Monday, May 05, 2008


No one has been able to escape the ENDLESS coverage and sound loops of Barack Obama's ex-pastor, Rev. Jeremiah Wright.   However, there has been exceedingly little discussion about the controversy on his true middle class background vs. some of the characterizations made by Mr. Obama and the specific points he raised.

Rev. Wright's mother was a Vice Principal at Girl's High when that was a pretty unusually occurrence. He lived in Germantown, then considered a middle class community, and attended Central High School when it was 90% Jewish.  His resume reads like an American success story. Barack Obama had excused some of Rev. Wright's remarks, saying he was from a generation where many experienced intense discrimination and that it was understandable.

I believe that most Americans, and certainly most talk show venues I have heard, believe that Rev. Wright led a privileged life and that Mr. Obama was lying about his original take on it. However, in America TODAY, let alone in Rev. Wright's era, success for the Black man was not a protective shield against discrimination. While overt discrimination has decreased, I believe it can cause even MORE anger in a man who is accomplished to experience disrespect and discrimination.  We also know the stories of those who were pulled over for driving while Black and the like.  The issue of persistent discrimination REGARDLESS of accomplishment needs to be addressed.

Secondly, I heard only one poll which asked African Americans whether or not they agreed with Rev. Wright, 27% said they did.  I don't know how the questions were asked, but that jives with my experience. I was in a large church with several thousand in attendance where the pastor went on a "rant" against President Bush, saying he started the Iraq war to help Dick Cheney's Haliburton friends and similar strictly political statements.  He received a standing ovation. This was not an ultra-liberal United Church of Christ, but a respected Bible-believing evangelical church, considered a mainstream by many.  A lot of liberal White and Blacks, whether rich or poor, say many of the same things routinely in small gatherings I have been at. A good discussion would be WHY.  It does no good to simply demonize the pastor without letting some honest discussion result.

I also am curious how the bi-racial Mr. Obama's very enlightened rhetoric on race has occurred while in a church that is supposedly racist.  It is possible to be quite different from your church leadership, but his ideas came from somewhere.  Are there two streams of thought within the church, and if so, is the new pastor from another stream of ideas?

Barack Obama was in search for a father.  Apparently Rev. Wright helped fill that gap. Is it all that hard to understand that one can look up to someone who helps you even if their beliefs are rather different?  Barack probably saw a side to Rev. Wright that is not public - a side which did nurture him.  Often times, we differ drastically in our views from those in our "family".  I believe guilt by association does not apply here.  Actually, it is amazing and consistent with Mr. Obama's message to bridge divides like this.  We need to do this as a nation - I am tired of the demonization of Republicans and Democrats by those of the other party.

We could all learn from the Carville family.  James Carville is a rapid Democrat of the Hillary persuasion who goes after Republicans like a dog would take to red meat. His wife is a conservative Republican and they respect each other though they disagree on EVERYTHING political.  As the only phrase anyone ever quoted Rodney King on asks, "Why Can't We All Get Along?"

What appears to be obvious isn't necessarily so. Some examination of public statements and private practices and personal choices of Rev. Wright requires scrutiny to get the larger picture. His church is building him an ultra-luxurious home for his retirement in a predominantly White enclave.  Now a retirement home is used more than when on a hectic preaching and pastoring schedule. Why on earth would the Reverend choose to live among those he has often demonized unless what he said was simply rhetoric he thought would play well from his pulpit? Follow the money to get the real deal. 

I believe  it is obvious that much of the Pastor's diatribes can be attributed to extreme left-leaning proclivities shared with liberals of all shades. I believe they are inappropriate in a church, and I further believe Mr. Obama showed poor judgment in staying there so long despite his sense of obligation to the pastor unless there were other people there from whom he also received nurturing who were not part of the extreme rhetoric.  Many of us give our pastor a long rope, and stay in a less than satisfactory spiritual environment because of family and/or friends, or personal relationship, but there comes a time when enough is enough. This is particularly true of a Presidential candidate who will have to part company on an ongoing basis with those who are not helpful to carrying out the overall agenda.  I would love to hear Mr. Obama go down the list one by one and say what he agrees with and what he doesn't. He used the words SOME comments, so we apparently agrees with SOME of what Rev. Wright said.  I would like to know what they are so I can make an informed decision in November. If he agrees with Rev. Wright on Israel, or on core racial separation issues such as those voiced by Louis Farrakhan, whom Wright honored, he is disqualified in my book. If not, we'll see.

I have long been tired of the Bill Maher's of the world, the Al Franken's of the world, and the Rev. Wright's of the world. They love to demonize America, and God knows our nation is in deep sin and deserving of destruction, but where is the criticism of North African countries and others still practicing slavery? Where is the outcry on euthanasia in Holland?  How about some spirited words against selling daughters into prostitution in Southeast Asia or female circumcision?  Don't exclude America from criticism, but be balanced.  I always had trouble with Jimmy Carter's talk about the "goodness of the American people". No one is good without God. To be sure, as a nation we have been compassionate, but we have also been proud. We need to see our country realistically, not as rah-rah patriots oblivious to our shortcomings, but also not as harsh critics who seem consumed by self-hatred or who believe that it will play well in Peoria.

Many of you know I voted for Mr. Obama in the primary and am uncommitted for November.
I am deeply troubled by the Senate Bill S2433 (Global Poverty Act) introduced by Mr. Obama that appears benign and compassionate on the surface, but makes us pay a de facto United Nations tax which interferes with our sovereignty (a dangerous slippery slope), as well as his extreme views on abortion, his likely judicial nominees who would be hostile to Christian freedom and Biblical morality, and his criticism of Hillary's correctly-phrased warning to Iran.  Israel is our ally - as attack on her is an attack on us. We would not negotiate if we were hit by a nuclear weapon. The man behind the red button needs to send more than one right back.  Our enemies must NOT think the President would hesitate.  We need strength in the White House as well as compassion.  I am still looking for a candidate who truly embodies both, not to mention one who truly knows the Lord.


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