On Obama’s Speech:

After today, I actually feel a little better about Obama.  My first impression upon reading the text of his speech was that is was stunningly honest and daring, but having come only after being pressed to react to an issue, I cynically put it off as damage control done by a politician.  And then I heard the speech. 

Obama was both honest and eloquent in his speech.  It was an astute and poignant analysis of racial issues in this country, honest to both black and white Americans alike, admitting to resentments lingering in both races that neither like to talk about.  There was a true demonstration of hope if I’ve ever seen one, and I mean that sincerely.  To believe that America is ready to hear that racial conversation takes hope.  And maybe we are ready.  As it is now we have no choice but to talk about race. 

Senator Obama should never have been put in this position in the first place.  The media, not the campaigns, turned this race for the democratic nomination into a racial struggle. After weeks of asking, “will race be an issue?  Will race be an issue?  Will race be an issue?” guess what?  They succeeded in making race an issue.  They made a huge racial divide out of negligible statements by Geraldine Ferraro.  Just tonight one MSNBC commentator made an issue of Obama mentioning his white grandmother.  We’ve seen video of Obama’s pastor over and over and over again. 

It’s not right to judge people based on things they have no control over.  As a gay man, I hold that belief very deeply. Race, by now, should be a non-issue.  Clearly, it’s not.  Race is what we’re talking about.  Not the war, not jobs or the economy or issues, but Black and White. 

That’s another thing: I keep hearing and reading “Black” these days, when the proper term is African American.  Even Obama today referred to the “experience of Black America.”  And no one has become outraged about that fact.  I find that a fascinating observation.  On all the talk shows, on all the blogs, the term African American has been disappearing and it’s “black, black, black, black, black.”  Even the African-American pundits are saying “black.”  If the term has become a non-issue, then is America ready to truly see beyond race?  Is the Senator right?

Oh, we could hope so, couldn’t we?  Perhaps we’ll be able to discuss sexism as well, and why some men refuse to even consider voting for a woman.  And if so, Obama’s speech today may end up as a bookend to the civil rights era opposite Dr. King’s “I Have A Dream” speech, and ushering in an equal rights era.  But the realist in me remembers that old axiom: if something seems too good to be true, it probably is.   Instead of being, as Obama himself wanted, not “Red America” or “Blue America” but The United States of America, we’re back to being Black and White America. 

We’ve just heard the most painfully honest speech on racial issues in perhaps 40 years.  What we do from here on out is up to us. 

Here are some highlights:

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49 thoughts on “On Obama’s Speech:

  1. Well, it is damage control done by a politician. He’s a politician running for a political office.

    But it has nothing to do with Hillary and Ferraro. Obama knows he has the Democratic nomination wrapped up. However, Wright’s comments has clearly hurt him nationally. The latest Gallup poll has McCain five points ahead of Obama. And more ominously, McCain is ahead in blue-collar (i.e. poor white) Democratic strongholds like MI and PA. If that wasn’t the case, he wouldn’t be giving this speech.

    Having said that, it is exceptionally well executed damage control. Obama’s one of the most gifted public speakers this nation has seen in many decades. Even at the height of his game, Bill Clinton couldn’t pull off a speech like this. The former president can certainly generate empathy, and that’s why he does so well with the “Town Hall Meeting” format. But Bill Clinton doesn’t command the same level of passion in front of a large audience as Obama.

    My criticism of Obama has never had anything to do with his speaking abilities. He has demonstrated repeatedly that he delivers great speeches. However, I wonder (and still do) if there’s much “there” there.

  2. But Bill Clinton doesn’t command the same level of passion in front of a large audience as Obama.

    Bingo. And now that race has been officially a big deal again, I worry where those passions are going to go exactly. If Hillary does manage to pull it off, will there be riots? I don’t think we can say that’ll be out of the question. Passions are now roused to a level they weren’t before. What Obama did today may have calmed a lot of people down, but what’s the guarantee they’ll stay down, especially with the media perpetually bringing up race.

  3. Obama is the ONLY politician I’ve seen that is willing to talk to Americans as if they have some intelligence. He motivates people to elevate the debate about any subject. He comes across almost as a psychoanalyst by saying he understands people and asks them to look at themselves and ask why they feel the way they do about issues. I really think it’s time for some national introspection on our role in the world and what it means to be American.

    Many people aren’t really proud to be Americans at this point in time and Obama gives them a chance to be heard. He can put the blowhards like Wright and O’Reilly in their place and move the rest of us forward with reasonable evaluation of the issues that divide us.

    As for the term “black” he can’t call his father an “African-American” because he was from Kenya. Maybe he should have just used “African” but the word “Black” is still in wide use and only hyper-sensitive people think it’s derogatory.

  4. Obama’s speech was a bunch of hooey. You don’t go to a church for 20+ years where the pastor obviously preaches in such a…shall we say…fiery manner on an undeniably regular basis unless you agree with him. Period. I left my family church, where I’m still friends with the pastor, but disagreed with him on many issues. Not all, but some, and that made it impossible to sit in the pew every Sunday or to tithe to the congregation. I just don’t believe either Barack Obama would stay at a church where he was uncomfortable with what was coming from the pulpit – even in part.

  5. Keith:

    My main problem with Obama is how he’ll react to Iran. And that’s a big issue for me. His expressed positions on Iran and the Palestinian-Israeli conflict puts up big red flags for me. Sorry.

    I really think it’s time for some national introspection on our role in the world and what it means to be American.

    I couldn’t agree more. But for all Obama’s rhetoric, I have yet to be convinced that he’s not just another politician with superior oratory skills. I see no evidence of “change,” and the further along the campaigns progress the more he seems like just another politician, caught in half-truths and controversy.

    I find a good many speakers motivating and inspiring, moving people to do better for others as well as themselves. That doesn’t mean I want them running the country.

    (BTW, the “black” thing: I wasn’t just talking about his father. He directly referred to “the experience of Black America.” I just thought it was an interesting sidenote, really. )

  6. Well, QC, I know that I have attended churches for years where pastors said things I strongly disagree with, if they also say a bunch of things I do agree with. This is especailly true where I have written them off as rhetorical excess, Perhaps Obama was actually attracted to the fact that the church he attended preached help and in fact helped thousands of the deparately poor, sick, addicted, uneducated and hungary.

  7. I’m sure no one has been helped by these Trinity programs, among others:

    “ACTIVE SENIORS AND FRIENDS – are members and friends who are 55 years of age and older. They meet regularly for Bible study and fellowship. They participate in quarterly outings for inspiration and recreation, and provide ongoing care and keeping of other seniors. . . .

    CAN-CER-VIVE – supports members and friends who are survivors, and/or are presently overcoming and/or encountering the many faces of cancer. The ministry plans and conducts seminars/workshops designed to explore and inform its members about matters of diet, grooming, spiritual support, care-giving/receiving and recreational activities. . . .

    CAREER DEVELOPMENT – provides information, training and job fairs to enable unemployed and underemployed members to compete and upgrade their employability for jobs with employers seeking “good” employees. . . .

    COUNSELING MINISTRY -Masters Degree Holders in counseling or related professions, enable Church members to receive private, Christian counseling in matters of individual, family, group and/or grief crises. . . .

    DOMESTIC VIOLENCE ADVOCACY/CARE MINISTRY – provides Christian support, love and comfort to persons involved in emotional and physically abusive relationships, with husbands/wives, boyfriends/girlfriends or family members. . . .

    DRUG & ALCOHOL RECOVERY MINISTRY – meets each week with recovering members, their families and friends. Members Member’s are encouraged to participate in Christian support groups which acknowledge that only “if the Son (of God) shall set you free, you shall be free, indeed.” . . .

    EMMAUS ROAD MINISTRY – provides companions, prayer partners, helpers and friends for grieving persons, months after the passing of a loved one. Ongoing contact with the family is maintained. . . .

    FOOD SHARE MINISTRY – provides fresh and canned food baskets on a monthly basis for the Hungry, the Homeless, and the Less Fortunate. . . .

    HEALTH ADVISORY MINISTRY [HAB] – is dedicated to the prevention and treatment of physical and mental illnesses. HAB strives to inform and educate our members and community about “cutting edge” health issues. . . .

    HIGH SCHOOL COUNSELING – supports high school students to enhance their educational progress.

    HIV/AIDS MINISTRY – offers comfort through support, education, and training for individuals, families and friends impacted by HIV and AIDS. Training Required. . . .

    HOUSING MINISTRY – sponsors seminars to inform the church and community families about tax sales, “how to…” avoid foreclosure; purchase HUD homes; finance mortgages; etc. . .

    LEGAL COUNSELING – The Legal Counseling Ministry nurtures the spiritual growth and development of Christian attorneys and other legal professionals, and provides legal assistance to the Trinity community. . .

    MARRIED COUPLES – provide Christian context and insights for couples who are committed to building and maintaining Christian homes. . . .

    MATH TUTORIAL – involves elementary age youth in the rigorous discipline needed to increase their understanding of mathematical concepts. . . .

    PRISON MINISTRY – visits the prisons every week of the year! To provide tutorial support and to engage the inmates in rap sessions and training programs. . .

    PROJECT JEREMIAH – provides Christian role models and mentors for the boys and girls in elementary schools each week. . . .

    READING TUTORIAL – provides educational experiences through tutoring in reading for elementary school students. . . .

    TRINITY COMPUTER LEARNING CENTER
    Trinity Computer Learning Center (TCLC) is a faith-based training facility for Trinity United Church of Christ and the community at large using computer technology to help cross the digital divide. . . .

    WOMEN’S GUILD – is the volunteer corps for the residents of the two Trinity sponsored senior residences.”

  8. See, I was going to say something to Kev about that, but I figured you’d be back, Tommy. 🙂

    It’s one thing to say the Rev. Wright’s comments were abhorrent, but another thing completely to disavow all good works done by the congregation.

    There’s middle ground here, folks.

  9. I think I said the preaching was about anything but help. Also, would either of you (Tommy or Jamie) give money to Trinity to help their good works? If so, what about the 700 Club – they do work that is just as charitable no? Would you sit through a Pat Robertson sermon every Sunday even though you disagree with him a lot but might agree with him occasionally? What about attending services at or tithing to the church Jerry Falwell built? They good in their communities don’t they? Hamas and Hezbollah have provided help in their communities as well – that’s undeniable – would you support them with your money?

    I wouldn’t.

  10. And at what price do those Trinity programs come for the people they help? Maybe nothing monetary, but you can’t tell me the abhorrent theology of that church exists only in the pulpit; it must permeate everything they do and teach.

  11. Pingback: Wow, this is a very good analysis of Barack Obama’s Speech on Race. « Opposing Viewpoints: journal of outspoken ideas

  12. KevinQC, on March 20th, 2008 at 12:21 am Said:
    Obama’s speech was a bunch of hooey. You don’t go to a church for 20+ years where the pastor obviously preaches in such a…shall we say…fiery manner on an undeniably regular basis unless you agree with him. Period. I left my family church, where I’m still friends with the pastor, but disagreed with him on many issues. Not all, but some, and that made it impossible to sit in the pew every Sunday or to tithe to the congregation. I just don’t believe either Barack Obama would stay at a church where he was uncomfortable with what was coming from the pulpit – even in part.

    Wooooah there KevinQC. Lets get something strait right here and now. There are two types of people in this country:

    (1) People who don’t have the patience or the courage to work through a difficult situation that is not as perfect as they had hoped it would be.

    (2) People who realize that if they exercise patience and courage, that they can continue to exist in an imperfect environment, so that they can contribute towards positive changes in that environment.

    Which one of those two types of people do you want to have as commander and chief of the most powerful nation in the free world?

    I am hoping that all three of the remaining contenders are type (2) people. And I think they are, considering the horrible persecution and sacrifice which is involved with being a presidential candidate in the United States of America.

    Fox News and talk radio are not capable of, (or unwilling to participate with) presenting the simple perspective which I have just explained here.

    Please read this comment at least 5 times before you respond. This is a simple perspective, but it is one which you may have never considered, so take some time to let it sink into your understanding.

  13. Pingback: This is a very important exchange, on a neighboring blog. « Opposing Viewpoints: journal of outspoken ideas

  14. Liberation theology maybe abhorant to you, QC, but it is well established within the Christian tradition. Next you’ll be advocating religious tests for office.

  15. No ones asking you to tithe to Trinity, QC. I would guess that our donations would go to our own churches, I know mine would.

    (Nonethless, I certainly appreciate the UCC’s welcome and blessing for homosexuals, including its high profile ad campaign. I believe it’s the only Christian church in the country to make such an explicit organized affirmation. Significant, in part, because the UCC is the succesor of the Plymouth/Bay, pilgrim/seperatist founders of the “city on a hill” which became America).

  16. I agree with you, KevinQC, that it was stupid for Obama to make that “typical white person” comment during that radio interview. I sincerely hope that Obama didn’t really mean that. But what does that have to do with the message of Obama’s “fine speeches”?

    I think the most important quote of Obama’s speech on race was,

    “The fact that so many people are surprised to hear that anger, in some of Rev. Wright’s sermons, simply reminds us of the old truism that the most segregated hour of American life occurs on Sunday morning.”

  17. Either I missed it, or the highlights video in this post does not include this most important quote of Obama’s speech, which I included in my previous comment. It is important for all of us to understand that there is no level of intelligence which will enable us to understand the true context of the words, that are spoken in somebody else’s church. I agree with my history teacher, Dr. Mark Smith, that one of the characteristics of great intellect is understanding that it is impossible to truly understand the context of the words spoken within a different culture from your own. Sunday morning is not segregated just based on race, but also segregated based on ideas. Those with great intellect, who are not members of Barack Obama’s Church, should understand that it is not possible for them to understand the true context of the words which have been spoken there on Sunday morning. That is why we should look, not at the words spoken at this church on Sunday, but instead at the fruits of the church. What has this church produced within the community? What type of respected people are attending this church? What type of a reputation did this church have throughout the entire country before the mainstream media engaged in their ignorant character assassination, based not on the fruits of the church, but on the words of the pastor during the context of a church service which was not intended for non members to understand. You may not understand why there are thorns on a vine, but look at the fruit that the vine produces.

  18. Those with great intellect, who are not members of Barack Obama’s Church, should understand that it is not possible for them to understand the true context of the words which have been spoken there on Sunday morning.

    Or those who are trying to rationalize away why they take no action against black people who spew racist hate from their pulpits, even though they are more than willing to launch vendettas against churches that are predominantly white.

    Obama demonstrates his own racist views when he stereotypes his own grandmother as a “typical white person”. This man is obviously so blinded by his skin color that he holds in contempt a woman who took him in and raised him because hers isn’t the same.

  19. Sorry – Obama has been a member of that church for over 20 years. BO himself calls the Rev. Wright his spiritual mentor. The fact that “Liberation Theology” is well established in no way excuses it’s hatred or racism; if it did you’d have to give the same pass to Westboro Baptist Church.

    Democrats and liberals are falling all over themselves to excuse in candidate Obama what would lead them to call for the public execution of a GOP or conservative candidate.

    And Tommy, do you honestly think you’d be comfortable worshiping at Trinity UCC as a gay man? Tell you what, I’ll meet you in Chicago sometime and we can go to a Sunday service walking down the aisle holding hands…but you have to hire the bodyguards.

  20. First, the term “Black” doesn’t bother me, nor many others like me, in the least. For ME the reason is this. I know I have Africans in my ancestry. I probably have Native American in there as well and it’s highly probable that there’s European in there too (as many female slaves were raped by their owners).

    Since I have no clue how much African, how much Native American and how much European make up who I am… I can’t “fairly” say that I am “African American.” What about the other groups that I represent?

    Second, It is highly possible to know someone for 20 years and not know them 100% and certainly not agree with them 100% I mean let’s be honest here. How many of us can say that we agree with anyone on this entire planet 100% of the time? How many wives have been married to a man for 20 years only to see him on Dateline as a child predator? How many spouses have been married for 15 years only to find out that their spouse had been cheating on them? How people have been in relationships with someone to find out years down the line that the other person is actually gay or bisexual? I see nothing astonishing about Obama not knowing the depths of bitterness his Pastor harbors.

    Third, Obama is absolutely right when he said that the church is (and always will be) a place where Blacks freely express their frustrations (personal, professional or political). After 300 years of abuse and a mere 43 years of human rights, Blacks are still suffering. I can’t express that enough…. Blacks are still suffering from the residue of pre-civil rights racial abuse, present-day episodes of discrimination and the daily misrepresentation of us in the media. Very generally speaking, these experiences have ensured that, at some level, Blacks continue to struggle with insecurity and low morale. Those frustrations are talked about in the barbershop, beauty shop and yes, in the church. As with any group… every individual deals with frustrations differently. Some are hostile. Some live in denial. Most fall various places on the continuum between the two extremes. Bottom line, I’m not shocked by Rev Wright’s speech. Nor do I feel his anger is unwarranted. I do however, feel that his delivery is negative and counter-productive. As a Pastor, a leader of many, he can not afford to be either of the two. Unfortunately, he is human first and Pastor second.

  21. I see nothing astonishing about Obama not knowing the depths of bitterness his Pastor harbors.

    Unless he sat in the pews for 20 years with Q-tips stuck in his ears.

    Excuses, excuses, excuses…

  22. How many wives have been married to a man for 20 years only to see him on Dateline as a child predator?

    I’m not sure comparing Obama’s knowledge of his self-proclaimed spiritual mentor to pedophilia, adultery and bisexuality is particularly apt, let alone a good idea. There’s quite a difference between not knowing something because it’s being actively covered up and not knowing something that has been preached from the pulpit. Given Wright’s trip to Libya with Farrakhan, I find it hard to believe that Wright’s attitude is anything new or that he at any time felt the need to tone down his presentation. This leads to my problem with Obama’s speech: timing.

    First, when the story broke, he adamantly denied ever hearing Wright make these statements. Then, in his Come To Jesus ’08 speech, he admits quite frankly that he did hear them. This is rather the same line of reasoning he used to justify including McClurkin on his gospel tour while trying to convince people he was not homophobic. These conceptual missteps worry me when the campaign itself is still mostly selling concept and not function.

    Second, this may be slightly unfair, but I do think it’s valid. Why now? Why only make this speech now, when his ass is in a sling? The Obama campaign from the beginning has been content to let race be an issue, so long as it was their issue, using it to beat the drum of American exceptionalism and as a rallying point for identity politics. However, when others pointed out what Obama pretty much himself affirmed in his big speech, that for better or worse, race is still a motive force in this country, and it must be considered in both a positive and negative light, suddenly the Obama campaign and its supporters move en masse to weaponize the issue and decry others as racists. It’s politicking, plain and simple, and I’ve never denied that the man can give good speech. That leads to my third problem.

    Content. Where is it? I’ve heard many summarize the Obama speech as the best presentation of the racial situation in recent history as well as a blue print for the outlawing of white people. Given where those respective views come from, I tend to think the actual truth is somewhere in the middle. But the thing I did notice about the Obama speech, like so many of the other one’s he’s given before, is a lack of ownership of any specific way forward. There are platitudes and sound bytes galore. But where’s the plan? The specific way he advocates to become that more perfected union?

    In the end, the speech, just like Obama’s campaign, is words. Very well written words, to be sure, full of promise and charisma, but still just hollow words that, when examined, seem to be at odds with themselves. If the concept in a conceptual campaign can’t even be delivered, then what does one really bring to the table?

    Bottom line, I’m not shocked by Rev Wright’s speech. Nor do I feel his anger is unwarranted. I do however, feel that his delivery is negative and counter-productive.

    Actually, I would tend to agree with you on this. While one can make arguments about breaking the cycle and controlling one’s destiny, it does overlook the fact that, justified or not, there is a lot of anger and resentment in the black community and it would be foolhardy to simply expect everyone to just politely get over it.

    That’s why my problem with Obama and Wright has never really been with Wright’s actions. He’s a free man who can do, say, and think as he pleases. Obama himself can even vigorously support him and I’m not sure I’d be offended. What is troublesome, rather, is Obama’s scattered response to them and the vicious hypocrisy of many of his supporters on the issue of race.

  23. Ok…. I can concede that Obama knew about the Rev’s views.

    Re: Quaker Jono’s
    But the thing I did notice about the Obama speech, like so many of the other one’s he’s given before, is a lack of ownership of any specific way forward.

    Actually, Obama advocates social programs as “the specific way” forward. Which I do not agree with. I believe the way forward is a renewing of mindsets (the superiority mindset of the White community and the inferiority mindset of Black community). Money can’t accomplish that. In fact, many of our social programs are downright crippling. But I could go and on about this topic for days.

  24. Obama advocates social programs as “the specific way” forward…many of our social programs are downright crippling

    Exactly. I would say that advocating for social programs is not nearly specific enough, particularly given Obama’s relative newness to national politics. Perhaps my criteria is unfair or unbalanced, but in order for Obama to take his campaign beyond the conceptual and into the factual, he needs to be providing specific plans to back up the change he promises. What is going to be changed and how and not in generalities.

    The nightmare situation that whoever is elected in November will inherit is daunting, even to a seasoned political veteran. Given Obama’s relative newness, I need to know exactly what he intends to do day 1 and on for me to have confidence in him.

    The last person I voted for on the basis of charisma and unfocused plans was a huge bust and I don’t want to get burned again.

  25. the superiority mindset of the White community and the inferiority mindset of Black community

    Oh blah blah freakin’ blah!!!! How long do we have to marinate in the angry resentment of black people? ~ Ann Coulter

  26. Oh blah blah freakin’ blah!!!! How long do we have to marinate in the angry resentment of black people? ~ Ann Coulter

    Interesting question… and interesting that Ann Coulter would call it anger, when its actually a matter of abuse just like any other abuse carried out against another human being: psychological abuse, child abuse, domestic abuse, physical abuse and so on. Human response to mistreatment is not unique to any particular race, gender, age, social class, religious group… Some overcome quickly, some slowly and some take it to their grave. It’s a not a matter of race, its a matter of human behavior and every individual heals in their own time.

  27. Anyone else pick up Coulter’s wording? Resentment “of” black people, not “by” black people? Her Freudian slip is showing.

    However, the answer to that Coulter thing’s (I refuse to gratify it with the status of “woman,” since it clearly possesses an adam’s apple) question is simple: if you’re marinating in it, then obviously you’re not addressing it, but just sitting in it and allowing it to fester.

    I understand the sentiment to an extent, but there are more helpful ways of posing the question. Since when has “get over it” ever allowed anyone to actually do so?

  28. Or, QC, you might check out Victory UCC in Georgia. You might be surprised at what you find:

    “The Rev. Kenneth L. Samuel, pastor of Victory UCC in Stone Mountain, Ga., says he is impressed that Trinity UCC “promotes spirituality and piety while also being emphatic about social justice.” . . .

    “Trinity was really one of the churches that inspired me to want to affiliate with the United Church of Christ,” Samuel said. “My church was originally National Baptist and Southern Baptist, but it was the critical-thinking that [Trinity] brought to this work, the justice work, that helped me to want to become a part of the denomination. I have no regrets about that.”

    Samuel says that, during Wright’s 36-year ministry at Trinity, Wright has not been afraid to tackle difficult topics, while staying equally committed to preaching “Jesus and justice.”

    “There have been two major sins in the Black church that many Black churches will not address – homophobia is one and sexism is another,” Samuel says, “and Jeremiah Wright has been one of the articulate, courageous voices that has not been afraid to address these critical issues. If he can do that and still maintain his close connectivity to the Black community, and stay grounded in the Black ethos, that’s what has inspired me.”

  29. I don’t live in Georgia anymore. I do know people from college who attend UCC churches; some of whom are ministers in the church. I don’t think the problem is the UCC. You won’t find that kind of demagoguery we are discussing at your neighborhood UCC.

    The problem is the theology preached at Trinity and the Rev. Wright in particular. I still include Trinity in that statement because I’m not sure the new pastor is much of an improvement given his Easter Sunday “lynching” sermon meant to make Wright and Trinity church into martyrs.

    Can no one here see that the theology that Trinity proclaims so loudly from its pulpit is hatred wrapped thinly in the pretty packaging of “liberation”? Does it not bother you that a candidate for President of the United States has attended a church that preaches that crap for over 20 years and undoubtedly subscribes to it in large part – if not in whole? Why else would he attend for 20-plus years! He’s raising his children in that atmosphere. His wife undoubtedly buys into the tripe – we all heard her public statements before they muzzled her. Come on people, this is not a minor issue and I am shocked that you are willing to explain, excuse, and apologize for it.

    27th, in your blog post you say: We know the abused is likely to have long-term emotional and psychological scarring and know they must address how to overcome what they endured as well as how not to pass on resentment to their children. But can you honestly say the warped theology of “black liberation” preached at Trinity UCC is doing anything other than passing on resentment to their children?

    Oh, and the “blah blah freakin’ blah” was my statement, not Ms. Coulter’s.

  30. Demogoguery? QC? Are you being ironic by practcing the demogoguery you do in that post? The UCC has everything to do with it. As the presiding pastor of the UCC (who happens to be white) said of the multiracial Trinity congegation:

    “What’s really going on here? First, it may state the obvious to point out that these television and radio shows have very little interest in Trinity Church or Jeremiah Wright. Those who sifted through hours of sermons searching for a few lurid phrases and those who have aired them repeatedly have only one intention. It is to wound a presidential candidate. In the process a congregation that does exceptional ministry and a pastor who has given his life to shape those ministries is caricatured and demonized. You don’t have to be an Obama supporter to be alarmed at this. . . . How ironic that a pastor and congregation which, for forty-five years, has cast its lot with a predominantly white denomination, participating fully in its wider church life and contributing generously to it, would be accused of racial exclusion and a failure to reach for racial reconciliation.”

  31. KevinQC, you didn’t provide the context of that statement but that doesn’t change my response. My response is simply a repeat of what I said before, I’m not shocked by Rev Wright’s speech. Nor do I feel his anger is unwarranted. I do however, feel that his delivery is negative and counter-productive. As a Pastor, a leader of many, he can not afford to be either of the two. Unfortunately, he is human first and Pastor second.

    Not to make excuses but just to throw a tiny dose of reality into the discussions…. I think most of us (some more than others) fail to truly understand that each and every one of us is human and therefore we all err (some more than others). No presidential candidate is going to be without flaw. If anyone is looking for that I feel sorry for them. And any candidate that seems perfect today, can very well disappoint us once they are in office. Once they are briefed on defense and intelligence matters which they currently are not privy to and they are advised by folks from every angle what they claim they will implement today they may very well change once in office.

    It is for the aforementioned reason, worry about Quaker‘s statement: The nightmare situation that whoever is elected in November will inherit is daunting, even to a seasoned political veteran…. I need to know exactly what he intends to do day 1 and on for me to have confidence in him. Good luck with that.

  32. I’m not buying the “few lurid phrases” argument. It’s just apologetics for hate.

    And 27th, I don’t expect any human being to be perfect; much less so a politician. But can you honestly argue that the Rev. Wright’s hate filled sermons are understandable or excusable? To do so is to give them legitimacy, and gives a pass to Obama that none of us would give to any one else.

  33. QC, I think we all know that we are getting mere snippets of (a 1/2 a sentence here a phrase there) this man’s sermons and in most cases we do not know the context of what ever he is talking.

    Regardless… I think its safe to say that Rev Wright feels strong resentment on various issues and in some cases, rightly so. However, I think high profile individuals (Pastors, celebrities, politicians, etc.) have a greater responsibility to the public and therefore should exercise more tact and diplomacy than the avg citizen. Furthermore, they need to be very cautious when making accusations of a derogatory or conspiracy nature. So again I say…. regardless if his frustrations are warranted or not, I don’t agree with his delivery. You can equate that to mean that I think his delivery is “inexcusable.”

    gives a pass to Obama that none of us would give to any one else
    Ummm speak for yourself. I give passes to people on a constant basis. Why? Because I fully understand that we are humans and we err. If I expect to be pardoned/forgiven for my errs then I must do the same for others-otherwise I’m a hypocrite. Yes, I get upset at things people say and do, but I most certainly forgive them and I move on…

    I wouldn’t be where I am today if I didn’t do exactly that.

  34. Come on Trina…There are entire sermons of the Rev. Wright spewing his hate. And would you give such a pass to the Rev. Pat Robertson for saying Witches are Lesbians? Or The Rev. Falwell for saying the 9/11 attacks are God’s retribution for sexual permissiveness? What if John McCain was a member of Thomas Road Baptist Church and dared not denounce Jerry Falwell?I doubt anyone would be so forgiving as they are of Jeremiah Wright and B. Hussein Obama…

  35. Sometimes Wright has a valid point (the U.S. supported South Africa’s apartheid regime). Sometimes Wright gets it wrong (Zionists are white supremacists). And sometimes Wright’s simply nuts (the federal government created the HIV virus to kill black people).

    Regardless, his behavior has political consequences for Barack Obama. Ironically, Rev. Wright’s boldness – truthful or otherwise – puts the Obama camp on the defensive for the very first time in this campaign. Before this, they could always bring out the bigotry charge whenever anybody criticized him. But now, the right-wing can toss that grenade right back at them. Although he isn’t about to admit it now, after the fact, Barack clearly didn’t want to have a conversation about race in 2004, 2005, 2006, and 2007 (or indeed the first months of 2008). This religious controversy has forced him to change strategy.

  36. Well, I, for one, have denounced many “Christian” ministers, priests, theologians, politicians, etc, etc, who have usurped the teachings of Christ in order to further a narrow political agenda, particularly one riddled with anger or hate.

    That includes Falwell, Robertson, and the institution of the Catholic Church (but not the body itself–the people, who often feel free to be “bad catholics” by practicing birth control or being pro gay rights).

    And to me, that’s what’s disturbing about Wright’s speech (although this post was about Obama’s speech) is that he was preaching division instead of inclusion. While I can at least try to understand the years of racial animosity he was trying to address, I don’t think it was at all an appropriate manner for a Preacher to address it. (And that HIV accusation is nuts.)

    I still think Obama’s speech had a lot of hard truths in it, but I have doubts as to what the speech actually accomplished. While the intent was, I think, to show some commonality between the races, the effect was far from universal. I’ve read some opinions that show the speech brought people together, and some that show the speech rigidly drew dividing lines that we all knew were there but just were stepping over. I think only time will tell on that note.

    And, on a side note: how come none of the “News Channels” have been fined by the FCC for airing “God Damn?” in the Reverend’s speeches? I thought that was cursing?

  37. QC, are you asking me if I, personally, would give a pass? If so, I said before and will repeat, Yes, I get upset at things people say and do, but I most certainly forgive them and I move on…

    If you’re asking me to state my opinion on what the general population does/would do….
    Yes the general population crucifies most high profile people who make discriminatory slurs against another group. There is a very logical reason why that is so. Consider the following:

    Scenario A: Sally tells her coworkers that she has seen and heard mice in the office. Her coworkers deny that its possible and insist that she’s paranoid. So, every time Sally sees a mouse in her peripheral vision or so much as thinks she hears the currying of little feet she is going to say to her coworkers, “See! Did you see that?” “Hey, did you hear that?”

    Scenario B: Billy tells his coworkers that he has seen and heard mice in the office. His coworkers reply very genuinely, “Oh yes, we know. We’ve seen and heard them as well.” Billy will feel no need to point out every sighting or sound of mice.

    Like the coworkers in scenario A, the average person refuses to acknowledge/believe that they, and most human beings for that matter, hold prejudices against other groups (some more than others). America constantly tries to sells the notion that we are a melting pot and that we all love everyone else equally. For this reason, people like Billy (in scenario B) and many groups (women, gays, minorities, etc.) incessantly point out every instance in which someone says or does anything derogatory towards them. It’s the, “See there it is!”

    There small pockets of people (across all groups) who simply KNOW the mice exists. When they see the mice and/or when they hear the mice… they whence a little and then they move on.

  38. “he was preaching division instead of inclusion”

    I don’t think you can say this based on the media’s evidence, despite QCs unproduced “whole sermons.” He was preaching about division but given that the congregation is multiracial and within a largely “white” church, there is something more complex going on than mere division.

  39. Tommy, what the hell does that mean? You just said yourself that he was preaching division. Make up my mind, would ya? Did I say that’s all he preaches? No. But preaching “God Damn America” and “The Government introduced HIV to kill Black People” is obviously division, not inclusion. Let’s be real.

  40. Preaching about division is to address division in his sermons, preaching division I thought you meant he hoped to divide.

    Do you really have no experience with the evangelical strain that regularly damns the secular power?

  41. I don’t believe that our govt created HIV, however it is plausible when you consider inhumane historic events such as the Tuskege Experiment and the exposure of Agent Orange to our troops who served in Vietnam. Though the HIV conspiracy is unlikely it is not out of character for our government to do such a thing.

  42. I agree, 27thfloor.

    It is very naive for a person to be 100% sure that the govt did not create HIV. But it probably isn’t practical to change anything in your life based on the assumption that it might be true. So, the only way to really look at it is to say, “Yeah, it’s possible, but so what?” Actually, the same logic could be applied to state run lotteries. Gambling destroys families, and it could be argued that the government created state run lotteries to destroy a large percentage of the demographic that just happens to fall victim to it the most. But, at the end of the day, people still have the choice to buy that next lottery ticket or not, instead of paying rent. Just like at the end of the day, people still have the choice to have unprotected sex again, or not. So, trying to blame somebody for creating HIV, completely ignores the fact that nobody is forcing anybody to have unprotected sex. So who gives a crap if Rev. Wright thinks the gov. created HIV to get rid of black people, since HIV doesn’t force anybody to do anything against their will. Sean Hannity needs to get a life and stop making something out of nothing.

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