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Many people who don't like Obama are using the fact that for many years he was a congregant in the church where Jeremiah Wright preached.  The fact that he may not have been present when the most "problematic" words were offered is actually irrelevant to what I choose to offer today.   So is the fact that many of the words in question are well within the prophetic tradition.  Yesterday Devilstower showed how much milder those words are than those offered by Jesus of Nazareth.  I would be tempted to provide a parallel using texts from the Hebrew bible.

Let me instead take a slightly different path, which I invite you to explore below the fold.  

When Mohandas K. Gandhi was once asked what he thought of Western Civilization, he said

I think it would be a good idea.

And I think the way we tend to find the  single thing, or even collection of things, on which we focus, out of context, to prove our case for or against political and other figures is a demonstration that Gandhi may be quite correct in challenging our assumptions of how civilized we actually are.

More relevant to the topic at hands are the insights of my spouse, Leaves on the Current.  She listened to the remarks of Tony Perkins to the effect that one could not sit in the pew for 20 years hearing words like those of Wright and not have it affect them.  On the way to dinner last night she told me she was tempted to respond that both Perkins and she both knew people who had sat in the pews for 50 years hearing the Gospel of Jesus Christ with it having no discernible effect on their behavior.

We unfortunately are still doing our politics in the fashion of "gotcha" journalism, seeking to find one thing to use to disqualify a candidate with whom we disagree or to force the candidate to distance from a supporter for whom we can similarly find such a gotcha.

A persistent pattern of words and behavior should be questioned.  But words, especially sermons, are meant to challenge, to provoke, to make us uncomfortable, less morally sedentary.  As such, they need to inspire, to comfort, to challenge, to provoke.  One who preaches must balance the mixture of such approaches and a gifted preacher uses words in so many words that it becomes easy to lift them out of the total context of his or her ministry.

St Paul, in Romans Chapter 12 tells his readers to "hold fast to what is good."  While I am not a great fan of the Pauline writings, I apply this standard to his work.  And in the same chapter we also read "Do not repay anyone evil for evil, but take thought for what is noble in the sight of all."  

To listen to a sermon is not necessarily to agree with all that the preacher says.  And if an offensive statement in a sermon is grounds for rejecting the preacher and removing oneself from his presence, our churches should be emptied out, or else we should be condemning all those who stay, because beyond those words which we do condemn they find moral uplifting and comfort and challenges to live more loving and fulfilling lives.

On the one hand we are told that speeches, especially by Obama, are only words.  On the other we are admonished that the words of Jeremiah Wright are supposedly so horrific that Obama's failure to leave his church somehow demonstrates a moral failing on his part.   These two ideas are obviously contradictory.  And while we might reject some of a person's words, to reject one or more statements is not the same as rejecting the totality of a person's life work.  None of us is perfect, and to insist that others achieve a standard of perfection in words and deeds that we know we cannot ourselves meet is hypocritical.  Hypocritical, and destructive of the kind of growth towards wholeness that we should seek in ourselves, in those we encounter, and in the society in which we live.

Challenge a statement with which you disagree - that may be incumbent upon you. But be certain that in reading the statement you do not see it outside the context in which it was offered, or apply it to a purpose for which it was not intended.  Even the most noble and inspiring words, when lifted from their original context and applied to a different purpose can seem quite destructive in a way not imagined by the original speaker.  Were we to apply the same standard to our own words we might be tempted to cease from speaking completely, lest our words be construed in manners we would find horrifying, totally alien to what we deeply believe.

And if we stay and listen to the preacher?  We may agree or disagree, we may be challenged, angered, comforted, inspired - any or all or none of the above.  Our presence does not signify agreement.  It does represent a willingness to listen, to hear, to ponder.  And for others to interpret for us what our actions represent is as much of a distortion as is taking words out of context for the purpose either of demonizing an opponent or elevating and glorifying one whom we support.   If our politics is intended to help us achieve our highest aspirations, we need to forgo using lower means to achieve such ends.

Peace.

Originally posted to teacherken on Mon Mar 17, 2008 at 07:08 AM PDT.

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  •  this is unlikely to be a topic of great interest (244+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JekyllnHyde, Donna Z, Sean Robertson, Chi, murphy, SLKRR, ogre, deben, Cali Scribe, Guaunyu, Randomfactor, TrueBlueMajority, existenz, BigOkie, DebtorsPrison, leberquesgue, billlaurelMD, LionelEHutz, bawbie, fightcentristbias, djs, lesliet, Carnacki, rasbobbo, joynow, indybend, parker parrot, groggy, KibbutzAmiad, CalvinV, mytribe, shanikka, mkfarkus, dgb, peraspera, bustacap, navajo, lirtydies, BrianSeattle, jdmorg, suzq, Oke, mayan, ekthesy, resa, MCL, emmasnacker, TexDem, jsmagid, AZGoob, Eddie in ME, johanus, labouchet, churchylafemme, texasmom, Catte Nappe, applegal, AbsurdEyes, lcrp, BWasikIUgrad, Donna in Rome, Leaves on the Current, valadon, wolverinethad, Big Tex, rapala, chumley, radarlady, NoMoreLies, jrooth, JanetT in MD, JaciCee, SherwoodB, PBen, JohnB47, wpchas, Brooke In Seattle, Jonathanonymous, devadatta, cris0000, majcmb1, concerned, Overseas, sam2300, QuickSilver, lauramp, docstymie, Hastur, paxpdx, sbdenmon, oibme, Flippant, Pacific NW Mark, Land of Enchantment, noweasels, lcork, dus7, esquimaux, gwilson, dsteele2, BobzCat, mjfgates, sherlyle, Activist Girl, Clytemnestra, Still Thinking, the biped, kestrel9000, taversoe, johnsonwax, SarekOfVulcan, tecampbell, Rachel in Vista, wolverinesm, nilocjin, imabluemerkin, paul2port, pilgrim4progress, bleeding heart, smartballs, middleagedhousewife, JugOPunch, va dare, fiddlingnero, toys, MadMs, lynneinfla, revgerry, Statusquomustgo, coolsub, Nulwee, Reel Woman, Tamar, One Pissed Off Liberal, FoundingFatherDAR, anotherdemocrat, hockeyrules, Loudoun County Dem, Femlaw, possum, Kathie McCrimmon, atlliberal, maxalb, LoosCanN, crodri, unclepinback, la urracca, mommyof3, whytwolf, DWG, brentmack, vbdietz, geejay, netguyct, Killer of Sacred Cows, slowheels, word player, echohotel330, KJC MD, Tackle, FXDCI, Empower Ink, extradish, VA Breeze, BustaVessel, Justus, AnnieJo, condorcet, DraftChickenHawks, Faheyman, wscrews, Archangel, mastrwik, Greasy Grant, mayim, pamelabrown, Cassandra Waites, Shaviv, bubbalie 517, phrogge prince, dpryan, Blogvirgin, nzanne, haruki, omegajew, Robobagpiper, OH NOT AGAIN, Wordsinthewind, ryangoesboom, wv voice of reason, NeeshRN, Zorge, SDChelle, Neon Vincent, Texanomaly, LA rupert, Mr Hegemony, gdwtch52, ronnied, ManahManah, DemocraticOz, Norm in Chicago, Jen K in FLA, nwgates, txdreamer, jodygirl, Rorgg, smash artist, XerTeacher, BlackBox, earicicle, SciVo, mrchumchum, EquationDoc, Yorick, Daily Activist, GreenMtnState, smartheart, lizardbox, Maevpmcc, MsConstrues, Ivey476, Peace4All, MotherGinSling, TuvanDrone, doctorgirl, sanglug, paintitblue, Into The Stars, Munchkn, NotablyZen, Question Authority, quovadimus12, Muzikal203, DaNang65, SheaG, CalexanderJ, MizKit, Saxum, Altoid77, seenaymah, voila, Logos77, oldoregonlib

    on a day when the financial markets around the world are in meltdown.  As such, it may get little traffic.  So be it.  It was on my mind, in light of the focus of various media organizations on Reverend Wright and of Obama's remarks, it seemed still to be timely.

    Do with it what you will.

    Peace.

    Those who can, do. Those who can do more, TEACH! If impeachment is off the table, so is democracy

    by teacherken on Mon Mar 17, 2008 at 07:09:10 AM PDT

    •  I have always loved that quote (35+ / 0-)

      from Gandhi.
      I hope Obama's upcoming speech on race will start to bring some much-needed healing.
      And yes...some western civilization....

    •  you forget those of us who make it a point (29+ / 0-)

      to read your diaries...

      Thank you for this, although I imagine, like always, those who are in most need of a message are those who are the least likely to hear, listen or understand it.  

      "When a stupid man is doing something he is ashamed of, he always declares that it is his duty."-George Bernard Shaw
      -8.38 -7.59

      by SDChelle on Mon Mar 17, 2008 at 07:13:15 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Hearing the message (9+ / 0-)

        Excellent point, SDChelle:

        those who are in most need of a message are those who are the least likely to hear, listen or understand it.

        You've nailed the problem right now. I think this is why the volume and intensity of the rhetoric have grown so high: both sides are talking; neither side is really listening. This applies to all facets of the political arena, blogosphere included.

        Teacherken's reasoned diaries, and the thoughtful comments they inspire, are always an island of calm oasis in the tempest-tossed sea.

        Sweet are the uses of adversity...[Find] tongues in trees, books in the running brooks, Sermons in stones, and good in everything. -Shakespeare, As You Like It

        by earicicle on Mon Mar 17, 2008 at 08:40:48 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Thank you SDchelle (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        SDChelle

        Your words expressed exactly what tears at me.  I read good diaries like this entry that moderate our actions and tell us to direct our feelings inward to find the truth of the situation.

        And it is in this I feel so disheartened, as I see those that need to hear the message and consider it will never see or listen to it.

        Also, George Bernard Shaw is my favorite quoter.  I bet you and I have a bit in common.

    •  I was interested... (7+ / 0-)

      and I imagine others will be...:-)

      It is a day where diaries are scrolling fast, though...

      Our country can survive war, disease, and poverty... what it cannot do without is justice.

      by mommyof3 on Mon Mar 17, 2008 at 07:13:27 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Thank you (16+ / 0-)

      And while we might reject some of a person's words, to reject one or more statements is not the same as rejecting the totality of a person's life work.

      Or, I might add, rejecting the totality of a person, which is the price some seem to be demanding from Obama.

      "In the unlikely story that is America, there has never been anything false about hope."

      by Pacific NW Mark on Mon Mar 17, 2008 at 07:15:19 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  And I'm sure that all of us (0+ / 0-)

        and everyone on the R side, agree totally with every word our friends utter.

        Apparently, Rs seem to think that the only way you can have any interaction with people is if you Vulcan mind meld with them.

      •  Yeah (0+ / 0-)

        They do seem to demand Obama's rejection of the totality of what he learned from Reverend Wright.

        Which means, of course, they want him to reject Christianity.

        Given how far the Clinton supporters have rode on this, I'm really starting to think that maybe Obama can give them a taste of their own medicine by sending out fliers and making robocalls about how Clinton hates Christians and wants to shut down churches and silence pastors. It wouldn't be too much of a distortion, of couse, since it is now apparently a requirement of upstanding citizens to choose a church with a "non-controversial" pastor, which by nature cannot exist since Jesus himself was a radical and large swarths of the Bible are repeating warnings against love of money (which is more or less a national dogma). Demanding the end of controversy in churches is equivalent to demanding the end of churches as well.

    •  What's shocking to me... (26+ / 0-)

      ... is that so few people seem capable of making the leap in logic which is so obvious to me - that out of at least two decades of sermons, we can only find three or four clips to play over and over that are so "horrific".

      What should we therefore conclude about the rest of the sermons? Most people seem to be concluding that the rest of them must be the same as these, and I can't imagine why anyone would think that that assertion is supportable. If the rest of them are the same, why aren't we seeing more clips? Why aren't we being given links to dozens or hundreds of full transcripts or audio or video of these horrific sermons? It's not like there's any shortage of people who want to tear Obama down who would hunt them down and publish them.

      Doesn't the mere fact that we keep seeing the same few short clips taken out of context over and over, pretty much by itself prove Obama's assertion that most of the sermons weren't like this?

      •  think Terri Schiavo (25+ / 0-)

        where the family took less than a minute of video tape out of hours, made a loop, and had it played over and over to try to convince people that she was responsive.

        Those who can, do. Those who can do more, TEACH! If impeachment is off the table, so is democracy

        by teacherken on Mon Mar 17, 2008 at 07:29:25 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Enjoying spring break so far? (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          teacherken

          You are usually an early morning or evening poster.  This is a nice surprise.

          Everything is funny as long as it is happening to somebody else. --Will Rogers

          by groggy on Mon Mar 17, 2008 at 08:28:01 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I got up at 5, fed the cats, read a few sites (11+ / 0-)

            and decided there was nothing important I could add to the conversation and went back to sleep until around 7:45.  When I finally got up I ate breakfast, glanced at few things in me email and online, and encountered some stuff that got me thinking and decided to write this diary.  

            One of things that motivated me was a book I began to read in order to review.  It was a written as an expansion of a doctoral dissertation by someone whose committee included William Ayers, once upon a time wanted for his extreme left-wing activities, who when he finally surrendered to the authorities was never prosecuted IIRC, or else the charges were dismissed.   Anyhow, he continues to be demonized for things he did decades ago, despite a lifetime since of service to the less well-off.  And because he had given a contribution to Obama and they were once apparently both honored at the same event, people have wanted to use Ayers to tar Obama.  That got me thinking also about what my wife had said last night, and the result was this diary.

            I had not planned to write about this.  And as I wrote, the form it took changed.  I changed the title twice from what I originally planned (not worth mentioning) to be more reflective of the shape the diary took.

            In a sense it is like being moved to rise and speak in Quaker Meeting for Worship.  When I rise I think I know what I am going to say, but as I surrender to the spirit it often takes a different shape than it was when I first pondered it.  In that sense I cannot claim full ownership of the words.

            That is of course not true of all I write here.  It is true of this particularly diary.

            peace

            Those who can, do. Those who can do more, TEACH! If impeachment is off the table, so is democracy

            by teacherken on Mon Mar 17, 2008 at 08:41:01 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  My daughter is approaching the end (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              teacherken

              of her first year of teaching (3rd grade).  None of her peers can believe she's a first year teacher, it's like she was born to the profession she has always aspired to.  

              Well worth the six years tuition (she transferred and lost almost all of her credits).  This, and your posting time tipped me off to spring break.

              Everything is funny as long as it is happening to somebody else. --Will Rogers

              by groggy on Mon Mar 17, 2008 at 08:56:24 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

      •  More important, (12+ / 0-)

        if they were all so horrific, why wasn't there a mass exodus of parishioners from Trinity, especially white parishioners? That's something that would have come to the attention of the UCC leadership, and while they have no control over who a congregation hires as pastor, they would probably at least send someone in to check out what was going on.

        If Wright is as hateful towards whites as some posters have claimed, I can't see Obama staying there when he himself has a white mother, and his daughters have a white grandmother. But the point is that Wright was not blasting white America, he was blasting rich and powerful white America -- the same people we criticize in these same pages every day.

        You're only as popular as the last diary/comment you posted. -- Zachpunk

        by Cali Scribe on Mon Mar 17, 2008 at 08:28:50 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Jerry Falwell's sermons were shocking to ME... (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        monkee, JaciCee, Blogvirgin, NotablyZen

        One I recall was the sermon on TV the Sunday before election day in 2004.  I wish somebody had excerpts of Falwell and other RW preachers.  Of course we all know, years before, Falwell supported apartheid in South Africa.  

        But perhaps these "don't count" because these are used to fire up the base of the Republican party.   Oh well.  (Sarcasm)  

        •  Falwell was pond scum (0+ / 0-)

          Why do you not remember all of the negative things said about him?Rev Wright was Obamas pastor and mentor.I find it hard to believe that Obama never went to church.What about Michelle?As a true Dem, who knows that we must win in November, I hope he can put this to bed.Maybe play some tapes where the good Rev is talking about us all as children of god.

      •  Clips ... agree there are few BUT (0+ / 0-)

        from what I have read and heard there are a lot of audio tapes that are basically about the same. My view is that this is kind of "shock jock" religion. Does not appeal to me.

        Not sure about Obama staying. I had a difficult time finding a church that fit me. We made a point of attending different churches following a relocation before deciding which one was best for us. Not sure why Barack selected this church and opted to stay. Would not be surprised at all if a tape did surface which was controversial and Barack was in attendence .... over this long of a period it is almost a given.

        I think it is problematic for the Obama campaign.

        •  My immediate thought was the same as TeacherKen's (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          teacherken

          wife,

          "...knew people who had sat in the pews for 50 years hearing the Gospel of Jesus Christ with it having no discernible effect on their behavior.".

          I remember as a young child, making the same observation to my Mother on the way home from church one Sunday. It was clear to me even then that many of the people who spent the most time in church least reflected the teachings of the bible.

          We can change the world. Let's start with America. Obama for America '08

          by Blogvirgin on Mon Mar 17, 2008 at 12:30:05 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  Thanks, tk. (16+ / 0-)

      There have been so many contradictions in this campaign it is dizzying some times.

      On one hand, Obama isn't "tough enough" to beat the Republicans - on the other hand, he's being "too tough" by going "negative" which counteracts his "politics of hope."

      So he's a fighter or he isn't...which is it?

      On one hand, Obama isn't "specific enough" so we don't know what he stands for...but back before the Iowa caucus, people criticized him for being "too professor-like" in his speeches and said he needed to tone it down.

      He's either too specific or not specific enough...which is it?

      He give great speeches, but "speeches don't solve problems - solutions do."  His proposals on the economy, healthcare, and the Iraq war (among others) have been widely praised by experts in their respective fields.

      So either he has plans or he doesn't.  Which is it?

      We've been told he "just has words" but can't turn them into results...yet we have a nearly 20 year legislative record that shows he gets things done.  There are even Republicans that have worked with him in the past at both the state and national level that talk about how effective he was in consensus-building.

      So he either has "just words" or is an effective legislator.  Which is it?

      On one hand, Obama objects to the statements his pastor made, but on the other hand that's not going far enough.  Yet, we have a blatant example from the other side, which is "unfortunate," but the other candidate refuses to take action - even when Obama has taken action in the past.

      So he's either "too soft" or "too hard" when it comes to the other side.  Which is it?

      I, for one, can not fathom how these inconsistencies come out of the fabled "Clinton Machine" and their surrogates.  We heard all the stories about her steamrolling towards the nomination, how she was inevitable, how the Clintons wouldn't allow anybody to get in their way.

      Yet we have a sophomoric campaign run by idiots who continually contradict themselves.  They follow each other around like lemmings, to the point where today's daily talking points contradict yesterday's.

      What is wrong with these people?

      We...join arm in arm and decide we are going to remake this country block by block, precinct by precinct, county by county, state by state - that's what hope is

      by DemocraticOz on Mon Mar 17, 2008 at 07:45:42 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I went to a bible thumping church..... (18+ / 0-)

      for years and was subject to several fire and brimstone sermons.  The minister often used Christmas and Easter sermons to chastise those in attendance for not showing up to church on regular Sundays.

      At one point when discussing keeping the Sabbath, we were told that mowing our lawns on Sunday was a sin.  The minister certainly gave people something to think about, but the church didn't lose any members over these fairly absurd comments, nor did anyone stop mowing their lawns whenever they damn well pleased.

      "The meek shall inherit nothing" - F. Zappa

      by cometman on Mon Mar 17, 2008 at 07:46:58 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Try growing up in an Adventist (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        bustacap

        household.

        We couldn't watch TV, shop, listen to the radio, or mow our lawns.  Our Sabbath was Saturday.  As a pre-teen this just about killed me because I couldn't watch Soul Train, American Bandstand or The Jackson Five on Saturday morning TV.

        Not the church. Not the state. Women will decide their fate.

        by JaciCee on Mon Mar 17, 2008 at 09:10:26 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Your wife hits the mark (12+ / 0-)

      Many people are deaf to the messages of peace and justice that they routinely hear.

      Our humanist group is willing to work with a local organization that seeks to partner groups with different views of the world for work on a project of value to the community.  Guess what?  Two mainstream Christian churches are interested, and so far all the other groups contacted (some religious and some not) have said they would not work on a project that benefits the community, if people who don't share their values were involved!

      •  They only hear the 'eye for an eye' (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        bustacap, extradish, mayim

        The peace, love and charity flies right over their heads.

        Everything is funny as long as it is happening to somebody else. --Will Rogers

        by groggy on Mon Mar 17, 2008 at 08:29:56 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  and they misunderstand even that (5+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          groggy, bustacap, texasmom, mayim, Altoid77

          and eye for an eye was not meant literally, and it represented a limitation.  One who lost an eye was entitled to compensation for the loss of the eye, not to take out the eye of another.  Nor was he entitled to more than the value of the loss of an eye -  he was not entitled to kill the other, physically or financially.  But of course to understand the Hebrew Bible as it was understood by Jews one would (a) at least need an accurate translation (for example, the Hebrew does NOT say "Thou shalt not kill" but rather "No murder!") and some interpretation from Jewish sources (eg: the Talmud, even though it is recorded later) to understand what it meant in its original context.

          Oh well . . .

          Those who can, do. Those who can do more, TEACH! If impeachment is off the table, so is democracy

          by teacherken on Mon Mar 17, 2008 at 08:44:18 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  as a religion major, i *heart* your response. :-P (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            teacherken

            while reading your diary entry, I am also reminded of the time in Christian history when it the Pope was dubbed sole authority on the interpretation of the Bible, indeed was the only man capable of Biblical interpretation. It seems as if some circles are bent on using this story to attribute a pastor's interpretation as the sole, valid core of a congregation. We should know better than to make such sweeping claims.

            Nowadays we are free to interpret the Bible, and our faith, individually. "Freedom of religion" means not just freedom to practice any such religion, but in today's society faith is strongly correlated with "personal preference" -- a choice like any other (I am not, however, indicating here that all people of all religions FEEL free to choose - that's another topic entirely).

            Granted, we are informed and inspired and challenged by our "great could of witnesses" but to substitute one person's interpretation (even a pastor's) for another's is to do great disservice to the community of faith. I certainly do not always agree with my fellow parishioners -- and if congregants do not agree with each other, chances are that on any given Sunday a handful of people disagree with some aspect of the sermon.

            someone asked them to be quiet, so it's just a matter of time before all hell breaks loose - Brian Andreas

            by Altoid77 on Mon Mar 17, 2008 at 12:14:32 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

      •  You know, Jesus taught that tho.... (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        teacherken, mayim

        "love your neighbor as yourself if and only if he looks, acts, thinks, smells, and believes as you do."

        oh, wait, that wasn't what he taught?

    •  You're very right about this (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      teacherken, bustacap, Neon Vincent

      "Even the most noble and inspiring words, when lifted from their original context and applied to a different purpose can seem quite destructive in a way not imagined by the original speaker."

      A teacher I had once, long, long ago remarked that "Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country" was far nearer to a synopsis of Nazism than it was to the U.S. Constitution.

      (And I didn't walk out of the classrom, reject, OR denounce him!  I'm such a bad American.)

      In selecting a president, I favor foresight over hindsight.

      by Rorgg on Mon Mar 17, 2008 at 08:41:43 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  something relevant for those who missed it (6+ / 0-)

      is Frankie Schaeffer's piece at Huffington Post -  remember, his Dad was a key figure in the founding of the modern religious right.  If you have not read it, you should.

      And for some context, Schaeffer's own religious peregrinations have brought him to the E. Orthodox Church  -  I thought I should at least mention that

      peace

      Those who can, do. Those who can do more, TEACH! If impeachment is off the table, so is democracy

      by teacherken on Mon Mar 17, 2008 at 09:03:53 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Actually, the (0+ / 0-)

      media is still obsessing about this, from talk radio to cable.  

      Loud angry black man.  Can't have that.

      I am beginning to think this will be more damaging to Obama with white voters in Pennsylvania than I'd originally thought.  He needs to start pounding the issues, with specific progressive solutions, to counter the kneejerk hysteria over this newest "Willie Horton" stuff.

      •  Jeremiah Wright taught a seminary class (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        teacherken, NYFM, cris0000, condorcet

        that I took back in the 80's and I had occasion to visit Trinity UCC - full disclosure: I'm White.

        I've been convinced from the beginning of this controversy that if I knew the CONTEXT of his message, I probably would not disagree with it.  But I also thought it was politically wise of Obama to distance himself from the Rev. Dr. Wright because the MSM and its minions can't handle anything that can't be expressed in a 10 second sound bite.

        If you go back and read Devilstower's excellent diary "Damn You Rich" you will see that what Pastor Wright did was update and contextualize the condemnations in the Gospel of Luke that come at the end of "the Beatitudes."

        Damn you rich!  You already have your compensation.

        Damn you who are well-fed!  You will know hunger.

        Damn you who laugh now!  You will weep and grieve.

        Damn you when everybody speaks well of you!

        God damn America for treating our citizens as less than human.

        God damn America for as long as she acts like she is God and she is supreme.

        It's interesting that in the US churches one seldom hears a sermon preached on the Beatitudes in Luke which begin "Blessed are the poor for theirs is the kingdom of heaven."  Almost always the text is from Matthew, "Blessed are the poor in spirit for theirs is the kingdom of heaven."

        Preachers usually then talk about poverty of spirit and how we may be rich in material things but are poor in spirit, and thus blessed by God.  Why, in God's Name, would God want someone to be poor in spirit?  It makes no sense.

        I think the true meaning of Matthew is revealed by reading Luke.  A better English translation would be "the poor are blessed in spirit because theirs is the kingdom of heaven."  That is radically different from the namby-pamby message that mainstream preachers torture out of the passage.

        All Dr. Wright was doing was taking the passage of condemnations in Luke that follows the Beatitudes and updating it so it makes sense for today's Christians - that is the "Woe to you who are rich" statement applies to the US as the richest most powerful country on earth.  It may not be a message that people WANT to hear, but if it were, it wouldn't be the Gospel.  

        This is also important to hear in the context of the pablum dispensed by the Religious Right that the US is a Christian Nation, that America is the new Eden, that they support everything Bush does because he is a Christian and God speaks directly to him.  

        Basically what Dr. Wright is doing is condemning the Christian Right's political pharisaism and turning the phrase "What Would Jesus Do?" on its head.

        On the other hand, I understand why political reality is such that Obama had to distance himself from Dr. Wright.  Campaigns have to run on shorthand, and can't handle the longhand necessary to understand the pericope of a biblical text and then put it squarely in today's context.

        (- 4.63, - 5.18) Truth is incontrovertible, ignorance can deride it, panic may resent it, malice may destroy it, but there it is. --Winston Churchill

        by mkfarkus on Mon Mar 17, 2008 at 12:41:10 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  America and groupthink (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      labouchet

      I'm having a hard time seeing a legitimate basis for this furor.  Is America so comfortable with group think that it can make an issue of this?

      I've never agreed with everything anyone says, but that doesn't mean I can't learn from listening to them.  Trying to hold Obama responsible for his pastor's remarks (which in context are understandable ... my pastor has made similar statements, though not as strongly, and not from a black perspective) is just ludicrous.  

    •  a different type of text, a different mission (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      teacherken

      I'd like to expand on this a little.

      It's not a big secret that I'm less than overwhelmed by Mr Obama. I don't wish him ill, but I doubt his hope fluff and am sceptical about the zeal of his followers. To put it mildly.

      I'm also not really a impressed by you supporting him - I had expected a more distanced stance from a known and respected critical mind.

      But I am positively impressed by his preacher. I'm not of his confession (I'm Catholic) and probably disagree with him about half of what he said. But still - I saw his sermon excerpts, and I'm not "shocked". I'm not "appalled". To the contrary - that guy is great. He has fire, he has passion , he has no fear offend, and he connects with his audience.

      A preacher is there to offend. To make you think! To rattle your cage, to get you out of your daily trot,  to get you see yourself in ways you might not want. Jesus was a radical, and he did not accept moderate answers. Rather a camel gets though a needle's eye than a rich man gets to heaven!  And the preacher is there to tell you, to remind you, to push you.

      To measure a preacher the way we measure the politician is ludicrous. If you want to be sung to sleep in church, heck, take a valium and stay home!

      What does that episode leave us with? If anything, what made me saddest was the way Obama distanced himself from his pastor. Politically, it made sense, in a sad way, and I have no doubt Hillary would have  done the same. But still - it shows Obama suffers from the same lack of moral fiber and simple decency that so symptomatic for today's politics. He's no better, and his attempt to claim otherwise lets him look somewhat hippocatic.

      So, three cheers to Pastor Wright, and lets hope his successor can fill his shoes.

      Oh, and while we are at it - you do not seriously  claim the good pastor was wrong with the "rich white men" thing, do you?

      •  I have offered no judgment in the diary (0+ / 0-)

        of the specifics of any statement by Jeremiah Wright.  My purpose is other than that.  So to answer your final question, I have not made such a claim.

        Those who can, do. Those who can do more, TEACH! If impeachment is off the table, so is democracy

        by teacherken on Mon Mar 17, 2008 at 02:30:45 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  that last remark (0+ / 0-)

          was not meant verbally.

          Consider it an example. A counterpoint, if you will, to the more modest and restrained text of your diary. I actually agree with what you said - but it was too defensive, to ...calm, for lack of a better word, to reflect my mood on this issue.

          •  I would disagree about being defensive (0+ / 0-)

            since it did not specifically address the issue that concerned you.  But so be it.  Your concern is valid, I don't deny it.  But it was not part of my intent for the diary.

            peace.

            Those who can, do. Those who can do more, TEACH! If impeachment is off the table, so is democracy

            by teacherken on Mon Mar 17, 2008 at 03:35:31 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

  •  Someone had to say it. (16+ / 0-)

    As luck would have it, someone well-spoken and reasonable. Thank you.

    Oh, my friend, how have we come / to trade the fiddle for the drum?

    by Shaviv on Mon Mar 17, 2008 at 07:12:18 AM PDT

  •  The Whole Thing Should Have Been Dismissed (5+ / 0-)

    With little more than, "we will not engage in a discussion of what a preacher in my church said". There is a separation of church and state in this country.

    This is CLASS WAR, and the other side is winning.

    by Mr X on Mon Mar 17, 2008 at 07:13:10 AM PDT

  •  Worship is about one's relationship to a deity (18+ / 0-)

    Not, about one's relationship to a preacher.  The preacher/teacher sometimes provides insights that can lead to enlightenment, and sometimes not.

    Salvation (of any sort) is by necessity personal.

    That said, if you're a public figure--expect your beliefs to be put under a microscope.  The real travesty here is no one is doing the same sort of thing to McCain, or really any other Gooper, that they're doing to Obama.  Is it because he's Black, a Democrat, or both?

    Sean

    •  Agreed- Pat Robertson said that Hurricane Katrina (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      teacherken

      was Gods wrath on America for allowing abortion, and McCain has not publicly denounced him. And Jerry Falwell proclaimed that 9/11 happened because of gays, abortionists, the ACLU and federal courts (which Robertson agreed with) and McCain has since made strong efforts to appear at Liberty University with, as Falwell put it "no apologies" on either party and hypocritically after McCain had declared Falwell an agent of intolerance years earlier - apparently changing his mind when pandering to the Christian right was politically opportunistic.

      As much as "liberal" preachers point to unprovoked military actions of America and ignoring of the less fortunate in our society as against the teachings of the bible, so to do the "conservative" preachers point to the actions, beliefs, choices, and manner of Americans and declare them evil, less than equal, hated by God, hateful of God, and deserving of eternal damnation. It's all that divides us...

  •  It's been on my mind too (16+ / 0-)

    I can't help but wonder what else was in those sermons. We saw 30 second sound bites, purposely inflammatory, but where did he take those sermons? What was the purpose and the context? What do the other hundreds of sermons over 30 years  sound like?
    It seems to me we aren't being fair to Rev. Wright or to Senator Obama, judging both of them on 30 second sound bites.

    "Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but not their own facts." Sen Daniel Patrick Moynihan

    by atlliberal on Mon Mar 17, 2008 at 07:15:02 AM PDT

  •  Your last line= my favorite! (13+ / 0-)

    If our politics is intended to help us achieve our highest aspirations, we need to forgo using lower means to achieve such ends.

    Amen!

    Our country can survive war, disease, and poverty... what it cannot do without is justice.

    by mommyof3 on Mon Mar 17, 2008 at 07:15:22 AM PDT

  •  Authoritarians - I think part of the problem here (21+ / 0-)

    is that certain people cannot grasp the concept that you might accept leadership from someone (a pastor, a political leader, etc.) without necessarily agreeing with everything they believe.

    I spent most of my time as a high class muscle man for Big Business, for Wall Street and the bankers. - Major General Smedley D. Butler, USMC

    by Marinesquire on Mon Mar 17, 2008 at 07:22:27 AM PDT

    •  as a teacher, I think the same applies to me (18+ / 0-)

      that my students can learn things of value from me without having to agree with what I believe, or even with what I might teach them.  Perhaps it is because I am a teacher that this subject so concerns and interests me.

      Those who can, do. Those who can do more, TEACH! If impeachment is off the table, so is democracy

      by teacherken on Mon Mar 17, 2008 at 07:25:44 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  The best teachers (5+ / 0-)

        are not the ones which require that everyone agree with them (in order to get a good grade)

        They are the ones with which students can feel safe to disagree, are encouraged to do so BUT also encouraged and required to fully support their disagreement.

        Like wise the same is true in church.

        Republican anti- Hillary 527, C.U.N.T. t-shirts??? I want a t-shirt that says: Grizzled Old Penises

        by Clytemnestra on Mon Mar 17, 2008 at 08:25:55 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  let me respond on two levels (6+ / 0-)

          as a teacher, I fully agree

          as an observer of religion, I think I have to agree with the commenter who noted the difference in some churches which are totally built around the persona and charisma of one individual, for whom disagreement may be treated as intolerable heresy.

          Here I note that the phenomenon just described is not limited to Christian institutions.  To some degree one can see similar things for example in some Hasidic communities where the word of the Rebbe is absolute, and there are parts of the Muslim community which operate similarly.  But the same way that the absolutism of some fundamentalist churches is no more representative of the 2 billion Christians world-wide of varying denominations (and we should remember that any particularly American Protestant denomination is tiny, dwarfed by the more than one billion Catholics or over the quarter billion Eastern and Oriental Orthodox for whom Easter is still some weeks away) than the Muslim Brotherhood or Ayatollah Khomeini (himself Persian, not Arab) or Osama Bin Laden are of the 1.2 billion Muslims around the world, the vast majority of whom are NOT Arab.

          Peace.

          Those who can, do. Those who can do more, TEACH! If impeachment is off the table, so is democracy

          by teacherken on Mon Mar 17, 2008 at 08:32:30 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  A teacher ought to know what he (0+ / 0-)

        is talking about, and you do not understand Congregationalism.  

        "To listen to a sermon is not necessarily to agree with all that the preacher says.  And if an offensive statement in a sermon is grounds for rejecting the preacher and removing oneself from his presence, our churches should be emptied out, or else we should be condemning all those who stay."

        That's exactly how Congregationalism works.  So the defense is that Obama was a bad Congregationalist?  

        Btw, it's exactly how many mainline Protestant faiths work, too, and those voters know it.  See the polls today. . . .

        "Let all the dreamers wake the nation." -- Carly Simon

        by Cream City on Mon Mar 17, 2008 at 02:09:20 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  you presume that your understanding is (0+ / 0-)

          universally correct.  Had you read through the comments here you would see that such is not the case.

          Whether in a particular congregation such discipline is required may be the case in some religious communities, but is far from the case, even in some large-scale evangelical churches I know of.  And it is certainly not the pattern nor expectation of most of UCC, as our own Pastor Dan, himself a 3rd generation UCC ordained minister, has written.

          Those who can, do. Those who can do more, TEACH! If impeachment is off the table, so is democracy

          by teacherken on Mon Mar 17, 2008 at 02:33:23 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  The congregation hires, the congregation fires (0+ / 0-)

            or the members of the congregation can leave.

            Or, in this case, the member stays and says he wasn't listening?  For 20 years?  And this recommends him as a president?  In your dreams.

            Btw, I'm UCC, too.  

            "Let all the dreamers wake the nation." -- Carly Simon

            by Cream City on Mon Mar 17, 2008 at 11:24:37 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

    •  George Lakoff makes a related point, (7+ / 0-)

      I think, in discussing the "strict father" versus the "nurturing parent" construction in U.S. political discourse.  Lakoff says that

      In the strict father model, the big thing is discipline and moral authority, and punishment for those who do something wrong.

      In the Wright context, Lakoff might say that those who employ "strict father" discourse (like Tony Perkins) conclude that parishioners who listen to sermons must either follow the pastor's authority or be punished.

      (See article on Lakoff here:) http://www.berkeley.edu/...

      "Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed citizens can change the world: indeed it's the only thing that ever has." --Margaret Mead

      by GreenMtnState on Mon Mar 17, 2008 at 08:53:17 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  NO, that is NOT part of the problem (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      cris0000

      I think part of the problem here
      is that certain people cannot grasp the concept that you might accept leadership from someone (a pastor, a political leader, etc.) without necessarily agreeing with everything they believe.

      We don't know "everything" that Rev.Jeremiah
      Wright believes, so whether anyone agrees with
      "everything" IS NOT THE ISSUE!
      The issue is, specifically, whether everyone
      agrees with Wright's claim that America has
      sinned grievously enough to deserve damnation

      from a CHRISTIAN perspective.
      And the point is that there is NO issue!:
      WRIGHT IS RIGHT!  This IS NOT debatable,
      ESPECIALLY not by Michelle Obama!
      It's not debatable by any WHITE people with
      half a brain EITHER!  IF you were IGNORANT
      enough to PRESUME to disagree with Rev. Wright,
      then READ A MOTHER-FUCKING BOOK!

      "You can't nice these people to death."-- John Edwards

      by ge0rge on Mon Mar 17, 2008 at 01:01:33 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  If the church is an open system, ok. (0+ / 0-)

      If parishioners can openly question and confront the authority of its pastor on issues of faith and politics, great. If the preacher claims authority to speak on behalf of God through what is revealed in the Bible however, there is no real way to challenge what is said without challenging his authority and connection to God. A good book on the subject is The Guru Papers: The Masks of Authoritarian Power.
      The inherent conflict with most religions and progress is that most religions do not have a self-correcting mechanism. They are closed systems based on revelation and faith.

      you think you're so clever and classless and free, but you're still fucking peasants as far as I can see- J L

      by the fan man on Mon Mar 17, 2008 at 02:12:18 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  If Obama didn't use this opportunity to lead (14+ / 0-)

    the type of discussion on race and religion that is long overdue in this country I would be shocked. As personally painful as these attacks must be for him I expect Obama to turn them into opportunities to bring people together in the spirit of empathy and understanding. We are truly blessed to have a candidate who believes in his own rhetoric of unity so profoundly.

  •  'ere we go... (0+ / 0-)

    ...sanctimonious ol' Doctor Arnold.

    "It's a race to decide who the British goverment will follow blindly for the next 4 years" Kennedy/Kerry '08

    by Salo on Mon Mar 17, 2008 at 07:42:36 AM PDT

  •  The sad thing (19+ / 0-)

    You say,

    Our presence does not signify agreement.  It does represent a willingness to listen, to hear, to ponder.

    The sad thing is that many Americans DON'T have "a willingness to listen, to hear, to ponder" things that make them uncomfortable, that chellenger their pre-conceived notions, and that they may personally find offensive.  And they don't understand those who do.

    I've heard stories of people walking out of services in mainline Protestant churches, and removing their membership, simply because the pastor prayed for the Iraqis at the beginning of the war.  I can't even begin to imagine how that could be offensive to anybody who considers themselves a Christian, but it apparently is to a signficant number of people.

    "Those who would sacrifice liberty for security deserve neither liberty nor security." -Ben Franklin

    by leevank on Mon Mar 17, 2008 at 07:43:21 AM PDT

    •  This is exactly why Obama is different (7+ / 0-)

      He is willing to listen and to try to understand people he doesn't agree with. It's insane that one of his best features is being twisted into a negative.

      There was a diary yesterday about a woman's daughter losing her best friend because the friends mother was offended by the mother making a joke about Ben & Jerry's Obama-named ice cream. People are just too quick to condemn without listening.

      I beg to dream and differ from the hollow lies..

      by lesliet on Mon Mar 17, 2008 at 07:54:59 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  There is no twisting involved (0+ / 0-)

        He is willing to listen and to try to understand people he doesn't agree with. It's insane that one of his best features is being twisted into a negative.

        That is NOT a positive feature -- no twisting required.
        It is amazing to me how this respondent went from
        "praying for the Iraqi people" to "trying to understand
        people you disagree with"!  No individual American person
        has any disagreement with the Iraqi people!
        Saddam Hussein was a vicious dictator!
        The vast majority of Americans and Iraqis would've
        ALL been happier if he had just been quitely assassinated!
        The real problem is that WE GOT IN BED WITH HIM
        and ALLIED with him JUST because he was fighting Iran!

        "You can't nice these people to death."-- John Edwards

        by ge0rge on Mon Mar 17, 2008 at 12:51:54 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  The job of a preacher ... (8+ / 0-)

    ... I've not darkened the door of a church in many years other than to tag along with family.

    But I've always understood that, often, what preachers do -- their job, responsibility, even their calling -- is partly to provoke. "Comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable."

    I know, that's a phrase that is often used to describe what the media ought to be about ... but that's not the original usage.

    I find it almost unbelievable that a candidate can be tarred for what he may or may not have heard in church, as opposed to what his/her own opinions might be. Next thing you know ... it'll be about what they may or may not have read, or watched on TV.

    No candidate for office has ever watched South Park, read Playboy, played Beatles albums backwards ... oh, c'mon. I don't even know whose fault this is, anymore.

  •  Wright's preaching should be viewed (14+ / 0-)

    in African American preaching tradition.

    Another diary on the topic that scrolled off the list too soon the other day, from Kwazyhulk:

    ....let's say that this crazy ass pastor ... does have a great deal of influence on Obama.  Well, if this crazy ass pastor somehow inspired Obama to become a community organizer to help the disenfranchised, to help write legislature that set the standard for ethics reform, to be a vocal supporter for network neutrality, to author laws on government transparency, and be a strong vocal critic of the Iraq war (among many other good things), we should make it mandatory that all elected officials attend this church to listen to his crazy ass preachings...

    Bottom line, if his crazy ass church produces people like Obama, then we need more, not less from Jeremiah Wright.

    Judge him by the fruit he bears.  (Matthew 7:20.)

    Did anyone hear one of the lines in the John Adams mini series last night - one of the founding fathers at the Continental Congress thundering "God Damn Great Britain" (or something like that)? It reminded me mightily of Rev. Wright.

    I have to wonder about the timing of this particular tempest; it seems of a piece with various attacks on Obama we have seen in the recent past. Hmmmm? Well, at least we aren't talking about Obama being Muslim now, are we?

    •  thanks 4 link to Kwazyhulk' diary (7+ / 0-)

      it is worth reading

      and yes, Jeremiah Wright is a tribute to his namesake - the idea of prophetic preaching, very much a part of the African-American tradition, but not just there - something as old as the Hebrew prophets, which is why we call it prophetic.

      The origin of the term prophet has little to do with foreseeing the future, but rather of calling to moral accountability.  And unless one can honestly identify the failings of a society it becomes impossible to address them.

      Those who can, do. Those who can do more, TEACH! If impeachment is off the table, so is democracy

      by teacherken on Mon Mar 17, 2008 at 08:01:59 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  As someone who was baptized in a... (0+ / 0-)

      ...black Baptist church, I can assure you that
      Rev.Wright's remarks should not be viewed
      in a black religious tradition.  There is a
      Former UCC Church in my back yard.  Literally.
      Our back fence divides our back yard from the
      church parking lot.  WE WILL VOTE at that church
      on May 6.  Do you know why this black church is a FORMER
      UCC church?  Well, they got to feeling that the
      UCC's efforts to make its prayers and namings-of-
      God gender-neutral, and its liberal stance on gay
      marriage, and a whole bunch of other fundamentally
      white progressive innovations, DIDN'T GO DOWN WELL
      with their older black parishioners.  SO THEY
      WITHDREW FROM THE DENOMINATION.  Black people as
      a people started out in the vanguard of liberation
      in America but at this moment, some of us are
      failing to KEEP UP!

      What you OUGHT to view Rev. Wright's remarks in
      is THE CHRISTIAN tradition.
      As far too many other people have already pointed
      out here, Amos and Jesus also called shame on
      their own nation when it had behaved badly.
      More to the point, if you are looking for a lens
      to view this from, IT NEED NOT BE RELIGIOUS at all,
      LET ALONE African-American religious.
      Rev. Wright was factually, historically correct
      in his assessment of American foreign policy.
      View this in a liberationist anti-imperialist
      tradition -- the one that this country itself
      was founded in.  For examples of how we (precisely
      as Rev. Wright was pointing out) have betrayed our OWN
      ideals, read Killing Hope by William Blum.

      "You can't nice these people to death."-- John Edwards

      by ge0rge on Mon Mar 17, 2008 at 12:47:35 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Thoughtful analysis (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    teacherken, peraspera

    as always.  I (unfortunately) would not want to be judged by all the words of all the people around me...nor often by my own, in retrospect.  In listening to the "sermon" that has everyone in such an uproar, I can even see his point of view.  There is so much that isn't right, so much to be angry about and rail against.  

  •  I'll believe this is an issue (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    peraspera, mastrwik, Leo in NJ, gdwtch52

    When every nutty thing the christian right has said in the last 20 years is wrapped around McCain's neck, with a demand that he either reject it or state publicly that he agrees completely.

    unti then, this entire issue is a double standard.

    •  it is, and will be, a double standard (5+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Cali Scribe, peraspera, KJC MD, mayim, gdwtch52

      and it is unlikely you will see a balance, unless and until you see a Christian right figure or someone strongly influenced by one perceived as likely to be the next president.

      Huckabee skated because he was never perceived as likely to get the nomination. I suspect that had he won Florida and Missouri and moved into the frontrunner's spot, the pressure on him to release his sermons would have become greater than that on Clinton to release her taxes.  He was already beginning to take some hits over his book.

      McCain has already somewhat distanced himself from the more extreme of Hagee's statements.  He has not yet been called fully to account for the words of his capaign's spiritual adviser, Rod Parsley.

      But the press would mark a difference, because of the 20 year relationship between Wright and Obama, and the strong personal nature of it ...  in their mind that justifies the different treatment.

      Those who can, do. Those who can do more, TEACH! If impeachment is off the table, so is democracy

      by teacherken on Mon Mar 17, 2008 at 08:05:43 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  that, and the fact that (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        peraspera, NeeshRN

        he's "from the other side."

      •  Keith Olbermann did touch (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        teacherken, bustacap, mayim, gdwtch52

        very briefly on Parsley last week -- when he talked about Parsley's claim that America is supposed to destroy Islam and then held up a portion of the Treaty of Tripoli. Didn't do as much as he could have (though he did slip in a nice "rosemary and thyme" reference); hope he'll stay on top of this and that someone else in the MSM will pick up the torch.

        You're only as popular as the last diary/comment you posted. -- Zachpunk

        by Cali Scribe on Mon Mar 17, 2008 at 08:53:44 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  It was a fairly light "touch".. (0+ / 0-)

          and in a sort of humorous way.  I personally don't find Parsley's sentiments at all humorous.  He is making a buttload of money on the fears and prejudices of his parishoners.  For profit religion, like for profit health care is not beneficial to humanity.

          •  I did appreciate the Treaty of Tripoli (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            mayim, gdwtch52

            comparison though -- how many people are even aware such a document exists?

            You're only as popular as the last diary/comment you posted. -- Zachpunk

            by Cali Scribe on Mon Mar 17, 2008 at 11:03:18 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  not enough (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              texasmom, mayim, gdwtch52

              although at least here it has been written about on numerous occasions.  I have had occasion to mention it in at least three of my own diaries over the years, and  in comments in perhaps half a dozen threads.  And I am not alone in reminding people of its existence.  A treaty whose negotiations began when George Washington was President, which was ratified when John Adams was, which had no dissenting votes in a Senate which included something like 7 members of the Constitutional Convention - I think Andrew Jackson had already resigned (in April) before the Treaty was ratified (in June of 1798) but he certainly would have been aware of it.  

              Those who can, do. Those who can do more, TEACH! If impeachment is off the table, so is democracy

              by teacherken on Mon Mar 17, 2008 at 11:08:11 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

      •  The press is simply unfit to judge (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        cris0000

        the press would mark a difference, because of the 20 year relationship between Wright and Obama, and the strong personal nature of it ...  in their mind that justifies the different treatment.

        The issue is not how they treat the stronger relationship.
        The issue is how the press treats the content of
        Wright's remarks!  If the press were adequate to its
        role in a free open informed society, it would be
        quoting EVERY intervention from THIS book
        by way of EXPLAINING to its average readers why Rev. Wright is right .
        The mere fact that the press is not doing this makes
        the press fundamentally irrelevant, or in fact the
        whole source of the problem.

        "You can't nice these people to death."-- John Edwards

        by ge0rge on Mon Mar 17, 2008 at 12:39:09 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Can I hear an "Amen"?? (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      teacherken, peraspera, NeeshRN, Maevpmcc

      I will never understand how McBush gets away with Hagee and Parsley, if Obama has to "denounce or reject" his own paster....not just somebody he picked up as an endorsement to wingnut "conservative, for profit, Armeggeddon/Rapture" nutbags!

      •  Hagee and those (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        cris0000, lauramp, ge0rge, gdwtch52

        they endorse get away with it because in America, it is pretty much okay to hate certain groups or to blame them for problems.  Gays, Muslims - all acceptable targets for anger.  White rich men are not.  And that is the only difference, but it has been the difference that counts in this place for a long time.

        •  I don't hate rich, white men... (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Maevpmcc

          but I don't think they waste any time thinking about me or any of the things we find important either.  

          These particular rich, white men I hold in contempt for they preach and profit from fear and hatemongering.

          •  saying that you don't hate them... (0+ / 0-)

            ...but you "hold them in contempt"
            is self-contradictory.  PICK A SIDE.
            And they sure as hell DO hate YOU.

            "You can't nice these people to death."-- John Edwards

            by ge0rge on Mon Mar 17, 2008 at 12:35:46 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  "Hate" is more active (0+ / 0-)

              and vicious, with violent overtones.  Contempt is beneath my notice....a lot like they view me, I'm sure.  I don't have the energy to actively hate them...it would take too much of my day, if I thought about them at all.  Love your enemies...it makes them wonder what the hell you are up to.

    •  rejecting this as a double standard (0+ / 0-)

      is craven and cowardly.
      I don't give a FUCK if it's a double standard: BRING IT ON:
      Rev. Wright is right .  Moreover, unlike Robertson and
      the late Falwell, he is actually CHRISTIAN.
      If you are not saying that then you are not
      saying anything.

      "You can't nice these people to death."-- John Edwards

      by ge0rge on Mon Mar 17, 2008 at 12:34:46 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Excellent post, tk (4+ / 0-)

    This whole issue of demanding accountability from Obama for what the pastor of his church said strikes me as a new low in American politics. Do we condemn someone for reading a book or watching a movie with potentially objectionable content?  The guilt by remote association game is so annoying, particularly since it only seems to be being played with Obama. We should be judged by our words and deeds, not those of others around us.  

    I believe in an America where the separation of church and state is absolute. - John F. Kennedy

    by DWG on Mon Mar 17, 2008 at 08:01:09 AM PDT

  •  Increasingly disgusted (3+ / 0-)

    I've become increasingly uneasy and disgusted by the pandering of politicians and their refusal to keep religion and government separate.  We know that the two will lead to horrific wars.  America was largely founded on logic, reason, and scientific thought.

    Obama has a record of public service that we can examine and analyze without entering his church and questioning his pastor.  We will never know Obama's acceptance or rejection of anything his pastor may have said.  We know for a fact that Obama is highly intelligent and has critical thinking skills.

    There seems to be a bizarre standard for Obama that is not being applied to Hillary or McCain.  In all fairness shouldn't the press be questioning what their pastors have been preaching to them.  And if we go down this road, shouldn't we question all that may have influenced them.  Such as teachers, professors, parents, friends, associates, etc, etc.

    Seriously though, each candidate has a public record  that is perfectly adequate to determine where they stand on the issues.

    •  Whatever happened to that logic and reason? (0+ / 0-)

      Somewhere in our history, that seems to have become forgotten.
      It irritates me that while the wingers keep talking about "the lib'rul media,"
      that same media seems to keep giving their candidates a pass too often for me.

      Just think of all the money the candidates could have saved if only we were to
      actually pull up their records while they've been in office and say to them,
      "are you planning to make any changes in the way you've been?"
      and if they say yes, ask "what changes?" and decide on one.
      At the very least we'd surely shorten campaign season.

    •  Obama himself has done that too tho-- (0+ / 0-)

      that's why this counts and is affecting people--he himself has gone out of his way with the "called to serve" and other stuff, and made his faith a big part of his campaign--from the Gospel tour to the brochures to his speeches to the whole "Joshua" stuff, etc.

      It's turned off many of us who aren't Christian--way before this.

      And then, he farted candy and rainbows...

      by amberglow on Mon Mar 17, 2008 at 09:22:00 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Enjoy the moment of schadenfreude... (0+ / 0-)

        It's a long road to PA.  :)

      •  people who are not Christian... (0+ / 0-)

        made his faith a big part of his campaign--from the Gospel tour to the brochures to his speeches to the whole "Joshua" stuff, etc.

        It's turned off many of us who aren't Christian--way before this

        ....simply have NO right to be turned off by anybody
        who is.  The nation is committed to freedom of
        religion.  As long as somebody's moral code is right,
        it is really none of your business where they claim
        to be getting their inspiration from.

        "You can't nice these people to death."-- John Edwards

        by ge0rge on Mon Mar 17, 2008 at 12:32:54 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  I think there is a case for this. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    teacherken, Neon Vincent

    Were we to apply the same standard to our own words we might be tempted to cease from speaking completely, lest our words be construed in manners we would find horrifying, totally alien to what we deeply believe.

  •  Lot's of folks seem to be making this point today (11+ / 0-)

    My diary of earlier in the day makes the same point from my perspective as a pastor:

    http://www.dailykos.com/...

    Thanks for adding to the conversation...

  •  Interesting (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    peraspera, bustacap, Maevpmcc

    This whole thing brings me back to my experience as a child in the Catholic church in the 1960s and 1970s.  
    Our priests lectured us about women's place in the world and about abortion.  Eventually my mother started walking out when she felt insulted or offended (like the day our priest proclaimed that women should be home with their children rather than out working).  I went with her.

    In this world of sin and sorrow there is always something to be thankful for; as for me, I rejoice that I am not a Republican. H.L. Mencken

    by hockeyrules on Mon Mar 17, 2008 at 08:09:40 AM PDT

  •  Separation of Church and State (6+ / 0-)

    It works both ways, and I think people forget that.  It means that the Church can't interfear with the State, and also that the State can't interfear with the Church.

    I wonder if all the Righties complaining about Rev. Wright's statements understand the Pandora's box they're opening.

    They are effectively sanctioning the end of freedom of speech for Church pastors if a State official is in attendance.
    Because if a State official is in attendance and the pastor says something politically incorrect, that then applies to the official, and the pastor must be denounced and rejected.
    So the pastors will soon self-censor, they will lose their ability to speak freely without government intimidation.

    Do those critizing the words of Rev. Wright understand what they're doing?

    And yes, it works both ways.  When the left critizied the words of pastors of GOP officials, it opened the door for reprisals.
    Leave the Church-State wall in place.

  •  I wish Rev. Wright preached at our church... (5+ / 0-)

    instead the sermons usually consist of stale pablum meant to upset no one. Any mention of politics is virtually taboo. Episcopalians are fairly progressive and I have heard many challenging sermons but in this conservative community that is generally not the case.

    And this is at a time when our country is torturing and killing, when health care is not provided to all, when we imprison more and more of our own citizens, if the spiritual leaders in this country cannot get enraged then God help them.

  •  Well said by your intelligent spouse: (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    teacherken, peraspera, lauramp, mayim

    More relevant to the topic at hands are the insights of my spouse, Leaves on the Current.  She listened to the remarks of Tony Perkins to the effect that one could not sit in the pew for 20 years hearing words like those of Wright and not have it affect them.  On the way to dinner last night she told me she was tempted to respond that both Perkins and she both knew people who had sat in the pews for 50 years hearing the Gospel of Jesus Christ with it having no discernible effect on their behavior.

    George W. Bush, Dick "Dick" Cheney, and the vast majority of Bush misAdministration officials are just a few that come to mind.

    How many of us have family members who we disagree with (sometime vehemently)? Do we still stay in the family, or do we leave? Some have left our families over political or other disagreements -- and those who leave their families tend to realize that they've lost something special that they work to regain for years sometimes.

    If everyone left a church any time their minister said something they disagreed with, there'd be a lot of empty pews -- and the ministers would stop challenging their followers but would instead water down the Gospel to what the people want to hear.

    You're only as popular as the last diary/comment you posted. -- Zachpunk

    by Cali Scribe on Mon Mar 17, 2008 at 08:21:29 AM PDT

  •  I like Obama (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    NYFM, bandersnatch

    I will enthusiastically support him in the fall and defend him through the Republican smear storm that is brewing on the horizon.

    When I first heard Wright saying "God damn America" it was like a dagger through the heart.

    I don't care what the context was. I don't care if it is within some larger liberation theology tradition within the African-American church.

    There is no context that ever makes such a statement tolerable.

    I have been a member of the same United Methodist church for 20 years I was married in that church and my children were baptized there. But if the minister said such a thing and the congregation supported him I would leave and never go back.

    A revolution without dancing is a revolution not worth having // Swords Crossed

    by quaoar on Mon Mar 17, 2008 at 08:23:15 AM PDT

    •  that is your choice (18+ / 0-)

      but I strongly suggest if you have not done so that you read what Devilstower wrote yesterday, to which I now link in the text above the fold in this diary

      one can look at actions of the current administration and condemn them - if we do not, are we then not morally culpable in what they have done?  And for many around the world, what the government has done, ostensibly in our names, is damnable.  And I would have no problem with a preacher or a politician who points that out, and have strongly supported people here - including Meteor Blades for one - who have offered similar comments.

      Peace.

      Those who can, do. Those who can do more, TEACH! If impeachment is off the table, so is democracy

      by teacherken on Mon Mar 17, 2008 at 08:27:26 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  There is a very large difference (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        bandersnatch

        Between America and the administration that currently holds power, just as there is a difference between Cuba and the government that governs it, North Korea and the government that runs it, etc.

        Bush is not America.

        If someone wants to shout "God damn George Bush," I will be shout "Amen."

        But what Wright said was contemptible. If he had a point to say about America being hated around the world for what Bush has done, he could have made it in any of a thousand different ways without damning all of America.

        His words were inflammatory beyond the point he was making, just as inflammatory as if he had burned a flag on stage.

        There is no finessing what he said or placing it in context -- nothing that results in Obama being elected in November. Jeremiah Wright has done far more damage to Obama than Hillary Clinton has ever done.

        A revolution without dancing is a revolution not worth having // Swords Crossed

        by quaoar on Mon Mar 17, 2008 at 09:16:51 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  he wasn't just talking about Bush (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          teacherken, Maevpmcc

          if i recall correctly, he had just been talking about bringing crack into urban communities, building more prisons, and jailing millions. that policy spans at least four presidents - bush, clinton, bush, and reagan. i don't expect him, in such a heated moment, to say something as precise as "god damn reagan, bush, clinton, and bush!" besides, the administrations are not just the men who head them. the administrations are part of a much larger system that is unfortunately, america. sometimes insidious, sometimes hopeful, sometimes to be blessed, sometimes to be damned, if you're into that kind of belief (i am not).

          the ills that wright was talking about are much bigger than george w. bush. sometimes i think people lose sight of that here.

          i think they're attacking me cause i'm awesome. how's that??

          by missreporter on Mon Mar 17, 2008 at 09:29:29 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  But it's not just GW Bush (8+ / 0-)

          Don't you see?

          It's the whole cabal that schemed in the late 1990s to place him into power.  Most of all - most of all - it's the millions who actually voted for him in 2004 after  his impotence and sinister nature was obvious.  It's more than George W. Bush.  

          It is America.

          At least, it is what America has become - a generally xenophobic, arrogant, ignorant, greedy, obnoxious, and quite dangerous and powerful entity - that seems to care more about funneling money to the wealthy than providing basic humanitarian aid to its poor and working class.

          We were better, once.  And I believe we will be again (though at times that hope has faltered).  In a political sense, I agree Rev. Wright's words were harsh and far too prone for misuse as propaganda aimed precisely at the Americans I described in my preceding paragraph; and sadly, at more thoughtful people who perhaps don't have the time to reflect on the world view from which they were shouted.

          But in a non-political sense, while hearing those words might make me cringe and recoil in offense, if I really thought about them, I could understand why they were said.  

          •  We live in a political world (0+ / 0-)

            Very few people are going to take the time to try to understand the larger point that Jeremiah Wright was trying to make.

            People will hear "God damn America" and that's all.

            There is no way that Obama can have anything to do with Wright and still expect to be elected president.

            And since the church is now saying it supports Wright and that he is being crucified I cannot see how Obama can remain a member. Not if he wants to be president. Just look at this for a moment from a cold, detached and practical political point of view.

            Just imagine the frenzied media coverage that will ensue the first time Obama goes back to church.  What is he going to do? Is he going to condemn Wright and then attend a church that feels Wright is being crucified?

            Politically he's between a rock and a hard place. He'll have to choose between his desire to be president and his church membership. It isn't fair, but politics is never fair.

            A revolution without dancing is a revolution not worth having // Swords Crossed

            by quaoar on Mon Mar 17, 2008 at 09:57:02 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  And, actually, that was the point (6+ / 0-)

              I was trying to make yesterday.

              Few people will see anything but those three words, and they'll interpret them as "screw you, USA!" rather "God should condemn these actions of the United States."

              How do you get past that in the media?  Damned if I know.  Even in the comments, people were quick to pull out one sentence of the diary as proof that I was also an anti-American traitor.  We seem to be wired for sound bites rather than discussions.

              I don't think that was always true.

              •  We are a sound bite nation (0+ / 0-)

                Those three words have unraveled what I have to assume has been a lifetime of work that Wright did on behalf of his congregation and his community and for the poor and oppressed everywhere.

                Just as the words that Geraldine Ferraro spoke damaged a lifetime of work for progressive causes. Hillary Clinton had no choice but to put maximum distance between herself and Ferraro. The fact that she hemmed and hawed about it first hurt her immensely. She tried to finesse it and it blew up in her face. If Obama tries to finesse this it will also hurt him badly.

                Is it fair that all the work of both Wright and Ferraro is flushed by a few brief sound bites? No. But politics ain't fair. There's no crying in baseball and there is no fairness in politics.

                A revolution without dancing is a revolution not worth having // Swords Crossed

                by quaoar on Mon Mar 17, 2008 at 11:10:52 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Not in the eyes of his former congregation... (0+ / 0-)

                  Those three words have unraveled what I have to assume has been a lifetime of work that Wright did on behalf of his congregation and his community and for the poor and oppressed everywhere.

                      Not in the eyes of his former congregation, who were, after all, his intended audience. They listened, and took it all in context. It's the mainstream media, attempting the "gotcha" journalism, who are taking this as three words, distributed nationwide, rather than as part of a larger sermon with a focus on his audience. Rev Wright did not put this out in an interview, and has not been going on a media tour to spread this message. There is a context to this, and failure to consider that is willful blindness.
                       And it takes nothing away from his lifetime of service, anymore than Mother Theresa's expressed doubt about whether her prayers were ever answered took anything away from her life's work.

                  -5.12, -5.23

                  We are men of action; lies do not become us.

                  by ER Doc on Mon Mar 17, 2008 at 01:19:20 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

            •  A candidate for president absolutely has to (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              quaoar, kayfromsouth

              convey that he believes in, trusts, upholds, honors, and is committed to this nation.  That doesn't mean everything the nation has done. It does mean believing that there is a core of decency and of honorable values that can be turned to, awakened, called on, to move forward another step, again and again.

              A candidate must convey his trust in the heart and soul of America, even when he may be condemning many things done in America's name, from slavery to Guantanamo.

              Being associated with Jeremiah Wright has come to threaten Obama's ability to present himself as someone who loves this country, who can lead this country because he believes in its soul and in its worth.

              We can complain about the theatrical hyper-patriotism of the Repubican party, but there is a more fundamental level here that is absolutely primal. The people will not put themselves in the hands of a man who doesn't seem to love and have faith in this nation.

              Obama has to reject what the pastor said, and he has to reject it convincingly.  He has to re-establish himself as someone who believes in, honors, and speaks for the vision of America, as he did in the speech that made him famous.

              He has to remove himself a long, long way, emotionally as well as intellectually, from "God damn America."  And he can't vacillate over it a long time, either.

              He needs to leave that church.

    •  Sadly, my reply is (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Cali Scribe, lauramp, Into The Stars

      that America is damning herself.

      It was a challenge, just as the Beatitudes were originally a challenge - fighting words more so than something to read at funerals.  

      The truth always matters.

      by texasmom on Mon Mar 17, 2008 at 09:09:12 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I was raised in John Hagee's church (8+ / 0-)

    and some of the more inflamatory comments made by Rev. Wright pale in comparison to some of the thoughts professed and tones used by Rev. Hagee.

    I left that church as I grew older and came to my own understandings of religion and God, but my mom still attends and is friends with many people there. In talking with her last night she conveyed conversations that have been taking place with her fellow church-goers: that, if taken out of context, anyone may be judged badly for a 20-second sound bite designed to inflame.

    I don't know if this is due to the fact that John Hagee has been demonized recently so naturally they're being more circumspect, or if it represents a willingness by many to allow some latitude in regards to what your pastor says in the pulpit, but I thought it was interesting and I'd share.

    Also, I thought Rev. Wright's church issued a great statement yesterday responding to all of this.

  •  Proud of TeacherKen (6+ / 0-)

    Thanks for this excellent post.  I read that Obama will make a major address tomorrow in Philadelphia on Race in America.  Great news.  I just called his DC office and emailed his website to ask him to speak out on two other issues this week:

    1.  He needs to make a strong statement TODAY about the Bear Stearns / stock market crisis.  He is uniquely qualified to explain it in terms -- like FDR -- that the American public can understand.  
    1.  He needs to make a major address about the Iraq War on Wed. 3/19, the 5th anniversary.  Again, his voice can rise above the media bs about Cheney's comments from Iraq that "everything is wonderful," "glad to be back," etc.  This is an opening for an important Obama speech.  

    Thanks again Ken.  

    •  while you are wecome (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      COwoman

      there are many important voices on this website.  This subject happens to be one on which I believe I have something of value to offer, thus I offered this diary to the judgment of the community.  I am glad to be of service to others.

      peace.

      Those who can, do. Those who can do more, TEACH! If impeachment is off the table, so is democracy

      by teacherken on Mon Mar 17, 2008 at 08:34:21 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Hagee (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bustacap, Neon Vincent, gdwtch52

    The attention needs to return to Haggee.  McCain actually sought his support.  Why don't we contact the MSM about fairness in reporting about pastor-links.  

    Austin loves Obama!

    by DrJK on Mon Mar 17, 2008 at 08:37:16 AM PDT

  •  look.... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    teacherken, bustacap

    the Catholic Church tells its parisoners to ignore the rules of law and aid and abet illegal aliens but nothing is said about the Catholic Church?

  •  How come conservatives aren't liberals..., (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    teacherken, bustacap, lauramp

    since they've had a lifetime of exposure to liberal media?  How come they're not perverse like the hated Hollywood stars?

    I guess their argument would be that they're too intelligent to be persuaded by watching and listening to other points of view, but that Barack was easily persuaded by Rev. Wright into becoming a black militant Muslim communist subversive Manchurian candidate because Barack is gullible and not as bright as them (and as George W. My Pet Goat).

    The question is often asked:  Is our children learning?

  •  Wonderful as usual, Ken (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    teacherken, bustacap, texasmom, lauramp, mayim

    I was particularly struck by this, though:

    if we stay and listen to the preacher?  We may agree or disagree, we may be challenged, angered, comforted, inspired - any or all or none of the above.  Our presence does not signify agreement.  It does represent a willingness to listen, to hear, to ponder.

    The problem is, of course, that the people who are freaking out about this don't get that we can listen without agreeing - that we can ponder and think about something we don't agree with. For most of them, that's not possible, and they assume it's not possible for anyone else either.

    It's something I see going hand-in-hand with the mindset (pardon the mixed metaphor) that  we should never have to be upset, worried, or forced to think about the consequences of our actions. We continue to believe this particular nugget of ignorance at our peril.

    Thank you for a pointed and thought-provoking diary.

    "These are the kind of people who see blood on their hands and claim it's just a sunburn." - SuzieQ

    by Killer of Sacred Cows on Mon Mar 17, 2008 at 08:52:10 AM PDT

  •  Were those excerpts of sermons very unusual? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    DarkestHour

    I would hope that the few minutes of excerpts of Rev. Wright's sermons that are being broadcast are unusual exceptions.  If so, that point needs to be emphasized.  

    If the average voter thinks that Obama was an active member of a hate-filled anti-American church for 20 years, it is over. If he can show that most of the sermons were moderate and fit within mainstream Christianity, that is a completely different story.  

    They need to release a video compilation of the more compassionate and calmer sermons from the church, ASAP.  

    I believe people can understand that emotions ran high right after 9-11 and that some words were said that were driven by the stress of that time.  

    JPZenger was a newspaper publisher whose jury trial in the 1730s for seditious libel helped establish the freedom to criticize top government officials.

    by JPZenger on Mon Mar 17, 2008 at 08:52:52 AM PDT

    •  Trinity's Mission Programs and Church Bulletin (4+ / 0-)

      The following is a list of mission programs operated by Obama's Church, such as a Girl Sout troop, food distribution to the needy, seminars to help people avoid foreclosures, and tutoring programs for high school students.

      http://www.tucc.org/...

      The following is a typical church bulletin from the Church.  It is very similar to the Bulletin in my own church.  

      http://www.tucc.org/...

      JPZenger was a newspaper publisher whose jury trial in the 1730s for seditious libel helped establish the freedom to criticize top government officials.

      by JPZenger on Mon Mar 17, 2008 at 09:08:21 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Wright's words reminded me of another preacher (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    teacherken, bustacap, Neon Vincent

    St. John Chrysostom:

    When we live according to the moral principles of our faith, those around us may respond in three possible ways.  First, they may be so impressed by the example of our goodness, and so envious of the joy which it brings, that they want to join us and become like us.  That is the response which we most earnestly desire.  Second, they may be indifferent to us, because they are so bound up with their own selfish cares and concerns; although their eyes may perceive our way of live, their hearts are blind, so we are unable to stir them.  Third, they may react against us, feeling threatened by our example and even angry with us; thus they will cling even more firmly to their material possessions and selfish ambitions, and slander us at every opportunity.  Naturally, we dread this third type of reaction, because we want to live in peace with our neighbors, regardless of their personal beliefs and values.  But if no one reacts to us in this way, we must wonder whether we are truly fulfilling the commandments of Christ.

    •  interesting that you quote Chrysostom (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      bustacap, lauramp, mayim, Neon Vincent

      in my days in the Orthodox Church, he presented a problem.  Much of what he had to say was inspiring.  He also wrote a fair amount of very anti-semitic stuff.  And what he wrote about the priests of his days might have been even worse.

      He had a mouth -  Chrysostomos is a title in Greek that means golde-mouthed.

      But his mouth got him in trouble - he managed to get himself banished more than once.  On one occasion his words critical of the cult of the Empress Aelia Eudoxia was the occasion for the Emperor to send him out of Constantinople.

      That Chrysostom said bad things about Jews does not mean that we should ignore the wise and insightful he things he had to offer, and it is pertinent to note that a key part of the Paschal service in the eastern churches is to listen to his Easter sermon.

      Peace.

      Those who can, do. Those who can do more, TEACH! If impeachment is off the table, so is democracy

      by teacherken on Mon Mar 17, 2008 at 09:13:05 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Yes, I am aware of his anti-Semitic words (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        teacherken, lauramp, mayim, Neon Vincent

        I hesitated to post the quote for that reason.  But as you point out, we can take such wisdom as we can from the rest of his works, while condemning those parts which we understand are hurtful.

        Just like Obama has now done with Wright.

        •  Martin Luther has an "anti-semitism problem" too (0+ / 0-)

          does that mean I should leave the Lutheran church? I think not.

          someone asked them to be quiet, so it's just a matter of time before all hell breaks loose - Brian Andreas

          by Altoid77 on Mon Mar 17, 2008 at 12:23:55 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  that reminds me of Richard Nixon (0+ / 0-)

            who was personally anti-semitic, as some learned after his death, while others had suspected.   But that did not stop him from acting decisively to assist Israel in 1973 when the Arab world was intimidating everyone else with the threat of cutting off oil.  I realize it is not exactly comparable, but I was so reminded, so I thought I would share.

            peace

            Those who can, do. Those who can do more, TEACH! If impeachment is off the table, so is democracy

            by teacherken on Mon Mar 17, 2008 at 12:28:10 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Shouldn't the opposite be true?? (0+ / 0-)

              If you are strongly anti-semitic, but also strongly critical of Israel? That obviously is not allowed as we've seen with anyone whose tried to broach the subject of Palestinian human rights and suffering. It's pretty shameful.

              I'm mad as Gravel, and I'm not going to take it anymore!

              by ceti on Mon Mar 17, 2008 at 12:36:39 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

      •  We should also keep in mind (0+ / 0-)

        that Chrysostomos benefits from a larger audience than you would expect on account of his rather large body of works that have survived to this day. Many of his contemporaries and predecessors were not as fortunate to have their works preserved, so it's difficult to see his role in a balanced context.

        I'm familiar with him only from a literary standpoint, and of the early Christian Greek writings, he represents a rather large percentage of what we have and has by far the largest body of work of any Greek author prior to his time, even though we know many other authors were at least as productive as he was.

        -6.00, -7.03
        Obama '08

        by johnsonwax on Mon Mar 17, 2008 at 11:21:00 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  a big problem with conservatives is (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bustacap, ER Doc, Melchuck29, CalexanderJ

    I haven't (yet) found a way to "reason" with them.
    Whatever subject they believe, they believe completely
    and nothing anyone says is going to change their mind, so
    trying to point out their inconsistencies to them is useless.

    •  Give it a try (0+ / 0-)

      to an ex-republican.  Explain to me why I should accept him blaming the US for Aids and 9-11?

      •  AIDs I break with him on (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Leo in NJ, proudest monkey

        .... but as far as 9/11 goes, we are most certainly the author of our own ills.  

        To combat our great enemy the Soviet Union, we bought that gun, we bought the ammunition, we assembled, cleaned and loaded it, we trained its wielder how to shoot, and we paid him to do so.  And on 9/11, that gun was turned on us.  

        Was it our "fault"?  No.  But to pretend that our own actions had nothing to do with our being shot by that gun is blind foolishness.

        i am jack's complete lack of surprise -- fight club

        by bustacap on Mon Mar 17, 2008 at 09:18:55 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Is this (0+ / 0-)

          because of our "evil empire"?  Because we are an open society?  Because.....?

          There is no substance in your post.

          •  No, it's because for many, many years (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Ernest T Bass, mrchumchum

            ... we have been unable to stop ourselves from from interfering in the internal matters of other nations.  

            9/11 was a direct result of a) our needing a proxy to fight the Soviet Union in Afghanistan, and later b) our continued military presence on the Arabian Peninsula, considered Muslim holy ground, and our continual meddling in the geopolitical landscape of the region.  Of course other grievances were mentioned, but those are the primary ones.  

            Former CIA Bin Laden Unit Chief Michael Scheuer ... explain[ed] that "politicians really are at great fault for not squaring with the American people. We're being attacked for what we do in the Islamic world, not for who we are or what we believe in or how we live."

            To the informed, it's not a very far stretch at all to see how we were hoist by our own petard on 9/11.

            i am jack's complete lack of surprise -- fight club

            by bustacap on Mon Mar 17, 2008 at 09:47:17 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  Have you done no research to learn? (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            bustacap

            It's easy to find with Google:, which turns up a paper by Irfan Khawaja (warning: pdf) written shortly after 9/11:

            Since 1996, Osama bin Laden has enunciated three core grievances involving US foreign policy: US support for Israel, US troops in Saudi Arabia, and US actions against Iraq. None of these, in my view, adds up to a single legitimate grievance, much less one justifying violence against us.

            I've read similar summaries of bin Laden's "greivances" in other sources, so I think this author has it right.

            You sound a little like GW Bush's lies with your initial sentence.  I'm hoping that was a joke.

            •  Yes, to an extent (0+ / 0-)

              I don't buy into the bin ladin 'letter', but I do agree that we have our finger in too many pies.   There is nothing that I've seen that would lead me to buy that we brought this on ourselves, to justify an attack on civilians.

              As I'm at work,  I lack the time to properly answer this in the manner it needs.

              Peace

              •  Look at our current state of relations (0+ / 0-)

                ... with Iran.  It's a shambles, because idiots on both sides would rather posture and bluster than discuss their differences.  How did things get so crappy between our two nations?  

                Back in 1953, Iran's democratically-selected prime minister Mohammed Mosaddegh was overthrown in a coup engineered by UK and US intelligence services (Operation Ajax, as it was called, was spearheaded by Teddy Roosevelt's grandson Kermit).  To make a long and convoluted story shoter and simpler, the reason for this was that he was going to "nationalize" the Iranian oil industry so that Iran could profit from it's vast oil reserves.  Mosaddegh was ousted and the pro-Western Shah was elevated back to power.  Of course you remember what happened to the Shah in 1979, right?  And you certainly remember what what happened along with the fall of the Shah, right?

                So you see, one of the many repercussions of us helping to overthrow the legitimate prime minister of Iran in 1953 is our current state of strained relations with Iran today.  One could even convincingly argue that we owe the election of Ronnie Raygun in 1980 to Operation Ajax.  Thanks, CIA!

                It's Chaos Theory writ in the language of realpolitik.

                i am jack's complete lack of surprise -- fight club

                by bustacap on Mon Mar 17, 2008 at 12:34:52 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

        •  And it's no coincidence that the targets (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          bustacap, SciVo

          involved world finance (WTC) and global military domination (Pentagon).

          Beat and mistreat an animal long enough, sooner or later it's going to turn on you -- how much more likely is it that the same will happen with thinking human beings?

          Jesus would have made a lousy politician -- he said what was on His mind (and His Father's) without worrying about what public reaction would be.

          You're only as popular as the last diary/comment you posted. -- Zachpunk

          by Cali Scribe on Mon Mar 17, 2008 at 10:37:56 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  will explain it to you if you will explain... (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        teacherken, SciVo

        why it was that Reagan and Bush defunded aid and R&D for AIDS.  Why it was that Bush slashed funding for condoms for clinics, a powerful tool against the spread of AIDS -- replacing it with words of admonishment for abstinence.  Why Republicans allowed pharmaceuticals to patent every step of the manufacture of drugs developed with our tax dollars so they could pad their coffers -- even though it meant the majority of AIDS victims would not be able to afford these life-saving drug therapies.

        Oh, yeah, we're responsible.  It's healthcare of, for, and by the rich -- and the working people are capitalizing it with their tax dollars.

        Don't pretend to be insulted by those who see this disease ravaging the poor so these fat cats -- usually white -- can own a few more fancy mansions and yachts.

        It is easier to fight for one's principles than to live up to them. Alfred Adler

        by Quicksilver2723 on Mon Mar 17, 2008 at 11:12:02 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Interesting (13+ / 0-)

    Well stated and written as always teacherken.

    Funny, I am a nonbeliever, but do go to church occasionally to support my wife's beliefs.  A few weeks back, the pastor at this church preached what I thought was a sermon of divison. He spent 45 minutes comparing Jesus, Confucius, Buddha, and Muhammad. It boiled down to a denegration of other's beliefs in support of his own. The guy's not the greatest orator from the pulpit that I've ever seen, but normally his messages are fairly positive, so I don't get too worked up.

    Needless to say, my wife could sense my discomfort and asked me afterwards what I thought. So I decided to reiterate my thoughts about organized religion and how I listen to these sermons and focus mostly on the hypocrisy of the messages that are preached in comparison to the bible (based on my understanding from many Sundays spent in a very strict, Greek Orthodox church when I was a kid).

    At the end of our conversation, I asked her how she could support the kind of divisive rhetoric her pastor used. And she said something quite interesting that applies, in my mind, to the Obama/Wright issue:

    She feels the hour she spends listening to the pastor (who she's never been overly thrilled with either) is just a very small part of her relationship with her church. The people attending on Sundays are people of her community, and she feels that it's a chance for her to worship in conjunction with that community - to take communion, to allow our daughter to attend Sunday School with our neighbor's kids.

    She's established relationships there, she's volunteered to do good things in the community there and she's received support there during difficult times.

    The pastor, and what he says, is not the be-all, end-all of her relationship with her church. It's just a small part of a greater whole.

    Clearly, Barack Obama's relationship with his pastor is closer than my wife's with the pastor of her church. But the concept is certainly the same - and I hope Barack takes the time to emphasize that a church is more than just its pastor.

  •  He is SO SMART (gonna keep saying this) (6+ / 0-)

    Look I understand all the hand wringing, its only natural. Here is the bright side....

    Barack Obama timed this perfectly. The Rezko thing is a done deal. The Wright controversy is actually perfect timing as well. Now he can really talk about race in America and delve deeper into his theme of unity.

    He started to do this in Indiana. He needs to make a big speech very soon though. It needs to encompass bread and butter issues in regards to the economy, a real conversation about the Iraq War and then he needs to pivot to race in America.

    His vision of unity and seeking common ground is powerful. We are so hungry in the US for this sort of vision. It is what brought me to Barack Obama in the first place. His 2004 speech brought tears to my eyes. This is, I believe, one of the main reasons for his decision to run for the WH.

    Now is the time to stand up and remind everyone that we can like someone, even love them and vehemently disagree with them. It does speak to judgement. It speaks to the judgement of someone who can listen and really hear someone else with an opposing view. Now juxtapose this with the administration we have now. I think that most would agree that listening to the other side makes for a stronger and wiser POTUS.

    Live, live, live!! Life is a banquet and most poor suckers are starving to death.

    by COwoman on Mon Mar 17, 2008 at 09:00:48 AM PDT

  •  I think tonight I will finally rest. (3+ / 0-)

    Your analysis is excellent and puts into words all those feelings and ideas that have been jumping around in my head.  I can only hope whoever reads your diary really understands what is being said here.

    Not the church. Not the state. Women will decide their fate.

    by JaciCee on Mon Mar 17, 2008 at 09:04:34 AM PDT

    •  You have to hope either that ordinary Americans, (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      amberglow

      who don't come to DKos and who get their news from the commercial press, will somehow understand and forgive the seeming hatred in a pastor telling black people to sing "God Damn America."  YOu have to hope the public will understand and forgive even though the Republicans will vengefully repeat Rev Wright's most disturbing words in the most grating ways possible, over and over, for months.

      Or you have to hope the Obama will distance himself from that pastor so that ordinary Americans, who are never going to read Teacherken's analysis, will accept that Obama doesn't secretly despise this country, that he is seeking the presidency out of faith in what this country is and can become.

      Since I don't think the first is likely, I hope for the second.

      •  I think the Republicans risk more (0+ / 0-)

        by repeating Rev. Wright's edited comments than the Dems do.

        McCain has been endorsed by some Pastors whose vitriol is much worse than anything Wright has been shown to say.  

        And we haven't even begun to dissect the sermons given by Huckabee.

        But then again, hatred has been an MO for the Republicans.

        Not the church. Not the state. Women will decide their fate.

        by JaciCee on Mon Mar 17, 2008 at 11:17:13 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  both are shitty options. (0+ / 0-)

        And then, he farted candy and rainbows...

        by amberglow on Mon Mar 17, 2008 at 12:55:03 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  I find Wright's words no more (5+ / 0-)

    problematic that those of any other preacher, and a good deal less problematic than many.  

    I find the fact that people can believe in anything like the Judeo Christian God mind boggling.  Nevertheless, the fact is that many people do so believe, including many highly intelligent people.  Many of those people find my total absence of belief equally difficult to comprehend.

    I wish we could leave the entire question of religion off to the sidelines, except when it directly affects  a politician's policy decisions.

  •  I'm sure many are tiring of Wright diaries (5+ / 0-)

    but we have to keep talking about this.  Obama's religious commitments will be a top swift-boating target this year.  Remember Rove's first rule: attack your opponent's strength.  Obama stands for tolerance and understanding, so detractors will try to tie him to racial and religious intolerance.  Obama stands for openness and ethical conduct, so detractors will try to tie him to financial and political scandal.  It is good for Obama that the Wright and Rezko issues are getting an airing now, but we can't just hope that they will go away on their own.  Although we, like Obama, should reject some of Wright's statements, we need to respond actively and strongly to attempts to attack Obama's religion and church.

    Excellent diary.

  •  Its easier to demonize a Black person (8+ / 0-)

    Jerry Falwell, Dr. Dobson, Pat Robertson, Hagee, et al, they speak for themselves but Farrakhan, Sharpton, Jackson and Wright, they speak for the whole race, Black people are monolithic. So are Latinos (they're all gonna vote for Clinton) and Asians and gays and any other group that isn't WASPy

    Bitch may be the new black...but black is the new president

    by LoLoLaLa on Mon Mar 17, 2008 at 09:24:35 AM PDT

  •  Spot on. (5+ / 0-)

    On the one hand we are told that speeches, especially by Obama, are only words.  On the other we are admonished that the words of Jeremiah Wright are supposedly so horrific that Obama's failure to leave his church somehow demonstrates a moral failing on his part.   These two ideas are obviously contradictory.

     I'm soooo tired of the Clinton campaign simultaneously arguing opposite positions using the same "facts" on this and other issues.  Besides being hypocritical, it's a total insult to my intelligence (that they think voters are too dumb to pick up on these things.)
     

    My Karma just ran over your Dogma

    by FoundingFatherDAR on Mon Mar 17, 2008 at 09:26:32 AM PDT

  •  Rev. Wright's Message of Unity and Inclusion (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    teacherken, Vermonter, peraspera, lauramp

    What else can I conclude?  We know what Barack Obama stands for - he has been saying it in public all his adult life.  He also has been living it, through his work in the community, through his work as an elected official, and through his work as a public intellectual.

    His campaign has been about this, in message, in structure, and in strategy, from day 1.  You can't get to the levels of small dollar donors, volunteer-based outreach, and excitement across the country any other way.

    If Rev. Wright is an important political or moral influence on Senator Obama, then I can only conclude that he must align with Obama on these core values of unity and inclusion, and that what I see on the television is a gross distortion of his larger ministry.  Given the source, this isn't hard to believe.

    And if I'm wrong, and this isn't the Reverend's core message, what it means instead is that Barack Obama is able to hear things that suggest division, and yet keep to his own internal moral compass, which points the other way.  But he will listen to all points of view, no matter what they are, and then reach his own, independent conclusion.  Or, more likely, he will find what is worth taking from that viewpoint and recognize what should be rejected.

    This is exactly what a President should be, isn't it?

  •  America NEEDS to hear from Jeremiah Wright (5+ / 0-)

    What Reverend Wright said, in its full context, is that there is no justification for American Christians to hold their nation above the rule of God.  It's the same message that Jesus gave to the Romans AND Jews of his day.  It's the same message that liberal churches told their flock during abolition, desegregation, and the Vietnam War.  It is a message of humility rather than vanity, submission rather than dominance.  It is Christianity in its truest sense.

    We are living in a perverted society in which Christian churches are cheerleaders for a corrupt American government that advocates torture, where soundbites usurp contemplation, where we give lip service to freedom of speech as long as nobody is dumb enough to actually try it.  (To cite The Clash.)  

    Reverend Jeremiah Wright is an esteemed man who leads a liberal church that is dedicated to public service and submission to God's law, rather than propping up an injust status quo like most contemporary churches.  Even if Wright sinks Obama's candidacy, I welcome the shitstorm of self-examination that will follow in the wake of that injustice--because when self-described liberals are too cowardly to listen to the WHOLE message of someone like Reverend Wright, then they aren't liberals at all.

    I SO hope that Oprah will have Rev. Wright on her show to speak for himself.  Not only will it force America to face its "demons", but maybe the scales will begin to fall off our eyes, the Constitution will begin to assume its proper stature ABOVE that of the flag, and we'll begin to remember just what it really means to be an American.

    candidpsychiatrist.com - Giving contemporary psychiatry the good spanking it deserves.

    by candid psychiatrist on Mon Mar 17, 2008 at 09:30:27 AM PDT

    •  didn't Obama just make that impossible? (0+ / 0-)

      And didn't Obama do the opposite of affirming what Wright says?

      And then, he farted candy and rainbows...

      by amberglow on Mon Mar 17, 2008 at 09:42:56 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Obama is politically distancing himself (0+ / 0-)

        He rejects specific statements of Rev. Wright.  He I NOT negating his worth, or keeping other people from hearing what he says.  

        candidpsychiatrist.com - Giving contemporary psychiatry the good spanking it deserves.

        by candid psychiatrist on Mon Mar 17, 2008 at 10:58:36 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  calling him "uncle", reassuring ppl that he's (0+ / 0-)

          retired, etc---and not reaffirming that he's his mentor and the one who brought him to faith, and that he privately prays and meets with him all the time, ...

          It is negating his words and minimizing him and brushing him aside. It's clear as day.

          And then, he farted candy and rainbows...

          by amberglow on Mon Mar 17, 2008 at 12:50:03 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  He also said (0+ / 0-)

      White people introduced  AIDS  as a means of black genocide

      White people have pushed drugs to destroy the black community

      goddamn America?   Sounds like goddamn white people to me.

      What an inclusive place.  Can't wait to go listen.

      •  Yeah, that stuff is bullshit (0+ / 0-)

        The Dalai Lama is homophobic and sexist, but that doesn't mean he's not worth listening to.  

        The point of free speech is the right to say something that might seem stupid to others.  The point of liberalism is the willingness to listen to something that might seem stupid, and accept the person that says it.

        candidpsychiatrist.com - Giving contemporary psychiatry the good spanking it deserves.

        by candid psychiatrist on Mon Mar 17, 2008 at 10:56:55 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  The Dalai Lama is not (0+ / 0-)

          a close friend and advisor of an Amercan Presidential candidate.   One would hope  Obama doesn't have any more advisors like this, exercising their free speech to say stupid things.   Obama  will giving a major speech about this and I look forward to him cutting through the bs  and telling  me how he can be an active member of a racist  anti American church for 20 years   and  then run as president of all the people for that same America.

      •  You sound like a defensive asshole in this post (0+ / 0-)

        But I genuinely doubt that you are one.

        candidpsychiatrist.com - Giving contemporary psychiatry the good spanking it deserves.

        by candid psychiatrist on Mon Mar 17, 2008 at 11:00:02 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  But that is the definition of a liberal (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      candid psychiatrist

      Love me I'm a Liberal by Phil Ochs

      I cried when they shot Medgar Evers
      Tears ran down my spine
      I cried when they shot Mr. Kennedy
      As though I'd lost a father of mine
      But Malcolm X got what was coming
      He got what he asked for this time
      So love me, love me, love me, I'm a liberal

      I go to civil rights rallies
      And I put down the old D.A.R.
      I love Harry and Sidney and Sammy
      I hope every colored boy becomes a star
      But don't talk about revolution
      That's going a little bit too far
      So love me, love me, love me, I'm a liberal

      I cheered when Humphrey was chosen
      My faith in the system restored
      I'm glad the commies were thrown out
      of the A.F.L. C.I.O. board
      I love Puerto Ricans and Negros
      as long as they don't move next door
      So love me, love me, love me, I'm a liberal

      The people of old Mississippi
      Should all hang their heads in shame
      I can't understand how their minds work
      What's the matter don't they watch Les Crain?
      But if you ask me to bus my children
      I hope the cops take down your name
      So love me, love me, love me, I'm a liberal

      I read New republic and Nation
      I've learned to take every view
      You know, I've memorized Lerner and Golden
      I feel like I'm almost a Jew
      But when it comes to times like Korea
      There's no one more red, white and blue
      So love me, love me, love me, I'm a liberal

      I vote for the democratic party
      They want the U.N. to be strong
      I go to all the Pete Seeger concerts
      He sure gets me singing those songs
      I'll send all the money you ask for
      But don't ask me to come on along
      So love me, love me, love me, I'm a liberal

      Once I was young and impulsive
      I wore every conceivable pin
      Even went to the socialist meetings
      Learned all the old union hymns
      But I've grown older and wiser
      And that's why I'm turning you in
      So love me, love me, love me, I'm a liberal

      I'm mad as Gravel, and I'm not going to take it anymore!

      by ceti on Mon Mar 17, 2008 at 12:40:07 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  there you go with logic again.... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ER Doc, XerTeacher, SciVo

    On the one hand we are told that speeches, especially by Obama, are only words.  On the other we are admonished that the words of Jeremiah Wright are supposedly so horrific that Obama's failure to leave his church somehow demonstrates a moral failing on his part.   These two ideas are obviously contradictory.  

    Mutual Exclusivity or moral absolutism is the antithesis of pragmatism, an essential quality for public office.

  •  "Words have power"--no longer operative now that (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bandersnatch

    they're politically inconvenient words?

    This is not about the church or Wright as much as it's about Obama and how he reacts in sticky situations, and also his loyalty and the truth and the importance Obama has placed on his faith all thru the campaign.

    He lies about never hearing this stuff--it's simply impossible to believe he never has in 20 years of faith and mentoring.

    He knew Wright was political poison, and until these tapes became public, waited to talk about it and deal with it.

    Just as his lies about Rezko and his healthcare being universal when he knew it wasn't, this just adds to the reality--a reality that simply and directly makes his rhetoric empty. Unity would have to include Wright just as it's supposed to include the GOP and health insurers and other haters. Unity has to include more than just politically-acceptable Christians. Unity has to include more than just "exgays". ...

    There's no unity when you push some aside -- and when and how you push them aside is telling many Americans much about this guy. And this is no kind of "post-partisan" or "new kind of" politics, but the same old, same old.

    And then, he farted candy and rainbows...

    by amberglow on Mon Mar 17, 2008 at 09:39:34 AM PDT

    •  Obama's healthcare plan is universal. (0+ / 0-)

      It's universal access to health insurance. Clearly, you're viewing all this from a starkly partisan perspective. Good day.

      "Tough talk is not a substitute for sound judgment." -- Barack Obama

      by SciVo on Mon Mar 17, 2008 at 02:08:26 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  it seems as though we believe... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ER Doc, orangeuglad

    ...(and by we i largely mean the political establishment and to a lesser extent our selves) that if we vigilantly brand a certain set of people as "bad" and politcally untouchable that it will make the rest of us pure. weird.

    also, i don't understand all the constant call for politicians to disassociate. i want politians who are constantly engaging. it's not as though we don't have other ways (apart from their associations) to judge them.

  •  How long is is going to be (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    teacherken, peraspera, mayim

    before we start judging candidates (and therefore everyone else) based on what they might have read in the past 20 years?  Since when is being exposed to different ideas being expressed in different ways a bad thing?  Is Obama going to be castigated next because he might have seen a Michael Moore movie and didn't either fire off a nasty letter or leave the theatre?

  •  Jesus (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    peraspera, AnnieJo, mayim, Quicksilver2723

    From the late, great Woody Guthrie:

    If Jesus were to preach in Galilee
    They would lay Jesus Christ in his grave

    "You can't depend on your judgment when your imagination is out of focus."
    . . . . . . . . . Mark Twain

    by Land of Enchantment on Mon Mar 17, 2008 at 09:53:03 AM PDT

    •  This song was the prelude... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      gdwtch52

      for the Sunday service at my church a couple of weeks ago, performed by a small group from the congregation.

      Worth thinking about, here during Holy Week and all.

      "Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It's not." -- Dr. Seuss

      by AnnieJo on Mon Mar 17, 2008 at 10:00:21 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Some years back (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        AnnieJo

        ... there was a tape/CD of Woody Guthrie songs by big name artists released, with the proceeds going for an endowment for Woody Guthrie/Leadbelly at the Smithsonian.  U2 did a killer cover of Jesus Christ in that anthology.  I've been thinking it might be fun to put to a slide show for YouTube.

        "You can't depend on your judgment when your imagination is out of focus."
        . . . . . . . . . Mark Twain

        by Land of Enchantment on Mon Mar 17, 2008 at 10:06:08 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  "prophetic tradition" (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    teacherken, ER Doc

    I've been thinking about that in connection with Rev. Wright.

    And I think you're the first one I've seen bring it up (admittedly I haven't been obsessively reading all things Wright, here or elsewhere, but still.)

    Thank you.

    "Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It's not." -- Dr. Seuss

    by AnnieJo on Mon Mar 17, 2008 at 09:57:42 AM PDT

  •  It starts with me (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ER Doc, gdwtch52, orangeuglad

    The Ghandi quote gave me a fresh awareness of just how uncivilized we are. It is a state of denial to say we are a civilized society, take a real look around your city or state. Ask educators what the homes and streets are like that they send their students out into at the end of the day.  

    ...the kind of growth towards wholeness that we should seek in ourselves, in those we encounter, and in the society in which we live.

    Those word actively lived individually on a daily basis is what I can contribute to creating a civilized society.

    This diary has been refreshing and thought and I have enjoyed it. There is quite a bit of essential, yet disturbing, diaries on the list today.

  •  The problem is that the majorty Americans are (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ER Doc, XerTeacher

    stupid and rather not be challenged on the basis of fact but act on fear based on false assumptions forced fed to them for years.

    Call me when your truly ready to be Vanguard of the Party

    by HGM MA on Mon Mar 17, 2008 at 10:13:11 AM PDT

  •  libertarians (0+ / 0-)

    over at lew rockwell.com, expecially ron paul, are supporting james wright and barack obama on this subject. worth checking out.

    •  Yet another example of the divisions on the right (0+ / 0-)

      We're fighting fiercely now over whether our center-leftism will be more top-down or bottom-up. It's nerve-wracking -- and it's nothing in comparison.

      They're trying to hold together a coalition in which the imperialist neocons and laissez-faire corporatists have used their control of the Federal government to royally screw over the individualist libertarians and the working-class evangelicals, respectively. It was a postdictable betrayal that found expression in their failure to nominate a presidential candidate who could embody all aspects of their coalition.

      They're doomed?

      "Tough talk is not a substitute for sound judgment." -- Barack Obama

      by SciVo on Mon Mar 17, 2008 at 02:29:25 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Damn, you are good. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ER Doc

    Live from Brooklyn! An Edwards Democrat. Now What?

    by resa on Mon Mar 17, 2008 at 10:24:09 AM PDT

  •  "Thanks to Matthew, who had been (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ER Doc

    at mass meetings in Palestine
    we know whose side was spoken for
    when Comrade Jesus had the floor

    Where sore they toil and hard they lie
    among the great unwashed dwell I
    The tramp, the convict, I am he
    cold shoulder him, cold shoulder me

    By Dives' door, with thoughtful eye
    he did tomorrow prophesy
    my Father's gate is strait and small
    the rich can scarce fit though at all"

    (Sarah Cleghorn)

  •  You nailed it .... (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    teacherken, ER Doc, mayim, orangeuglad

    And if we stay and listen to the preacher?  We may agree or disagree, we may be challenged, angered, comforted, inspired - any or all or none of the above.  Our presence does not signify agreement.  It does represent a willingness to listen, to hear, to ponder

    The idea that to listen to those with whom we disagree, or even to those who frame sentiments with which we may have some sympathy in language which goes beyond the bounds that we ourselves might set, is somehow a bad thing --where does this idea come from?

    If we follow this, we end up in a world where exchanges of jingoistic sound bites is the only acceptable public dialogue.  Ooops ... I guess we arrived there a while ago.

  •  may i disagree? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    hcc in VA, bandersnatch

    While you are correct that many if not most (probably nearly all) disagree with some things here and there that their pastor says or even official Church doctrine, we stay. We listen. We disagree to some extant or another. However I would argue that this is not the same thing.

    Wright's offensive statements were not doctrinal, biblical,or theological. The Gov't invented the AIDS virus to kill young black men? America is to blame for 9/11? Calling white people names & blaming them for the ills of the black community? Personal and crude insults hurled at the Clintons? There are not the words of hope, faith, love, Christ, or even "tough love". These are not cogent interpretations of complex writings. This is inflammatory demagoguery- at best. This is right there with Roberston and Falwell in the ugly, divisive rhetoric department.

    To disagree with the nature of my Church's stance on war or abortion is to take issue with a specific aspect of doctrine or detail but still support the larger mission. To support (and cultivate support from) the preacher who advocates racial division and conspiratorial fantasy, and then try to dance away from that support is callow. This is painful precisely because I am an Obama supporter! But I have to be honest with my take on this.

    Finally I must say no matter where you fall in this particular debate- Obama certainly knew Wright's words to be problematic (either morally or politically)  hence his dis-invitation to speak at the campaign kickoff.

    •  you may disagree, but you are partly wrong (4+ / 0-)

      whether or not you think America is to blame at least in part for 9-11 depends on how you define blame.  If you interpret it to mean that the attacks were justified, then I would certainly agree that they were not.  But if you look at the experience of those who have been on the receiving end of America's application of violence, you might get a somewhat different reaction.  Just consider this, from 60 Minutes:

      Lesley Stahl on U.S. sanctions against Iraq: We have heard that a half million children have died. I mean, that's more children than died in Hiroshima. And, you know, is the price worth it?

      Secretary of State Madeleine Albright: I think this is a very hard choice, but the price--we think the price is worth it.

      And if you want, you can watch the actual video:

      half a million Iraqi children is a price worth paying might in someone else' mind justify an attack that kills less than 4,000 Americans.  Fortunately even most of the Muslim world disagreed with those attacks, although the sympathy we had in 2001 has now largely been lost.

      And remember -  I am neither arguing that the US planned, knew about, or deserved the attacks.  Attacks on non-combatants are never warranted, even though our own track record with city-wide bombings in WWII is not a great illustration of the purity of our own actions.  I offer the example merely to demonstrate how someone who was at the other end of our actions could in their mind come to a different conclusion.

      And remember - we were NOT attacked by Iraqis, but by people from other nations who had other grievances even beyond the death of half a million children.

      Those who can, do. Those who can do more, TEACH! If impeachment is off the table, so is democracy

      by teacherken on Mon Mar 17, 2008 at 10:48:35 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  we could argue all day (0+ / 0-)

        on the moral equivalence scale I guess, but his statements did not have any context to them. This leads me to assume (and yes I know the problem associated with that) that he is either ignorant or incendiary.

        As for the hardship of the Iraqi children of course it did/does hurt and is awful... but ultimately to try and change the behavior of the regime in question was a good goal. And the ultimately blame lies with the iraqi regime at that time. Their behavior precipitated actions by the US. And those action certainly inflicted as much pain and death on innocent people as anything the US/UN did in an effort to make things better for the Iraqis.

        As for his other (non 9/11 related) statements- I still posit that they are whack.

        •  'm not arguing moral equvalence (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          ER Doc

          because I hold this nation to a HIGHER standard - which is why I am repulsed by the answer Albright offers in that sound clip.

          And if I, who was not on the receiving end, am repulsed, I can easily imagine how someone who has that or similar actions directed at them and theirs might well feel.  

          As for the issue on aids, elsewhere on this thread quicksilver offers some context that perhaps you should consider to understand why many in the black community see at least deliberate inaction if not worse.

          Feel free to have final word on subthread.  I have a book to read in order to write a review.

          Peace.

          Those who can, do. Those who can do more, TEACH! If impeachment is off the table, so is democracy

          by teacherken on Mon Mar 17, 2008 at 11:18:35 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  that is cool (0+ / 0-)

            but I think quicksilver is totally wrong. Just because someone didn't spend enough, soon enough on a disease that thy didn't understand or acted on their prejudices does not give this guy the moral or intellectual authority to yell despicable and divisive things. Plus, HIV/AIDS funding is up 8.3 % this year (I have no data on previous years but if he/she was going to make these accusations then they might want to support them with data). I see quite a bit of pretzel logic on this thread trying to justify the rev's comments as anything other than demagoguery.

      •  Thanks for this. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        ER Doc

        Some sanity, finally!

        The diary and this comment are both great. Thank you.

        Also it's worth mentioning that, while the government didn't invent AIDS to kill black people, the Reagan administration didn't do much to combat it until it had already killed 20,000 or so people.

        That's actual FACT on the issue. Wright was incorrect to go so far as to use that conspiracy, definitely, but it's absolutely true that our government (at least the Reagan administration) was negligible for a long time, and by the time they acted it was too late to stop AIDS.

    •  I've heard the AIDS theory (5+ / 0-)

      from others in the African-American community; while I discount those ideas, I have to admit that the US government did little to investigate it when the disease was "merely" afflicting the gay community and IV drug users. It wasn't until it made its way into the mainstream that the government truly took notice.

      As for the US causing 9/11, that's very similar to statements uttered by Pat Roberson, the late Jerry Falwell, and other Religious Right darlings who put the blame on America's "tolerance" of gays, feminists, abortion and secular humanism. Wright just may have been closer to the mark on the true source.

      And if Wright truly advocated racial division, why did all the white members of the congregation continue to stay? Why would Barack Obama, the son of a white mother, continue to stay with a church that denigrated an important part of his heritage?

      The answer, most likely, is that these few little sound bites do not give the entire picture of the man and his 20+ years in ministry -- it's like filming you when you're flipping someone off in traffic while your kids are in the back seat and using that to prove that you're an unfit parent.

      You're only as popular as the last diary/comment you posted. -- Zachpunk

      by Cali Scribe on Mon Mar 17, 2008 at 10:50:01 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  but (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        hcc in VA

        if you discount those absurd "ideas" then why would or should you support someone who does advocate such damaging, intellectually dishonest, and ultimately harmful whacked out "ideas"? That is (one of) my point- Obama needn't be nice to his preacher when the guy's a nut.

        I agree with your description of Falwel and Robertson's comments- my point exactly- why "gloss over" and rationalize these inflammatory statements rather than call them what they are? Being intellectually honest is much better in the long run.

        I do not know why the white members of his congregation stay- but I do know what racial division sounds like. Again this is not fun for me, but covering up for and defending this negative, qusai-racist tin foilery isn't healthy.

        •  After stepping on a jellyfish (0+ / 0-)

          I spent a half hour trying to convince my friend that chlorinating the ocean would be an acceptable, even ideal solution to the stepping on jellyfish problem. Thankfully, my friend knew my point was really "jellyfish suck" and "OWWWWWWWWW". She continues to support me, but I think she would renounce and reject my chlorination plan.

      •  Oh crap didn't see your comment. (0+ / 0-)

        I just made the same point about AIDS.

  •  your wife is brilliant (5+ / 0-)

    I'm forwarding this to my pastor, but this was the best thing I have heard on this churned-up "controversy":

    More relevant to the topic at hands are the insights of my spouse, Leaves on the Current.  She listened to the remarks of Tony Perkins to the effect that one could not sit in the pew for 20 years hearing words like those of Wright and not have it affect them.  On the way to dinner last night she told me she was tempted to respond that both Perkins and she both knew people who had sat in the pews for 50 years hearing the Gospel of Jesus Christ with it having no discernible effect on their behavior.

    •  her brilliance has oft been recognized (4+ / 0-)

      summa cum laude as an undergrad in an elite institution is just one of many such formal recognitions

      but she is also insightful and moral and caring, which may be far more important

      peace

      Those who can, do. Those who can do more, TEACH! If impeachment is off the table, so is democracy

      by teacherken on Mon Mar 17, 2008 at 10:50:25 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Thank you both- (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        teacherken, ER Doc, anotherdemocrat, mayim

        --teacherken and anotherdemocrat.

        Of course, I'm not sure anyone would conclude from my own behavior that I've heard the Gospel preached most Sundays of my life, either. . . .

        But on his interview with Anderson Cooper the other night, Obama pointed out that Wright had an exemplary ministry of caring for the poor.  (Not that Cooper was interested.)  I seem to recall much in the Gospel about caring for the poor, and remarkably little about patriotism.  H'mm.

        Could it be that we have a presidential candidate whose values really are those of Jesus Christ rather than those of those who most loudly proclaim themselves His followers?

        "We've been warned against . . . false hope. But in the unlikely story that is America, there has never been anything false about hope." --Barack Obama

        by Leaves on the Current on Mon Mar 17, 2008 at 11:41:24 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Lenny Bruce was persecuted much the same way (0+ / 0-)

    And many others. Those in opposition are quick to be affronted so that they do not have to consider what is being offered. The ones that understand can only shake their heads and say Amen.

  •  Can I ask pastordan for a diary? (3+ / 0-)

    I see a combination of elements not being understood when people react to the Wright story. There's a very good article written a the Christian Century about TUCC that helps to explain how TUCC differs from traditional white churches. It's from last May and can't be accused of being reactionary to this kerfluffle, but is cognizant of the early concern raised about TUCC.

    What has also been left unsaid both by Obama and too many people around the issue is that the black church is quite dynamic. We have to consider that Wright stems from the raw center of civil rights - when there was not only widespread racism in the population but that it was state sanctioned racism. But that was a generation ago and a lot has changed. Not as much as many of the TUCC critics want to believe - they want to innocently proclaim that racism exists only in rarity, yet in their dismissal of a prominent black pastor as a 'radical racist' end up dismissing the opinion of the entire black community in one pass. They miss the obvious conflict that if the black community holds them in high regard and you've deemed them a radical racist, then you've basically deemed the black community as being unqualified to render good judgement which in itself refutes the very opinion of racism being a rarity since the commentator just gave an example of it from his own voice.

    But unquestionably the magnitude and nature of issues in the black community has changed since the 60s and it's reasonable to expect that a pastor starting out today would start out with a different tone. So, what might be seen as moderate to an individual in their 60s could be seen as radical to an individual in their 20s. And that's true in the white community where views on homosexuality being a sin are still deeply entrenched in the older religious population but are increasingly viewed as radical by the younger crowd. And so our notions of moderate and radical have understandable generational ties in additional to cultural ones.

    But I'd like to ask if pastordan could diary a little bit about liberation theology since it seems to sit at the heart of much of the misunderstanding about the controversy. Doesn't need to be specific to TUCC, just something general. And maybe some comments on how the presentation can evolve with changes in society. Again, doesn't need to be tied to TUCC or anything else at all.

    -6.00, -7.03
    Obama '08

    by johnsonwax on Mon Mar 17, 2008 at 11:06:18 AM PDT

    •  he wrote one yesterday (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      COwoman

      that is on point, and which was on recommended list for quite a while.  Take a look here

      peace

      Those who can, do. Those who can do more, TEACH! If impeachment is off the table, so is democracy

      by teacherken on Mon Mar 17, 2008 at 11:10:02 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  WOW teacher ken (0+ / 0-)

        That was a GREAT link. Thank you for that and this post too!!

        Live, live, live!! Life is a banquet and most poor suckers are starving to death.

        by COwoman on Mon Mar 17, 2008 at 11:33:20 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Yeah, I saw that (0+ / 0-)

        but it again falls into the category of localized support for Wright and TUCC without really acknowledging if his approach is common or seen as valid or acceptable. So I'm specifically asking pastordan to not validiate it, rather to say 'this is what liberation theology is' (since afrocentrism is but one example of it).

        I remember first learning about Pentacostalism (the white boy from a NY Roman Catholic family knew a lot more about orthodox Judaism and Christianity than the Evangelical movement) and wondering what these crazy people were about. Had I grown up in Tennessee, I would likely have originally seen Pentacostals as no different than I see the many religious sects I grew up around and not needed the education later in life. Basically, I think a good bit of the negative reaction stems from now knowing what liberation theology is in general.

        -6.00, -7.03
        Obama '08

        by johnsonwax on Mon Mar 17, 2008 at 11:52:48 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  I really loved this (0+ / 0-)

      article you linked to. I sent it to my mother who is freaking out at all the people that are saying they are not going to vote for Obama anymore.

      I think that the speech tomorrow could be a keeper. I certainly have faith that he can do it and do it memorably

      Live, live, live!! Life is a banquet and most poor suckers are starving to death.

      by COwoman on Mon Mar 17, 2008 at 11:36:42 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Ben Smith at Politico (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ER Doc, XerTeacher

    is reporting that Obama plans to give a major speech on race tomorrow in PA.....

  •  I'll use Farakhan as an example here. (0+ / 0-)

    I'm a white Irish descended American and in the early 90's I went to a couple Farakhan speeches in both majority white and black communities. Louis was far more firebrand in the african-american communities, while actually trying to focus on his more sensible views to the more white communities. Because I was there didn't mean I agreed with him, though I will say that not everything he said was complete BS either.
    Rather than the "reject and denounce" attitude towards these situations, it would seem to me to be good God damn time to have a constructive conversation of these issues. I hope Pastor Wright responds with a LTE in all the major papers.

    "Its a grave digger's song, Praising God and State. So the Nation can live, So we all can remain as cattle. They demand a sacrifice..." -Flipper

    by Skid on Mon Mar 17, 2008 at 11:27:38 AM PDT

  •  At the risk of sounding condescending (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    teacherken, saralee, mayim, Livvy5

    which is as far from my intention as one can possibly go, I wonder what percentage of those who are so exercised by Rev. Wright's oratory are white. That is in no way an accusation of racism, but a question whether they are in any position to understand exactly what is going on in Wright's sermons.

    My wife (to join in the praise of spouses) said to someone else the other night that she wondered if maybe his words were uniquely appropriate for an African American community. They are harsh, to be sure; but so is the history of that community.

    I do believe that his parishioners are able to see past his bombast to the message beneath: that far too much has been sugar-coated for far too long, that we have problems that will not be solved until we confront them head-on. A little bombast is exactly what's needed to stimulate that confrontation. When you mix in uncomfortable truths--read again the full "chickens coming home to roost" quote and tell me what part of it is not true--it begins to bring people out of their pop culture-induced and government-supported stupor and gets them to start asking some equally uncomfortable questions.

    [A bit of editorial honesty here: I am not African American either. I am, however, of a minority, American Indians, who bear mathematically about the same relationship to the African American community that African Americans bear to the total population of the country. We're no strangers to the joys of ethnic prejudice.]

    [Oh, and a bit more editorial honesty. I'm UCC.]

    I don't give them Hell. I just tell the truth about them and they think it's Hell. -- Harry Truman

    by jazzyndn on Mon Mar 17, 2008 at 11:40:48 AM PDT

    •  Whiteness is no excuse... (0+ / 0-)

      ...because the vast majority of the nations that
      the US has done this to are not African or black.
      The first one was the Philippines but the first
      one after WW2 -- when "communism" became the fig-
      leaf that made it all possible -- was Greece,
      which is so European that the British royal family
      is still related to it.  Which fact in fact had a
      little something to do with our picking the wrong side.
      For other examples, see

      Killing Hope by William Blum

      It does bear stressing that William Blum is white
      and that white Americans on average are more likely
      (than black ones) to have the education-in-
      American-history that would enable them to know
      that Wright is right.  Their problem is simply that
      they can't begin to conceive of their own country as
      evil.  They can't understand how Michelle Obama
      could go to Princeton, Harvard Law, and UC-Hospitals
      and make first $120K and then $300K/yr, and yet STILL
      say she was not proud of this country.

      If they would read a mother-fucking book, then they might know.

      "You can't nice these people to death."-- John Edwards

      by ge0rge on Mon Mar 17, 2008 at 12:30:21 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  But weren't Filipinos our "little brown brothers" (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        skrekk

        They were thought of as both native and negro by the occupying US force that butchered 600,000 of them, all for the noblest of civilizing causes.

        Very few people know about that brutal and bloody counter-insurgency war that wiped out the populations of whole islands.

        I'm mad as Gravel, and I'm not going to take it anymore!

        by ceti on Mon Mar 17, 2008 at 12:48:04 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  I'm white... (0+ / 0-)

      and I think Wright simply spoke the truth.  It's only right-wingers who are unable to see what's before their eyes, and are offended by reality.

  •  A man from Georgia (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    teacherken, indiemcemopants, ER Doc

    called Washington Journal this morning.  He sounded like Johnny Cash.  The host and his guest, a black CEO from a citizen's group (?) were discussing the Wright issue.  My memory sucks and I was half asleep, but this guy said that he was 65 and that he and his family had been mistreating black folks for years, as though it was normal to do so, and that he understood their anger.  His voice was heavy, emotional.
    He said more.  I teared up.  It was an amazing call.  Later another caller referred to it and said he cried too.
    As for the Aids issue.  A caller mentioned the syphilis experiments at Tuskegee.  I would add that there are people in New Orleans who are convinced their neighborhoods were flooded on purpose.  
    Can anyone find the words to "Strange Fruit"?

    •  ask, and you shall receive: (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      saralee, ER Doc

      as sung by Billie Holiday)

      Strange Fruit - Lewis Allan

      Southern trees bear strange fruit,
      Blood on the leaves and blood at the root,
      Black bodies swinging in the southern breeze,
      Strange fruit hanging from the poplar trees.

      Pastoral scene of the gallant south,
      The bulging eyes and the twisted mouth,
      Scent of magnolias, sweet and fresh,
      Then the sudden smell of burning flesh.

      Here is fruit for the crows to pluck,
      For the rain to gather, for the wind to suck,
      For the sun to rot, for the trees to drop,
      Here is a strange and bitter crop.

      And at this link there is a link for a video of Billie singing part of the song

      Those who can, do. Those who can do more, TEACH! If impeachment is off the table, so is democracy

      by teacherken on Mon Mar 17, 2008 at 12:17:06 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Rappers (0+ / 0-)

      at least the better ones, say the same kind of stuff. There are tons of songs about how there are drugs flooding the streets and nothing is being done to HELP. I realize a rapper isn't the same as a pastor, but my point is just that this is a real issue beyond just the "outrageous" comments. Stuff like this is what we should be talking about.

      I'll even post some examples just to get it out there:

      I see no changes wake up in the morning and I ask myself
      is life worth living should I blast myself?
      I'm tired of bein' poor & even worse I'm black
      my stomach hurts so I'm lookin' for a purse to snatch
      Cops give a damn about a negro
      pull the trigger kill a nigga he's a hero
      Give the crack to the kids who the hell cares
      one less hungry mouth on the welfare
      First ship 'em dope & let 'em deal the brothers
      give 'em guns step back watch 'em kill each other
      It's time to fight back that's what Huey said
      2 shots in the dark now Huey's dead
      I got love for my brother but we can never go nowhere
      unless we share with each other
      We gotta start makin' changes
      learn to see me as a brother instead of 2 distant strangers

      - 2pac, "Changes"

      Dear Lord, look how sick this ghetto made us, sincerely
      yours I'm a thug, the product of a broken home
      Everybody's doped up, nigga what you smokin on?
      Figure if we high they can train us
      but then America fucked up and blamed us
      I guess it's cause we black that we targets
      My only fear is God, I spit that hard shit
      In case you don't know, I let my pump go

      Oh youse a ball in the White House, I hope you comfortable
      cause yo I spend my nights out, with the lights out
      under the safety of darkness, amongst the crazed and the heartless
      and young soul bros, ready to rode a starship
      Launch it, leave a nigga flat for scratch, the Godless
      I gotta get chips, but you can't understand that
      Wanna ban rap? Stand back, before you get hurt
      It's the only thing makin pay besides smoke and work

      - 2pac, "Letter to the President"

      And thats why I stay high,
      cause I got shit to deal with:
      The government and these playa hatas out to kill Wish...

      To the little boys and girls all over the world:
      This shit that we say is for the streets, not for you go to do or to repeat.
      Please, if we can no more murder.
      How must I say it? If we can no more murder.

      - Bone Thugs N Harmony, "If I Could Teach the World"

      Aaaaanyway... I was just bored enough to get these, but really. Wright was only talking about things that have been issues for years.

  •  Well, I gotta say, if you don't like the words (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    soccergrandmom

    you do have the choice to leave.
    Back in the 1960's, after our original minister left our church, we got a younger man who sported a brush cut and advocated for the War in Vietnam. After several weeks, we stopped going there.
    If we remain silent, or sit silently and do nothing, then we condone the actions of those with whom we object.
    Wright's rant was from a deep part of his soul, a very dark and angry place, but I do not expect from men (or women) of God to use hate in order to heal. Just doesn't make sense.
    He's got a right to free speech, but I'll take a Martin Luther King over Pastor Wright any day. King brought out the issues and the problems, but made everyone want to change things for the better. All Wright did with that speech is foment unrest and anger and do more to separate us than bring us together.

    "The truth shall set you free, but first it will piss you off!" - Gloria Steinem

    by MA Liberal on Mon Mar 17, 2008 at 12:10:59 PM PDT

    •  I think this is the nub aand crux (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      MA Liberal

      of the matter. it just doesn't make sense that anyone who has attended a church for 20 years, whose pastor married he and his wife, baptised their children, was originally asked to speak the invocation at his senatorial inauguration, gave him the title for his second book - that preacher who preached inumerable sermons in the church, travelled the world, was taped inummberable times saying the same things over and over this is not a one off- for Obama to say 'i didn't know' or iwas'nt in the pews' is totally beyond my ability to stretch my desire to believe him to incredulity.

      And even if today's date of July 22nd is incorrect this crying wolf will surely provide a date that can be proved, probably before the day is out.  Thereby making something out of nothing once again.

      This is why i just wish all these rabid voices would shut up because i want very much to believe Obama's specifics, not his generalities.  I have heard these kinds of speeches all my life, from Farrakhan amongst others, and discount them because they only represent a portion of the black population even if they do reflect much of what is and has been wrong with America.

      This is not the way to right the wrongs of slavery.  Obama's vision was the way. That vision today is being trampled into the muck and mire of racism of both black nationalism amd white supremacy.  Hillary Cinton's supporters are NOT racists.  

  •  They Did Their Job on HRC, Obama's Next (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    amberglow, ceti, soccergrandmom, h bridges

    Let me clue you in on something - the right has been set to smear whoever is going to be the Democratic nominee since day 1. The previously thought this would be Senator Clinton, but now more and more of them are switching to smearing Senator Obama.

    And another thing - don't go wringing your hands about Rev. Wright, if it hadn't been him it would have been something else (and it will be many other things before this is over). True or not, deserving or not, it doesn't matter. He will be smeared simply because he's the nominee. Just like Senator Clinton's been being smeared for 16 years.

    Now do you see why liberals recycling right-wings smears gets me upset? Ask not for whom the bell tolls, it's going to be tolling for you as soon as the right-wing noise machine gets around to it.

    I have sworn upon the altar of God, eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man - Thomas Jefferson

    by Twistyman on Mon Mar 17, 2008 at 12:12:58 PM PDT

  •  As an invitation to give Wright a fair hearing... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    kck

    ... this diary is lukewarm (Rev.3:16).
    It is true that Wright was within a prophetic
    tradition, but it is irrelevant.  What is relevant
    is that he was right.  This is a matter of history
    AND NOT religion.  You don't HAVE to subscribe
    to liberation theology or even ANY flavor of
    Christianity to know that it is morally wrong
    for a nation to promote itself (as this one has)
    as a champion of democracy, and then squash democracy
    every time the people of a country decide to vote
    for something more left than the multinational
    corporations feel like tolerating.  For more instances
    (than you feel like bothering with) of just how often
    this has factually happened, see

    Killing Hope by William Blum

    "You can't nice these people to death."-- John Edwards

    by ge0rge on Mon Mar 17, 2008 at 12:21:31 PM PDT

    •  you place on the diary an intent I did not have (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ER Doc, SciVo

      although I think it appropriate for people to view the remarks of any person in their complete context, and one could make the argument that I should have included that more forcefully with respect to Wright.

      My point is not about the specifics of what Wright said.  I thought I made that clear above the fold when I said I would forgo paralleling what Devilstower had done with the NT parallel with similar material from the Hebrew Bible.  I wanted to discuss a broader issue,.

      If you feel the need to elevate the points you make in your comment, I suggest you rework them to a diary which focuses on that particular issue.  While certainly related to my diary, it is something on which I was not focused, so that it failed to meet what you would expect for such purpose should not be surprising.

      Peace.

      Those who can, do. Those who can do more, TEACH! If impeachment is off the table, so is democracy

      by teacherken on Mon Mar 17, 2008 at 12:25:51 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Neither ghandi nor jesus are running for (0+ / 0-)

    president of a unified United States which consists in almost equal measure of Republicans and Democrats, of progressives and centrists.  If the current hysterical mantra of obama supporters is that they don't need Hillary supporters, especially 'old women' in november, that's fine by me. Go get it by yourselves. The more I see of Obama supporters the less I want to live in an America they seem to be espousing, which is growing more intolerant and hateful by the day.

    There are a zillion wrongs to be righted I agree, this is NOT the way to go about it.

  •  typical Freeper comment on the Wright issue (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    SciVo

    "Did the uninitiated honestly believe that slavery, lynching, Jim Crow, white resistance and flight, economic and educational duality, hyper-incarceration and yawning disparities in wealth, health and longevity have had no lasting effects; that all of that is really no big deal" ( a quote from an article by an African American about the issue)

    You’ve had about 40 years of government giveaways and racial preferences to get over that. That you haven’t says everything about you, not white people."

    http://www.freerepublic.com/...

    I think this Freeper comment clearly illustrates the view the media is representing on the Wright issue.  It's really becoming Willie Horton Redux, "proof" of what the wingnuts have been shouting about for years.  That's how it's being presented, and Obama - and all progressives - need to clearly answer this with facts.

  •  You know what it might (sadly) come down to?... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ceti, BirderWitch

    Republicans saying, "My Christian sect is more Christian and Christ-like than your Christian sect"  followed by the unspoken 'cause we're white'.
    Hell, talk about a hidden race card.

    Si Se Puede Cambiar - Andres Useche

    by WSComn on Mon Mar 17, 2008 at 12:32:41 PM PDT

  •  Opportunistic outrage (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ER Doc, BirderWitch, proudest monkey

    I am somewhat disturbed by the opportunistic moral outrage floating around in the punditocracy class when it comes to Pastor Jeremiah Wrights’ cherry picked sermons. What did he say that was outrageous (except the AIDS claim), what he said is not divorced from reality:

    "America is still the No. 1 killer in the world. . . . We are deeply involved in the importing of drugs, the exporting of guns, and the training of professional killers . . . We bombed Cambodia, Iraq and Nicaragua, killing women and children while trying to get public opinion turned against Castro and Ghadhafi . . . We put [Nelson] Mandela in prison and supported apartheid the whole 27 years he was there. We believe in white supremacy and black inferiority and believe it more than we believe in God."

    If you take away the apparent wrath and examine what Pastor Wright said, you will come to the conclusion that he stated historical facts. Successions of American governments indeed bombed these countries.  We did support apartheid-the current Vice President voted against sanctions for South Africa (was he called to atone for his vote?). It is undisputable that the apartheid system continued with our tacit approval in the form of unrestricted trade. The hypocrisy of our foreign policy is staggering, we grandstand and rail against human rights abuses in some countries, like Libya and Cuba, while we have allies such as the foremost abusers of human rights-Kazakhstan. We won’t trade with Iran unless it is secret (Iran-Contra, anyone), but we felt continued trading with the Apartheid regime of South Africa. As a nation we need a soul searching by examining what Pastor Wright is saying instead of calling him racist and Black Nationalist-by the way what is the proof?

    Don’t get me wrong his firebrand sermon is not my cup of tea but I have seen similar fire coming from religious figures of all religion. Let’s suspend the hypocrisy for awhile and examine the message.

    •  There is more to the AIDS story (0+ / 0-)

      Reagan did not take it seriously until very late as it was thought of a gay man's disease.
      Clinton sent Gore to South Africa to pressure the government to stop its plan to introduce generics. When the government didn't stop, the Americans supported big Pharma's law suit to prevent tha South African government's plans. In the three years the law was held up in the courts, 3 million South Africans died from AIDS.

      So yes, the US did put the commercial interests of its companies ahead of African lives. They did contribute to genocide. This was probably the most depraved defense of the intellectual property rights regime that has driven up drug costs and made obscene profits for the pharmaceutical industry.

      If the world was serious about AIDS they would have treated it like an international emergency. But they haven't, because they haven't cared enough, or at all beyond teach abstinence.

      I'm mad as Gravel, and I'm not going to take it anymore!

      by ceti on Mon Mar 17, 2008 at 12:59:49 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  United Church of Christ's Response to Attacks (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    SciVo

    Here is the response of the national UCC Church to the attacks on Rev. Wright.

    http://www.ucc.org/...

    JPZenger was a newspaper publisher whose jury trial in the 1730s for seditious libel helped establish the freedom to criticize top government officials.

    by JPZenger on Mon Mar 17, 2008 at 12:36:21 PM PDT

  •  Over and Over and Over..like Deans scream (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    amberglow

    I don't watch CNN that often, my husband tells me that the Wright diatribe is getting non stop play..they are trying to do to Obama with this clip what hey managed to do with Howard Dean's amplified shout of joy..

    Think Tank. "A place where people are paid to think by the makers of tanks" Naomi Klein.

    by ohcanada on Mon Mar 17, 2008 at 12:44:00 PM PDT

  •  Teacherken, I really like this diary! (0+ / 0-)

    I actually copied and sent it to a number of my friends, which isn't something I do very often.

    I thought it was well thought.

  •  Rev. Wright didn't say anything that (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    hcc in VA

    Rep. Maxine Waters or former Rep. Cynthia McKinney haven't already said. You can't control everyone who supports you.  You can only disavow what they have said when they express sentiments that are at odds with your own.   Obama has done that.  Next story, please.  

    Having credibility when making an argument is the straightest path to persuasion.

    by SpamNunn on Mon Mar 17, 2008 at 12:56:29 PM PDT

  •  By showing Rev. Wright's style, not to mention (0+ / 0-)

    words, I think, is to impart more of a racially divisive tone (who'lda thunk it?) into the campaign.  Many (whites) might feel uncomfortable with that type of sermonizing.  

    We Changed The Course! Now we must hold their feet to the fire.

    by hcc in VA on Mon Mar 17, 2008 at 12:58:10 PM PDT

  •  Here are my thoughts on the issue: (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    SciVo, BirderWitch, Kaaha

    Photobucket

    You've got to vote for someone. It's a shame, but it's got to be done.--Whoopi Goldberg

    by Libertaria on Mon Mar 17, 2008 at 01:04:23 PM PDT

  •  Another good Gandhi quote: (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    saralee, hcc in VA, proudest monkey

    I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.

    I think he was talking about Tony Perkins.

  •  Inscribed on the Jefferson Memorial (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    teacherken

    Indeed I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just, that his justice cannot sleep forever.

    I mean, they chiseled that right into the wall, the America-hating commie terrorist scum.

  •  Obama not facing these challenges, a problem (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    amberglow

    If Obama let's the narrative flow without him pointint out basic elements of the fake outrage, like white right-wing fanatics (reverennds) using inflammatory language against the USA, then to be deemed "respectable" by the corporate media, well, he has a serious problem.

    Why doesn't his campaign asks why a bona fidae racist/white supremacist like Pat Buchanan or a lunatic "religious man" like Pat Robertson are considered mainstream on American TV, but Wright is, somehow, a fringe individual?

    The fake outrage should have been tackled head on by Obama. Once again, it did not happen.

  •  Obama to UCC last year--be "troublemakers" (0+ / 0-)

    --"... Last June, in a talk at the General Synod in Hartford, Conn., celebrating the 50th anniversary of the UCC, Obama urged church members to continue to be "troublemakers" for progressive causes such as civil rights. ..."  -- http://www.cleveland.com/...

    And then, he farted candy and rainbows...

    by amberglow on Mon Mar 17, 2008 at 06:56:33 PM PDT

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