Jerome Armstrong sez:

Pull off the blinders that have you supporting a particular candidate, while being blind to the bigger issue. If progressives are not going to have the guts to call out those who foster divisive talk, and demand their renouncement, no matter where it comes from, it’s a bigger loss than an election.

I think we can fairly refer to this as divisive talk. He is dividing the progressive movement into the group who will renounce certain people and those who will not. And yet, I will not renounce Jerome Armstrong. He’s a good guy, wrong on this issue, but with his heart in the right place. I know we’ll stand shoulder to shoulder after the Democratic Convention, whoever the nominee is. Without knowing who that nominee will be, I accept the support he will give to our candidate, as he’s given his support to so many other candidates over the years.

Whether Armstrong would have counted me among those to be renounced (at least before my current failure to renounce him) is unclear. After all, the instant offense for which he is demanding renunciations deals with the particular issue that “progressives have been silent about Wright’s wrong and divisive words.”

Of course, that absolute statement is false. There are progressives who were not silent about Wright’s words. I wrote:

Wright says various and sundry things which go well beyond what ought to be said at a pulpit, and beyond what a presidential candidate would consider, well, presidential.

In other words, he said things which were wrong and divisive, and I reject those statements. I also think that we are holding Obama to a standard here that we do are not applying to any other candidate in the race. McCain actively sought the support of pastor John Hagee, a bigoted, hateful moral stump of a man. I’d wager no member of the press can name McCain’s pastor (or indeed whether he would be Episcopalian or Baptist). They probably also don’t know Hillary Clinton’s minister’s pastor’s name, any more than they can say how often George Bush actually attends church. We do know that Bush and McCain hang out with and court the political backing of religious leaders with truly abhorrent beliefs. And we know that Barack Obama did not seek political advice from Rev. Wright.

Yet it is Obama who has to answer these questions, and it is progressive who have to defend the decision not to get agitated over Obama’s preacher, rather than the moderate, tolerant Republicans who somehow went along with the election of people like Bush, and who ought to be ashamed to be thinking about backing McCain.


  1. #1 IanR
    March 20, 2008

    [O]r indeed whether he would be Episcopalian or Baptist

    Since McCain attends one of each, you can’t really fault the press too much on that one.

    And thanks for the link to the Amy Sullivan post. As I have always said, I strongly doubt whether Bush has any interest in or attachment to religion…unlike Gore, who attended a seminary for a while. Bush’s whole conversion story was too convenient, too lacking in any emotional depth. Just dotting the i on his job application.

  2. #2 gwangung
    March 20, 2008

    Here’s something I thought of…a lot of pundits are attacking Rev. Wright for his “crazy” HIV theory. Don’t a lot of Republican politicians, as well as theologians, have this “crazy” idea about intelligent design and creationism? And THEY are certainly taken a lot more seriously with respect to that than Rev. Wright is…

  3. #3 Tyler DiPietro
    March 20, 2008

    The primary difference between Wright and Hagee, et al., is that the sermons of the former targeted people who were powerful and significantly overrepresented in the American punditocracy, while the latter didn’t. Other than the whole “Government created HIV” nuttiness, I can’t really find much wrong with what Wright said. As far as I can tell, he’s only seen as overly condemnatory because he points to disquieting and difficult to rationalize realities. Saying that Katrina was send by GAWD ALMIGHTY for our tolerance of gayness is, if not completely unobjectionable, at least realtively non-threatening.

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