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Pangloss

Obama's Pastor -- is Obama a secret radical, or is this just guilt by association?

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I have mixed feelings about the Jeremiah Wright situation, but I think more questions need to be asked. For those who haven't heard, he's Obama's pastor, who was jettisoned from the campaign last week after some of his more insensitive (but apparently quite common) America-bashing remarks became public. Here are some examples:

 

"The government gives them the drugs, builds bigger prisons, passes a three-strike law and then wants us to sing 'God Bless America.' No, no, no, God damn America, that's in the Bible for killing innocent people," he said in a 2003 sermon. "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."

 

Source here.

 

“U.S. of K.K.K.A.”

 

Wright has also said that the US is responsible for 9/11 through its acts of "terrorism" against black people. Doesn't make a whole lot of sense to me, but I guess he's entitled to his opinion.

 

"We bombed Hiroshima' date=' we bombed Nagasaki, and we nuked far more than the thousands in New York and the Pentagon, and we never batted an eye," Rev. Wright said in a sermon [b']on Sept. 16, 2001[/b].

 

"We have supported state terrorism against the Palestinians and black South Africans, and now we are indignant because the stuff we have done overseas is now brought right back to our own front yards. America's chickens are coming home to roost," he told his congregation.

 

Wright helped organize the "Million Man March", and once visited Libyan president Qadafi with Louis Farrakhan, whom he's called one of the giants of the 20th century. Yeeeeesh. To his credit, Obama has denounced Farrakhan and his endorsement.

 

Is this just a case of guilt by association? Can we really hold Obama accountable for the words of another person? Surely not, right? But I think we can ask whether these words influenced Obama. He claims to have been a member of that church for over 20 years. Wright wasn't just his pastor -- he officiated at his wedding and baptized his children! Surely it's reasonable to wonder what influence this man has had on Obama.

 

Obama says he didn't know about anything more than "one or two remarks", which he says he felt in the past should not cause him to reject his pastor. But is that an honest comment? He knew enough to ask his pastor not to officiate at his announcement a year ago, according to this NY Times story. I'd like to know whether Obama sat through some of the seedier sermons from this man's repetoire.

 

As a side note of some amusement, the link below goes to an article at Rolling Stone that USED to be headlined "The Radical Roots of Barrack Obama" (notice the link?) -- now it's called "Destiny's Child"! Rofl! I guess Rolling Stone has all the answers it needs!

 

http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/story/13390609/campaign_08_the_radical_roots_of_barack_obama

 

 

Anyway, to summarize, I think it's reasonable for people to ask questions about this, and I'd like to know more about the influence this man had on Obama over the years. How close were they? Has Obama ever echoed his sentiments, even in the semi-conscious way that his wife has? If he has, will that adversely affect his ability to lead this country?

 

What do you all think?

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There's definitely not enough information to say what's going on, and that might to Obama's advantage if he has something to hide.

 

Now, I believe that there are certain elements of truth to what Rev. Wright says, but his rhetoric is inexcusibly radical.

 

This has tarnished Obama in my veiw, and it makes him less electable. Not just because he has this history, but his response (or lack thereof) was so standard politician talk, that I can't help to think that he's hiding something. And Obama was supposed to be the atypical policitian... I guess this shouldn't come as a surprise.

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Has this pastor said a thing that's any crazier than the crap Jerry Falwell had said? Pat Robertson? James Dobson?

 

If anyone wants to crucify Obama for his wacky pastor, then they should probably look at who the Republican candidates have been worshiping at the altar of since the "Reagan revolution."

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First, Wright is far from radical when compared to most reverends in predominantly black areas. His words may be harsh, but they express a very real and underlying resentment and frustration in this country, no matter how much it causes discomfort in many of us. The roaring "Amen!"s in his audience are a clear sign that he is speaking to a sense which is very real and common.

 

I also suggest that he is probably a much better man than those three soundbites seem to imply to those of us who have never met him.

 

 

Either way, to suggest this somehow should reflect negatively on Obama is akin to suggesting that because you were sitting in the audience when the CEO of your company made comment which reflected poorly on a group that you are somehow complicit in that comment.

 

Obama has completely and unequivocally renounced the remarks, and IMO it is not exactly an intelligent approach for any of us to attack him as if he made these comments himself.

 

 

What more exactly do people want him to do?

 

 

 

 

 

 

It was addressed and discussed on Meet the Press this morning, video available here:

 

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/22425001/vp/23659238#23659238

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The guilt by association fallacy breaks down a bit, iNow, because Obama has actually donated money to this church.

 

I'm not saying Obama agrees or even that anything wrong was said. What worries me is that Obama is attempting to disassociate from Wright. Which is a typical action for the typical politician. I'd be happier if Obama said, yes I agree with X disagree with Y but I still support Wright and his church. rather than shedding the black sheep entirely as soon as it becomes a liability.

 

I know politics doesn't traditionally work that way, but Obama was supposed to be the 'nontraditional' candidate.

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First, Wright is far from radical when compared to most reverends in predominantly black areas. His words may be harsh, but they express a very real and underlying resentment and frustration in this country, no matter how much it causes discomfort in many of us. The roaring "Amen!"s in his audience are a clear sign that he is speaking to a sense which is very real and common.

 

I also suggest that he is probably a much better man than those three soundbites seem to imply to those of us who have never met him.

 

 

Either way, to suggest this somehow should reflect negatively on Obama is akin to suggesting that because you were sitting in the audience when the CEO of your company made comment which reflected poorly on a group that you are somehow complicit in that comment.

 

Obama has completely and unequivocally renounced the remarks, and IMO it is not exactly an intelligent approach for any of us to attack him as if he made these comments himself.

 

 

What more exactly do people want him to do?

 

 

 

 

 

 

It was addressed and discussed on Meet the Press this morning, video available here:

 

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/22425001/vp/23659238#23659238

 

You make a good point. Most White Americans have never attended a Black church service and, apparently, were quite taken aback by the fiery style of preaching which is common in both the Black church and Pentecostal White churches.

 

It is worthwhile to remember the role that the Prophets - Isaiah, Amos, Micah, Elijah, etc - play in the Black church. If one opens Amos to, say, the third chapter and imagines Amos standing in a square yelling this at the Israelites, the effect must have been about the same.

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Has this pastor said a thing that's any crazier than the crap Jerry Falwell had said? Pat Robertson? James Dobson?

 

If anyone wants to crucify Obama for his wacky pastor, then they should probably look at who the Republican candidates have been worshiping at the altar of since the "Reagan revolution."

 

Obama's relationship with this particular pastor is closer than that of most "Christian Conservative" Republicans and the names you mentioned above.

 

But more to the point, you can hardly say that the Bush administration has failed to come under scrutiny for those associations. Anything but -- it's been one of the biggest points of contention with the current administration.

 

 

First, Wright is far from radical when compared to most reverends in predominantly black areas. His words may be harsh, but they express a very real and underlying resentment and frustration in this country, no matter how much it causes discomfort in many of us. The roaring "Amen!"s in his audience are a clear sign that he is speaking to a sense which is very real and common.

 

This makes it worse in my view, because it seems more likely he was one of the ones shouting "Amen!" than one of the ones hiding in the back row thinking how vehemently he disagreed with what was just said on the podium.

 

As to whether they're expressing real resentment and frustration felt by others in the country, I'm not sure how this is relevent. You could say the same thing about Christian Conservatives, but we both lament their influence on Washington, don't we?

 

 

Either way, to suggest this somehow should reflect negatively on Obama is akin to suggesting that because you were sitting in the audience when the CEO of your company made comment which reflected poorly on a group that you are somehow complicit in that comment.

 

I think this analogy is a poor one -- you don't go to work for the same reasons you go to church. You work for a company to take home a paycheck, not to receive spiritual enlightenment and encouragement. And many attend church to receive guidance and motivation as well. Was Obama one of those? I don't know, but I think I need an answer to that question now.

 

I think where that analogy may work to some degree is in the notion that things are said in church that not everyone agrees with. I agree with that general notion, and I'm more than willing to admit it might be the case here. But if that were the case, why did he keep going there, have him marry the couple, have him baptize the kids, etc? And then why did he push him away when he announced his candidacy?

 

These are legitimate questions that warrant full investigation.

 

 

Obama has completely and unequivocally renounced the remarks, and IMO it is not exactly an intelligent approach for any of us to attack him as if he made these comments himself.

 

I missed that -- where in this thread did someone attack him as if he made these comments himself?

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I'm not saying Obama agrees or even that anything wrong was said. What worries me is that Obama is attempting to disassociate from Wright. Which is a typical action for the typical politician. I'd be happier if Obama said, yes I agree with X disagree with Y but I still support Wright and his church.

 

Hmmm... I guess I need to go back and review the situation more closely. I thought that was EXACTLY what he did.

 

This makes it worse in my view, because it seems more likely he was one of the ones shouting "Amen!" than one of the ones hiding in the back row thinking how vehemently he disagreed with what was just said on the podium.

Your conjecture... does it have any support, or is it just a conjecture? I am of the belief that if one is to be crucified by the populace that it should be (at the VERY least) for something that has hard and solid evidence backing it up. Your comments above seem to suggest that, "hmmm... maybe HE agrees!!," and I find that position as nothing more than heresay. It's not admissible in court for good reason... :rolleyes:

 

 

As to whether they're expressing real resentment and frustration felt by others in the country, I'm not sure how this is relevent.

It's not relevant to the situation of Obama and his bid for presidency, but I think it does serve to provide some context for the sitation we are discussing. Many in the media are throwing around the idea of how "rabid" this reverend is and what a bad influence he is on someone trying to be president.

 

I believe that's very silly. Just one week ago Obama is being attacked because pictures surfaced which made people think he was Muslim, and the next week he's being attacked because the Christian spiritual leader at the church he attended and who he had marry he and his wife and baptize his kids said some things that make white people afraid. It's just silly.

 

Challenge his positions. Challenge his approach. Challenge the way he runs his campaign and the way he handles others. I am personally extremely tired of the weapons of mass distraction which appear during every single election cycle in this country.

 

This situation is no different, and I find it frustrating and silly.

 

 

I think this analogy is a poor one -- you don't go to work for the same reasons you go to church.

I wouldn't really know. I don't go to church. Never been a big fan, really. I do go to work to socialize and to discuss what's on my mind and share ideas with my co-workers. I have the option of working completely remotely, anywhere. The company even pays for internet and phone at your house, but I still choose to go into the office and work from my desk. Why? Because my coworkers and I share stories, and help each other and hang out together outside of work... we are a social community that is close nit and share common desires and goals. We help each other when we're in need and we come together to get things done. I do get a paycheck, but is it really that different from church?

 

 

And many attend church to receive guidance and motivation as well. Was Obama one of those? I don't know, but I think I need an answer to that question now.

Why, though? What on Thor's green Earth does that have to do with running our nation, creating jobs, improving relationships with the inhabitants of our planet, curbing environmental impact, and motivating people enough that they get off of their asses and help you to accomplish these goals and get things done?

 

I will concede right now that I am nearly certain that Obama has been encouraged and guided by his spirtual relationship with his church, his reverend, and his peers. What I question is how the comments from his reverend which cast light on the vast socioeconomic chasm this nation has experienced for the last several centuries and the frustrations people are experiencing is somehow supposed to stain how we see him as a human being or potential candidate.

 

 

I think where that analogy may work to some degree is in the notion that things are said in church that not everyone agrees with. I agree with that general notion, and I'm more than willing to admit it might be the case here.

And that was the primary point I intended to make, so I thank you for letting me know that my post wasn't a complete failure.

 

 

But if that were the case, why did he keep going there, have him marry the couple, have him baptize the kids, etc?

Two things. One, your comments imply that people will leave a social group, walk away from friends, neighbors, and family because the person who speaks before that group does not always do so perfectly. Two, your comments imply Reverend Wright has consistently and habitually engaged in such inflammatory rhetoric and has some track record of these types of things. I do not believe the facts of the situation support either of those positions, and will again say that is not much more than heresay on your part.

 

 

These are legitimate questions that warrant full investigation.

Yes. Let's get the torches ready. It's time fer a hangin'! I don't live that far from Jasper, where James Byrd was chained to the back of a pickup truck and dragged down the road, and I'm perhaps overly sensitive to this mentality because I've experienced it so frequently first hand during my life.

 

I am, by no means whatsoever, suggesting that you are a racist or that your are bigoted. I am pretty confident you are not. What I am suggesting is that it is precisely this mindset... ... this burning of witches mentality... that leads to such atrocities, and we do it far too often in today's culture.

 

Also, to be clear, I'm not suggesting anyone in this thread is attacking him. What I am saying is that this has already begun across the news outlets, and in the blogosphere, and it is being discussed for some strange reason in other contexts as evidenced by your starting of the thread here... and it will likely continue because of how we do things in modern politics.

 

Today our venom toward people in the spotlight is analogous to modern gladiator matches where everyone tunes in to see the big guy get eaten by the lion are slayed by the sword. My greater point is simply this. Can we all finally get past the blood lust, please?

 

 

 

The reverend of his church said some things that scare white people. He denounced the comments. I don't see where the benefit lies in making this story anything more than that, other than to tear down a potential candidate using the old and outdated venomous politics which have hurt our country so much already.

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Hmmm... I guess I need to go back and review the situation more closely. I thought that was EXACTLY what he did.

 

I mean in reference to specific policy rather than the 'wishy-washy' rhetoric.

 

He was attending that church for some reason, and you would expect it's because he agreed with at least some of what the pastor was saying. I don't really buy the notion that Wright was just Obama's spiritual adviser... by the sound of it, Wright was very into political preaching.

 

Challenge his positions. Challenge his approach. Challenge the way he runs his campaign and the way he handles others. I am personally extremely tired of the weapons of mass distraction which appear during every single election cycle in this country.

 

This situation is no different' date=' and I find it frustrating and silly.[/quote']

I think the situation is quite different. A picture of Obama in another culture's ceremonial guard doesn't tell us much.

 

But, if his Rev. can be construed as a racist, and since Obama has admitted to have strong ties to the Rev., there's a clearer debate as to whether Obama also has these beliefs.

 

The reverend of his church said some things that scare white people. He denounced the comments. I don't see where the benefit lies in making this story anything more than that, other than to tear down a potential candidate using the old and outdated venomous politics which have hurt our country so much already.

 

Denounced them because he doesn't believe them or because it would be damaging to his political ambitions?

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Is this just a case of guilt by association? Can we really hold Obama accountable for the words of another person? Surely not, right? But I think we can ask whether these words influenced Obama. He claims to have been a member of that church for over 20 years. Wright wasn't just his pastor -- he officiated at his wedding and baptized his children! Surely it's reasonable to wonder what influence this man has had on Obama.

 

Well, if you can't find anything wrong with Obama himself, finding something wrong with someone close to him makes for juicy enough gossip instead, right? ;) To me it looks more like people trying to manipulate the masses than anything particularly important. I mean, Ad Hominem is considered bad enough, but Ad Hominem by association? You got to be kidding me. While it may be fair to speculate on what influence this pastor who appears to be too rabid on Obama, perhaps it is also fair to speculate on why this is such big news as compared to something more substantial.

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TheAmazingAtheist, on YouTube, recently made a VERY good video about this. And while I don't always agree with his views, he is very smart, and makes quite good points. So.. here it is:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IQHG9VSA-tA

 

I am not too well versed in American politics, but TheAmazingAtheist makes good points about Obama and this pastor person. Guilt by association is ... well... understandable in politics, but not always the wise thing.

 

In any case, I just thought you might appreciate his input, he's pretty good.

 

~moo

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Also, to be clear, I'm not suggesting anyone in this thread is attacking him. What I am saying is that this has already begun across the news outlets (etc)

 

Ok, I just wanted to make sure we didn't have a conflict there. Thanks for clarifying. :)

 

 

This makes it worse in my view' date=' because it [b']seems[/b] more likely he was one of the ones shouting "Amen!" than one of the ones hiding in the back row thinking how vehemently he disagreed with what was just said on the podium.

Your conjecture... does it have any support, or is it just a conjecture? I am of the belief that if one is to be crucified by the populace that it should be (at the VERY least) for something that has hard and solid evidence backing it up. Your comments above seem to suggest that, "hmmm... maybe HE agrees!!," and I find that position as nothing more than heresay. It's not admissible in court for good reason... :rolleyes:

 

Oh I'm not making a conjecture. What I want to know is -- was he one of the ones chanting "Amen!" or was he hiding his disagreement and displeasure. The bit you mentioned earlier about how this is a popular position in black churches made me wonder if it might be more likely that he were the former than the later (i.e. this is well-known in the black community, and expected by incoming parishoners), but I really have no idea if this is the case or not.

 

Not yet, at any rate. And maybe not ever. But I certainly won't find that out if we sweep this under the rug just because the press and right-wing idiots have grabbed hold of it. :)

 

 

(re: these are common sentiments in black churches)

It's not relevant to the situation of Obama and his bid for presidency, but I think it does serve to provide some context for the sitation we are discussing. Many in the media are throwing around the idea of how "rabid" this reverend is and what a bad influence he is on someone trying to be president.

 

Makes sense to me. But it could still be that he is a "rabid" reverend and was a bad influence on someone trying to be the president. Of course, even if he was, that doesn't mean Obama is a secret Muslim Black Panther terrorist. But it could be relevent to the issue of whether he's being forthright and honest about his motivations and goals as president.

 

 

Just one week ago Obama is being attacked because pictures surfaced which made people think he was Muslim, and the next week he's being attacked because the Christian spiritual leader at the church he attended and who he had marry he and his wife and baptize his kids said some things that make white people afraid. It's just silly.

 

I can understand why people see it that way. It certain has an air of swiftboat-ness about it. Unfortunately this is what partisanship has built in this country (thanks ABBers/Clinton-bashers, welcome to the direct result of your stupid, shortsighted ways!). We certainly agree on that.

 

But there's also a great danger here in overcompensating by not exploring reasonable questions because they feel like swift-boating. I still want to know what his influences are, and what his opinions are, and if he's hiding some of them from us because they're unpopular. It's a valid question.

 

And that's the great thing about the process you're bemoaning. Because everything you say about it, how frustrating and ill-targetted and ill-conceived it it, all that's true. But in the end the bright spotlight can still cast light on important, relevent information. All we can do is hope it'll shine through, for better or worse.

 

 

Challenge his positions. Challenge his approach. Challenge the way he runs his campaign and the way he handles others.

 

That's a great point. And I think that's been happening more lately (the infatuation seems to be over), and is probably a good thing. He's been more clear recently about his positions regarding troop withdrawl, economics, and more, perhaps motivated by recent Clinton victories. It's not enough, but it's a step in the right direction.

 

 

I think this analogy is a poor one -- you don't go to work for the same reasons you go to church.

I wouldn't really know. I don't go to church. Never been a big fan' date=' really. I do go to work to socialize and to discuss what's on my mind and share ideas with my co-workers. I have the option of working completely remotely, anywhere. The company even pays for internet and phone at your house, but I still choose to go into the office and work from my desk. Why? Because my coworkers and I share stories, and help each other and hang out together outside of work... we are a social community that is close nit and share common desires and goals. We help each other when we're in need and we come together to get things done. I do get a paycheck, but is it really that different from church?[/quote']

 

Um, yeah guy, I'm afraid so. Most people don't go to work for spiritual enlightenment and direction, at least not in the same sense or to the same degree that they go to church for that. Sorry, but I think you're really reaching with that one. But I'm glad you have such a nice employer. :)

 

 

Why, though? What on Thor's green Earth does that have to do with running our nation, creating jobs, improving relationships with the inhabitants of our planet, curbing environmental impact, and motivating people enough that they get off of their asses and help you to accomplish these goals and get things done?

 

Why does it matter that Bush is a born-again Christian with close ties to the christian conservative movement? That certainly seemed to matter to his critics. And maybe with good reason -- it seemed to affect his policy-making decisions at times. So wasn't it a valid question for voters to ask in 2000? And so why wouldn't it be a valid question to ask now?

 

The answer is that it matters IFF it affects his policy-making decisions. But since we can't ever know what ultimately drives a politician's policy-making decisions, we have to settle for doing our best to understand their motivations and backgrounds, and ask idiotic questions like "How would/does your believe in god inform your presidency?", as if that question actually makes some kind of logical sense.

 

We have not only a right but a responsibility to judge the character of our politicians running for office. That is a right, honest, normal thing to do.

 

 

I will concede right now that I am nearly certain that Obama has been encouraged and guided by his spirtual relationship with his church, his reverend, and his peers.

 

Seems likely, doesn't it? But I don't know that he was there when the reverend made the kind of outrageous statements we've heard, or what his reaction to them was at the time, or how it influenced his thinking, or how it influences his current thinking. Not yet, anyway. I hope to learn these things.

 

By the way, I didn't ask those things about George Bush in 2000. I regret not doing so. I don't think he was the catastrophe in that department that some feel he was, but I blame myself for episodes like Terry Schiavo, partial-birth abortion bans, "the John Roberts Court" and the ban on federal funding for embryonic stem cell research.

 

That is to say, centrists like me who fell under the attractive awnings of a really big tent.

 

I won't make the same mistake twice. This time I pull out ALL the stops. This time I take NOTHING for granted. :cool:

 

 

What I question is how the comments from his reverend which cast light on the vast socioeconomic chasm this nation has experienced for the last several centuries and the frustrations people are experiencing is somehow supposed to stain how we see him as a human being or potential candidate.

 

I think he clearly goes beyond that point. Two wrongs don't make a right, and that speech from him was all about two wrongs.

 

iNow, do you join Obama in condemning this man's comments, and the comments of Louis Farrakahn, or do you support them instead?

 

I think this is a really important question. Obama surely condemned them for a reason -- was it just to appease white voters?

 

 

 

Two things. One, your comments imply that people will leave a social group, walk away from friends, neighbors, and family because the person who speaks before that group does not always do so perfectly.

 

Isn't that what Obama is doing right now?

 

 

 

Two, your comments imply Reverend Wright has consistently and habitually engaged in such inflammatory rhetoric and has some track record of these types of things. I do not believe the facts of the situation support either of those positions, and will again say that is not much more than heresay on your part.

 

We don't know that yet. That's what we're about to find out, though.

 

 

These are legitimate questions that warrant full investigation.

Yes. Let's get the torches ready. It's time fer a hangin'! I don't live that far from Jasper' date=' where James Byrd was chained to the back of a pickup truck and dragged down the road, and I'm perhaps overly sensitive to this mentality because I've experienced it so frequently first hand during my life.

 

I am, by no means whatsoever, suggesting that you are a racist or that your are bigoted. I am pretty confident you are not. What I am suggesting is that it is precisely this mindset... ... this burning of witches mentality... that leads to such atrocities, and we do it far too often in today's culture.

 

I recognize that you don't mean me, and I do empathize with your frustration, but I think that's a very unfortunate direction, because it suggests that people cannot criticize Obama without being accused of "grabbing torches". I don't think that's really what you want any more than I do. :)

 

 

 

(BTW, do I get credit at least for handling this thread a little differently?) :embarass:

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But it could still be that he is a "rabid" reverend and was a bad influence on someone trying to be the president. Of course, even if he was, that doesn't mean Obama is a secret Muslim Black Panther terrorist.

Oh... Come on, Pangloss! We all know it's not a secret! :D

 

<sorry, I couldn't resist. You made me laugh with the black panther reference. funny indeed.>.

 

 

I can understand why people see it that way. It certain has an air of swiftboat-ness about it. Unfortunately this is what partisanship has built in this country (thanks ABBers/Clinton-bashers, welcome to the direct result of your stupid, shortsighted ways!). We certainly agree on that.

 

I wouldn't blame it on any one group, but it's definitely a type of politics which is getting in the way of our progress and I am really very tired of it. I was ranting about the same thing 4 years ago, and 4 years before that, and I'll keep ranting until it improves.

 

 

But there's also a great danger here in overcompensating by not exploring reasonable questions because they feel like swift-boating. I still want to know what his influences are, and what his opinions are, and if he's hiding some of them from us because they're unpopular. It's a valid question.

 

I see your point. I suppose what I'm missing is the personal first-hand experience of church, and how the words from some dude in a robe can impact my approach to life. To me, I make my own decisions. I read my own information and explore my own thoughts. I am not some sheep that is told what to do and how to believe. I tend to extrapolate that approach to others, and I should like the think that Obama is his own man, who makes his own decisions, and that he is where he is today even with this pastor and church as part of his background. I don't see how his running for president suddenly changes the impact the speaker before his church may have on him.

 

Hmmm... that was a bit of a word jumble there. Basically, Obama's been going to this church for 20 years. He has been doing great things in the community, and great things in Senate... all still being part of this church. The only thing that's changed is that the paparazzi are now video taping the church since Obama is seeking higher office.

 

 

But in the end the bright spotlight can still cast light on important, relevent information. All we can do is hope it'll shine through, for better or worse.

I'm not bemoaning the spotlight itself, but where it is aimed. As noted earlier in this thread, I totally suck at analogies, but it's like going on a job interview to be a process engineer at a solar fabrication plant and your getting the job depending on whether you prefer Snickers or KitKat.

 

See... I really suck at analogies. ;)

 

 

Um, yeah guy, I'm afraid so. Most people don't go to work for spiritual enlightenment and direction, at least not in the same sense or to the same degree that they go to church for that. Sorry, but I think you're really reaching with that one.

I'll have to take your word for it. My bigger point was that, IMO, people attend church more for the social cohesion aspect than spiritual guidance. I could be wrong, but I've always seen church as more communal than spiritual.

 

 

The answer is that it matters IFF it affects his policy-making decisions.

I understand. This is why I would never have voted Huckabee... the moment I saw him raise his hand saying he didn't believe in evolution, I knew that his priorities were not in the right place.

 

I knew this about Bush, but it wasn't his faith. It was my experience with him as our governor, where I learned that he was very fake and would say whatever it took, true or false, to gain more power.

 

But Obama's background IS different. His daddy didn't hand him a baseball team, and his version of "slumming it" didn't entail Dom Perignon instead of Crystal... I think he's a bright human being with the mindset we need right now. Further, what his pastor said is actually true, regardless of the tone he used to express it, so I cannot really say that I am very concerned if it informs Obama's position... which remains to be seen anyway.

 

 

Seems likely, doesn't it? But I don't know that he was there when the reverend made the kind of outrageous statements we've heard, or what his reaction to them was at the time, or how it influenced his thinking, or how it influences his current thinking. Not yet, anyway. I hope to learn these things.

Again, out of all of the things the reverend said, this "outrageous" stuff is the true part. He talks also about people rising from the dead and angels warring and all kinds of other ludicrous nonsense, but it's the true part that we attack? I can't even find the words to tell you how assinine I find that.

 

 

iNow, do you join Obama in condemning this man's comments, and the comments of Louis Farrakahn, or do you support them instead?

This country, as one of it's founding principles, guarentees free speech. As I mentioned above, regardless of the tone Reverend Wright chose, his words were true.

 

I am 99% confident that Obama would support his reverend as a man and as a friend. I believe the statement he made (for which I shared a Youtube link) was also true, and had to be done to appease the angry mob. He needed to remind people that, while he has attended this man's church for years and shared his faith and community with this man, that there are things about which they disagree. He needed to remind people that he does not get spoon fed from Reverend Wright how to feel and to see the world, and that he does think that Wright's rhetoric went too far.

 

Ecoli has raised the point that Obama is supposed to be a different kind of politician, and that his trying to calm the masses makes him look like a regular politician. I see that point, but he is ultimately a politician. He can still be a different type AND try to put out fires like this which keep getting lit. I don't expect him to be absolutely seperate from the political process, I just expect him to do it better and for the right reasons.

 

 

(BTW, do I get credit at least for handling this thread a little differently?) :embarass:

Absolutely! What kind of cookie do you want me to give you? ;)

 

Cheers. :)

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You make a good point. Most White Americans have never attended a Black church service and, apparently, were quite taken aback by the fiery style of preaching which is common in both the Black church and Pentecostal White churches.

 

Yes, I was quite taken by the filth and hate spewing out of his mouth, and if that's what's going on in black churches then it's time to march against the hate. KKK is a legal institution and it's wrong and we speak out against it. This is absolutely no different. I don't care how much "white guilt" everybody's ready to shed, I don't support hatred in any form. This is sick. It's also more disgusting and reprehensible than anything I've heard out of the religiously indoctrinated in a long time.

 

Where's the christian bashers? You know who you are and usually you're all lined up ready to bury the republican...er I mean...uh..the guy aligned with the religious right. I guess unsubstantiated belief is all cool when it's a minority candidate, your candidate, spewing hate for white people. Excellent consistency there. :rolleyes:

 

Well I for one will continue to enjoy watching you Obama worshippers do your intellectual tap dances around his racist ties. Is Obama a racist? Doubtful. But his preacher is, and he endorsed him and has shown he will not discourage black on white racism and bigotry. Obama ought to be leading the charge against this, not just shrugging his shoulders and disavowing association like a teenager caught drinking with his friends. Sounds like an open and shut case - and this thread would only be for cheer leading the hanging if this were a white dude.

 

So why exactly are we making excuses for him again? Is this what I can expect from white america with a black president? No one is going to stand up to him?

 

Hmmm... that was a bit of a word jumble there. Basically, Obama's been going to this church for 20 years. He has been doing great things in the community, and great things in Senate... all still being part of this church. The only thing that's changed is that the paparazzi are now video taping the church since Obama is seeking higher office.

 

Yeah and our forefathers and framers did some great things while still owning slaves and refusing to even discuss emancipation. Racists are dynamic people with good qualities and bad ones, not just rednecks with pick-up trucks with gun racks and beer-on-demand. However, I thought we expected better from our politicians nowadays.

 

As I mentioned above, regardless of the tone Reverend Wright chose, his words were true.

 

What words were those?

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And that's the great thing about the process you're bemoaning. Because everything you say about it, how frustrating and ill-targetted and ill-conceived it it, all that's true. But in the end the bright spotlight can still cast light on important, relevent information. All we can do is hope it'll shine through, for better or worse.

 

Well, there's the light that illuminates and the light that blinds. No one but an idiot goes around blatantly lying, the clever people lie only with truths. In this case, making these facts public and leading people to speculate seems a distraction form more important issues. Why was this not investigated before making it public, huh? By making it public now, there is no longer any chance to learn the truth, because any non-suicidal politician would then cover up any agreement with any unpopular statements. You even hinted at this yourself.

 

So now people are being told that Obama is guilty by association with this pastor, and that we should ignore what he has to say about it because

Obama surely condemned them for a reason -- was it just to appease white voters?

Damned if he does and damned if he doesn't.

 

Which is your metaphorical spotlight, the light that illuminates or the light that blinds?

 

----

If all of politics weren't so shallow I would ask that this be moved to the Speculations forum. After all, we're at the level of making an Ad Hominem by association, followed by speculating as to whether Obama denounced some statements to appease white voters.

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Yes we are, but that's politics for ya.

 

Three great posts above, btw. These are tricky issues and you guys have tackled them head-on. I think iNow and Mr. Skeptic raise some very relevent and important points, especially the notion that once something goes public it becomes much harder to learn the truth, which is an odd little Catch-22. I also think ParanoiA raises a valid point about the concerns regarding this pastor:

 

Yes, I was quite taken by the filth and hate spewing out of his mouth, and if that's what's going on in black churches then it's time to march against the hate. KKK is a legal institution and it's wrong and we speak out against it. This is absolutely no different. I don't care how much "white guilt" everybody's ready to shed, I don't support hatred in any form. This is sick. It's also more disgusting and reprehensible than anything I've heard out of the religiously indoctrinated in a long time.

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Yes, I was quite taken by the filth and hate spewing out of his mouth, and if that's what's going on in black churches then it's time to march against the hate. KKK is a legal institution and it's wrong and we speak out against it. This is absolutely no different. I don't care how much "white guilt" everybody's ready to shed, I don't support hatred in any form. This is sick. It's also more disgusting and reprehensible than anything I've heard out of the religiously indoctrinated in a long time.

 

 

As for me, I was in the shocked category. I have never been to a black chuch, haven't been to many white churches for that matter. I was hoping this wasn't considered normal, but apparently it seems to be. Mrs. Obama's proud statement and Obama's flag pin omission start to look less ridiculus after watching this retard flap his jaws.

 

All men of faith have said something stupid now and again. Since Americans think their president needs to embrace fairy tales, they need to play that game, especially on the republican side. To get anything done in the black community, Obama needed to be a part of an important black church. McCain, who bashed the evangelicals in 2000 is playing his game as well. I think this comparison is much different in terms of degree though.

 

This doesn't change my opinion of Obama - I know he is just another politician, but it does change my opinion of churches in America. I am more concerned about the respect we give to religious leaders now than I was before. This guy might be helping kids get off the streets, but he is poisoning their minds. Making every tragedy another conspiracy planned by the white government.

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As for me, I was in the shocked category. I have never been to a black chuch, haven't been to many white churches for that matter. I was hoping this wasn't considered normal, but apparently it seems to be. Mrs. Obama's proud statement and Obama's flag pin omission start to look less ridiculus after watching this retard flap his jaws.

 

Exactly. They start to look less ridiculous and more like held beliefs. Even if they aren't prevalent they could still influence his thinking, and I want to know how far that goes. I'm not likely to get that answer but I think it's a reasonable question.

 

 

All men of faith have said something stupid now and again. Since Americans think their president needs to embrace fairy tales, they need to play that game, especially on the republican side. To get anything done in the black community, Obama needed to be a part of an important black church. McCain, who bashed the evangelicals in 2000 is playing his game as well. I think this comparison is much different in terms of degree though.

 

This doesn't change my opinion of Obama - I know he is just another politician, but it does change my opinion of churches in America. I am more concerned about the respect we give to religious leaders now than I was before. This guy might be helping kids get off the streets, but he is poisoning their minds. Making every tragedy another conspiracy planned by the white government.

 

Well this may indeed change my opinion of Obama, but I agree with the sentiment here. I think that was really well put.

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To get anything done in the black community, Obama needed to be a part of an important black church. McCain, who bashed the evangelicals in 2000 is playing his game as well. I think this comparison is much different in terms of degree though.

 

Great point.

 

This doesn't change my opinion of Obama - I know he is just another politician, but it does change my opinion of churches in America. I am more concerned about the respect we give to religious leaders now than I was before. This guy might be helping kids get off the streets, but he is poisoning their minds. Making every tragedy another conspiracy planned by the white government.

 

Dittos, although I would add the dangerous emphasis on externalizing thier plight in general, not just the white government thing. It's understandable to play with the hand you got dealt, but nowadays this is getting ridiculous. We should be way past this by now.

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It's understandable to play with the hand you got dealt, but nowadays this is getting ridiculous. We should be way past this by now.

 

Seconded.

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Calls for more answers from Obama are increasing, and they're not just coming from the right. Gerald Posner, a frequent Huffington Post columnist, Obama supporter and regular Bush critic, posted a column on Saturday calling for Obama to answer further questions about his associations with Wright. He focuses mainly on the 9/11 blame issue.

 

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/gerald-posner/reverend-wright-and-barac_b_91693.html

 

A church, synagogue, mosque, and other places of worship, are like extensions of the local communities they serve. Afro-centric churches like Trinity serve not only as houses of worship but as a backdrop for a wide range of social, personal, and often business, relationships. When a parishioner is away from their house of worship, if the preacher/priest/rabbi/imam says something particularly out of character -- or wildly controversial -- it is almost impossible that members aren't going to talk about it endlessly as gossip.

 

Can't you imagine the call or conversation? "Barack, you aren't going to believe what Revered Wright said yesterday at the church. You should be ready with a comment if someone from the press calls you up."

 

But Barack now claims he never heard about any of this until after he began his run for the presidency, in February, 20007.

 

Tell it straight. Was Reverend Wright so radical that his post 9/11 comments did not cause a stir at the Church, and you never learned about them until 2007, nearly 6 years later? Why, when you did learn about them, did you not ask Revered Wright to step down from his role in your campaign?

 

Obama pledged today to offer more answers on the Wright issue in a speech tomorrow.

 

Q: Senator, do you believe Rev. Wright was unfairly characterized in his controversy and what questions do you need to answer for voters tomorrow in this race speech?

 

Obama: You know, I am going to be talking about, not just Rev. Wright, but just the larger issue of race in this campaign, which ramped up over the last couple of weeks. So I don’t want to give a full preview. You might not come to the speech. But (pause) as I said in my statement, the statements that were the source of controversy from Rev. Wright were wrong and I strongly condemn them. I think the caricature that is being painted of him is not accurate and so part of what I’ll do tomorrow is talk a little bit about how some of these issues are perceived from within the black church community, for example, which I think views this very differently.

 

http://weblogs.baltimoresun.com/news/politics/blog/2008/03/obama_wait_until_tuesday_speec.html

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Yes, I was quite taken by the filth and hate spewing out of his mouth, and if that's what's going on in black churches then it's time to march against the hate. ?

 

I have a dear friend who, at least once a year, delivers a new version of her "Why I hate White people" speech when I'm within earshot. I always assume it's not aimed at me and go on with whatever I'm doing. Likewise, I didn't agree with everything Rev. Wright said, but it didn't seem to be aimed at me personally so it was no skin off my nose. But you have to listen to his sermon in the context of a prophetic voice. When he says "God damn America", he's not cursing America, he's asking God to put a curse on America, and there's a difference. As I noted earlier, read a little Amos and imagine you're an Israelite listening to it.

 

As an aside, if I were to defend the man, I would just note his age and tell you that he is from an angry generation. If you have a couple hours, read Soul on Ice for a perspective on that anger.

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Why is it better that he would he want god to put a curse on America?

 

Why isn't that an example of two wrongs making a right?

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Why does this matter in politics if it's not the reverend himself who is running for office?

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