the VC shares with National Review Online is smearing Barrack Obama as many times as possible for as long as possible through guilt by association with whoever he's ever come across who might be an embarrassment. The only reason the VC finds Wright, Ayers and Dohrn of continual interest these days is because it hopes to hurt Obama through them. This is all quite disgusting. Some day perhaps you'll learn what Martin Luther King asked, that people be judged on the basis of the content of their own character.
4.29.2008 1:07am
Mark Robinson (mail):

Listen as an Obama supporter, I find Wright offensive. And having been to my share of black churches I take exception to the developing story that Wright is just reflective of that particular milieu.

However, I don't think Wright reflects Obama's views. In fact if he's like most church-goers I know, he probably wasn't paying attention half the time he was there. Let's face it, as discussed here many times it's almost a requirement for a candidate for a major office in the US to have a religious affiliation. And Obama found a church that would help him in his political rise in Illinois. The problem has become what was a benefit on the local level has become a liability on the national level. And I think the best way for him to handle it is just repeat just as he has said, "Yes, he's a bit of a nut, but he's not the whole church. And the church on the whole is a good one


Hummmm... lets see.. In the same church for 20 years, used the title of one the reverend's speeches for the title of his book, has given this guy credit for being one of his mentors. As my dad says, "you are with who you hang" and "If you lay down with trash, you are trash." 'nough said.....
4.29.2008 1:13am
whit:
"holdfast - you're wrong on all counts. Jews voting against their interest by voting Democrat? Nonsense. Jews don't vote their wallets or pocketbooks. Never have and never will. Jews vote Democrat because they believe in the welfare state, a progressive tax system, reproductive rights, science, rationality, not throwing poor people and minorities under the bus, etc., etc. "

it's been said that jews earn like episcopalians, but vote like puerto ricans.

btw, i hate that term "voting against their interests." it's usually used by leftists describing poor whites in the south. it also assumes that people should vote in their interests. personally, i prefer to vote based on my principles, not on my interests. there is a difference. interests often come down to "give me stuff. give me stuff. pay attention to me. " etc.

for example. it would be in my interests to ban smoking everywhere, certainly in bars, etc. but it would be against my principles, since i think that private businesses should have that discretion to make that choice. there are many other examples like this.

of course, the leftist nannystaters already voted a smoking ban in my jurisdiction, which benefits me greatly, but i digress. it's still wrong.
4.29.2008 1:40am
whit:
"The same site makes it clear that Islam does not accept Judaism and Christianity as equally valid"

fwiw, no religion (not to mention scientific theory) worth its sale would accept alternatives as EQUALLY valid.

the very idea is absurd PC rubbish. unitarian universalist ninnies need not apply.

seriously. either god exists or he/she/it/they doesn't. either jesus was just a prophet (islam), the messiah (christianity), or just some guy and did he exist at all (judaism, etc.).

there are 2 things i am certain of. there are many absoltue truths, and i am pretty sure i am not necessarily right about the ones i believe. iow, i could be wrong.

i have no problem with any religion that thinks it has a better grasp on the Ultimate Truths (tm), and/or a better way of living.

so why should islam be any different.

the problem i have with RADICALISLAM(TM) is that they try to enforce their beliefs and rules via the barrel of a gun (quite literally).
4.29.2008 1:46am
Grover Gardner (mail):
<blockquote>
AIDS inflicted on black people by a U.S. government conspiracy seems like an average experience to you?
</blockquote>

LET'S SEE—the Kennedy assassination, Lincoln's assassination, UFOs, 9/11, AIDS isn't killing Africans, HIV doesn't cause AIDS, Elvis is still alive, the Moon landing was faked, Area 51, the Royal Family murdered Diana, Marilyn Monroe was murdered, Jews dominate the world and control all the money, Paul McCartney died in 1966, global warming is a scientific conspiracy, evolution is a scientific conspiracy, the government is spying on us 24/7, Christ fathered a child with Mary Magdelene, black helicopters, aliens visited our planet in ancient times, Anastasia, Atlantis, alien abductions, the Illuminati, the Templars, the Jesuit, the Freemasons, the government is out to takeourmoneystealourchildrenfilluswithtoxicchemicals
(big breath)indoctrinateouryouthkillblackbabiestetcetcetc...

No, no average American experiences here.
4.29.2008 2:29am
Oren:
What I wrote above about Islam projecting itself back historically and claiming that Judaism and Christianity are deviant offshoots of Islam is exactly correct. You will find this position explained in authoritative sources, and if you read carefully, you will find that it is not contradicted by the passages which you have cited.
First of all, the Koran is the literal word of God and the final and most authoritative source, so I don't really know how I could go wrong studying the Koran (which I have read through, not piecemeal).

More substantially, there is considerable support in the Koran for the notion that the Torah, Psalms and Gospels are from the same tablets as the Koran (aka, the literal word of God). Let's try this again
When Allah saith: O Jesus, son of Mary! Remember My favor unto thee and unto thy mother; how I strengthened thee with the holy Spirit, so that thou spakest unto mankind in the cradle as in maturity; and how I taught thee the Scripture and Wisdom and the Torah and the Gospel; and how thou didst shape of clay as it were the likeness of a bird by My permission, and didst blow upon it and it was a bird by My permission, and thou didst heal him who was born blind and the leper by My permission; and how thou didst raise the dead, by My permission and how I restrained the Children of Israel from (harming) thee when thou camest unto them with clear proofs, and those of them who disbelieved exclaimed: This is naught else than mere magic. Koran 5-110
Seems like the literal word of god saying that he taught the Torah and the Gospels to the man.
4.29.2008 2:34am
Oren:
Whit, perhaps you would be surprised, but most Jews consider Christianity and Islam to be perfectly valid religions insofar as they promote the doing of good deeds. Even polytheists are in good standing so long as they lead good lives. An atheist that follows the 7 Laws of Noah is likewise considered to be in good standing with the almighty, much more so than a monotheist that does not -- hence the common phrase the Judaism is a religion of deed not creed.

Conversion to Judaism is quite hard and, quite frankly, we don't have the patience for all of you anyway. Better for us all to lead good lives in peace than to squabble over whether Jesus was god, the messiah, a prophet or just a very smart Jew.
4.29.2008 2:51am
Hoosier:
Oren—Like Archie Bunker said: The Jews are OK, 'cause they ain't always tryin' to convert you. The Jews don't even want you.
4.29.2008 2:59am
Hoosier:
Grover—You ever hear of "flouridation, Mndrake?"
4.29.2008 3:01am
Grover Gardner (mail):
I had to look that up, Hoosier. :-)
4.29.2008 3:13am
Sartre-Schmarte:
EKGlen is a troll and an Obama "gunner." Why humor him?
4.29.2008 3:17am
whit:
"Whit, perhaps you would be surprised,"

you are assuming i'm not jewish then?

" but most Jews consider Christianity and Islam to be perfectly valid religions insofar as they promote the doing of good deeds."

correct. but atheism is equally "valid" as long as the code of the atheist also promotes good deeds

as you may know, judaism is more centered towards acts, whereas christianity towards salvation.

but we weren't talking about validity of ACTS we are talking about validity of TRUTHs.

so, what you responded with is irrelevant.

regardless, jews definitely don't believe that jesus is the messiah. christians do.

either he was or wasn't (assuming he existed at all).

both cannot be EQUALLY valid.

"Even polytheists are in good standing so long as they lead good lives. An atheist that follows the 7 Laws of Noah is likewise considered to be in good standing with the almighty, much more so than a monotheist that does not -- hence the common phrase the Judaism is a religion of deed not creed. "

again, totally irrelevant. i was referencing truths, you are referencing acts.

judaism has beliefs. we can quibble about smaller ones, but there is that pesky messiah thang.

my point stands. no religion worth its salt believes other religions are equally valid.

works and acts are not even relevant to what i said.
4.29.2008 3:29am
Gaius Marius:
If Barack Hussein Mohamad Obama is elected President, then folks like Rev. Jeremiah Wright and President Ahmadinejad will be White House guests sleeping in the Lincoln bedroom.
4.29.2008 8:33am
Tom952 (mail):
I don't think Wright is stupid or crazy. I think he is saying what he thinks will resonate with his audience, so that he will become their leader on that issue. It is a cheap form of leadership, based on his appeal to the audience's emotions. His hyperbole will not withstand rational scrutiny. He is leading people with hatred, anger, envy, and spite.

It occurs to me that if we had an Osama Bin Laden or Al Sadr type "holy man" in the US inciting violent crimes, I don't think we have adequate laws to hold him responsible for the crimes incited.
4.29.2008 9:48am
Tom952 (mail):

If Barack Hussein Mohamad Obama is elected President, then folks like Rev. Jeremiah Wright and President Ahmadinejad will be White House guests sleeping in the Lincoln bedroom.

There is a lot of good sport to be had by publically asking Obama if so-in-so would get an appointment to a government job if he is elected. (Al Sharpton - Minister of the Interior?, Jessie Jackson, Louis Farrahkan, Jeremiah Wright, William Jefferson, Oprah...)
4.29.2008 9:53am
The Real Bill (mail):

regardless, jews definitely don't believe that jesus is the messiah. christians do.

either he was or wasn't (assuming he existed at all).

both cannot be EQUALLY valid.

A possible alternative theory:
1) The Jews were/are the chosen people.
2) Jesus came (the first time) to save the rest (gentiles). He was the messiah for the gentiles (and some Jews).
3) Jesus will come again, and this time He will be the messiah of all, including the Jews.
4.29.2008 10:54am
Gary McGath (www):
Obama went out of his way not to repudiate Wright, and Wright thanks him by torpedoing his campaign.
4.29.2008 10:59am
Can't find a good name:
Tom952: I'm not sure why you would link Oprah Winfrey to those others. Unlike most of the others you named, I don't think Oprah would be considered a radical. And unlike Sharpton, Jackson, and Jefferson, Oprah has never sought government office. An endorsement from Oprah should not be considered embarrassing to a candidate.
4.29.2008 11:02am
c.gray (mail):

Oprah should not be considered embarrassing to a candidate.


After all, she knows "The Secret".
4.29.2008 11:35am
Hoosier:
It occurs to me that if we had an Osama Bin Laden or Al Sadr type "holy man" in the US inciting violent crimes, I don't think we have adequate laws to hold him responsible for the crimes incited.

No. But we could at least write down the license plate tags from the cars in his mosque's parking lot. That would be a service he could seredipitously perform for the commonweal.
4.29.2008 11:46am
Hoosier:
The only reason the VC finds Wright, Ayers and Dohrn of continual interest these days is because it hopes to hurt Obama through them. This is all quite disgusting. Some day perhaps you'll learn what Martin Luther King asked, that people be judged on the basis of the content of their own character.

Again this silliness from the Obam crowd.

How, pray tell, are supposed to assess the "content of his character"? Because he seems like a good guy? because you assure us that he's a good guy?

He has almost no substantive record to investigate. How does he react when faced with a morally ambiguous choice in world politics? How does he vote when his conctituents have an interest in something that is bad for the nation as a whole? Does he cast off his aides when they have been behaving improperly? If so, what does he consider improper?

You are the people who chose to run an unknown with no significant public resume'. Now you want us to leave his past private associations out of the mix?

Do you really think that is fair?
4.29.2008 11:56am
Tom952 (mail):
Can't find a good name:

I don't consider Oprah to be a radical. She has been a key strong supporter of Obama, and it might be interesting to ask Obama if he would consider her for an appointment. While she might make a good diplomat, she does not have the background to serve in the cabinet, for example.

For the record, I don't consider Jefferson and Sharpton to be radicals, either.
4.29.2008 12:17pm
ejo:
Are we to assume all of black america is as twisted as the views of Rev. Wright seem to indicate? as the cheers from his congregants seem to indicate? jew hatred, conspiracy theories, hatred of whites-is it just the cult he leads or is it black america?
4.29.2008 1:39pm
ronnie dobbs (mail):

Who said this forty years ago?

"No, I am not going 10,000 miles to help murder kill and burn other people to simply help continue the domination of white slavemasters over dark people the world over. This is the day and age when such evil injustice must come to an end."

and this?

"I Ain't Got No Quarrel With The Viet Cong...
No Viet Cong Ever Called Me Nigger"

Why don't we criticize that person today?



Actually, I criticize Muhammad Ali fairly regularly. For one thing, I've never understood why he's treated as some kind of transcendent hero rather than a great boxer who ended up tragically and permanently punch drunk. Second, Ali said lots of things that could be fairly characterized as racist. See, e.g., the way he would refer to Joe Frazier as an ape.
4.29.2008 2:25pm
Dave D. (mail):
...Obama can't get elected President, not now. He's got the Wright stuff. Two weeks ago he gave his best speech evah . Anybody remember it ? It was about how he could not disown Reverend Wright anymore than he could disown his family or his heritage. Obama OWNS Wright. He owns everything that Wright has said and will say. Wright is giving the speeches that have and will define Obama. Hatefilled, racist speeches. Bufoonish, provoking, arrogant and demeaning speeches. Look-how-I-can-Dis the white folk speeches.
...God DAMN AMERICA, you white folks GAVE US AIDS speeches.
...Obama's toast and you all know it. His supporters are sick about it and don't want it to be true. They'd like nothing more than a do over, a patch, a save.
...Ain't gonna happen. It's over.
4.29.2008 2:37pm
La Rana (mail) (www):
What exactly is offensive or outrageous here? And how and why does that reflect poorly on Obama?

The dude refuses to put down Farrakhan, but acknowledges that he disagrees with him. Got it. And?

The point of this controversy seems to be to force one black man to disown another black man, because that black man refuses to disown a third black man. I guess if that helps you sleep at night ....
4.29.2008 3:10pm
Hoosier:
La Rana--That's a rather convenient dismissal. But how do you extract "refuses to put down Farrakhan" from calling him one of the most important voices spanning the two Centuries he inhabits? That doesn't strike me as a good summary of what he said.

I don't think it says much about Obama, to answer your second question only for myself.

Other than giving us a strategic insight, that is. The effect of all this for me has been to demonstrate that his team needs to work on the "War Room"-style respond-and-change-the-subject approach that Bill Clinton mastered if he wants to be president. This has not gone well for him. And now the "message" of his campaign is being driven by his former pastor.
4.29.2008 3:33pm
La Rana (mail) (www):
He then went on to say that he thought he was important because a lot of people listen to him. That's not a valuation of Farrakhan's ideas, that's just common sense.

Obama only needs a "war room" because Americans, as this thread aptly demonstrates, clearly prefer guilt-by-association-hopscotch to thinking very hard.

Again, what exactly is offensive or outrageous here?
4.29.2008 3:41pm
Dave D. (mail):
...What's outrageous, La Rana, is that 70% of Americans don't hate America and don't think their government would or did invent aids to poison anybody. And those folks aren't going to vote for somebody who does think that, or who's closest advisor thinks that. These folks don't have to answer to Obama or anyone else how they vote. Obama has to answer to them. His answer is Wright. It won't fly.
...Obama had one chance to end his association with Wright in voters eyes. He muffed it.
4.29.2008 4:04pm
c.gray (mail):

Again, what exactly is offensive or outrageous here?


To put it bluntly, that question represents the problem. Some fear Obama doesn't really see anything offensive or outrageous in Wright's sermons, or the views expressed in those sermons.

If you don't understand that claims the US government created AIDS is crazy talk, and that rants about the "white, slavemaster church" might be construed as offensive, reasonable people might question whether you should be president, at least of the USA.
4.29.2008 4:09pm
La Rana (mail) (www):
Well now we are getting somewhere Dave D. Unfortunately, you refer to facts not in evidence. The context of this latest "outrage" is limited to his bit on Farrakhan. If you want to discuss something else, make a more specific reference, say with a quote in context or a link, and we can address that.

Saying "Folks aren't going to vote for somebody who does think that, or who's closest advisor thinks that" is misleading and unhelpful. No showing has been made that Obama thinks these things (only the opposite) and Wright is nowhere in the ballpark of his closest advisor. So why say that?

Remove the slander, innuendo, and guilt-by-association. Again, what exactly is offensive or outrageous here?
4.29.2008 4:15pm
La Rana (mail) (www):
C. Gray, one notes that you neither quote Reverend Wright, nor explain why what he said was offensive or outrageous. You just assert that it is, and that anyone who disagrees with you is wrong. Color me unconvinced.
4.29.2008 4:38pm
Dave D. (mail):
...I'm not asking for YOUR vote, La Rana, you are asking ME to vote for Mr. Obama. The facts are in evidence and in the public domain about what Mr. Wright said. His most outrageous claims are in context. He quotes things that didn't happen and weren't said. You can't parse him out of the equasion. All your denial and cleverness doesn't remove 10 seconds from Mr.Wrights record. Say that Obama is the victim here and you are right. But he's not an innocent victim, he's a willing one. That Obama did not disown Wright is 'showing' enough for the 70% not to trust or vote for him. They don't owe him their vote.
...This is Obamas' Roger Mudd question, his Monkey Business moment. It's not about proof. It's about politics. It's over.
4.29.2008 4:44pm
La Rana (mail) (www):
If you cannot explain to me why it is offensive and/or outrageous, don't you think - just for a second - that maybe you shouldn't be outraged and offended?

Ignorantly shake your fist all you want. I'm not here to stop you. I'm just here to point out that it's just not terrible useful, politically, socially, morally, or logically.
4.29.2008 4:51pm
Dave D. (mail):
...If you don't find " God Damn America " and claiming that the US Government invented Aids to kill black people offensive, then no, I can't tell you why that is.
...But most folks do find it offensive and insulting, rude, impertinent and untrue. And more than half the voters on Nov. 4th will hold that and other things that Wright said, against Obama.
4.29.2008 6:06pm
Laika's Last Woof (mail):
I can only guess that La Rana thinks AIDS was a government conspiracy else Wright's controversial status would be self-evident.

LR wanted a quote ... how about this one?
"The government lied about inventing the HIV virus as a means of genocide against people of color!"

@Grover Gardner:
Let's have some fun with this ... maybe Obama disowned Wright at long last because Wright was TOO CLOSE TO THE TRUTH(!) and Obama was in on the conspiracy! Even now the top-secret Visna mutation code-named Haploid-4 (H-4, H-IV, HIV, the truth is THERE, man!) lies in a sealed test tube buried under the Grassy Knoll ...
4.29.2008 6:09pm
La Rana (mail) (www):
The AIDS thing is interesting. Obviously there is no evidence of such a conspiracy, but it neither seems offensive nor all that illogical.

The federal government did, in fact, experiment on Black Americans with Syphilis until 1972. And prior to the discovery of the AIDS virus, the experience of black Americans was one of brutality, coercion, abuse, discrimination, poverty, and humiliation. It went from Slavery to Jim Crow to Ghettoization. Most of this, one notes, done with the explicit consent of a white-dominated government, state or federal.

So while "the government created AIDS" seems to be an unfounded conspiracy theory, it doesn't appear all that irrational. If you are black, and were alive prior to the 1970s, what reason would you have to think the government wouldn't infect the black population with a deadly illness?

Similarly, what's to be offended by? He's made an accusation against the government, that while similar to real events and rooted in an understandable sense of anxiety, is not accurate. OK.

I will note, for hopefully the last time, that no explanation has been provided for why these things are offensive. Anyone? (Dave, declaring these things offensive, for a fourth time, is not what I am looking for)
4.29.2008 6:46pm
Thrasymachus (mail):
La Rana:

The people who profess to be offended by Rev. Wright's statements were never going to vote for Obama anyway. Guilt by association serves to legitimate pre-existing prejuduces. As a number of commentators have noted, Wright has become the 2008 version of Willie Horton.
4.29.2008 7:12pm
SG:
I will note, for hopefully the last time, that no explanation has been provided for why these things are offensive.

offensive - Causing anger, displeasure, resentment, or affront

Offensive is inherently a subjective term. You've got people telling you they found the Rev. Wright's statements to be offensive. You can disagree with their (my) assessment but you can't declare that the statements were not offensive.

For example: I take offense when a clergymen tells their congregation that God should damn me and my country. In fact, I'd go so far as to say that the Rev. Wright intended for "white America" to be offended by his statement, so your repeated denials insults the good Reverend as well.

I will also note that Sen. Obama's latest statements on this matter imply that he too recognizes the offense caused by Rev. Wright.

Apparently, you are the only one unable to recognize the offensive nature of his comments. Your inability to recognize the offense in that statement by Rev. Wright says far more about you than it does about anybody else.

We can agree to disagree over the nature the Reverend's statements, but you ought to recognize that you're staking out a pretty lonely position.
4.29.2008 7:21pm
SG:
The people who profess to be offended by Rev. Wright's statements were never going to vote for Obama anyway.

Not true. My wife was inclined to vote for Sen. Obama prior to this coming out, and now has no intentions of doing so. I would have entertained the possibility if I thought there was going to be a Republican-held Congress (I like gridlock), but not now under any circumstances.

As a number of commentators have noted, Wright has become the 2008 version of Willie Horton.

By that, do you mean an racially charged incident from a candidates past that gets uncovered during the Democratic nominating process that lingers on to impact the election? If so, you may be correct.
4.29.2008 7:25pm
La Rana (mail) (www):
SG, while offense may be subjective, that doesn't obviate the need for an explanation, personal though it may be. I think its important that you have reasons for your feelings or beliefs, whatever they are. You say that I am "unable to recognize the offensive nature" of the comments. You've got me there. But if you wouldn't mind, let me in on the secret. What is the "offensive nature" of them? You make the same mistake as everyone else: thinking that a repeated declaration of offense is sufficient to answer my question.

To repeat myself: If you cannot explain to me why it is you are offended, don't you think - just for a second - that maybe you shouldn't be offended?

Thus far, no one has given me an explanation. The silence is telling. If I am indeed the lonely position in the room, it would seem to be a result of no one else thinking very hard.
4.29.2008 7:36pm
SG:
La Rana,

Did you actually read what I wrote?

"I take offense when a clergymen tells their congregation that God should damn me and my country." I take offense when it's preached out of a Saudi mosque, and I take offense when it's preached in a church in Chicago.

Cursing someone is intended to cause offense. That's why they're called curse words. It's intent is to abuse and insult others. Abuse and insults are offensive. You're either an idiot or a liar not to recognize it.

But my last sentence isn't offensive and I defy you to explain otherwise.
4.29.2008 7:52pm
Thrasymachus (mail):
SG:

Exactly why did Rev Wright's statements and actions affect your wife's intention to vote for Obama? Wright is not Obama. He is not part of the Obama campaign, nor does he speak on Obama's behalf. Obama has stated quite explicitly that he disagrees with some of the views attributed to Wright.

In the absence of a persuasive explanation (as La Rana has requested in vain) there are two possibilities. Unfortunately, I'm afraid that neither of them is especially flattering to your wife. Either she is indulging in guilt by association or she is being disingenuous about her preferences and simply sought a plausible rationalization for not voting for Obama. There are, in fact, lots of perfectly acceptable reasons for not voting for Obama - I would not, for example, expect him to receive many votes from conservatives and libertarians - but Jeremiah Wright is not one of them.
4.29.2008 7:56pm
La Rana (mail) (www):
I understand that you take offense when such-and-such happens or is said. You have repeated this. But why are you offended? (for the love of yahweh, please no more "because I am!") Do you honestly believe that there is no distinction between taking offense to something and the reason why you took offense?
4.29.2008 7:58pm
SG:
Exactly why did Rev Wright's statements and actions affect your wife's intention to vote for Obama?

Because, due to his decidedly thin public record, there was no sound basis on which to judge the man. He gives a good speech, and my wife likes (some of) the rhetoric, but I hope you would agree that it's foolish in the extreme to accept a politician solely upon their rhetoric. (Remember: George Bush ran on the basis of a humble foreign policy and a rejection of nation building...)

So, acknowledging the appeal of his rhetoric about bringing people together, but lacking much in the way of a track record that he can accomplish this, one is forced to look at other things. For example, how has he lived the values he espouses over the course of his adult life? And in the case of the Reverend who he sought out, who performed his marriage and baptized his children, who's coffers he's contributed to, who's sermon inspired the title of his auto-biography - the values espoused are actively rejected.

And yes, it is guilt by association. Absolutely. I assert that the company a person seeks out provides far better insight into that person than a politician's campaign rhetoric, especially for a Presidential candidate. And given Sen. Obama's willingness to remain associated with Rev. Wright even when it would have been expedient (and moral, I'd argue) to disavow him at the outset of this affair speaks very loudly to what lies inside Sen. Obama, behind the rhetoric. I think it would be foolish in the extreme not to take these new data into account. If nothing else, this affair shows that Sen Obama's judgment in choosing personal advisers (and remaining loyal to them) is highly suspect (Again remember Rumsfeld, Gonzalez, etc. Do you really want another president who chooses bad advisers and remains loyal to them even after they've screwed the pooch?)

That said, I don't actually dislike Sen. Obama for this association. I'm inclined to take him at his word about rejecting the Rev. Wright's rhetoric. But that doesn't mean I want him as president either.

But if you reject guilt by association, I assume that you also think the Bush association shouldn't be considered when deciding on voting for John McCain?
4.29.2008 8:20pm
Elliot123 (mail):
"If you cannot explain to me why it is offensive and/or outrageous, don't you think - just for a second - that maybe you shouldn't be outraged and offended?"

Now Obama himself says he is outraged. Time to get back on message.
4.29.2008 8:43pm
Thrasymachus (mail):
But if you reject guilt by association, I assume that you also think the Bush association shouldn't be considered when deciding on voting for John McCain?

That is correct. The main issue is whether or not John McCain's policies are good, not whether they are the same as George Bush's.

In the interests of consistency Ezra Klein has suggested that all Presidential candidates should be subjected to the same criteria that are being applied to Obama. Do you really want to go there?
4.29.2008 8:44pm
Dave D. (mail):
...La Rana asks, yet again, " But why were you offended ? "
...All answers, for La Rana, are insufficient. By that device you claim to not understand that a problem precludes Obamas' election. Echo's of a childs repetition of " But why ? " until the answerer is silenced.
..It's all a surmise on my part anyway, not a fact. If La Rana can't see it, as I do, it doesn't matter. Until it's decided on Nov. 4th.
4.29.2008 8:45pm
Dave D. (mail):
...That froggy enough for ya ?
4.29.2008 8:49pm
Laika's Last Woof (mail):
"... it neither seems offensive ..."
The AIDS conspiracy theory is a blood libel, like Mein Kampf or the Protocols of the Elders of Zion.
I can't "prove" that blood libels are offensive any more than I could prove the "n" word is offensive so long as the definition of "offensive" is controlled by someone clearly incompetent to judge offensiveness, so you may continue to be the "lonely person in the room" indefinitely.
4.29.2008 8:59pm
La Rana (mail) (www):
Your (and anyone else for that matter) inability to answer what is really a very simple question is mystifying. And as anyone who looks at the comments can see, its not about a "good enough answer." I just want an answer. The only thing I can come up with is that you haven't the slightest idea why you are offended by Wright's comments. Myself, I would be ashamed to admit that in public. You, on the other hand, appear quite comfortable publicly declaring that you believe something, while also proudly declaring that you haven't the foggiest idea why it is you believe that.

Call it what you will.
4.29.2008 9:00pm
La Rana (mail) (www):
Blood Libel! Yowza. Now its really getting interesting.
4.29.2008 9:02pm
SG:
Thrasymachus,

I think the advisers and appointees a President brings with him are far more important than the policies they espouse when on the stump. Their desired policies have to wend their way through Congress, but (post-Congressional approval) advisers and appointees have much more direct impact. And I certainly don't want someone who's comfortable with the political views of a Rev. Wright picking the next Supreme Court Justice.

But feel free to vote based on the reasons you find most important. That's what makes democracy great. Prepare to be disappointed if your choice is based solely on what the politician promises when trying to get elected, though.
4.29.2008 9:05pm
PersonFromPorlock:
Dave N (mail):

Where you choose to attend church, if you choose to attend church, speaks volumes about what you value.

Or maybe it speaks volumes about what your wife values and all it says about you is "anything for peace at home." Obama wouldn't be the first husband hauled willy-nilly to church.

Admittedly, this is an outside chance; but a chance it is.
4.29.2008 9:25pm
Thrasymachus (mail):
I certainly don't want someone who's comfortable with the political views of a Rev. Wright picking the next Supreme Court Justice.

Do you have any evidence that the set of people "comfortable with the political views of a Rev. Wright" includes Barack Obama? I thought that Obama has stated explicitly that he disagrees with Wright on these issues.

In the absence of such evidence I would be obliged to consider your statement as a textbook example of the guilt by association technique that I described earlier.
4.29.2008 9:44pm
Gaius Marius:
The people who profess to be offended by Rev. Wright's statements were never going to vote for Obama anyway. Guilt by association serves to legitimate pre-existing prejuduces. As a number of commentators have noted, Wright has become the 2008 version of Willie Horton.

Comparing Wright to Willie Horton would be an insult to Willie Horton. The Rev. Jeremiah Wright is the 2008 version of Josef Goebbels.
4.29.2008 10:18pm
Dave N (mail):
PersonFromPorlock,

Possible if you don't describe your pastor as a "spiritual mentor" and use the title of one of his sermons as the title of your autobiography.
4.29.2008 10:23pm
Thrasymachus (mail):
The Rev. Jeremiah Wright is the 2008 version of Josef Goebbels.

Godwin's law takes effect at post #146. Is this a record for this blog?
4.29.2008 10:37pm
Fred (mail):
"Louis Farrakhan is not my enemy. He did not put me in chains. He did not put me in slavery."

Mmmm, you know Farrakhan definitely has some white ancestry. I would be interested to know if any of those white ancestors owned slaves...

Especially as it was the white slave masters who most often were forcing themselves on their black female slaves.
4.29.2008 10:47pm
Notalawyer:
La Rana
I am not offended by Wright because there is no truth in his demonization of white people, this country, or its government. His nonsensical right brain/ left brain genetics, his equivalence of regional accents with underlying grammar, his perpetuation of conspiracy theories that encourage people to look outside for someone to blame instead of taking personal responsibility are more than enough for me to know that he is not to be taken seriously except as someone who is doing great harm to the community that he professes to speak for.
The problem remains that Obama listened to this bilge for twenty years and seems only to have recognized its toxicity since last weekend. I've never thought that Obama had the experience necessary to be considered a candidate for President. One doesn't think of that as an entry level position.
But this has more to do with Obama's instincts. And they're on Wright's side or he wouldn't have taken so long to disavow him. I'm glad this has happened. Obama as President would make Jimmy Carter look like Winston Churchill.
4.30.2008 2:33am
SG:
In the absence of such evidence I would be obliged to consider your statement as a textbook example of the guilt by association technique that I described earlier.

I have agreed, it is guilt by association. I'm not trying him to a criminal standard of proof, nor are all associations innocent. Furthermore, I'm not judging the candidate on an absolute scale; the candidate is being considered relative to the other candidates in the race (or an hour of my life on election day). I absolutely feel that associations are legitimate factor to consider when a person asks for my vote. You're known by the company you keep remains a truism.

Of course, the manner of association needs to be taken into account as well - shaking hands at a meet and greet is different than a passing acquaintance is different than a business associate is different than a personal friend. Unsolicited support is different than sought support. None of these factors mitigate in favor of Sen. Obama in this case, however.

That said, I know people who consider Sen. Obama's association with Rev. Wright to be a positive factor, and who are more supportive as a result. I don't think their decision process is invalid either. But my knowledge of the people who agree with Rev. Wright and will therefore vote for Sen. Obama (at least prior to this disavowal) strengthens my desire to cancel out one of their votes. And that too, is a legitimate reason to take these associations into account.

Even if you hold guilt by association (and it's corollary honor by association) in this case to be a logical fallacy, the fact that it is common fallacy makes it important to consider. Even if your decision making process is hyper-rational, others aren't. A hyper-rational decision making process must take that into account.

But I'm argue that a hyper-rational process isn't the correct process to use in weighing candidates in any case. There are too many unknowns - you can't prove anything non-trivial with any degree of confidence. It's more like a heuristic optimization problem.
4.30.2008 12:59pm