by John Hawkins | March 18, 2008 11:20 am
I just finished reading Obama’s speech and he is pretty clearly trying to have it both ways on Jeremiah Wright. First of all, after condemning Wright’s unpatriotic and racist comments of late, which quite frankly, aren’t all that surprising given that he has a history of making similar comments, Obama goes on to say,
Given my background, my politics, and my professed values and ideals, there will no doubt be those for whom my statements of condemnation are not enough. Why associate myself with Reverend Wright in the first place, they may ask? Why not join another church? And I confess that if all that I knew of Reverend Wright were the snippets of those sermons that have run in an endless loop on the television and You Tube, or if Trinity United Church of Christ conformed to the caricatures being peddled by some commentators, there is no doubt that I would react in much the same way
But the truth is, that isn’t all that I know of the man. The man I met more than twenty years ago is a man who helped introduce me to my Christian faith, a man who spoke to me about our obligations to love one another; to care for the sick and lift up the poor. He is a man who served his country as a U.S. Marine; who has studied and lectured at some of the finest universities and seminaries in the country, and who for over thirty years led a church that serves the community by doing God’s work here on Earth — by housing the homeless, ministering to the needy, providing day care services and scholarships and prison ministries, and reaching out to those suffering from HIV/AIDS.
…and this helps explain, perhaps, my relationship with Reverend Wright. As imperfect as he may be, he has been like family to me. He strengthened my faith, officiated my wedding, and baptized my children. Not once in my conversations with him have I heard him talk about any ethnic group in derogatory terms, or treat whites with whom he interacted with anything but courtesy and respect. He contains within him the contradictions — the good and the bad — of the community that he has served diligently for so many years.
I can no more disown him than I can disown the black community. I can no more disown him than I can my white grandmother — a woman who helped raise me, a woman who sacrificed again and again for me, a woman who loves me as much as she loves anything in this world, but a woman who once confessed her fear of black men who passed by her on the street, and who on more than one occasion has uttered racial or ethnic stereotypes that made me cringe.
I’m sure that Fred Phelps of God Hates F*gs infamy has led some people to Christ and done some ministering, but that doesn’t mean a politician can just excuse his offensive comments with a, “Gosh, those comments about gay people were offensive, but he’s like a crazy uncle. Everybody has had a crazy uncle, right? I can no more disown Fred Phelps than I can disown the white community.”
If Obama intends to continue to embrace this guy, then despite what he’s saying to the contrary, he isn’t all that offended by what he’s saying. In fact, it’s entirely possible that he agrees with EVERYTHING Wright is saying and is only putting a little bit of distance between himself and Wright’s bigoted, anti-American comments because he feels like he has to do so politically.
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