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Close, But No Cigar

Jay Ackroyd has been posting at Eschaton lately and he has a strong post in his Teaching Moments. He correctly identifies the opportunity of the kerfuffle¹ over Reverend Dr. Wright, and he has apparently read the relevant books [Ghost Wars by Steve Coll and Blowback by Chalmers Johnson] but then he loses the thread by saying:

“If, when the klieg lights came up, he had translated those ideas from the language of an inner city pulpit into secular foreign policy speak he could possibly have influenced the public dialogue.”

Dr. Wright is a pastor, professor, and author. He preaches, teaches and writes about Black Liberation Theology. That is his area of expertise and he stays within its confines. He was attacked for something he said in the pulpit, a phrase taken out of context, and he responded to the attack at every venue offered.

Dr. Wright was the pastor at the church that Barack Obama chose to attend, not the “chaplain to the heir apparent”. Dr. Wright hasn’t indicated any interest in politics or becoming a foreign policy “talking head” on television. He has no association with the Obama campaign other than having been, before he retired, the pastor of a congregation of 10,000 that included the Obama family.

There definitely was a “teaching moment” lost, but it was lost by Barack Obama, not Reverend Wright. Obama could have used the controversy to outline his vision for US foreign policy, while reviewing the mistakes made by Reagan and the Bushes as chronicled in the two books that are mentioned. He could have established his leadership on the issue, instead of dismissing his pastor of two decades as crazy man he didn’t really listen to even though he is, according to his press releases, a committed religious person.

1. Any small matter that is only important in the minds of the delusional.


1 hipparchia { 05.17.08 at 11:37 pm }

grrrr… can’t find it now, but at one point there was a page on obama’s website about his campaign staff, among which wright — and later, after the kerfuffle, otis moss — were listed as something like director of african-american religious outreach.

but you’re exactly [w]right about who missed which teaching moment and who didn’t.

and thanks for the links to the books. they’d better be in my local library. 🙂

2 Bryan { 05.18.08 at 12:03 am }

Dr. Wright has made it very plain throughout this entire affair that he doesn’t “do” politics, which is why he wasn’t on stage for the roll out of the Obama campaign, even though he was in the building.

I have a feeling that he wasn’t aware of being listed, that it was an assumption by the campaign. Being associated with a political campaign would endanger the tax-exempt status of any church he preached at, and Dr. Wright is certainly aware of that reality, even if the campaign isn’t. Preachers can’t endorse from the pulpit and the IRS has been investigating complaints. Anyone who thinks there wouldn’t be a complaint about Dr. Wright if he were on Obama’s campaign staff, hasn’t been paying attention.

3 hipparchia { 05.18.08 at 12:52 am }

dangnabbit. now i wish i’d saved a screenshot of that page.

4 Kryten42 { 05.18.08 at 11:38 am }

There is a long list of Pastors/ministers on Obama’s campaign ‘African American Religious Leadership Steering Committee’. Two asked to have their names removed in December, Wright was removed in March. You can see the list here:

Barack Obama Campaign African American Religious Leadership Steering Committee

TPM Election Central had a small blog about Wright leaving on 14-March:

Jeremiah Wright Steps Down From Obama Campaign

You could try using the ‘Internet Wayback Machine’ to find the Obama page before it was edited, but you have to know the page address and the date. 🙂

I would say that if a pastor or minister is a member of a political committee for Obama (or any politician), that would appear to be an endorsement to me. So, even if Wright is no longer a member, that still leaves a lot who are.

The separation of Church and State. It was rather a quaint notion. 🙂

Good luck with that.

5 Bryan { 05.18.08 at 12:23 pm }

Anything on TPM has to be taken with a grain of salt since their fearless leader began mainlining the Obama kool-aid.

Anyone on that committee is subject to revue by the IRS for violating their church’s tax exempt status. This is more important than the US Constitution – it’s in the Tax Code 😈

That sounds like something the campaign has done, and they need to stop it, because they are complicating people’s lives. The right wing religious whackos like Hagee and Parsley have lawyers who vet what they do and say to ensure that they stay on the legal side of the line.

Churches can advocate for policies, but not people. You can make it as obvious as you want which policies you support in the pulpit, and those policies may make the person obvious, but as soon as you explicitly tie yourself to a candidate you can expect to get a call. There are a half dozen cases in the middle of the process at the moment, so this isn’t a surprise to any of the church people.

6 Kryten42 { 05.18.08 at 8:46 pm }

I only used TPM because it seemed one of the first blogs to post about Wright leaving Obama’s camp, if he was ever actually a member. 🙂 *shrug*

I notice there are a few Bishop’s there, mostly from Chicago. Big surprise. Not. 🙂

7 Bryan { 05.18.08 at 10:35 pm }

This is part of the infection spread by the GOP, that only the “godly” can rule, so weak minds among the Democrats have hauled in their religious bona fides to impress the people.

Personally, I prefer people who are more invested in this life than any afterlife that may exist in accordance with any particular believe system.

Based on the performance of the last 7 years I haven’t seen any indication that religious affiliation has any beneficent affect on competence or morality in the current administration.

Jimmy Carter was one of the most religious Presidents we have ever had, but few people realized it because he lived it, he didn’t talk about it.

8 Kryten42 { 05.19.08 at 2:35 am }

Heh… The problem isn’t so much their curiosity about the afterlife… but that they seem hellbent (pardon the expression) 😉 on getting there and taking as many with them as possible. Personally… I fail to see the difference between these neo-Christian nutters and a supposed ‘terrorist group’ using suicide-bombers. Same goals, different rhetoric, reasons and excuses. Actually, the ‘terrorists’ are more honest about it. I remember an interview some years ago with a failed suicide bomber. He said he did it because his family was dirt poor and he knew the leaders of the group he was working for would take good care of his family and their needs.

Personally, I’d be very happy to give them all what they want ASAP. At least the rest of us can have some peace and quiet! Of course, all the *other* do-gooders and bleeding-hearts out there would try to convince them of the ‘error of their ways’ and make ‘Christians’ out of them! 😉 LOL Even if it kills them, which it probably will. 🙂

Don’t you love irony? I love irony. 🙂 And satire… satire is good too. 🙂 Sending all the nutters on a one-way trip to Pluto would also be very good. 😀

If I may…
The presence of those seeking the truth is infinitely to be preferred to the presence of those who think they’ve found it.

Pratchett really is a genius. And as I’ve oft said before, many a true word is spoken in jest!

If there is a ‘Great Maker’, and I get to meet him when I die, I just have one question… “What the hell was all that crap about?”


9 Bryan { 05.19.08 at 12:37 pm }

My only concern about an afterlife is that mine will be peopled by the Christianists, who won’t admit it’s hell.

10 Kryten42 { 05.19.08 at 8:09 pm }

Ahhh… but then it’s all about perspective, isn’t it? Like living. 🙂

For the Christianists, it would be heaven, for you it would be hell. 😀

For me… this is hell. Anywhere else would be heaven.

11 Bryan { 05.19.08 at 9:41 pm }

One would think my presence would be a major clue, or the fact that I was playing this 24/7.

12 Kryten42 { 05.19.08 at 11:46 pm }

True, if you ignore the fact that their belief system would not allow them to believe anything other than what they believe. (you know… that Faith thing). 😉 LOL They might try for all eternity to torture you unendingly to convert to their belief system. Or, possibly simply refuse to believe you were even there (which would be the much better option. However, as it’s hell, it will probably be the first option). 😉 LOL

“God save us from the True Believers!”(tm) LOL

13 Bryan { 05.19.08 at 11:56 pm }

Well, they do seem to have a lot of practice in ignoring reality, and I can see them believing that harassing people would be part of their heaven.