Obama’s Mister Wright…

01 May

The story in this morning’s Australian is typical of the genre:

Obama slam dunks the reverend

BARACK Obama expressed outrage at his former pastor yesterday and effectively ended his 20-year relationship with the Reverend Jeremiah Wright as he attempted to quell a controversy that has engulfed his campaign.

Senator Obama called a press conference yesterday to denounce Mr Wright, the man who married him and baptised his children, after the controversial clergyman repeated sensational claims this week that the US Government was responsible for the creation of the AIDS virus and US foreign policy was to blame for the attacks of September 11, 2001.

“I am outraged by the comments that were made and saddened by the spectacle that we saw yesterday,” Senator Obama said, referring to Mr Wright’s performance before the country’s media at the National Press Club in Washington.

In the past few days, Mr Wright has made a series of public appearances – he has a book coming out later this year – that have infuriated the Obama campaign, which hoped it had put the Wright controversy behind it.

The storm over Mr Wright and his most famous parishioner erupted in March when videos of the pastor’s sermons emerged on the internet and on television showing Mr Wright make some of his more incendiary claims.

The pugnacious pastor didn’t back down before the national media this week in a combative and playful performance in which he damaged Senator Obama directly by suggesting the senator’s previous rejection of some of the things the pastor had been saying was simply a politician talking.

“If Senator Obama did not say what he said, he would never get elected,” Mr Wright said.

A grave looking Senator Obama, who is vying to be the first black president, said yesterday: “At a certain point, if what somebody says contradicts what you believe so fundamentally and then he questions whether or not you believe it – in front of the National Press Club – then that’s enough. That’s a show of disrespect to me. It is also, I think, an insult to what we’ve been trying to do (in the campaign). Whatever relationship I had with Mr Wright has changed as a consequence of this.”

Mr Wright had been asked on Monday about a speech in which he claimed the September 11 attacks were retaliation for US foreign policy and said: “You cannot do terrorism on other people and not expect it to come back to you.”

And on AIDS – he once suggested the US government might have created the virus to kill black people – Mr Wright similarly did not back down this week: “Based on what has happened to Africans in this country, I believe our Government is capable of doing anything.” …

You don’t have to look far in the US blogosphere, not to mention outside the US, to find plenty of supporters for those last two propositions. On September 11, he is (in my view) partly right — it’s the “blowback” theory, is all. The second is more dubious; that conspiracy theory surfaced in Indian newspapers in the 80s and has been around ever since. I think it unlikely, though not impossible. Non-black pastors with extremely interesting ideas about the Middle East, Israel and Armageddon have had the ears of at least two presidents, not without some being concerned about it of course but hardly at the level we are witnessing with Wright/Obama: I refer to Reagan and George W, and I am led to believe that Reagan was the more influenced by such ideas of the two, though some close to George W are/were quite firmly in that camp.

This particular slanging match won’t have done Obama much good of course.

Sojourners has published some interesting arguments on the matter:

Monday, April 28, 2008

Wright Ex-Factor (by Diana Butler Bass)

Over the last several days, I watched Rev. Jeremiah Wright in discussions of faith, theology, history, and culture on television. The three-plus hours I devoted to PBS and CNN amounted to some of the most sophisticated and thoughtful programming on… Read the full entry »

Posted by God’s Politics on April 28, 2008 11:15 AM

Friday, March 28, 2008

The Rev. Wright Effect; Rice on Race (by Jim Wallis)

We were never likely to get away with “transcending” race in this election as the early Obama campaign suggested to some. The demons of race in America simply run too deep and were bound to eventually rear their ugly heads…. Read the full entry »

Posted by God’s Politics on March 28, 2008 2:30 PM

Friday, March 28, 2008

From Prophetic Anger to Apocalyptic Hope (by Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove)

The recent controversy over Rev. Jeremiah Wright has initiated a new conversation about race in America. It has done so by making clear to white America what almost every black American knows—that 40 years after the civil rights movement, there… Read the full entry »

Posted by God’s Politics on March 28, 2008 10:50 AM

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Exorcising Racial Demons: Part II (by Melvin Bray)

So what do we do, my friends, in the face of our undeniably incongruent histories—which give us reason to forever suspect one another, a reason dramatically subverted by the call to embrace one another in the way of Jesus? I…  Read the full entry »

Posted by God’s Politics on March 20, 2008 9:52 AM

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

It’s Not About Him Now—It’s About Us (by Jim Wallis)

It was an amazing day, and, we may look back to conclude it was a historic day. Before Barack Obama’s speech yesterday, after the now infamous statements from his former pastor; the issue seemed to be a test of him…. Read the full entry »

Posted by God’s Politics on March 19, 2008 1:46 PM

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

How Wrong Was Rev. Wright? (by Troy Jackson)

On a Sunday when Americans flooded houses of worship seeking words of comfort, hope, and healing, Rev. Jeremiah Wright of Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago dared to forgo the singing of “God Bless America.” Instead, Senator Barack Obama’s… Read the full entry »

Posted by God’s Politics on March 19, 2008 12:30 PM

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Exorcising Racial Demons: Part I (by Melvin Bray)

If properly understood, Senator Barack Obama’s remarks yesterday at the Constitution Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, constitute one of the most significant and honest public addresses ever made on America’s 400-year struggle with race. Had we heeded DuBois’ 1903 prophetic warning,… Read the full entry »

Posted by God’s Politics on March 19, 2008 10:16 AM

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Posted by on May 1, 2008 in America, challenge, Christianity, current affairs, faith, Political, politics, racism, religion, USA


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