Jeremiah Overboard

By John Bloom | 05/01/2008


Did I just see what I think I saw?

Did the media tell Barack Obama, “If you’ll denounce and disavow your pastor, we’ll let you continue running for President”?

I have two questions, one for the press, one for Obama.

First the press:

What happened to the Mitt Romney Agreement? What happened to “Isn’t it horrible that some people are attempting to get Romney to explain his belief that non-Mormons will be cast into outer darkness, that secret handshakes and passwords will transform him into a god, that dead people should be baptized into Mormonism, and that God was once a man who lived on another planet?”

Romney made a speech at Texas A&M in early December that was all but universally approved by the working press as the blueprint for moving forward. It could be summed up as, “No religious tests allowed.” Article VI of the Constitution was cited more times in the week following the Romney speech than it has ever been cited before, or is likely to be cited hence.

And then a religious test was applied to Barack Obama:

“Your spiritual leader said outrageous things (things almost as outrageous as the latter-day prophets of Mormonism). Will you defend these words?”

Obama then made his own version of the Romney Agreement speech. He said in Philadelphia, “He’s my pastor, not my political advisor. We disagree. I don’t endorse everything he says.”

Not good enough!

Obama Speech

And so, two days ago, Obama cratered: "What became clear to me is that he Jeremiah Wright was presenting a world view that contradicts who I am and what I stand for. And what I think particularly angered me was his suggestion somehow that my previous denunciation of his remarks were somehow political posturing. Anybody who knows me and anybody who knows what I'm about knows that I am about trying to bridge gaps and I see the commonality in all people."

Okay, good, your campaign may continue. You passed the Religious Test. You also implied that Jeremiah Wright is a nut who doesn’t see the “commonality” in all people, and you put the country ahead of your religious affiliation. This is good. You win.

So if I may sum up the new Obama Agreement, an amendment to the previous Romney Agreement, it goes like this: You will not be subjected to a religious test if your candidacy involves unverifiable cuckooland supernatural claims. However, if you make the mistake of choosing a congregation that sails too close to a 19th-century-style social gospel, we’re going to pick apart what your pastor says about America and subject you to a religious test. You will be exempt from this requirement, however, if you follow the Hillary Path and cling to the staid middle-class pillars of conventional Protestantism, mainstream Catholicism, or anything short of pentecostalism. That was the problem with Huckabee—he kept scaring the crap out of us by poking around in the pentecostal wilderness.

Robert Drinan

(Brief digression: Does anyone remember Representative Robert Drinan of Massachusetts? He was a Catholic priest who served in the Congress in the 1970s—until the Pope ordered him to resign! The press has been very clear that Catholics are welcome in the political maelstrom, that no religious test is necessary for them, even though Drinan is the only clear example of a man in politics who put his religious leader’s views ahead of the electorate’s views! The fact that Huckabee is a Baptist pastor, therefore doctrinally beholden to no denominational leader, would seem to absolve him of all suspicion. Why doesn’t it?)

There was a lot of media talk on Monday and Tuesday about Jeremiah Wright “injecting” himself into the presidential race. For some reason everyone used this same word, “injecting,” as though he were some kind of toxic hypodermic needle. The fact is, he didn’t inject himself at all. Somebody posted some sound-bite clips of his sermons on YouTube and he was used as chat-show fodder—until he got sick of it and spoke out.

You can’t have it both ways. You can’t say “This guy matters” when you’re showing the sound bites, and then “This guy doesn’t matter anymore” when he’s making substantive speeches and giving substantive interviews. If you’re going to make him the theological standard for the Obama Religious Test, then you’ve got to look at his entire corpus. The only way he was finally defeated this time is by combing through all the hours of videotape from the weekend, choosing the most out-there clips, like his conspiratorial ideas about HIV/AIDS, and then playing them over and over to make him come across as a kook and a racist. Among the distortions that were still circulating last night was the idea that he’s an exponent of some kind of Black Pantheresque “Black Liberation Theology,” even though he had disavowed that specific movement at the Monday news conference and explained how his own view of the Prophetic Church goes back to the time of his namesake, the Hebrew Jeremiah, and has little to do with the 1960s social revolutions in Latin America and Harlem. (His idea of “prophecy” is still too small for me—he thinks in terms of nation-states and social movements—but if I decide to argue with him about it, I certainly won’t claim he adheres to some kind of discredited shallow intellectual hooliganism from the sixties.)

The press showed a distinct lack of interest in engaging with Reverend Wright at all. From the moment he started speaking last weekend, everything was about a) telling him to shut up, and b) telling Obama to throw him overboard—when all they ever had to do was apply the Romney Agreement of early December, now breached forever.

My question for Barack Obama is much simpler:

Obama and Wright

Why did you cut off fellowship with your pastor? You didn’t call him. You didn’t appear on the same stage with him. You didn’t make any attempt to identify where you differ and where you agree. You wanted him to shut up because he was in the way. He was disposable.

Furthermore, you said just about the most divisive thing that a brother can say to a brother—that Wright “presents a world view that contradicts who I am and who I stand for.”

Oh.

I had assumed that, if he’s your pastor, then the only world view that matters is the one from Calvary.

And, if he’s your pastor, then the only “I am” that matters is “he is.”

And, if he’s your pastor, then the only thing either one of you “stand for” is Christ.

And, if he’s your pastor … but he’s not your pastor anymore, is he? You deleted him from your Facebook page. You’ll find a new one.


Comments(49)

that calvinist doug | 03:45 pm on 5/01/2008

You shouldn't act surprised when "the media" (in this day and age, who can really define that anyway?) goes ape-shit with a "gotcha" story. This is who they are and what they do. However, pole after pole has shown that, on average, the media self-defines as Democratic at about a 9-1 ratio. That being the case, I can only imagine that the Wright story continues to get legs because people want to hear about it and advertisers want eyeballs. Personally, I don't think it is along the same lines as people wanting to hear about Brittany or Linday Lohan. I believe there is substance here. If Obama, in his heart, affirms even half the stuff we've all heard Wright say, then the thought of him being president is pretty scary.

Is Wright wrong? In my opinion, yes. Hypocrisy by the media? Sure. Why does this surprise you? Obama doing the expedient thing at the expense of his supposed friend? Of course. Did you forget he is a politician? You can always tell when a politician is lying because their mouth is moving.

Droslovinia | 11:31 am on 5/02/2008

Doug!

I have to know what "pole" you were climbing when you got those numbers. Was it one by Faux-News?

That said, I'm pretty much with you the rest of the way. I hang around with a bunch of other white folks who really do not have much of a problem with what Wright has to say, but who are all flabbergasted that the media insists on trying to use it to make us afraid. Seems to work with you. It's almost like Rupbert Murdoch supports Hillary or something.

Anyhow, as Derek Webb sings "you can always trust the devil or a politician - to be the devil or a politician."

that calvinist doug | 12:57 pm on 5/02/2008

Can I cite the polls for you right now? No. However, I've seen it reported in lots of sources over the years, including an AP article in my very own local rag, The Charlotte Observer, which is a very left-leaning Knight-Ridder owned newspaper. And honestly, I think most people who looked at it as unbiasedly (is that a word, or did I just make it up?) as possible, would have to admit that you can get a pretty good sense of any reporter/writer/talking head's bias just by listening to them. Are there right-wing media? Of course. I'm just saying that I believe they are in the considerable minority.

Laura "LeeLee" | 12:14 pm on 5/03/2008

What is so sad about this whole thing... is that the sermon was excised in sound bites to villify Reverend Wright. I pulled his entire sermon from the web before responding to sound bites. I wish the press and the nation had had sufficient grace, decorum, equity, and fair-minded justice to have done the same.

Rev. Wright - in communication "sound bite" effigy was mobbed, lynched, tarred and feathered. Maybe it's understandable why being so unfairly characterized and judged out of context by the media and the nation may have confirmed to him his worst fears of bigotry and prejudice.

The subsequent responses and counter-responses of Obama, Reverend Wright, and Obama would not have occurred had not Reverend Wright's words been quoted out of context, their meanings twisted out of his own paradigm, in the first place.

All those who created and joined the lynch mob mentality and the superstitious witchhunt against an out of context soundbite by a black church leader birthed and advanced the schism between Obama and Reverend Wright.

Gossip separates chief friends.

stebeau | 09:21 am on 5/07/2008

I listened to the whole thing in context also. The snippets were simply expanded. He accused the US of terrorism, and then said the chickens were coming home to roost. Whacko, racist, marxist. One commentator this week pointed out just how unfair it is to repeat just snippets of speeches:
"I have a dream"; "Ask not what you can do for your contry"; "TEar down that wall". Grossly unfair. ~S

Stop Simplistic Thinking | 08:01 pm on 5/07/2008

Are you contending that the line "I have a dream" is understood by the masses as a snippet? That the average person can't tell you the who, what, why, when, and where (in other words, the context) of that line? When a person hears that line (and the other lines you cite), the entire context comes flowing out and it is as though you were witnessing all of it again. The line embodies the context. If someone is in my backyard and says "tear down this wall", I understand that they are going to tear out my retaining wall. When I hear Reagan's voice saying "tear down this wall", I see him, in Berlin, in the late 80's with the cold war getting hot. That element -the context- is what makes the line mean something. And do you know what humans do when they hear a snippet (like "God damn America") without a context? They make one up. In their head. Or they borrow one they hear from someone else. Humans MUST have context to understand words. You either get the actual context, or you make one up. That is why quoting out of context is unfair- because it forces people to make up their own context rather than seeing the context for themselves.

that calvinist doug | 10:24 am on 5/08/2008

SST, I DID listen to the "sermon" in question. I use quotes because I didn't hear any reference to the bible as it was all a political rant, making it something other than a sermon. Leaving that aside, although it is telling, the context of his speech, and that remark specifically, was that we shouldn't say "God bless America" because our government is responsible for inventing the AIDS virus as a weapon of racial genocide. Citing the fact of the Tuskeegee (sp?) "experiments" as evidence that our government is capable of wrongdoing doesn't make the case compelling, in my opinion, that you can then blame the US for any damn thing you want. Has our country made mistakes, and some of them damnable? Absolutley. But we've also done more to contribute to the well being of the world politically, economically, and socially, than any nation in history. I won't list all the stuff to save you having to read it, but if you want, I will.

The point for me is, if Obama agrees with even some of this stuff, the man has far too low an opinion of the nation he wishes to lead.

Stop Simplistic Thinking | 09:57 am on 5/11/2008

My post above was in reference to stebeau's apparent contention that famous "one-liners" didn't have context. My point is simply that all words have to be in a context to have meaning. Context can be as short as a sentence or as long as a biography/autobiography. To you, Doug, if you believe that seeing one or two or even six sermons is sufficient context for you to find Wright to be a crazy fanatic, and then to extend the context of those one or two or six sermons to find that anyone who has associated with him for x years (you pick the number) is guilty and dangerous by association, you must be gifted in your powers of perception. I might find Wright to be a crazy fanatic, but call me unreasonable, I think I would need more evidence to convict. And I'm not sure if guilt by association is a legal concept, I'll have to check with Senator McCarthy for advice on that and get back to you.

that calvinist doug | 01:11 pm on 5/12/2008

You're right. I'm a freakin' MENSA-card-carrying genius! Thanks for noticing.

Process Deist | 04:37 pm on 5/01/2008

After several weeks of the Rev. Wright story, it is time to conclude that he has senile dementia.
He needs help.
He needs to be protected from the media.
That is my .05 cent Lucy opinion.

JoshH | 05:09 pm on 5/01/2008

George W. Bush can believe that he's playing an important role in bringing about the Rapture and all that other horseshit, but if Barack Obama's pastor has an equally batshit crazy idea about the origin of AIDS, there's something wrong. What's the difference?

Jeremiah Wright's ideas ask people to stop thinking of what features their fancy new SUV should have, while Hagee, Robertson, and LaHaye ask people to stock up on ammo and rice and get their SUV bulletproof, just in case they need it. One other difference: Wright encourages people to feed the hungry, while Hagee and Robertson encourage people to pray for them and simply hope that they'll eventually find food. If those don't sound like the "goats," I don't know what the hell does.

That Arminian Doug | 12:08 am on 5/02/2008

Have you done your homework? Do you know as a fact that Neither Hagee nor Robertson is involved in meeting needs such as hunger? Or do you merely assume that this would be the case?

JoshH | 06:26 pm on 5/05/2008

I'll answer "Yes" to two of those questions and let you guess which two.

Prophet Lopi | 06:23 pm on 5/01/2008

Enough of Jeremiah Wrong, give it a rest. He will continue to malign the evil white culture. Then he will go out and dine with them. He is an Elite and Elite's have three priorities.
1. Enhancing their Ego's.
2. Enriching their Wallets.
3. Effective Security of their own Self, not matter what the cost to yourself.
There are more tempting targets for tantilizing tales. The Health and Wealth Preachers, The Dominonists and Christian Reconstructionists and Organized Religion of the Comatose.
Think Outside The Box of the Bewildered

JoshH | 06:37 pm on 5/01/2008

Too bad you don't know how to use "apostrophe's."

Well, at least I had something to chuckle at for a moment.

Prophet Lopi | 08:39 pm on 5/01/2008

Thanks Josh, I am glad I was able to bring a little levity into your day. Socrates said, "A wise man knows what he doesn't know" and now I know I dont know how to use apostrophe's. So I am wiser for my willingness to sit at your feet as "The Wonder of Words".

Droslovinia | 11:33 am on 5/02/2008

It's nice that you can sit at his feet, but can you note Doug's words above your post? About verifying things?

that calvinist doug | 12:59 pm on 5/02/2008

Prophet Lopi, despite Josh's criticism of your grammatical prowess, you make very good points. The irony of his 10,000 sf house in a 97% non-black neighborhood is coveniently ignored by most of his apologists.

Prophet Lopi | 09:44 pm on 5/03/2008

that calvinist doug,
Is RIGHT on!!!
He is "Fair and Balanced" to.
Jeremiah has prohesied the opening of a critical dialouge on race that the race baiters cannot be pleased with. Now we can have a discussion on race where "Both Sides" can be heared and possibly heeded.

budda | 07:39 pm on 5/01/2008

I am having a hard time understanding this whole thing. Never mind the content of the message, HOW the Rev. is handling this is what is confusing to me. I half think Deist might be right, that the Rev. is crazy. Otherwise, if he and Obama do indeed (or did) have a close relationship, he is either a fundamentalist in his belief system (not caring who he hurts or steps on to further his absolute "truth") or he is an egotistical, spotlight loving, televangelist wannabe. He is killing Obama's numbers and shot at the white house. He is obviously not a stupid man, he had to know what this would do to Obama, and even if he was surprised by the reaction he could have laid low or given Obama an out. Instead he forces Obama into a corner. That does not seem like a very compassionate, unifying, or reconciling thing to do. Does he not want Obama to be president? Is he a closet Clinton supporter? Does he love the spotlight that much? Or does he believe so strongly in his message that it doesn't matter who is president, so long as the truth be told and America repents for her sins. I can't figure it out.

SRebbe | 12:30 pm on 5/02/2008

that's why I'm sitting this one out until the espresso kicks in a little stronger. I'll be collecting everyone's pogs for the moment.

Process Deist | 09:15 am on 5/05/2008

I think that the message of Rev.Wright is his core belief system and he can auto replay it over and over with colorful additions.
It is possible that he is now going through some life changes that are not of his choosing. He is fighting to stay 'on stage' and 'in leadership'.
His message has become who he is. If you disagree with his statements,then he feels you have rejected him and insulted him. He feels he is loosing control and this brings out his destructive behavior.
I suspect dementia, based on the actions of an elderly relative that almost mirror some of the actions of Rev. Wright.

budda | 07:41 pm on 5/05/2008

That's the best explanation I've heard yet.

Process Deist | 09:17 pm on 5/05/2008

Thanks Buda.
Remember....I am not a psychologist and I have never played one on television.

Anonymous | 09:27 am on 5/07/2008

Or maybe he is hurt by the betrayal of a supposed friend. It must have been a bitter pill to swallow to hear Obama kick him to the curb in order to keep his campaign on track.

Siarlys Jenkins | 08:44 pm on 5/01/2008

There are all kinds of good principles floating around here, without much context to ground them. My first response to Jeremiah Wright was that he preached good sermons, I listened to long stretches of them. My second thought was, he's not running for office, he's a pastor, he's supposed to say things that make us uncomfortable, that nobody running for office would dare say. But budda has it right about his latest public act. He knows that shoving his most dubious socio-political remarks into the limelight at this moment can only hurt Obama, and he did it anyway. Its not all about Him, its all about "Me" (him, Rev. Wright). Anyone who had some hope that Obama really could be a unifying factor is livid that Wright is fracturing people along all too familiar lines at a time when it will do the most harm. He's becoming quite pathological.

By the way, in other articles on this web site, it has been reported that what is wrong with Huckabee is that he cozied up to Kenneth Copeland. That's not independence, and it is the reason I gave up on the idea I might vote for him over Hillary Clinton if it came down to the two of them. He's not just a Baptist preacher. And as for Drinan, he was ordered to leave office because, in office, he did NOT take direction from the church hierarchy about how to vote, e.g., he voted pro-Choice. (Although it is not possible to be Catholic and pro-abortion, Drinan provided living proof that it is possible to be Catholic and pro-Choice, i.e. not rely on the coercive police powers of the state as the means to oppose abortion. However, it is not possible to be an RC priest in good standing and disregard the orders of the Holy See on whether you run for office or not.)

I read on another site that Wright's appearance before the National Press Club, his most damaging, was arranged by a long-time Clinton supporter. So budda has the right question there too.

CowboyKate | 09:29 pm on 5/01/2008

It suddenly occurred to me that Rev Wright is actually serving much the same purpose that Ralph Nader has. (I can almost hear people groaning...!) By insinuating himself into the spotlight and weighing in on urgent political matters (BTW, NOT the strict domain of politicians, ESPECIALLY in the midst of an election year!!!), he is raising legitimate issues, many of which folks just don't want to hear about. And if these "interlopers" manage to skid off the runway of reason, oh well. That's what public discourse is all about. Yes, true, one's a political figure and the other a religious one, but they're both social activists, and I can't think of a more APPROPRIATE time for them to speak out. If they get ignored or pegged as whack-o, that's the way the cookie crumbles. But democracy means never having to say SHUT UP!

The Rev's most explosive sound bites have been recycled over and over, and even if YouTube HAS actually done his POV justice, only Bill Moyers has had the journalistic ethics, not to mention common sense, to actually invite the Rev onto HIS show to drill deeper into his views. That's exactly what "fair and balanced" reporting refers to. Moyers is old-school, thank goodness.

Clinton's campaigners set up the Rev's appearance at the National Press Club? Hadn't heard that conspiracy theory before. And if true, it's kinda funny and darkly opportunistic, but all's fair, etc., and if I were the Rev, I'd have been on that national platform with bells on, too.

As for Obama -- if he's going to cave into the press THIS easily, I shudder to think how he'd behave in the face of a genuine adversary... No one can truly hurt his candidacy except him, which is another beautiful thing about our democracy (such as it is). Ultimately, it's between you and your ballot.

budda | 12:25 am on 5/02/2008

Thanks Siarlys, while I still have questions your post helped me think it through some more. Kate, I would very much disagree with you.

You said "No one can truly hurt his candidacy except him, which is another beautiful thing about our democracy (such as it is). Ultimately, it's between you and your ballot."

Ask Carl Rove if no one can hurt a candidate except that candidate. Rove is a master of crushing candidates. Of course outside influences can help or hurt a politician. I do like the Nader reference, but logically I can't get by it. I want to be as fair as possible but the Rev makes it impossible for me to follow. Not because of what he says but how and when.

The Rev's actions speak louder than his words. My questions still stand.

Robert Winkler Burke | 09:47 pm on 5/01/2008

John, the Wright story is important... if it is important for the President of the greatest nation on earth to be able to distinguish between a lie-loving, prejudice-amplifying demagogue pastor and... any other pastor who lines up with sufficient truth that would ennoble and not debase, give spiritual ears not plug them, give spiritual eyes not blind them, teach how to unravel the world's insanity and restore what can be restored and not teach another twisted form of insanity to heap on other dog piles of insanity.

All this matters if you believe a pastor's noble calling is to help us bring heaven to earth, not hell. Why you would defend the narcissist pastor Wright for being so very, very wrong is something I don't understand.

Yes, it is OK for some nut-job pastor to be wrong. Just don't ask me, or this nation purchased with so much blood, to elect a President who for 20 years filled his ears with nut-job, jabberwocky, racist hatred.

We aren't talking about only free speech of a nut job. We're talking about the leader of the freest nation taking on the huge responsibility of defending that freedom now and for future generations.

John, you seem to want this story to go away. That Obama got so near (and maybe even will get) the Presidency, with such an unexamined soul... is surely God's light shining at America's unexamined soul.

This story has legs, John. Maybe we are all philosophically challenged. Maybe we need to get back to the basics of the Age of Enlightenment, critical thinking, self-critique, amelioration, uplift and common agreement that if we are mature, we can make things better... so long as our leadership doesn't worship at the alter of spiritual-slight-of-hand idiocy.

Wright is very good at spiritual deception. We must be better than to be deceived by him. All this exposure, all this news, the long legs of this story -- in the end, once we see enough light to see truth -- that's what makes Western culture the best and America the best of the best.

Droslovinia | 11:39 am on 5/02/2008

Bob!

I couldn't agree with you more. Now tell me how you've applied this thinking to the Republicans and their pastors who pray hurricanes away, discern New Orleans and 911 as punishment for our having gay people or some other offense, and go public saying things like "God will not hear the prayer of a Jew" (Bailey Smith) or that we need to throw out our Constitution and replace it with Old Testament law (Mike Huckabee).

The point is there are a lot of religious people out there whose positions offend us or at least drive us to debate. Why are we only hung up on the one guy? If you really want to go there, let's talk Southern Baptist fundamentalists, tv preachers, and The 700 Club. Let's talk about "Justice Sunday," a naked attempt to use church people to circumvent the Constitution and push for ultraconservative judges. Don't just stop at one lone UCC pastor.

Robert Winkler Burke | 11:25 am on 5/03/2008

Droslovinia, thank you and bless you. As for other charismatic leaders? Well, I believe ninety-nine percent of them give the others a bad name. :)

And did you hear what one televangelist said to the other? He said, "If it weren't for the power, and the prestige and the money, I'd quit in second." ;)

Pease see my own "Wittenburg Door" post, "25 Theses for Christian Leaders" at http://www.inthatdayteachings.com/writings.html and peruse my website: http://www.inthatdayteachings.com/home.html.

Often we thinking believers appear bitter at the Mysterious Morass that is modern Christianity, and perhaps rightly so. But is the only answer a call to Spartan essentials?

Perhaps if we mind what spirit we are of to a higher degree than previously thought possible, we can discover, walk with and become greater witnesses of truth than previously thought possible.

Just look in the Bible at what Jesus and the prophets said was possible "In That Day."

Prophet Lopi | 12:26 pm on 5/03/2008

Droslovinia,

Could it be that most Cultural/Religious elites like the Pat Robertson, Bailey Smith, John Hagge, Jeremiah Wright, TBN,
Rod Parsley and Jesse Jackson, to name but a few. Could it be that they, really don't care about you or the Gospel of Christ, as they would like you to believe? Or are the real gods they serve are; the promotion of self and the love of money?????

Timon | 09:40 am on 5/03/2008

What wacko ideas? US foreign policy has murdered countless people around the Earth. Bin Laden was a CIA asset. The Al Qaeda people were praised by Reagan as freedom fighters and Rambo was on thier side. Our armies occupied Saudi Arabia and backs a pack of kleptomaniac camel theives as rulers of the Moslem Holy places. The majority of the Arab world were pissed at our backing of Israel. These are the chickens that came back to roost. They could have been from a South or Central American country where we set up slave banana plantaitions for all that. This is fact and claiming they are just bad people who hate God's favorite people is what is whacko.

Wright gets the fundamental message of Christianity wrong in playing favorites but the white churches have been doing that forever.

A good ranter. A really good ranter. We need more ranting. The War in Iraq is evil. The government is in the hands of evil people. God should damn what they are doing. They are not America and as long as we let them get away with calling them selves America then the longer God will damn us. Thomas Jefferson said he feared for this country knowing the God is just.

Robert Winkler Burke | 02:56 pm on 5/03/2008

Timon, we are supposed to "worship God in spirit and truth."

If we allow ourselves to become bitter, resentful and dwelling on vengeance... we'll be drawn toward preachers who preach bitterness, resentfulness and who dwell on vengeance. OK, but there's a bit of a problem with this.

Such spirits are not of God. So what, you might say? Well, with spirits that are not of God.... comes deception. With deception comes lies.

So, you get Wright ranting a lot of lies. And people who get caught up with this wile.... they think, "Why the uproar over Wright's sermons?"

So it is a fascinating study on why preachers should not use wiles. So many televangelists do, it is hard to find them that don't!

And the black community, as any community, is poorly served by such sanctioned "ranting."

Now you might say to me Timon, Well Robert, you sound like a know-it-all. Nobody likes a know-it-all.

And you'd be right on both counts. Uh hum, I'd better watch my spirit more closely. :)

Ken Holmes | 08:15 pm on 5/03/2008

The Irag war evil? I always thought that all wars were perped by evil men, wanting to cleans the world of undisirables. Which, pray tell, wars have been just then? WW1,WW2,Korea,Vietnam,Desert Storm,Grenada,Afghanistan but certainly not Iraq? "My son only joined the military to get a college education but now he is fighting an unjust, evil war in Iraq?" This generation, our generation seems to have no idea the cost of freedom for all we have had to defend is our little forty acres and a mule. Our free speech right but not our right to life liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
Seems to me the Rev. Wright was only expressing what every Evangelist has expressed God will damn us for (put your own evil here). That he made those statements so close to 9/11 should tell us that he thought that this was Gods Judgement on America. In principal all Christians of every stripe think that God will Damn America for (put your own perception of evil here)in principle.
Maybe in priciple, Barak Obama agreed but only in principle. So what?
As a pastor I know that out in the parking lot is this large black hole. Some can walk right over it and apply what they have learned to their lives to make them better Christians. For many the black hole sucks everything that they have heard right out of their left ear (I preach to the right)and the principles that they have heard are lost, forgotten never to be thought of again.
It is possible for people to sit under a pastor and disagree with much of what he says, still loving him and still liking him. They chew the meat but spit out the bones.
So why the test for Obama? Maybe it is because he has said a lot about change but really given us nothing by way of concrete principles or actions. Maybe it is because he has given us the audacity of hope leaving us nothing to hope in but himself and the promise that he will do whatever it is he says he's going to do. Hoping that the black hole between the TV and the voting booth will take care of the rest.
He is going to be a great President.

live_life | 09:51 am on 5/04/2008

I think Obama's pastor went way too far last week....It's has gone kinda messy...

http://www.thefaithdebate.com
http://www.thefaithdebate.com
http://www.thefaithdebate.com

Timon | 06:09 pm on 5/04/2008

I have spent far too much time in section 60 of Arlington National Cemetery seeing the graves of the young people who have died in this war. I look at the headstone of a young man whose wife left the pictures of thier babies and toddlers that won't know thier father and it breaks my heart.

WWI was an unjust war. It was pushed in America as a way to make sure JP Morgan didn't have the allied powers default on their war loans. Anyone who spoke out against the war was jailed. So much for freedom. It also gave us the Income Tax and a $9 to $10,000,000,000 national debt so no it isn't free. The cause for it's start was as stupid as the Civil War's. If Blessed Kaiser Karl I had been able to convince the allies that the war was a bloody stalemate and it was time to negotiate a settlement then a lot of the horror of the last century might have been avoided. But Wilson and Clemenceau did their best to get the Yanks over there. The result was Lenin and the Russian Revolution and thanks to Wilson and the vengeful victors, if the loss of a generation counts as victory, begat WW2 with the treaty that only gave pause to the slaughter. WW1 and 2 gave us Stalin and with Truman gave us the Cold War, Korea, and Viet Nam. You could add the Bananna Republics, governments overthrown by the military for the benefit of fruit companies. General Smedley Butler who won two Medals of Honor wrote a book when he retired entitled War is a Racket where he said his service in the Marine Corps was a series mob hits for US corporations and the enrichment of arms manufacturers.

Iraq has nothing to do with freedom and everything to do with oil, stupidity, occupation of Arab lands, and spreading the American Empire. It was built with lies and continues with lies. Iran is next and somehow that will be God's will and the price of freedom and the millions of innocent babies, children, women, and men who die in the process are just statistics.

Camus said The welfare of the people in particular has always been the alibi of tyrants, and it provides the further advantage of giving the servants of tyranny a good conscience.

I have seen too much of war and death. I am a stupid old fart but I try to follow Jesus, the Prince of Peace who said we should love our enemies and pray for them. As St John said, children, let us love one another. That we shold do unto others as we would have them do unto us. Anyone can love their friends, loving your enemy is hard and that's where the Christian have to do a gut check. Forgiving those who do us wrong is pretty big in the Gospels. We are all sinners but the Gospel's tell us we are in the hands of a forgiving God.

But don't worry, Big John McCain will be the next President and we will have our war with Iran and maybe take out Syria while we are at it.

ny guy | 09:40 am on 5/05/2008

"Iran is next"

I could be wrong but I doubt that, as the American people are so thoroughly sick of Iraq. The future presidential candidates are all acutely aware of that. I would be surprised if even the most ardent war hawks in the government would actually go for the whole Iran thing anytime soon. Lets hope that I'm right.

SRebbe | 04:20 pm on 5/05/2008

W has been threatening war with Iran for some time. Well, the two of them have been throwing threats at each other for months.

I do not pretend to predict the future, but if there is war with Iran, there could very well be WWIII along with a whole string of holy hells. Cue horsemen.

ny guy | 01:45 am on 5/06/2008

yeah I understand that there have been escalating threats from one side to another over the years (and even more so lately). I just think that even the most obtuse governmental official knows that with the majority of Americans absolutely pissed about the whole Iraq debacle, going into Iran would make people go absolutely ballistic. The best move in the American political landscape is to regain public opinion by distancing ones self from Bush and his war policies. At least that is what it seems like.

SRebbe | 04:20 pm on 5/07/2008

true true

Robert Winkler Burke | 10:32 am on 5/05/2008

Wright’s preaching style is classic charismatic spirits gone wild. So a tremendous complex of evil spirits manifest (instead of Christ Himself) in Wright more or less continually. (To be fair, the same is true at lesser levels for John McCain’s John Hagee and even Mike Huckabee, the evangetical pastor and governor who would be President.)

Wright employed the following deceiving wiles: When speaking to an audience, he would a) make a staccato attack on something, b) jump to an a cappella song to distract, c) use intellectual obfuscation by claiming superior knowledge of liberation theology, d) jump to ghetto slang, e) use rap jive, f) quote scriptures in a confusing manner, g) misapply scripture, h) mispronounce God’s name in a shout, i) say something politically bizarre, j) stir up black prejudices against whites, k) promote victimhood bitterness l) and insist all these devices are of Christ.

But in fact, these kinds of things dull one’s spiritual eyes, ears and brain. The fix? Stop the immersion brain washing! So Obama, who has been busy on the campaign trail for two years, finally looses immersion in this obfuscation and sees through Wright’s wiles. Obama mistakenly says Wright is not the man he knew twenty years ago. Actually, the hard campaign trail of truth or consequences improved Obama to the degree he could disavow, albeit half-heartedly, Wright’s deceptive character. Obama is not the same man as twenty years ago.

That leaves us with Obama impatient, and even his wife being impatient, with the press and the pubic questioning the sincerity of their renunciation of Wright. All this confusion is happening because preachers often don’t want to discuss spirits, for fear of discovery of self-incriminating truths, and how they use deceiving spirits to get and keep power and get and keep money. (See Kenneth Copeland.)

The question is, have the Obamas learned to use Wright’s deceptive wiles? We appear to have a Potemkin Village world where the front story of truth is minutely inspected but the back story of spiritual meaning is always ignored.

Is it any wonder that leaders in Christianity, politics and news seem to employ deceiving spirits to gain control over our finances? They lord spiritual wiles over everybody who doesn’t have eyes to see spiritually, these lords who need us to see nothing. They want us all spiritually blind. They win if we see nothing.

Dorsey | 07:45 am on 5/07/2008

I can't believe no one has yet suggested that the Obama-Wright rift was merely a setup.Did Obama's about-face seem a little abrupt to anyone else, or is it just me?

I would not be at all surprised to find out that Wright sat down with Obama and said, "Look, your 'disavow the remarks, not the man' strategy isn't working. You have to cut me off altogether if the media's ever going to let go of this. So here's what I'm going to do. I'm going to go to the National Press Club and make some remarks, say some things about you, maybe, that will give you a clear way out. Then, the next day, you can cut me off in front of everybody, distance yourself from this mess and get on with the campaign. But don't worry. I'll always be your BFF."

Not entirely implausible...

Anonymous | 09:40 am on 5/07/2008

Yep. My thoughts, too.

Bailey Hankins | 09:51 am on 5/07/2008

I have a much simpler explantion: McCain or his surrogates PAID Wright to make his nutty case publicly and thereby damage Obama.

See how simple it can be when you are logical. Who gains from Wright airing his racist, koo-koo ideas to White America?

You Faux News dittoclones actually think the media is liberal? I wonder why the conservative owners of the media would put up with that, hmmm. I guess Hannity and Colmes is a *liberal* show too, right? No wait, that is Fair & Balanced!

McCain and Hagee is a much more interesting relationship.

ABC reports:

Calling Pastor John Hagee a "bigot," the conservative Catholic League is calling for Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., to denounce/renounce/reject his endorsement Wednesday.

With a Youtube link to prove his point, Catholic League president Bill Donohue said Hagee "has waged an unrelenting war against the Catholic Church. For example, he likes calling it 'The Great Whore,' an 'apostate church,' the 'anti-Christ,' and a 'false cult system.' ..."Senator Obama has repudiated the endorsement of Louis Farrakhan, another bigot. McCain should follow suit and retract his embrace of Hagee." ...

McCain spox Jill Hazelbaker says, "Hagee endorsed John McCain. While we welcome his support, it shouldn't be seen as a wholesale endorsement of all of Mr. Hagee's views."

the high and the mighty | 05:58 pm on 5/14/2008

Yawners!!I'm Tired Of"Preachers"Sticking Their Big Noses Into Politics,Regardless Of whether It's Pat robertson or Jeremiah wright!!
Jesus Said"My Home Is Not Of This World".
That's One Good thing I'll Give Jehovah's witnesses Credit for!!
"Give That Bone To Another dog!!"-Judge Maria Lopez.

MarkR | 01:54 pm on 6/11/2008

The fallout of significant negative discovery involving the life of a political candidate is played out as convenient amnesia. Following the event in question, the most effective initiation of this response by the politician, is to become silent, and by the media by dropping all questions relating to the event or action. Bill Clinton and his staff were masters of this technique.

Karen H | 12:07 am on 6/12/2008

Okay...so, did anyone get past the politics of Wright's sermon to the theme? Such as:

Don't put governments above God.

Governments change all the time. You can't assume they won't, whether they're doing good or doing bad, so you can't trust them to stay the same and have your interests at heart.

God never changes. You can trust in God, because God is always merciful, God always does the right thing, God always has your interests at heart. God's qualities never change.

The United States, any country, is not the superpower in this world. God is. If the United States tries to put itself above God, it's wrong, even damnable.

I'm a moderate, politically, maybe just a tad to the left of center. I don't agree with Wright's politics, and I think his view of the political world is way skewed. But I am a Christian I CAN agree that we need to trust in God, that it's wrong to put government above God, and wrong to trust government more than to trust God.

I think it's important to look at the heart of a sermon, rather than pick at its surface and claim that's all there is.

pigseye | 03:26 pm on 8/18/2008

I don't think we need politics in church at all. I think we need bible teaching, and worship of God. I don't see any of the apostles or early church fathers wasting time on the politics of this world. And Jesus avoided it like the plague. If our Brothers and sisters were taught scripture and spend time witnessing then our country would have a chance at reversal of its' downward trend.
As it is we are becoming more and more inert due to political exercise in futility. Know the issues, vote, then get back to work for the Lord. That goes for me too.

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