• Gay BlogAds

  • Gay News Watch

  • Chris Tweets

  • « Christina sings about gay sex | Main | Reprioritizing our legislative agenda »

    March 17, 2008

    Barack Obama's Wright stuff (II)

    Posted by: Chris

    There's been no shortage of opportunities to hear Barack Obama condemning the racially incendiary sermons of his pastor, Rev. Jeremiah Wright, and explaining their relationship. A quick list:

    • Blog post by Obama on Huffington Post: Uses strong condemnatory language and clarifying that Obama wasn't in the pews when any of Wright's "greatest hits" were uttered.
    • Interview with Anderson Cooper: By far the best interview in the bunch; Cooper presses Obama on whether he at least heard secondhand about Wright's post-9/11 sermon blaming the attacks on the U.S. and saying rather than "God Bless America," blacks should say "God Damn America."  Obama makes the interesting point that Wright, like Geraldine Ferraro, is the product of a different time, and still harbors anger and frustration from that era. Obama sees himself part of a new generation that while benefiting from the efforts of Wright's, nonetheless moving beyond seeing the world through "a racial lens."  Funny -- I can't imagine Hillary Clinton drawing the same kind of contrast with Ferraro, positioning her presidential candidacy as moving beyond gender victimization.
    • Interview with Major Garrett on Fox News: The first third is a sophomoric set-up by Garrett that Obama handles well. Eventually Garrett moves on to the crux, whether Obama would have quit the church if he had been aware of the sermons.
    • Interview with Keith Olbermann on MSNBC: I've linked to and commented on this one earlier.
    • Obama's remarks yesterday in Plainfield, Ind.: Obama makes a powerful analogy to a speech by Robert F. Kennedy the night Martin Luther King, Jr., was assassinated, and the choice we have to allow hate to divide us even further or to tread a common path that embraces commonalities.
    • Interview with the Chicago Tribune: Second half of the interview focuses on Wright.
    • Obama campaign posts YouTube video on Wright:

    Some will no doubt never be satisfied that Obama has sufficiently denounced Wright's rhetoric, but that part is settled for me. I also accept his unequivocal statement that he was not present when the sermons were given and had not heard about them secondhand.

    If you have been a regular churchgoer or have spent time around regular churchgoers -- I have both -- then you know it's common to hear someone say, "I just love Rev. Smith. He's so kind and his sermons or so powerful -- except when he starts talking about [subject x] and then he just goes off the deep end."

    The lingering trouble I have is based on how fundamentally Wright's rhetoric conflicts with the core message of Obama's campaign. Maybe words really don't matter, as Hillary keeps claiming, if Wright could simultaneously preach such hate while providing someone with Obama's beliefs a happy church home.

    What's more, Obama's appeal for so may is based upon his ability to heal divisions and bring people together. But will Obama really be effective in reaching the rest when he couldn't even reach his own pastor and (from the video it appears) many members of his own church?

    06huckabee450 That said, there is a very real double standard in how the story has been covered. The second place candidate in the just-concluded Republican primaries was not just  candidate with a pastor but a pastor himself -- former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee. And yet Huckabee has refused help to release tapes or written copies of his own sermons.

    And what about Mitt Romney, whose Mormon faith is so poorly understood -- are we entitled to hear tapes of all the sermons from his church?

    This Wright story still has legs and deservedly so, but at this point I am cautiously optimistic that it will prove a "Sister Souljah moment" that establishes Obama's own principles in contrast to even some of his closest associates.



    TrackBack URL for this entry:


    1. Geena the Transgirl on Mar 17, 2008 12:51:25 PM:

      I still see Obama missing an opportunity for presidential leadership, not by denouncing the pastor, but denouncing the broader rhetoric of lies, conspiracy, and scapegoating that plays to ignorance and fear.

      Believing that AIDS and drugs are made available by the government does nothing to prevent their spread or harm they cause. Linking 9/11 in such a reckless manner plays into the hands of the very ignorant, anti-Semitic speeches of radical Islam, and Middle East hate.

      Many folks are voting for Obama hoping he'll build bridges between those who speak like Wright and those who find it needlessly inflammatory. Obama is disappointing them.

    1. BB on Mar 17, 2008 1:33:56 PM:


      Obama has been doing that ALL the time. Just recently, at a Black church, on Martin Luther King Day, he criticized the Black community for being so antigay, anti-hispanic and anti-jew, stating (basically) that those who know prejudice should know better than to themselves BE prejudiced. As far as his message to the black community, concerning the gay community, he has picked up where the MAJESTIC Coretta Scott King left off, who was pro-gay. AND he has said that if you are TRULY a Christian, you treat others as you want to be treated, which means those in the Straight community should treat the gay community with the same respect and fairness that you want for yourself.

      What more can he do? He is not his brother's (his pastor's) keeper. His pastor is of the OLD school of thought, that Barack keeps calling for change from. His pastor is (in his mind) marching in Selma with Martin. Still fighting as if no time has passed. Barack keeps calling for change from the OLD way of thinking, in so many ways. Socially, as well as within the Govt.


    The comments to this entry are closed.

    © Citizen Crain - All Rights Reserved | Design by E.Webscapes Design Studio | Powered by: TypePad