What's wrong with Rev. Wright?

I've been away from the computer the last few days and have had to rely on my morning newspaper reading as my sole source of information. So please be sure to let me know if I've been missing anything important.

Yesterday, I came across a very insightful column by Bob Herbert at the New York Times where he muses about what might be going through the mind of Rev. Jeremiah Wright. My local fishwrapper chose to highlight this sentence, one that we may all have on our minds regardless of whether we support Obama, Clinton, or McCain:

The question that cries out for an answer from Mr. Wright is why -- if he is so passionately committed to liberating and empowering blacks -- does he seem so insistent on wrecking the campaign of the only African-American ever to have had a legitimate shot at the presidency.

Note to self: Read Mr Herbert's column more often.

Disclosure: The author, PharmGirl, and PharmKid all support Senator Obama.


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Surely the answer should be obvious: because the election of once specific black man to one specific office does not necessarily equate to "liberating and empowering blacks", just as electing Margaret Thatcher as Prime Minister was not actually a great victory for feminism. I would guess that he's probably not a huge fan of Clarence Thomas either.

I dont know, AP. It is heartbreakingly painful to watch this guy do this to Obama.
Of course, the media don't help---as several commentators including Jon Stewart have pointed out, GOP candidates have long had close ties to hatemongers like Falwell, Robertson etc etc, but no one beats those stories to death. I guess an angry crazy black man invoking damnation for America is Obama's problem. But a genteel white man stating repeatedly, over the airwaves, that God did indeed damn America (9/11) for being secular (i.e. for treating women, blacks, LGBT, other minorities more like human beings) or damned the gulf coast for New Orleans' sins (Katrina) or damned all those heathens in South Asia (tsunami) etc, is nobody's problem.
But in George Bush's America, racism is dead, correct? Just like in his pappy's America, communism was destroyed world-wide, correct?

Actually, Wright isn't hurting Obama as bad as you might think. And sure some of the things he's said is nutty, but if you watched his interview with Bill Moyers Wright has some admirable qualities. Unlike some angry white preachers I've seen on TV. Falwell and Robertson said America deserved 9/11. Hagee said God punished New Orleans.

I think the real question is why isn't the media covering the crazy hurtful things televangelists are saying? Oh, wait it's because they aren't scary black men. Meanwhile 4,000 American lives and counting have been lost in Iraq.

Things like the Wright foofaraw are just an inevitable consequence of the fact that in the United States we incorporate into our political discourse--indeed elevate to the highest level of importance--the delusional views of wackaloon religious assholes and the relationships of political candidates to those assholes.

This garbaggio is totally fucking insane, and is yet another reason why this country is swirling down the shitter.

'Things like the Wright foofaraw are just an inevitable consequence of the fact that in the United States we incorporate into our political discourse--indeed elevate to the highest level of importance--the delusional views of wackaloon religious assholes and the relationships of political candidates to those assholes.'

I could never, ever in my wildest imagination say it better than Physioprof... especially the bit about delusional views of wackaloon religious assholes....

And also, the bat-shit crazier that Wright seems to be now, the easier it is for Obama to back away from him. He can simply walk away (as he seems to be doing now) and say "Look at this crazy bastard, I want nothing to do with him." I just hope that Obama has the backbone to take these swift-boaters on!

I think Chris Rock hit the nail on the head (h/t Rob):

A 75-year-old black man who hates white people. Is there another type of 75-year-old black man? Do you realize his whole third grade class was lynched?

Pat Robertson, close personal friend and spiritual advisor to our current fucking president, is ten times the wackaloon that Wright is. Do you think he gets kid-glove treatment from the media because he's a white nutbag instead of a black one, or because his high-profile politician buddies are Republicans instead of Democrats?

Hillary and the Republicans have much more serious pastor problems in my mind. The most delusional view that I've heard Wright express is on the origin of AIDs, but it is not that difficult to understand why he might believe this nonsense. On the other hand, his view on blowback is almost self-evident. But no "mainstream" candidate (or "wackaloon political assholes" if you prefer), Obama included, will acknowledge this fact. Jimmy Carter came pretty close on Charlie Rise the other night (talking about Israeli military actions against Palestinians):

I think anytime any powerhouse takes military action when its a high danger or almost an inevitability that women and children are going to be killed, I think that can be considered an act of terrorism.

Still, if you believe Obama was unaware of the views of his pastor for twenty years -- the man who married him, baptized his children, and prayed with him when he announced his candidacy, then I have a bridge to sell you! And distancing himself from Wright is pure political posturing on Obama's part. He should be ashamed of himself!

Why is Wright doing this?

Are you people frickin' nuts? The same reason any overweening gasbag jumps in and makes things worse for his ostensible "position". Because the genuine interest of overweening gasbags is their own self-aggrandizing at any moment that offers itself. Wright has no objection to Obama's politics Dunc, Wright has an inescapable compulsion to be in the spotlight at the slightest provocation.

Wright put himself in the spotlight? The "slightest provocation?" Talk about frickin' nuts...

William, as bikemonkey notes astutely, Mr Herbert (a black man, but not that it should matter) holds this view as well:

"It's a twofer. Feeling dissed by Senator Obama, Mr. Wright gets revenge on his former follower while bathed in a spotlight brighter than any he could ever have imagined. He's living a narcissist's dream. At long last, his 15 minutes have arrived.

Bill rightly notes in his citation of Chris Rock: guess what people, black people have a helluva lot to be angry about. The "separate, but equal" Jim Crow laws were only overturned about the time I was born - and I'm nowhere near 75.

DoubleDoc, I agree - where would we be without PhysioProf? I challenge Chris Matthews to add PP to his corral of on-air commentators.

Related to many of the other commenters, I share your disbelief that almost no MSM ink or airtime has been devoted to white religious instigators who hold far more radical and delusional positions than Rev. Wright.

But toward this aim, another editorial I read today (again, in the old-fashioned newspaper) by trial attorney Press Millen reminds us that we really need to get past the "guilt by association" media gambit. Think about your own lives: do you really have control about what your friends and associates believe and say? Why then are some politicians held to those rules? Yes, reaming Obama because of Rev. Wright's comments may be effective in eroding his delegate lead, but it is far more difficult to parse out issues of those without health insurance, renewable energy, the economy, pseudoscience in American policy and citizenry, etc., than it is to show clip after clip of everything Wright has said over the last 20 years.

Abel -

I agree with you that guilt by association is problematic, but it is not always irrelevant. Indeed, I don't think that it is entirely irrelevant in the case of Senator Obama, though I think that he has handled it well enough.

No, we don't choose the beliefs and ideas of our friends. We do however, choose those we associate ourselves with. When people choose to associate themselves with people who have extreme views, then they should accept that outside observers are likely to associate them with those extreme views. It then behooves one to either make exceedingly clear their lack of support for that same position or accept the association that others make.

Quite honestly, I wouldn't have the least bit of respect for Sen Obama if he hadn't distanced himself from rev Wright's views. Just like I have no respect for politicos who associate themselves with right wingnut religious figures and at least pretend to share in their vile and hateful views.

What is wrong with Jeremiah Wright is his title. Religious people consistently demonstrate that they have no interest in mind but their own. They are taught by their institutions that they speak with total authority on right and wrong regardless of the topic and their monumental ego prevents them from disagreeing with that idea. Wright is just another in the long line of religious "leaders" that have no real interest in those around them. Wright cares naught for Obama or anyone else in his community unless they bow down and kiss his feet - all the time - every time.

Comments above mention Robertson, Falwell, and Hagee; and others asked why the difference in Wright's damnation of America, and the insane revelations of the former three caucasian christian non compos mentis religious figures of our time. Religion runs parallel to racism in the way that it denies all but those of its own faith. Throughout our history, religious persecution has contributed no less atrocities than has racism. I've never really cared what color a person was: I always cared what kind of person a person was.

I really abhor using the word hate when I am referring to my feelings toward another individual. There are some people that I despise; but, nonetheless, I do not actually hate them. Pat Robertson tends to defy me in this respect. My paternal grandmother listened to him faithfully from the day the 700 Club began to air. The man would say things that were totally off-the-wall and positively demonic in thought. Having to listen to him more frequently than I ever cared to taught my hairs to all stand up and chills to run amok. I grew to hate him as a child because his every word grated against my personal better judgments of moral, ethical, and good.

I don't really think Wright has hurt Obama as much as is feared either. I, too, am an Obama supporter and I don't really give a damn who knows. My mother would absolutely die, but she's old anyway. The racism/sexism bullshit of this campaign has just about driven me nuts. I sat in a church for years, listened to the preacher, and nodded my head occasionally so it looked as though I were paying some sort of attention. But I never once believed a single tidbit of what was said. I got real tired of the Obama/Muslim issue too.

My mother has tried, with her profound racist attitude, to see that I got all the good reports on Hillary, and all the bad reports on Obama. I saw some pretty bad stuff and deleted them all. Then one day she sent me an email that referred to him as Obama bin Laden and I went ballistic. I wrote her back, told her (off) what I thought about her email, suggested vehemently that she not send me any more political propaganda, and made mention of a few of her own personal belief contradictions to her very own bible and its verses.

It isn't just the piousness of the religious leaders that is a problem. It filters down into the religious population as well. They are divine, remember? My own mother is as pious as Pope Benedict! Religion, since it cannot see the light of truth, knows not color. Therefore, and with total indifference, it spreads its pious toxin to all stations in life, as well as to all races; with each of the oppressed opressors being the chosen people of their own god in their own minds.

It really does boil down to their love for their own divine selves. It has nothing to do with thinking at all.

"Fiat justitia, ruat caelum"

Obama '08

But Wright did not shine the spotlight, and it was a pretty serious provocation. So he had every right to defend himself publically. And a majority of Americas seem to believe Wright was correct on one important point (which should be obvious to everyone): Obama denounced him for political convenience. Change we can believe in?

About the best I can say is that I doubt Obama was listening much during Wright's sermons, so I don't think it makes much difference.

If you're for him you're for him.

If you think Wright is a liability to Obama, wait until the blogosphere unearths some of Hillary's questionable religious affiliations. I would go with Wright's fire and brimstone any day over the new age crap of Jean Houston.

By American jeremiad (not verified) on 03 May 2008 #permalink