March 18, 2008
by: jovial_cynic

image: Hope - Obama (Shepard Fairey poster) (cc) Steve Rhodes

A friend of mine traded some comments back and forth regarding Reverend Wright's theology, and about whether or not anyone who would sit through his sermons could be qualified to run the nation. At the time, I defended Wright. About his perspective, I drew a connection to Tony Campollo's Partly Right:

There's an interesting piece in the book about how believers who aren't in the white-middle-class segment view the scriptures differently, and it gives the example of how we tend to view the "war against powers and principalities" passage as a reference to disembodied spiritual warfare, whereas the lower-class and otherwise marginalized groups view that passage to mean the spiritual forces behind the Establishment, or social forces that create that marginalization. Racism, sexism, intolerance... all tools of oppression.

And so I defended Wright's fight against the racism inherent in society, because it's as valid a worldview as my own. However, Wright's recent anti-white/anti-America sermon, where he says "God damn America" (counter to God bless America) was a step beyond what I would call acceptable theology. It's a dangerous place, theologically, to make proclamations about the blessing and the damning of nations and the indivuals that comprise them. And if Obama upheld Wright's sermon, I would be forced to reconsider my position.

Today, Obama delivered a speech that addressed this issue, and further solidified my support. Here is the full transcript:

A More Perfect Union (PDF)

I'll come back and edit this post later when I can get my hands on a youtube video. I can't access youtube from work, so it'll have to wait. In the meanwhile, read the speech. I don't think a better one could have been delivered regarding the issue of race, religion, and politics.


Luke said:
The big tell is that this story (although having been broken by your beloved FoxNews over a year ago) had to be plastered all over the TV before he would deliver a 'slick' speech to distance himself from the anti-American sentiment which was strewn from that pastor's pulpit.

"He now insists that he is “shocked, shocked” (in the style of Claude Raines in “Casablanca”) to hear that anti-Americanism had anything at all to do with Wright’s ministry.

He has also claimed to be a “devout Christian” who attends church every week and is deeply involved in the life of Wright’s congregation (where he’s been a member for twenty years). " Which is it? Obama, you either knew and are just *gasp* acting shocked, or you didn't and are not remotely an active attender at the church like you profess to be.

Josh ask yourself what you would have done if you attended a church where on many many occasions this 'pastor' preached the hate and garbage Rev. Wright preached. Would you simply keep going and say, "oh there's more to him than that" like Obama; would you decry this preaching (which I understand was a regular thing, not just an exception) within the body and complain to the elders for action; or would you just leave the church altogether?

I for one would leave but that's me. Obama did nothing. In fact he continued financially supporting this church, and despite Wright's continual anti-American hate rhetoric, decided to bring him on as his spiritual adviser to his campaign for a pro-American political position?

And only when the crap hits the fan does he make Wright leave his campaign and trump up a slick speech to distance himself from the rhetoric.>Click Here

Granted it was a well delivered speech, (albeit not without some standout issues I have with it), but way too little too late.

If I were Obama and my pastor called America the "U-S of KKK-A", said America created HIV and gave it to black America as a means of genocide against black people, and says "G-Damn America"? I'd stop giving him thousands of dollars every year, I'd publicly decry the many messages Wright gave, and bringing him on as a spiritual adviser is definitely off limits, not to mention leaving the church altogether. If you saw the video the congregation was freakin' out in support of Wright's comments. So not only is the pastor an extremist, but so are the congregational members. And we're to believe that poor lone Obama just didn't agree with those things even though he decided to financially keep giving, attending, and seeking the pastor's advice... yeah right.

I don't care if Wright helped Obama come to his supposed 'faith' in Christ. That's a ridiculous reason to keep him around in that capacity.

That church is supposedly about reconciliation and unity against racism but also says they are unabashedly 'black' (I thought the church was supposed to be inviting to all people???) committed to the African people and experience, and they "remain true to our native land, the mother continent, the cradle of civilization." This is the church Obama elected to attend? Remind me how this is helpful for racial tensions and unity?

If you attended a KKK meeting for the religious experience and only repudiated their racism when forced to, I'd think you were a liar too.

Obama's nothing more than a slick politician to me.

March 18, 2008

Luke said:
Hmmm.. html didn't work for me...

March 18, 2008

jovial_cynic said:
From the article you posted:

“The statements that Rev. Wright made that are the cause of this controversy were not statements I personally heard him preach while I sat in the pews of Trinity or heard him utter in private conversation,” the posting said, adding that over the years, “Rev. Wright preached the gospel of Jesus, a gospel on which I base my life.

Either he's a liar or you're making an incorrect judgment on him. And I think it's very dangerous ground to put quotes around the statement faith in Christ, as though we're in a position to make such judgments.

In any event, we're looking at the same information and still coming to different conclusions. As I said before, these are opinions based on our own values and underlying beliefs.

March 18, 2008

Lucaso said:
He is a liar. He's a freakin politician for heaven's sakes. You honestly believe that Obama had no clue that THAT sermon was given? That nobody, despite all the fervor, talked to him about it that or the next week? That he was conveniently gone during all the other sermons preaching the same crap? That despite it having been leaked a year ago he still feins surprise over it? Good Lord you are drinking cool aid...

His 'faith' in Christ is in quotes because I'm also not in a position to legitimize it. With a friend I can say I know their faith by their works, with Obama we have no idea what he's about and he wouldn't be the first slick politician to claim being a 'Christian' to appeal to the majority of Americans. He certainly attends a church that doesn't have solid grounding in theology...

On a personal note I've never met a solid believer who is morally left-wing. Socially yes. But not morally. The moral left have long supported abortion, partial-birth abortion, euthanasia, drug legalization, etc... These things are clearly spoken against in scripture, and save for euthanasia, things for which Obama is in support of. I think I have the right to wonder what Spirit is possessing a person who can agree with those kind of atrocities. I'm not sure what the danger is of questioning someone like that is anyway. True, it's something for which only God can know for certain but it's also not some forbidden or sacred ground for which we cannot question.

March 19, 2008

jovial_cynic said:
Did you read all seven pages of his speech? I think his answer regarding his pastor made complete sense.

As for the "He's a freakin politician for heaven's sakes." statement... I think you're revealing a presupposition on your part, such that you're unwilling to believe a politician even if they were telling the truth. I don't think that's a reasonable position to take.

Regarding the "moral left," I don't think it means what you think it means. The "moral left" generally refers to the notion that social issues (poverty, gender equality, etc.) are moral issues, and not simply fiscal issues.

Anyhow, I think that you load some of the terms you bring up with more meaning than they actually carry. I think that a person can be anti-abortion and pro-choice at the same time. People on the left don't "support abortion," they support an individual's right to decide what they want to have happen in their own body. You may be SHOCKED to discover that both Kendra and I are, in some ways, quite pro-choice in that regard.

And I'm sure you know that I'm absolutely for drug-legalization. And I think it's a terrible stretch to suggest that it is prohibited in scripture.

So... now you're in the interesting position of putting quotes around my relationship with God, which I find amusing.

March 19, 2008

Lucaso said:
I don't separate those who support the 'right' to abortion and those who have them. Morally they are not far removed from eachother any more than a drug dealer is from his customers. Without the customers there's no proliferation of dealing, without abortion 'rights' sympathizers there's no proliferation of abortion.

Abortion (aka murder) is one of the greatest travesties the world has ever known far out-weighing the travesty in numbers of the Holocaust. Being Pro-Choice and Pro-Life is an oxymoron. If you're supportive of a person's right to kill their unborn child you're part and parcel to the act itself.

I'm sure you have some technical intellectual reason for how you can be both. Don't waste your breath, this makes me sick.

March 19, 2008

jovial_cynic said:
I find it odd that you're sickened by something you admittedly don't fully understand. You just said that you're sure I have some "technical intellectual reason," and aren't interested in hearing it.

Your lack of willingness to at least understand my position is a little disheartening, as we are friends. Being open to ideas is something that I'd expect us to do, even with those we don't call our friends.

March 19, 2008

wonder said:
if being Pro choice & pro life is an oxymoron, what is being Pro-life and pro-war?

March 19, 2008

wonder said:
PS i'm going to shamelessly self-promote for a second :)

March 19, 2008

jovial_cynic said:
No problem, wonder. I've got no problem with folks promoting their own stuff.

March 20, 2008

valdez said:
Hey Josh,

I love you man, but you know that we differ greatly on politics. What does Obama mean by "typical white person"? I'm not excusing Obama's 20 years of participation and support for the racist and unamerican Pastor Wright. You don't sit in a church for that long, listening to that kind of venom and not be influenced by it. If he did not approve of Wrights' words and sermons, he would have done something other than attend and contribute for 20 years, pure and simple. It was Wright's comments that made me realize that Obama is more dangerous than we realize. I used to be excited that Obama would at the least be a likely catalyst for another conservative movement-kinda like when Jimmy Carter was Prez. We had an oil embargo from too much governmnet regulation, a high unemployment rate, and a realization by most Americans that government is not the answer to our problems. Now that I believe Obama to be racist, I'm sorry that I voted for him in the primary. I really don't know what to do now as far as my vote. McCain is a RINO closet democrat, Hillary is a compulsive liar, and Obama is a "typical senseless politician".

April 04, 2008

jovial_cynic said:
Ed - I've watched Rev. Wright's video sermons in full, and the more I watch them, the less racist I believe them to be.

If you get a chance, read Mike Huckabee's response to Rev. Wright's comments. I think his proximity to the situation (having grown up in the south) gives him some credibility on the subject. I think Huckabee makes some points that are spot-on.

April 05, 2008

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