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Was Rev. Wright Obama's Spiritual Mentor or Spiritual Adviser?--

I was struck by Barack Obama's blaming the press for identifying Reverend Wright as his spiritual mentor or spiritual adviser:

OBAMA: I know that one thing that [Wright] said was true, was that he wasn't — you know, he was never my, quote-unquote, "spiritual adviser."

He was never my "spiritual mentor." He was — he was my pastor. And so to some extent, how, you know, the — the press characterized in the past that relationship, I think, wasn't accurate.

I had always thought that this notion came from Obama himself. A LEXIS search of news articles tends to indicate that it was Barack himself who so identified Wright, at least initially. But then, of course, perhaps the press repeatedly misreported what Obama told various reporters over the last four years.

Here are some of the news stories I found (all except the last are over a year old):

'I HAVE A DEEP FAITH,' Chicago Sun-Times, April 5, 2004

These days, [Obama] says, he attends the 11 a.m. Sunday service at Trinity in the Brainerd neighborhood every week — or at least as many weeks as he is able. His pastor, Wright, has become a close confidant.

Race Against History, The New Republic, May 31, 2004

Shortly before leaving Chicago for Harvard, he had a meeting with the Reverend Jeremiah Wright, the charismatic black pastor of Trinity United Church of Christ, one of the most socioeconomically diverse all-black congregations in Chicago. Obama was taken with Wright's worldview, perhaps best encapsulated by a Trinity brochure proclaiming that, "while it is permissible to chase `middleincomeness' with all our might," ambitious African Americans must beware the "psychological entrapment of black `middleclassness' that hypnotizes the successful brother or sister into believing they are better than the rest of US."

Sen. Barack Obama's Pastor Frames Progressive Issues Through Lens of Faith, Religion News Service, March 10, 2005

But when talking about how religious conservatives have pushed issues such as gay rights and stem cell research into the forefront, [Wright's] voice becomes taut and his rebuke direct.

Those who focus on these issues are building themselves up at the expense of others and, while the Bible has many references to right and wrong, Jesus only spoke against people who judged others, Wright says.

"Are you following Jesus when you are vilifying people?" Wright asks. "The answer to that question is no."

It's no coincidence that Wright's response to these issues is similar to that of Obama, Illinois' newest senator and one of the Democratic Party's leading lights in trying to frame traditional liberal issues as moral and religious imperatives.

Obama met Wright 20 years ago in the process of trying to get Wright's Trinity United Church of Christ involved in some community organizing he was doing. Ever since, Obama has been a devoted member of Wright's church. Obama says that Wright is not only his pastor, but he also is his friend and mentor. And Wright is one of the people to whom he turns [to] help him explain how his liberal positions jibe with his faith.

The fact that Obama chose Trinity is no accident. In a sea of conservative black churches, Trinity stands out in that it has welcomed in gay members, done outreach to people living with AIDS and advocated progressive positions on many social issues. . . .

Today, Wright is quick to call those who voted for President Bush "stupid" and chastise the public for letting issues like housing for the poor "fall off the radar screen." . . .

Obama says one of the things he has learned from Wright is that the Bible is full of references to poor people and how they should be treated. This, Obama says, is one of the points he would like Democrats to point out when Republicans try to take the religious high ground with talk of moral values.

Wright is there to give further guidance.

First, he says Democratic leaders need to understand why so many people feel threatened by gay people.

"Is it that people have linked homosexuals with pedophiles?" Wright asks. "Was it that they were molested as a kid? There are all kinds of emotional stuff that come up. We have to stick with it and hear each other."

Keeping the Faith, In These Times, February 28, 2005

Wright and Obama developed a close relationship in the intervening years, and Obama counts the Reverend among his spiritual advisers. When a reporter asked Wright what advice he would give Obama upon election to the Senate, Wright said, "My advice to him: Please stay the same as you've been ever since I've known you."

Mahan Atma (mail):
Scary scary BLACK men!

BOO!!!!!
4.30.2008 2:13am
ithaqua (mail):
My goodness, Hussein-Obama is not just a Muslim, but an incompetent one. One would think he'd select a more moderate and innocuous church to provide him cover. :)

Horrible thought of the day: perhaps, among black churches, Wright's *is* moderate. This Andrew Sullivan post is a firsthand account of just how common Wright's brand of unpatriotic, America-hating 'Christianity' is among black 'Christians'.
4.30.2008 2:14am
PatHMV (mail) (www):
Try this one, from January 2007 in the Chicago Tribune: "Rev. Jeremiah A. Wright, Jr.: Pastor inspires Obama's 'audacity'".
4.30.2008 2:26am
Anonymouseducator:

My goodness, Hussein-Obama is not just a Muslim, but an incompetent one. One would think he'd select a more moderate and innocuous church to provide him cover. :)


Or, you know, a Muslim one.
4.30.2008 2:39am
FC:

Scary scary BLACK men!

BOO!!!!!


One and a half black men, actually. It's a new sitcom.
4.30.2008 2:47am
Hoosier:
How 'bout "bodhisattva"? That's sorta "neutral".
4.30.2008 2:49am
berlet98 (mail) (www):
Let's face it. Obama has become a walking, talking charade.

First, he tries to ignore/downplay his 20 year close association with the racist, America-hating Reverend Jeremiah Bullfrog Wright and Wright’s First Church of the Gooey Death and Discount House of Worship (an Imus line). Then in Voltaire-ish fashion, Obama defends to the death Wright’s right to spew his venom, even though he disagrees–later, vehemently disagrees–and now he tries to extricate himself from the black hole that he dug for himself. He’s shocked! shocked I tell you! Wright’s views and words have now become “outrageous!”

What bugs me most about this man, this fraud (and I mean the man Obama now; the other fraud, Wright, has long been outed as such)is that he has the unmitigated gall to believe he can fool all of the people all of the time.

Such elitist gall! (Hillary’s adjective).

May God help us all if Barack HUSSEIN Obama ever becomes our president!
4.30.2008 2:50am
Tony Tutins (mail):
From these news items, Pastor Wright was a good Christian man till 2006 or so, when he started being a weirdo.
4.30.2008 2:53am
llamasex (mail) (www):
wait till the Obama/Wright sex tape comes out...
4.30.2008 2:59am
ratel (mail):
Really, this crap again. I had briefly begun to hope that we were done beating the whole Barack Obama's pastor is kind of crazy thing to death.
4.30.2008 2:59am
Hoosier:
ratel—That beating-to-death thing only ends when the thing being beaten is dead. By definition.
4.30.2008 3:01am
The General:
I do believe that would make Obama a liar. Sure, Democrats won't mind, but the rest of the country will come November.
4.30.2008 3:06am
Michael B (mail):
Common, chameleon-like politician imagines himself, and portrays himself, and markets himself, and perhaps even believes himself to be, uncommon.
4.30.2008 3:15am
Gilbert (mail):
I honestly don't get what your point is. But that's probably due in part to the fact that I couldn't possibly care any less about Rev. Wright. He is not running for President. Get over it.
4.30.2008 3:20am
Cornellian (mail):
My goodness, Hussein-Obama is not just a Muslim, but an incompetent one. One would think he'd select a more moderate and innocuous church to provide him cover.

I guess McCain and Hilary did better at disguising the fact that they're also Muslims since they chose different Christian churches to attend.
4.30.2008 3:22am
Chaon (www):
I can't believe that this is what American Conservatism has come to: "LOOK AT THE CRAZY PREACHER! LOOK AT THE CRAZY PREACHER!".

This is it? This is what you got? Never thought I'd write this, but I'm really starting to miss Reagan.
4.30.2008 3:35am
Cornellian (mail):
Yeah, the decline of the Republican party has been remarkable. Goldwater wouldn't have a chance at the nomination if he were around today - he'd be condemned as a moonbat liberal.
4.30.2008 3:43am
Tony Tutins (mail):

American Conservatism has come to: "LOOK AT THE CRAZY PREACHER!

Somebody remind me where Bob Jones, Oral Roberts, Jim Bakker, John Hagee, Billy James Hargis, Pat Robertson, Jerry Falwell, and Jimmy Swaggart fall/fell on the lefty-right spectrum.
4.30.2008 3:53am
fullerene:
Jim,

I think a little context is necessary here. Lexis reveals that Obama was often asked about the title of his book "The Audacity of Hope," which he says was inspired by a line in a Wright sermon. Every single time he was asked that question, he referred to Wright as his pastor. Never once did he claim any greater relationship.

On Oprah, Obama answering a question about the inspiration for the title of the book said, "You know, because, first of all, my pastor, Jeremiah Wright, down at Trinity United Church of Christ, had a wonderful sermon way back when I was still a community organizer. And I still remember this sermon because the title of it was "The Audacity of Hope." And he was talking about how sometimes in life, everything seems to be going wrong, the world is in turmoil, war, disease and famine."

On Tim Russerts show he said, "You know, I have publicly confessed that I filched it from my pastor. Yeah. Jeremiah Wright, he's a pastor, Trinity United Church of Christ. And about 18 years ago, close to 20 now, I'd gotten out of college and had decided I wanted to be a community organizer..."

On CNBC, Obama said, "I attend Trinity United Church of Christ, and my pastor, Jeremiah Wright (probably 15 years ago) . . . gave this wonderful sermon called "The Audacity of Hope." He himself had borrowed the sermon from someone else, so it is one of those sermons that gets passed through the black church..."

These are but a few examples but the pattern is consistent. He mentions that Wright was the inspiration for the line, his pastor, but Obama says nothing more about their relationship. All of the excerpts you cite are not direct quotations, and many do not even claim to be paraphrases. It is quite possible that a reporter described the relationship as one of mentor-mentee or spiritual adviser-spiritual advisee, and other reporters read that (on Lexis) began to use it.

Notice too that in the only quotation of Obama's you cite, Obama refers to Wright as his "friend."
4.30.2008 4:04am
BGates:
Those of you complaining may not be old enough to remember this, but there was a time when a person's associates thought to provide insights into that person's character. I remember a time when a man named Ken Lay became a campaign issue.

That was way back in the election of aught-four. Things were different then; many people argued that lack of active-duty military service should practically disqualify a candidate, if you can believe such a thing, and Geraldine Ferraro, Joe Lieberman, and Bill Clinton were all widely respected within the Democratic party.

We've come a long way since then. The idea that a candidate should be grilled for views of other people in his church hasn't been commonplace in the Democratic party for tens of thousands of minutes, since Mitt Romney suspended his campaign.
4.30.2008 4:08am
fullerene:
That last point should have been that in Obama's only quotation, he referred to Wright as "like family." The point remains. Even though he was repeatedly asked about Wright, Obama never was quoted as saying that Wright was his spiritual adviser or mentor. Many of those questions predate this controversy by several years, and still, he was never quoted to that effect.
4.30.2008 4:11am
Asher (mail):
I don't know what a spiritual mentor even is. Seems like a distinction without a difference. Is it a question of how much spiritual advice he used to get from Wright? I mean, how much advice can you get before they go from being "just your pastor" to your mentor? I'm sure Obama has talked to him about some things, but does that give Wright mentor status? I don't know, nor do I care. What's unfortunate about all this, from a purely partisan view, is that, contrary to what we'd like to think, Wright's media tour helped Obama. It gave him an opportunity to totally denounce him without seeming like he was throwing him under the bus. Now it'll be much harder to attach Obama to Wright and I don't really think it continues to be a viable strategy in the general.
4.30.2008 4:14am
fullerene:

We've come a long way since then. The idea that a candidate should be grilled for views of other people in his church hasn't been commonplace in the Democratic party for tens of thousands of minutes, since Mitt Romney suspended his campaign.


Honestly, if someone told me a year ago that a Democratic nominee for the presidency would be hounded by accusations that he was too close to his pastor, I would not have believed them for a minute. Of course, if you told me in 2003 that John Kerry would be hounded for his service in Vietnam (and not his antiwar activities afterwards), I would also have been incredulous. Shows how much I know.
4.30.2008 4:14am
Mike G in Corvallis (mail):
Gilbert, Cornellian, Chaon, Mahan Atma --

Why so ... defensive? Where in Jim Lindgren's post is there any criticism at all of Reverend Wright?

Could it be that, your guy having been caught in an easily refuted lie, you're trying desperately to ... change the subject?

Naaaaahhhh ...
4.30.2008 4:17am
fullerene:

We've come a long way since then. The idea that a candidate should be grilled for views of other people in his church hasn't been commonplace in the Democratic party for tens of thousands of minutes, since Mitt Romney suspended his campaign.



My challenge stands. Please point out to me where Obama is quoted as saying that Wright was his mentor or spiritual adviser. Obama has said that he believes the media overstated the relationship. Where is the quotation that disproves this? I am not saying it is not there. It may well be. But I cannot find it on Lexis and neither can Jim. Maybe it is somewhere else.
4.30.2008 4:21am
Chaon (www):
Mike G, since Obama is not 'my guy', there is nothing for me to get defensive about. I have several problems with Obama, but his relationship with his crazy preacher is not one of them.
4.30.2008 4:44am
Mike G in Corvallis (mail):
Chaon, maybe Obama isn't "your guy." But Lindgren didn't say:
I can't believe that this is what American Conservatism has come to: "LOOK AT THE CRAZY PREACHER! LOOK AT THE CRAZY PREACHER!"

... he said, in effect:
Look at the lying politician! Look at the lying politician!

Why change the subject?
4.30.2008 5:43am
fullerene:
FWIW, Rev. Wright also denied that he was Obama's "spiritual mentor" in his appearance before the National Press Club. Instead, he said that Obama was a "member"--a members whose attendance was infrequent. Given that Rev. Wright openly mocked Obama, it seems doubtful that this distancing was any more than an honest attempt to define and further clarify his role.
4.30.2008 6:35am
kadet (mail):
from John Cole post :

As to Wright himself, well, I have my own thoughts. First and foremost, I guess I am no longer the delicate fainting flower that most other bloggers and media commenters are these days. I spent several years in the early days of this blog being all sorts of outraged about petty bullshit. I spent days calling Ted Rall an asshole (he still is, I think), days opining about what an asshole Michael Moore is, and so on. I got my panties all in a bunch about Ward Churchhill (also a dick), and stupid things Bill Maher may or may not have said, and so on.

And you know what? They may be assholes, or jerks, or whatever term you want to use, but they sure as hell didn’t run this economy into the ground. They aren’t responsible for turning a huge surplus into a several hundred billion dollar deficit. I have yet to read any memos from Barbra Streisand detailing how we should spy on American citizens.

And so it is with Jeremiah Wright. Is he a jerk? I don’t think there is any argument to be made that lately he hasn’t in fact been one big, giant, puckered asshole. His ego tour the past few days was all about him, but so what? I blame the media as much as I blame him. Is it an offensive notion that the government created aids? Absolutely, but I refuse to get all bent out of shape about it, because the government that tortures people and ran the Tuskegee experiment and wiretapped MLK for years opens itself up to crazy accusations like that.

So Jeremiah Wright has acted like a jackass the past few days, and he may have acted supremely selfishly by hurting Obama’s electoral chances. Regardless, he may be a flawed man, but that does not undo all the good he has done over the years. I don’t know of any bloggers with thirty years of service to the poor and the indigent. Get back to me when Chris Matthews feeds hungry people for three decades. And even with all his flaws, Jeremiah Wright did give us this quality bit of entertainment, and I have to admit to enjoying someone treat the media with the respect they deserve (which is to be mocked, have eyes rolled at them, and taunted as Wright did yesterday at the Press Club).

Maybe it is because I am totally and unrepentantly in the tank for Obama, but I just can’t get worked up over what his pastor said. Maybe it is because I am not religious, and I am used to religious people saying things that sound crazy. Or maybe I just refuse to spend any more time and energy getting worked up over and denouncing, distancing, and rejecting the wrong people- people who really don’t matter in the big scheme of things. If you have a memo from Jeremiah Wright to John Yoo showing how we should become a rogue nation, let me know. If you have pictures of Jeremiah Wright voting against the GI Bill, send it to me. If you have evidence of Jeremiah Wright training junior soldiers on the finer aspects of stacking and torturing naked Iraqi captives, pass them on.

Until then, I just can’t seem to get all worked up about the crazy scary black preacher that Obama has to “throw under the bus.”



perfect..
4.30.2008 6:59am
LM (mail):
I'm ready to throw “throw under the bus” under the bus.
4.30.2008 7:16am
huskerfan:
Can't wait till all of these good moments on John McCain's character are shared with VC readers. His flip-flopping on tax breaks, use of derogatory comments describing asian-americans, his relationship with John Hagee and his flip-flopping on that. I'm sure that will get looked over just as closely...
4.30.2008 7:34am
Hoosier:
LM—I'll be happy to hold your hat while you do so.
4.30.2008 8:03am
Rock On (www):
If this is how it's going to be around here until the election, I might just stop coming.
4.30.2008 8:53am
BlueBear (mail):
This string up of Rev. Wright is typical blame-the-victim B.S. Is it really so shocking that a victim of racist terror should entertain beliefs that they have been the target of various government conspiracies to harm them? when they have been the target of government conspiracies to harm them. Tuskegee, anyone? Wrights views are colored by his ongoing experience of racist violence and discrimination. Duh! You brutalize the victim and then feign surprise when she feels paranoid. Grow up!
4.30.2008 8:57am
Anon!:

I had always thought that this notion came from Obama himself. A LEXIS search of news articles tends to indicate that it was Barack himself who so identified Wright, at least initially. But then, of course, perhaps the press repeatedly misreported what Obama told various reporters over the last four years.

Here are some of the news stories I found (all except the last are over a year old):


I notice that you don't come to any conclusion after posting all of these quotes. At most, they are inconclusive. Obama is never quoted as saying that Wright was his spiritual mentor, though press accounts say Obama describes Wright that way. Using VolokhLogic(tm)*, Obama's statements yesterday are entirely supported by the record. If Obama had been saying "spiritual advisor" to all of these reporters, you would think at least one of them would have quoted him on it.

______
* The special logic of Volokh conspirators that allows one to marshall all evidence in favor of one's conclusion and ignore equally plausible alternative conclusions from that same evidence.
4.30.2008 9:26am
Anon!:
Huskerfan: Don't worry, all the real conservatives hate McCain for his campaign finance reform efforts and support of reasonable immigration policy. Maybe once he gets on the mezkin-hating train they will change their minds.
4.30.2008 9:30am
Rodger Lodger (mail):
Obama is lacking in the JFK skills of wit and irony; in fact Reagan was excellent at them, Bill Clinton also. Obama looks scared and sincere about the Wright kerfuffle, and thus makes it seem like a serious substantial issue. Further, if Obie wanted to play it straight, he's lacking in the drama department; when he says he's outraged or whatever the voice and face don't match the words. Like it or not, actorly ability is an important political skill. Obie seems weak, a little hollow in the emotional/leadership area. Starting to look like what many already thought: inexperienced, thin resume.
4.30.2008 9:32am
Tom Maguire (mail):
It was one year ago today that the Times had their Big Barack story to which the "disinvitation" story was a sidebar.

Here we go on the non-mentor:

In “Dreams From My Father,” Mr. Obama described his teary-eyed reaction to the minister’s words. “Inside the thousands of churches across the city, I imagined the stories of ordinary black people merging with the stories of David and Goliath, Moses and Pharaoh, the Christians in the lion’s den, Ezekiel’s field of dry bones,” Mr. Obama wrote. “Those stories — of survival, and freedom, and hope — became our story, my story.”

Mr. Obama was baptized that year, and joining Trinity helped him “embrace the African-American community in a way that was whole and profound,” said Ms. Soetoro, his half sister.

It also helped give him spiritual bona fides and a new assurance. Services at Trinity were a weekly master class in how to move an audience. When Mr. Obama arrived at Harvard Law School later that year, where he fortified himself with recordings of Mr. Wright’s sermons, he was delivering stirring speeches as a student leader in the classic oratorical style of the black church.


So Wright led Obama to Christianity, baptized him (hmm, source for that? "Inspired him to be baptized" seems inarguable), and Obama listened to his tapes for spiritual and/or oratorical cues. Mentor?

This is from the Chi Trib link offered above:

Obama says that rather than advising him on strategy, Wright helps keep his priorities straight and his moral compass calibrated.

"What I value most about Pastor Wright is not his day-to-day political advice," Obama said. "He's much more of a sounding board for me to make sure that I am speaking as truthfully about what I believe as possible and that I'm not losing myself in some of the hype and hoopla and stress that's involved in national politics."


Also from the Chi Trib:

Before leaving for Harvard Law School in 1988, he responded to one of Wright's altar calls and declared a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.


Now Obama couldn't pick Wright out of a lineup if the only other guy in it was Bill Ayers. Whatever.
4.30.2008 9:33am
Bart (mail):
Obama is a rank amateur at lying.

The Clintons have this down to a science. They shamelessly repeat the same lie over and over until it can no longer pass the laugh test, then they try to kill the messengers who called them on the lie by claiming they are engaged in the politics of personal destruction. This approach has the virtue of allowing the Clintons to appear consistent.

On the other hand, Obama leaves a videotape trail of multiple positions which can be montaged on television and radio to devastating effect. Conservative talk radio and Fox News had such montages of Obama's contradictory statements and lies up within a couple hours after Obama's latest damage control speech, making him look like a complete hypocrite.

Was the coverage similar on the network news programs?

The montage I am waiting for starts with Obama reading the section of his own book on tape "Audacity of Hope" describing his inspiration at one of Wright's ranting speeches followed by Obama's press conference whopper yesterday that the current Wright is nothing like the one he knew back in the church.

Obama is toast and the Dems will not dare save themselves and take the nomination from him.
4.30.2008 9:59am
big dirigible (mail) (www):
Oh goody, propaganda of the sort worthy of Wright himself. You troglodytes who keep citing Tuskegee really should learn a bit more about its technical aspects. Hint: syphilis has multiple stages which do not share common symptoms, pathologies, or treatments. So there is no such thing as a simple "cure for syphilis." The distinct stages demand distinct treatments or cures. The black doctors and nurses (back then they were "colored," of course) who participated in the direction of the experiment were as aware of this as were their whitey colleagues.

There can be a treatment or cure for "primary syphilis," or "secondary syphilis," or "tertiary (or latent) syphilis." Or, more specifically, any particular treatment is effective against the Treponema pallidum bacterium only if administered during the appropriate phase. A treatment appropriate for primary syphilis would be totally useless for a patient suffering from tertiary syphilis.

Ranting about the evils of government simply because a patient with tertiary syphilis was not treated for primary syphilis is a dead giveaway that someone is suffering from Kneejerk Outrage Syndrome.
4.30.2008 10:01am
BGates:
What a magical world Democrats inhabit, where nothing is real until a word is spoken! George Bush may have gotten Harriet Miers every job she ever had, and worked to get her positions no one else thought she deserved, but could I say "George Bush was Harriet Miers' patron"? Not unless Miers said that exact word first, apparently.
4.30.2008 10:02am
Gravitational Gravitas (mail):
Come on now, this Wright/Obama relationship was just a passing thing, there was no THERE there. They barely knew one another at least according to Obama.

I mean historically POTUS candidates have always put people on their campaign staff who are diametrically opposed to their own beliefs, it just makes sense. Why, Hillary Clinton even offered a job to Karl Rove.
4.30.2008 10:03am
Passing By:
From time to time I hear judges complain about younger lawyers who run a Lexis or Westlaw search, find a quote that matches their keywords, and present it as if it provides the definitive answer to a legal issue. They have no sense of context, definition, dictum or holding.

I wonder where young lawyers pick up bad habits like that? ;-)
4.30.2008 10:12am
SeaDrive:
Perhaps I'm being a little thick this morning, but it seems that in trying to determine whether a notion arose directly from Obama or from the press, you quote the press as evidence it was from Obama. I hope this doesn't pass the Law Prof sniff test as evidence.

The sign that the whole Wright business is just gotcha politics is that Obama is rarely quoted, either old words or new.
4.30.2008 10:14am
Aultimer:

Tom Maguire wrote:

So Wright led Obama to Christianity, baptized him (hmm, source for that? "Inspired him to be baptized" seems inarguable), and Obama listened to his tapes for spiritual and/or oratorical cues. Mentor?


Before leaving for Harvard Law School in 1988, he responded to one of Wright's altar calls and declared a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.


Now Obama couldn't pick Wright out of a lineup if the only other guy in it was Bill Ayers. Whatever.



If you'd ever been a large church, you'd realize that you could
1. Be led to Christianity,
2. Be inspired to be baptized
3. Listen to the preacher's tapes for spiritual and/or oratorical cues
4. Respond to an altar calls to declare a personal relationship with Jesus Christ

without ANY personal relationship with the minister. In fact, thousands can claim all four via TV preachers whom they watch.

My minister inspires me in lots of ways, but we disagree on pacifism, the government's role in addressing social ills, the death penalty and so on. Should I start disavowing him before I run for prothonotary?
4.30.2008 10:15am
SIG357:
all the real conservatives hate McCain for his campaign finance reform efforts and support of reasonable immigration policy.


Amnesty and US citizenship for thirty million felons who should not be in the country to begin with can be described in a lot of ways, but I'm quite sure that "reasonable immigration policy" is not one of them. And "campaign finance reform" is Orwellian doublespeak for government control of political speech.
4.30.2008 10:17am
BlueBear (mail):
Have you ever heard of Malcolm X? He believed that white people were created by an evil alien. Crazy? He was also a revered black leader. Why? "White demons" reflected a truth about the American black experience that overshadowed the incredible basis of the narrative. Now, I think we can agree that Wright is a black leader. Yes? So, is it at least possible that something about AIDs and 9/11 conspiracy theories express a truth about the American black experience that overshadow the incredible basis of the narrative. Or do we draw the conclusion that the black community (or a significant thereof) is crazy or stupid? I'd really like to hear a convincing answer.

You are not trying to listen to black America; you are demonizing it? If 99% of what Wright was true; predictably, you will focus on the 1% that is untrue. Is this balanced? Is this fair?
4.30.2008 10:18am
William Oliver (mail) (www):
"Scary scary BLACK men!

BOO!!!!!"

This is what secularists and identity Christians just don't get. To those of us who take our faith seriously, it's not about BLACK. It's about Christ. Wright's statements are problematic not so much because they are racist, but because they are hate-filled and demonstrate the perversion of Christianity inherent in Identity Christianity. They are "scary" when an Aryan Indentity Christian spouts off, too.

The problem comes from the fact that Obama was happy to adopt Identity Christianity. The fact that he now tries to cover it with the standard patina of false moderation is no different than what David Duke did when he ran.

Obama will keep his fans -- those who agree with Identity Christianity, and those who are secular and view it as a distraction. But most orthodox Christianity divorced itself from this kind of hate long ago, and properly reject both it and those who preach and practice it.

It's not the BLACK, any more than Kingdom Identity Ministry is about WHITE. It's about hate.
4.30.2008 10:21am
Gravitational Gravitas (mail):
Yet Obama disinvited Wright from his POTUS announcement, opting instead to hide him in the basement and away from the cameras. As if Obama knew Wright might say something..um..controversial.

Ooof.
4.30.2008 10:22am
SIG357:
"This string up of Rev. Wright is typical blame-the-victim B.S. Is it really so shocking that a victim of racist terror should entertain beliefs that they have been the target of various government conspiracies to harm them?"

I'd like to think that this was biting satire, but I've seen too many lefties whose minds actually work this way.
4.30.2008 10:23am
BlueBear (mail):
big dig,

Tuskegee was bad. Okay? Is that technical enough for you? Or are you really trying to argue that Tuskegee was good?
4.30.2008 10:25am
Bored HLS 3L:
Yawn. Maybe it’s because I consider myself an independent and libertarian who doesn’t think that either party is particularly worth defending. Or maybe it’s because normally when we talk about religious people saying crazy things, they support the other side of the aisle. Or maybe it’s because all politicians lie, cheat, and steal. Or maybe it’s because all politicians have acquaintances that would be damaging to their campaigns. Or maybe it’s because I would prefer to see the cognitive talents of the Conspirators and those who comment here go to countering his views with which they may disagree such as his health care plan, his tax plan, his spending plan, or his Iraq plan. But I just can’t seem to get myself worked up into a frenzy over Rev. Wright.

There are so many reasons that Barack Obama shouldn’t be elected; I guess I’d rather see intellectually honest policy debates then guilt-by-association politics on either side. Maybe Barack Obama’s relationship with Rev. Wright does tell us something about Barack Obama, but if you are looking for reasons not to vote for him, I think the center-right/libertarian crowd here can come up with some much better ones than Jeremiah Wright.
4.30.2008 10:28am
Gravitational Gravitas (mail):
Is it really so shocking that a victim of racist terror should entertain beliefs that they have been the target of various government conspiracies to harm them?"

Yes it is shocking. People deal with bad situations everyday, including various forms of what might be called "terror", yet they don't automatically start searching under the bed for government operatives.
4.30.2008 10:29am
SIG357:
Have you ever heard of Malcolm X? He believed that white people were created by an evil alien. Crazy?

You accidently placed a question mark instead of an exclamation point after the word "crazy".

On a completely separate note (honest!) I notice that there is nothing in the comments policy of this site which permits comments to be removed on the grounds of insanity. That's an oversight you might want to remedy.
4.30.2008 10:31am
BlueBear (mail):
Sig,

Wow, insults for arguments. Brilliant!

GG,
So you say. That, and a dollar will buy me a cup of coffee.
4.30.2008 10:36am
ejo:
Tuskegee was bad but at least be truthful about what it was-it might actually prevent black americans now from dying, particularly if they have preachers on Sunday telling them they only have to avoid the government's death ray to not contract the disease as opposed to changing their behavior. The Tuskegee experiment involved not treating folks who had the disease (noting that, in the initial stages of it, there was no "cure"), not infecting people with the disease. We can agree that is was "bad" but that doesn't excuse ignorance today about what was actually at issue.
4.30.2008 10:37am
iowan (mail):
Obama never said Qright was his mentor. So? looking for the words?

Actions

Shopped for and picked a church. Choose this divisive anti American Church as the perfect culture to raise his children in. Thus assuring the next generation of black sepratist anti America, culture of victimhood blame placers.

All the while preaching unity and change.

His ACTIONS say same old refrain. I'm a victim.
4.30.2008 10:37am
Mike Keenan:
Wright and his ilk are dangerous.

Obama called the AIDS theory "ridiculous" in his news conference. But, from a recent Kaiser survey: "researchers surveyed by telephone 500 African Americans ages 15 to 44, asking their opinion on a series of questions about HIV/AIDS "myths," according to a RAND release (RAND release, 1/25). Nearly half of respondents said they believe that HIV is manmade"

It would be a good thing to have a president though who could call this (among other things) ridiculous and be believed.
4.30.2008 10:39am
byomtov (mail):
This catalog sounds like a bunch of reporters relying on each other for the whole "spiritual adviser" business.
4.30.2008 10:41am
SIG357:
BlueBear, I'm starting to think you are a paid operative of Karl Rove. But sure, if you want to have a real discussion about the "argument" that white people were created by an evil alien, I'm game.

I suppose you should start by showing some evidence that this evil alien exists. Can you do that?
4.30.2008 10:42am
Gravitational Gravitas (mail):
So I say along with a few hundred million other sane Americans who deal with their issues head-on rather than blaming Big Whitey or some cabal of Rovian Illuminati.

But hey, you just keeping searching through the dusty cellar and cobwebby attic for those black-suited CIA types who are infecting your water and implanting chips in your skull; you just might find them one day.

The only problem you have is that no one else will be able to see them.
4.30.2008 10:42am
Anon!:
Me:

all the real conservatives hate McCain for his campaign finance reform efforts and support of reasonable immigration policy.


SIG357:


Amnesty and US citizenship for thirty million felons who should not be in the country to begin with can be described in a lot of ways, but I'm quite sure that "reasonable immigration policy" is not one of them. And "campaign finance reform" is Orwellian doublespeak for government control of political speech.


Were you intentionally trying to prove my point?
4.30.2008 10:44am
Gaius Marius:
This string up of Rev. Wright is typical blame-the-victim B.S. Is it really so shocking that a victim of racist terror should entertain beliefs that they have been the target of various government conspiracies to harm them? when they have been the target of government conspiracies to harm them. Tuskegee, anyone? Wrights views are colored by his ongoing experience of racist violence and discrimination. Duh! You brutalize the victim and then feign surprise when she feels paranoid. Grow up!

Bluebear, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright is not a victim. Rather, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright is an opportunist and a lunatic race-baiter in the same league as the Grand Wizards of the KKK.
4.30.2008 10:46am
BlueBear (mail):
Sig,
I am really persuaded by your attacks on me. Also, I am astonished that you know what I intended. Why not write my comments for me? I know the mental effort of coming up with ad hominem attacks must be very taxing on your brilliant mind. Just tell me what I am saying. One-sided discussion by Sig.
4.30.2008 10:46am
SIG357:
Anon

I was pointing out the facts of the matter. Doing so is not "hate". And you made no point. You made a silly and compeletely unsupported assertion.

Lastly, I'm a libertarian, not a conservative.
4.30.2008 10:49am
SIG357:
BlueBear, I did not write your comment for you. I asked you a question. Can you answer it?
4.30.2008 10:51am
wfjag:
big dirigible -- Please stop citing facts. You’re confusing the ranters with reality.

Tony -- Can't tell you anything about most of the TV preachers you mention (other than they seem to be doing well financially). Jimmy Swaggart I do know something about, because, inter alia, I had some friends you worked for him. Where does he "fall/fell on the lefty-right spectrum" is likely an irrelevant question. He's first cousin to both Jerry Lee Lewis and Mickey Gilley, and may play the piano better than The Killer. He also is (or was) an Assemblies of God minister (which is the largest Pentecostal denomination). Maybe that's why he never seemed to have any problems hanging around Edwin W. Edwards (who is - or was -- also a Pentecostal). Since Edwin originally planned to be in preacher, he and Jimmy seem to have a number of things in common.

RE: Sen. Obama's latest statements or explanations or whatever they are: Will the real Barak Obama please stand up?

RE: Rev. Wright: Rev. Wright has gone beyond his 15 minutes of fame, and looks like he's angling for a TV show. Do you think he should replace Bill Maher on HBO (unlike Maher, Wright can be witty), or would he do better replacing Obermann on MSNBC (unlike Obermann, Wright is at least interesting to watch), or, do you think CNN should pair him with Tony Snow as a a Hannity/Colmes knock-off (salt and pepper plus liberal and conserative)?
4.30.2008 10:52am
KenB (mail):
My understanding is that the root of the word "pastor" is related to shepherd. It seems to me to be quite close to, if not synonymous with, "spiritual advisor." To say that Wright not not my spiritual advisor, just my pastor, is the same as saying he's not my milkman, he's just the guy who delivers the milk.
4.30.2008 10:56am
Gravitational Gravitas (mail):
"And then I've got to give a special shout out to my Pastor. The guy who puts up with me, counsels me, listens to my wife complain about me. He's a friend and a great leader not just in Chicago but all across the country, so please everybody give an extraordinary welcome to my pastor Dr. Jeremiah Wright, Jr., Trinity United Church of Christ."

Did I say all that? What I really meant is that I never really liked Mr. Wright and actually I barely know him. Just ignore all of this and vote for Hopey Change©.
4.30.2008 10:57am
BlueBear (mail):
Sig and GG,
Can't you read? I wrote that Malcolm X's conspiracy theory was crazy. Hello? Anyone home? I said that there was possibly a truth about such insane theories in the American black experience that overshadow the incredible narrative. Incredible = unbelievable.

I'll come up with a counterargument for you. The notion that culture shapes individual views is preposterous liberal nonsense. That so many black Americans entertain such crazy conspiracies is just a really weird coincidence.
4.30.2008 10:58am
Cornellian (mail):
Those of you complaining may not be old enough to remember this, but there was a time when a person's associates thought to provide insights into that person's character.

As I see it, if you spend all your time talking about some guy a candidate knows rather than the candidate himself, that's your roundabout way of admitting you've got nothing on the candidate himself.
4.30.2008 11:17am
Michael B (mail):
The notion that culture shapes individual views is not a "liberal" idea. The notion that culture shapes individual views - to the exclusion of an individual's own volition, will, convictions, etc. - that is the pseudo-liberal or "liberal" view (i.e. to the point where individual responsibility is greatly diminished or even foreclosed entirely).

Small "r" republicanism-styled conservatives are perfectly conversant with, are consonant with the idea that culture, in notable part, helps to shape individual views.
4.30.2008 11:17am
Rock On (www):
If you wanted to find a presidential candidate who didn't have shady associations and doesn't have to throw at least one friend under a bus to save himself, you'd have to go back to at least Lincoln, and probably further.
4.30.2008 11:19am
Gravitational Gravitas (mail):
Gee, thanks for clearing that up for us dummies.

You say that blacks ascribe to admittedly bat-ass crazy conspiracies because of a "truth" inherent to their experience, then you say its justified because they really HAVE been targeted by government conspiracies.

Ok then.
4.30.2008 11:20am
Gravitational Gravitas (mail):
If you wanted to find a presidential candidate who didn't have shady associations and doesn't have to throw at least one friend under a bus to save himself, you'd have to go back to at least Lincoln, and probably further.

Yup, and it kind of craps on the whole "I'm different, I'm going to change things, just you wait and see" Obama narrative, doesn't it?

Hell, we haven't even gotten to Ayers yet; the RNC commercials are practically writing themselves.
4.30.2008 11:25am
BlueBear (mail):
Do we really have to have this discussion about the Tuskegee Experiment? I guess we do. Silly me, I thought that we could all agree that the Tuskegee experiment was bad without extended debate. Your true colors are beginning to show. My efforts have not been in vain.

Clinton on Tuskegee:
"To the survivors, to the wives and family members, the children and the grandchildren, I say what you know: No power on Earth can give you back the lives lost, the pain suffered, the years of internal torment and anguish.

"What was done cannot be undone. But we can end the silence. We can stop turning our heads away. We can look at you in the eye and finally say, on behalf of the American people: what the United States government did was shameful.

"And I am sorry."
4.30.2008 11:31am
Gravitational Gravitas (mail):
The only discussion you are having about Tuskegee is with yourself. Why don't you include the G-man hiding in your closet, maybe he will give you the deference you obviously believe you deserve.
4.30.2008 11:37am
SIG357:
"if you spend all your time talking about some guy a candidate knows rather than the candidate himself, that's your roundabout way of admitting you've got nothing on the candidate himself."


Discussion's of the candidates friends ARE about the candidate himself. And it's pretty sneaky to downgrade Wright to just "somebody Obama knows", as if he's some guy Obama says hi to in the office. Hell, I remember the Dems pushing pictures of Abromovitch at the WH with Bush, and that was a non-existent connection compared to this one.

Reagan was called a racist simply for giving a speech in Mississipi. Imagine that he'd had a close relationship over a span of twenty years with a Grand Wizard of the Klan. I doubt you'd have written the above sentences in his defense.
4.30.2008 11:42am
Gravitational Gravitas (mail):
George Bush admits that he prays and holy shiite, there are going to be Christian Stormtroopers marching through the streets!

Obama gives a speech highly steeped in Christian evangelical rhetoric and, presto magico, he is a quiet man of faith.

Odd too that we don't hear any more of the "We need a veteran to lead the nation in time of war" boilerplate emanating from the left, ala 2004. Wonder why that is?
4.30.2008 11:48am
Neo (mail):
In order to maintain proper New Testament form, it seems that Obama must deny Wright a third time before Wright can be properly crucified.
The cock is refusing to crow.
4.30.2008 11:54am
BlueBear (mail):
I offered a plausible account of how someone as educated and intelligent as Wright could entertain irrational beliefs; how someone like Wright could achieve such prominence in the black community given such views, and how such irrational views might resonate with a group that have been the victims of racist terror. In response I get strenuous denials, innuendo, and insults. If its not to much to ask. Please provide a more plausible account, I'm all ears.
4.30.2008 11:56am
BlueBear (mail):
GG,

Tuskegee experiment = G-men in the closet? Holocaust = invasion of the body snatchers?
4.30.2008 12:00pm
Brian Mac:
"I offered a plausible account of how someone as educated and intelligent as Wright could entertain irrational beliefs...Please provide a more plausible account"

Because they've made him pretty rich and powerful.
4.30.2008 12:01pm
Dave N (mail):
The outrage at the anti-Wright outrage is certainly baffling.

Obama supporters appear to be upset tht Jeremiah Wright was attacked. And at least some were wanting to vent moral outrage because John McCain received the endorsement from John Hagee and had the temerity to meet him (as far as I know) exactly 1 time. I did a quick Google search and there were 678,000 hits for "John McCain Hagee"

McCain was attacked long after he denounced Hagee's bigoted statements. I expect to see similar attacks any time anyone who is in the least bit controversial endorses him.

But Jeremiah Wright is off limits, though Obama has been a member of his church for 20 years. Williams Ayers is off limits, though Obama's campaign described the relationship as "friendly" and Ayers hosted Obama's very first campaign meeting.

The hypocrisy of the left ("it's OK to attack your guy because all Republicans are racist scum") but not be attacked is absolutely astounding.
4.30.2008 12:01pm
Gravitational Gravitas (mail):
Sorry blue but you seem to be taking delight in making nonsense out of your own argument; now you are saying that Wright is irrational.

Previously you stated that it shouldn't be shocking that Wright would have such beliefs about government conspiracies because he belongs to a group that actually HAS been the victim of government conspiracy.

That wouldn't make him irrational, that would make him truthful because the conspiracy he rants about actually does exist. You can't have it both ways.
4.30.2008 12:12pm
BlueBear (mail):
GG,

How dare you disgrace the Tuskegee victim's families with such lying innuendo. Your racist lies have no place in a civil conversation.

Yes, finally, the logical fallacy of tu quoque fallacy makes it appearance. A retort accusing an accuser of a similar offense or similar behavior. Here is the sign that constructive dialogue has long since ceased.
4.30.2008 12:13pm
therut:
We will not get over racism until a half black half white person stands up and claim his whiteness and demands to be seen as white. Then maybe everyone will just start being a person not a race. Why must they still claim to be black? That is so in the past and still playing to a racist notion. Then maybe we will be post-racist society. That is a long long way off in the future. The left would explode and all kinds of names would be used in a racist manner agaist that person.
4.30.2008 12:24pm
SeaDrive:

George Bush admits that he prays and holy shiite, there are going to be Christian Stormtroopers marching through the streets!


"Christian Stormtroopers" have in fact been rampaging through the policies of the US Gov't for the last eight years, mostly with negative effects.
4.30.2008 12:24pm
wuzzagrunt (mail):
I'll be happy to keep putting the spurs to this horse until the air is thick with flies, but even I am getting bored with Rev. Wright. However, I think the important point we can all take away from this kerfuffle is that Barack Obama's handling of this semi-important personal issue--from his choosing to affiliate with a black nationalist lunatic preacher, to his explanation of his choice, to his cautious denouncement of the relevant rants--has been completely incompetent.

How'z he gonna react if Hamas and Hezbollah announce that they have tactical nukes, and the systems to deliver them? Buh bye Barry...thanks for playing.
4.30.2008 12:24pm
Gravitational Gravitas (mail):
Ahh, well at least you used the term "racist" against me instead of the more encompassing term of "fascist" which your laughable ilk seem so fond of; thank God for small favors.

I've come to learn that the end of "constructive dialogue" with an hysteric such as yourself is usually preceded by their claim that in effect says, "I'm smart and you're an idiot" conjoined to an increasingly disjointed argument.

You fit the mold perfectly, congrats. Now go untwist your panties.
4.30.2008 12:33pm
Gravitational Gravitas (mail):
"Christian Stormtroopers" have in fact been rampaging through the policies of the US Gov't for the last eight years, mostly with negative effects.

Yeah, the proof is everywhere: people whipped into church, mosques shuttered, temples razed, prominently displayed photos of the Pope made requisite.

Or are you referring to the little Cross pin that Dubya sometimes wears?
4.30.2008 12:36pm
Elliot123 (mail):
"My challenge stands. Please point out to me where Obama is quoted as saying that Wright was his mentor or spiritual adviser."

It no longer matters what Obama did or did not say. The notion that Wright is his mentor and advisor is so implanted in the popular lore that nothing will change it. That notion was reinforced with Obama's first Wright speech when he said he couldn't reject him because they had such a close relationship.

His defenders can demand citations forever, but it still won't make any difference. This isn't a court of law; it's an election.
4.30.2008 12:42pm
SIG357:
The hypocrisy of the left ("it's OK to attack your guy because all Republicans are racist scum") but not be attacked is absolutely astounding.



Dave, I'd say it's exasperating. I stopped being astounded by it a long time ago. I suppose around the time that the people who hounded Packwood out of office leapt to the defense of behavior which made Packwood look like an innocent choirboy.
4.30.2008 12:49pm
Elliot123 (mail):
"I offered a plausible account of how someone as educated and intelligent as Wright could entertain irrational beliefs; how someone like Wright could achieve such prominence in the black community given such views, and how such irrational views might resonate with a group that have been the victims of racist terror. In response I get strenuous denials, innuendo, and insults. If its not to much to ask. Please provide a more plausible account, I'm all ears."

Perhaps we have more respect for the rationality, intelligence, wisdom, and common sense of the black community, and consider Wright to be an individual nutcase who speaks for nobody but himself?
4.30.2008 12:50pm
SIG357:
how such irrational views might resonate with a group that have been the victims of racist terror

Are you talking about Bosnia? Because if some group in America has been victimized by racist terror, I haven't heard about it.
4.30.2008 12:57pm
SIG357:
The nearest thing to "racist terror" in America in my own memory has been the Crown Heights and LA riots. But I doubt that's what BlueBear had in mind.
4.30.2008 1:02pm
Gravitational Gravitas (mail):
He may have been referring to the bombing of the N.O. levees by Rumsfeldt.
4.30.2008 1:07pm
c.gray (mail):

Ranting about the evils of government simply because a patient with tertiary syphilis was not treated for primary syphilis is a dead giveaway that someone is suffering from Kneejerk Outrage Syndrome.


Thats a serious distortion of what happened in Tuskeegee. ALL effective treatments, which were readily available for all stages of syphilis after 1950, were withheld from the participants for the last two decades of the study in order to observe the course of the disease. This took place with the full knowledge of the "health care" providers and no understanding by the study subjects. The patients only began receiving treatment because someone blew the whistle on the "study" in 1972.
4.30.2008 1:08pm
Hoosier:
Blue Bear:
Have you ever heard of Malcolm X?
Yes.
He believed that white people were created by an evil alien. Crazy?
If he really believed it, absolutely stark-raving loonie-tunes. I don't think he did believe it, however. So that's a trick question.
He was also a revered black leader. Why?
People were angry and frustrated. And I bet they didn't believe the 'Yakub' stuff any more than Malcom did. Black people aren't dumb. (Scientoligists, on the other hand, seem to believe in these sorts of things. So they probably are dumb. Comapre and constrast.)

"White demons" reflected a truth about the American black experience that overshadowed the incredible basis of the narrative.
Truth only in the sense that ideologies collective guilt are always founded upon some harm done to the group that perpetuates that ideology. That does not necessarily mean anything substantive about the demonized--in this case literally--group. If the phenomenological truth of the origin of white people was in fact "overshadowed" in the thinking of large numbers of black people by this ideology . . . well, that's a problem. Not an excuse.

Now, I think we can agree that Wright is a black leader. Yes?
He leads a church. He's black. Sound reasoning.


So, is it at least possible that something about AIDs and 9/11 conspiracy theories express a truth about the American black experience that overshadow the incredible basis of the narrative.
No. Either actual people murdered the 9/11 victims to promote a government conspiracy, or actual people did not do so at the behest of Bush and Co. Either scientists working at NIH invented a disease to kill balck people, or they did not. If Wright has evidence, let him show it. If he is "expressing an experiential truth of a race," he is bearing false witness. I think I remember hearing that Christian ministers are not supposed to do that.

Or do we draw the conclusion that the black community (or a significant thereof) is crazy or stupid?
Answered that above. I don't think they really believ this stuff. The Yakub-made-whitey fiction is mean spirited, but I suspect Yakub doesn't care, since he's not real. Like Santa. Or Spiderman. Or Unitarians.

But when one makes claims about specific murders of real people, then there must be an accounting. WHO did this? HOW do you know? To act otherwise reflects a fundamental lack of moral seriousness. Inventing a virus to kill innocent black children is not less evil than enslaving them at the moment of their birth. We insist that our children learn about how the institution of slavery came about in this country, and and how it functioned. Srious scholars--white and black--spend their entire lives investigating the details and trying to analyze the meaning of those details.

Why leave the HIV "issue" as just a vague myth? (HINT: Because it's BS, and everyone really knows this.) Does propagating such myths help or hurt the effort to make Americans aware of the actual moral wrongs and historical legacy of slavery?

I'd really like to hear a convincing answer.
I aim to please.
4.30.2008 1:58pm
alan:
What a joke. Look at the kind of creeps you're pulling out of the woodworks while you hammer Obama on irrelevant crap. I expect more out of this blog. I can get this kind of commentary at Free Republic.
4.30.2008 2:01pm
Hoosier:
alan--No you can't. The Freep doesn't have that guy called . . me!

And that is a difference of kind, not quantity.
4.30.2008 2:11pm
William Oliver (mail) (www):
"In order to maintain proper New Testament form, it seems that Obama must deny Wright a third time before Wright can be properly crucified.
The cock is refusing to crow."

But then he'll have to repent and embrace Wright even more strongly...
4.30.2008 2:24pm
Hoosier:
The cock is refusing to crow.

Man, I HATE it when [Note to self: Remember to insert suggestive joke about V-i-agra here before posting] up to "crow" at dawn. And so does my wife!
4.30.2008 2:33pm
SeaDrive:

Yeah, the proof is everywhere: people whipped into church, mosques shuttered, temples razed, prominently displayed photos of the Pope made requisite.



We have 1) a government with view that untutored belief is more reliable than science, 2) that opposes life-saving public health initiatives because someone, somewhere, believes (without evidence) that they might lessen the stigma of pre-marital sex, and 3) causes huge ineffectiveness in AIDS programs in Africa with rules about abortion information.
4.30.2008 4:31pm
Freedom Fan (mail):
I can't believe that this is what American Conservatism has come to: "LOOK AT THE CRAZY PREACHER! LOOK AT THE CRAZY PREACHER!".
-chaon

Yes, aren't Conservatives petty? 'Course the problem for libs is that many of them sound just like wright. They defend wright, which just makes their cause much worse.

Plus this is a wonderful payback for all the self-righteous indignant libs like wright and obama who cynically smear innocent folks as "racist" for political advantage and profit.

It wasn't long ago that LA was burned down in riots, sparked by the kind of race hatred cultivated continuously by jeremiah the pariah.

It's time to expose this disgusting America-hatred for exactly what it is and ridicule it into oblivion.
4.30.2008 4:43pm
LM (mail):
SIG357,

how such irrational views might resonate with a group that have been the victims of racist terror

Are you talking about Bosnia? Because if some group in America has been victimized by racist terror, I haven't heard about it.

You may not be old enough to remember it, but it's impossible to believe you haven't heard about it.
4.30.2008 5:54pm
LM (mail):
Cornellian,

Yeah, the decline of the Republican party has been remarkable. Goldwater wouldn't have a chance at the nomination if he were around today - he'd be condemned as a moonbat liberal.

No kidding.
4.30.2008 6:05pm
LM (mail):
Gravitational Gravitas,

Is it really so shocking that a victim of racist terror should entertain beliefs that they have been the target of various government conspiracies to harm them?"

Yes it is shocking. People deal with bad situations everyday, including various forms of what might be called "terror", yet they don't automatically start searching under the bed for government operatives.

And not everyone who takes a baseball bat to the head suffers irremediable brain damage. What moral truth is that supposed to reveal about those who do?
4.30.2008 6:13pm
ejo:
Rev. Wright was not a victim of racist terror-he grew up in a middle class environment. Bringing the matter to the present, you would probably have about a 1 to 4000 ratio between between victims of racist terror and victims of urban gangs with membership of the same skin color as that of the minority victim. I guess worrying about the former beats tackling the latter given that you might have to actually look in a mirror to cure the problem.
4.30.2008 6:16pm
SIG357:
I always get a kick out of the way the Democrats love Barry Goldwater. The opponent of the Civil Rights Act. Maybe the Democrats have not really changed much after all.
4.30.2008 7:04pm
SIG357:
LM, I've heard about the Crown Heights and LA riots. Are those the racist terror you were thinking of?
4.30.2008 7:07pm
drivlikejehu (mail):
Can someone just ask Obama straight-up if he ascribes to Black Liberation Theology? Wright's world-view is irrational but it seems to be internally consistent. His particular views on various topics are a product of a bizarre take on Christianity- but it's not like Wright is just generating crazy ideas at random, with no unifying principle.

I suspect Obama is smart enough that certain ideas, e.g., the government invented AIDs, are not believable to him. But if he is an adherent of Black Liberation Theology, his world-view would, by necessity, be much closer to Wright's than most commentators are willing to believe.

On the other hand, if Obama does not subscribe to the official religious doctrine of the church he attended for 20 years... isn't that a little odd? How many Southern Baptists were brought to Christ by a Catholic? It is of course possible, most obviously if Obama was driven purely by political motives and didn't believe a word Wright said.

Maybe he really wasn't listening to the sermons, and instead was mentally rehearsing his inauguration speech every Sunday for 20 years...
4.30.2008 7:33pm
fouse, gary c, (mail) (www):
"I can no more disown Rev Wright and my church than I can my own white grandmother who raised me."

"I was not present when these statements were made."

"Was I present in the pew when some of those statements that many would consider controversial were made? Yes."

"I was not present during those statements, Larry."

"I am outraged. I am saddened by the spectacle we saw yesterday."

(I am quoting these words by Barack Obama by memory, not from text. They may or may not be word for word, but I am confident that there is no distortion or taking out of context.)


Today, in the wake of Jeremiah Wright's appearances before the NAACP in Detroit and the National Press Club in Washington, Barack Obama has spoken out strongly against Wright. In reality, Obama had to do this in order to keep his viability as a candidate. No longer could he (or Wright) claim that the pastor's statements were taken out of context-or in sound bites. Both appearances have been shown in their entirety. Wright has confirmed the content of the sermons that we had previously witnessed in "sound bites". At this point, with Wright seemingly going on a speaking tour and a book coming out in October, Obama had to speak out.

Today, Obama stated that he is saddened, outraged, and that his relationship with Wright has now changed. Wright is not the person he met 20 years ago, according to Obama. He stated that he had only seen Wright on TV last night. (I assume that means I saw the Detroit performance before he did.)

I have to say in Obama's defense that he is obviously caught in the middle of two constituencies, just as he has lived his life between two worlds-white and black. Yet, Obama cannot have it both ways as he has tried to do. He has carefully measured his responses to Wright.

Having said that, Obama, in my view, is not credible. Say what you will about Jeremiah Wright, he is consistent. For Obama to maintain that, over the course of 20 years, he had no idea that Wright held these views is disingenuous, to say the least.

At this point, Obama is literally tying himself in knots trying to maneuver his way through this morass. He had to know that his pastor had gone to Libya in 1984 with Louis Farrakhan to meet Moamar Khadafi. He knew the tenets of his churches' "Black Value System". Originally, he claimed that he had never been present when the controversial statements were made. Then he admitted in his Philadelphia speech that we was, indeed, present during some of those comments. Within days, he was on Larry King's show again denying he had been present. Contradiction? Absolutely.

In his Philadelphia speech, he tried to walk the tightrope. He disavowed the comments, but stated that he could "no more disown Rev. Wright and the church than he could disown his white grandmother"-whom he then described to America as a prejudiced person (later referred to as a "typical white person"). Now he is disowning Wright, again trying to convince the public that he had no idea what this man was really like.

Of course he knew. Twenty years ago, when he was a "community organizer" in the south side of Chicago, he joined this church because it represented a base from which he could build his career. Fair enough. But when Obama went on to become a state senator, a US Senator and now, a presidential candidate, membership in this church and association with Wright became no longer appropriate.

If Obama has only recently come to see what Wright represents, why did he dis-invite him to speak at the event by which he declared for the presidency? Wright's views had recently been featured in a Rolling Stone article. Obama knew.

Obama has always known.

He has known of the damning statements made against America, the race-baiting, the links with Louis Farrakhan, the trip to Libya and on and on and on. When he was a "community organizer" (whatever that means), the church and Wright suited him just fine. But now, he needs to appeal to the entire country-not just blacks, but whites, Hispanics, Jews, and Asians. He should have seen this situation coming years ago. Yet, he didn't see it until it hit him in the face. That speaks volumes about his judgement.

As for Wright, he has added a couple of new adjectives to his personal description. Man of God? Perhaps, but he is also a self-centered, self-promoting demogogue who clearly cares little for what he is doing to his parishioner's presidential campaign. Obama can be excused for being angry. Privately, he must be boiling.

By the way, who were those menacing-looking guys flanking Rev. Wright at the National Press Club yesterday? Is it true, in fact, that Wright is being guarded by the Fruit of Islam? What does Mr Obama think about that?

And by the way, what say you, Mrs Obama-in light of your recent comments about the country? How come the mainstream news media is not asking her for comments on Wright?

And by the way, now that Obama has "disowned" Wright, I wonder if the good pastor will strike back at Obama and clarify whether Obama was, indeed present, during his fiery sermons.

From Jeremiah Wright to William Ayres to Tony Rezko, there are so many suspect associations that Obama needs to explain. He is not doing a very good job of doing that, but then again, the mainstream news media is not doing a very good job of digging into it. Why is that? They would rather not-that's why.

posted by Gary Fouse @ 6:04 PM
fousesquawk
5.1.2008 1:21am