Obama’s pastor problem

posted at 9:23 am on May 2, 2007 by Bryan

Imagine for a moment that a Republican presidential candidate claimed to have a spiritual mentor, and it turned out that that mentor preached and taught in racial overtones. Imagine the media giving that candidate, that pastor, and their relationship a pass. Imagine Andrew Sullivan not calling that candidate and his pastor “Christianists” or some other anti-religious epithet You can’t. It wouldn’t happen.

But if the candidate is a Democrat? Well, it’s happening right now.

Sen. Barack Obama attends Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago. The pastor is Rev. Jeremiah Wright, a man Obama credits as his spiritual mentor. But Wright dubs the US the “United States of white America.” The church’s website is definitely black-centric and not very welcoming to anyone of other races.

The subject of Obama and Wright came up on Hannity & Colmes Monday night. I’ve been pondering whether and what to write about it ever since. Predictably, Colmes took the position that to even bring up Obama’s relationship to Wright amounts to a smear. But it’s not a smear to point out that no Republican who belonged to an obviously white-centered church pastored by a man who focused on race as much as Wright does could ever get away with it. No Republican could get away with faking accents the way Hillary does either, but never mind that. Colmes is, as usual, just carrying water for whatever Democrat happens to be the subject on a given night. That’s his job, it’s what he does.

I’ll confess a tiny bit of ambivalence on this whole issue. Don’t get me wrong, Rev. Wright isn’t my kind of pastor. I believe in the New Testament teaching that race is irrelevant. That teaching doesn’t seem to get a lot of play in Wright’s church.

But here’s where the ambivalence comes from. It’s clear that the black community needs strong leadership and particularly strong male leadership. It seems clear the Obama has benefited from his relationship with Wright, and that Wright is a strong leader. But it’s just as clear that Wright is a demagogue with racist tendencies, and that’s not the kind of leadership anyone needs. We’re all imperfect and I don’t like the sensitivity police coming down on everyone, but Wright is by his own admission a radical, and not necessarily in a good way. He’s about an inch from being a black separatist if you go by some of his rhetoric. Wright’s relationship with a man who wants to be president is relevant, but it’s not hard to see why Obama might be reluctant to answer hard questions about Wright. Wright is his mentor, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that Obama agrees with Wright on everything. But as a presidential candidate, Obama does owe voters some clarification on where he does and does not agree with Wright. Does Obama agree with Wright that the US is the “United States of white America?” Is he running for the presidency of that country, or the one that actually exists? He needs to answer that and a few other related questions.

But I doubt he’ll have to. Obama is probably going to get a pass on this whole issue. His fellow Democrats kowtow to the likes of Al Sharpton. They’re not about to criticize the milder Rev. Wright. Republicans know the race card will get hurled at them at supersonic speed if they bring it up. So they won’t.


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Wait…with Edwards and now Obama’s mentor, how many Americas are we up to now?

James on May 2, 2007 at 9:35 AM

Obama is getting a pass on just about everything. Can you imagine a major Republican candidate being a smoker or having Muslim brothers? The MSM would be all over them, and there would a news story every night about how children were starting smoke because of him.

januarius on May 2, 2007 at 9:46 AM

Clinton’s mentor was a racist, Al Gore Jr’s father was a racist. So Obama is in like company and has plenty of examples of candidates with racist mentors or even racist parents, who went on to win the Democratic Party nomination or even the Presidency.

What else would you expect from the Party that shed blood over slavery?

IndependentConserv on May 2, 2007 at 9:48 AM

The Dems need to keep their ranks subjugated ,otherwise they got nothing.Nada.

bbz123 on May 2, 2007 at 9:54 AM

Well you know, The nuts don’t fall too far from the tree. or Birds of the feather flock together.

KCtheKat on May 2, 2007 at 9:55 AM

I checked out the church’s site when this came up before several months ago. While I don’t agree with some of their stances, it’s not as bad as it’s being made out to be.

It’s a non-story IMO.

I think you’re right though. It wouldn’t be a non-story if Obama was a Republican.

Benaiah on May 2, 2007 at 10:09 AM

Hey Alan C.–

It is called “character”.

In this case, the candidate’s minister does not have character, he is a character.

Maybe the dhimmicRATs starting to campaign so damn early is going to turn out to be a good thing.

Take a good look, America.

.

The Machine on May 2, 2007 at 10:13 AM

I have no problem with his religion, but do all these guys have to wear the crazy patterned robes, jackets, shawls, etc. Who has the market for ‘Kunte’ cloth ?

DoctorDentons on May 2, 2007 at 10:25 AM

Watch and wait. The very Dems who will say “How DARE you mention a man’s religion!” will be ready to slice and dice the reputation of Mitt Romney for being Mormon if he garners the Republican nomination.
As I say that, I have no problem with Romney’s religion, and if he is nominated, I will vote for him. If McCain somehow gets the nod instead, I’m moving to Canada. (JK)

Doug on May 2, 2007 at 10:25 AM

Obama will never get a pass in MY voting booth…I find someone running for president with so litle experience extremely arrogant(unless his name is Pat Paulson!).

DCJeff on May 2, 2007 at 10:25 AM

“It’s clear that the black community needs strong leadership and particularly strong male leadership. It seems clear the Obama has benefited from his relationship with Wright…”

I’m sure some wayward youths benefitted from David Dukes’ leadership, too.

windbag on May 2, 2007 at 10:28 AM

It is more than racism with this guy. The web site says in its mission statement:

The fortunate who are among us combine forces with the less fortunate to become agents of change for God who is not pleased with America’s economic mal-distribution!

This from a NY Times article:

He [Mr. Wright, the minister of Obama] was also interested in the world beyond his own; in 1984, he traveled to Cuba to teach Christians about the value of nonviolent protest and to Libya to visit Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi, along with the Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan. Mr. Wright said his visits implied no endorsement of their views.

How did he get to travel to Cuba I wonder?

CrimsonFisted on May 2, 2007 at 10:37 AM

But here’s where the ambivalence comes from. It’s clear that the black community needs strong leadership and particularly strong male leadership. It seems clear the Obama has benefited from his relationship with Wright, and that Wright is a strong leader.

Is equal to…

I’m incapable of clear thinking.

Jaibones on May 2, 2007 at 10:45 AM

Actauly, the religious beliefs of a candidate are hugely important.

People in America want to dismiss religion as unimportant, because we have so many who espouse to be a certain religion, but don’t follow its teachings… problem here is that some do. Religious fundamentalism is on the rise worldwide, and it forces OTHER religiouns to become more fundamentalist and doctrinaire out of self defense.

A solid look at the website of this “Church” shows that it believes that its all the White guys fault… it puts into holy scripture the idea of race seperation.

If Obama believes that even PARTIALY, then I have a problem with it.

Romeo13 on May 2, 2007 at 10:51 AM

Religious fundamentalism is on the rise worldwide, and it forces OTHER religiouns to become more fundamentalist and doctrinaire out of self defense.

Wow!

Nonfactor on May 2, 2007 at 11:19 AM

Colmes vocabulary in this interview seems to be limited to one word: smear.

Once again: disagree with a liberal and expect to get insulted. Perhaps Colmes would care to explain how Kate Griffin’s remarks constitute a smear?

Aylios on May 2, 2007 at 11:23 AM

I agree, religion is very important. Whether a person believes there is no God, or he is God, it is relevant.

As far as the democrats getting a free pass goes… I think that since the democrats constantly take extreme left positions such as these it’s nothing new, so maybe it isn’t news worthy. If a Republican were to take these positions it would be new, and therefore news worthy. Maybe that’s what the media is thinking. I don’t know. It’s possible. But, I really think it’s just because they agree with the democrats, because they are democrats themselves, and therefore there’s nothing to report (everyone should have their views).

j_ehman on May 2, 2007 at 11:52 AM

Heh, what if the Mormon church still supported bigamy. Or refused the priesthood to blacks, which was true until 1977 or something. In any case, that pastor is not saying anything different than the US Supreme Court when it refused to toss out affirmative action. MLK’s dream is not yet a reality here. Obama should be called upon to speak out against the racism in his own church as much as anywhere else.

pedestrian on May 2, 2007 at 12:02 PM

For some reason, I was reminded of this when I read, “United States of white America.”

In case anyone cares, it’s the history of Blackstronauts and NASSA. Brilliant parody of Ken Burns documentaries and is rather subversive in its own way.

Krydor on May 2, 2007 at 12:13 PM

Imagine a Jew running for president had a religious mentor who was a hasidic rabbi from a kibbutz in the West Bank and then you’d see the left lose its mind.

Defector01 on May 2, 2007 at 12:13 PM

Now THAT is funny !

DoctorDentons on May 2, 2007 at 12:47 PM

While I would not hold against a candidate everything that the candidate’s pastor says, I believe one can tell much about a candidate through his church affiliation. this is not simply a pator who has made occaisional way-out statements. look at the church’s web site:

http://www.tucc.org/about.htm

If Obama’s philosophy were not in line with the political philosophy of his church, I would expect him to change churches. he hasn’t, so I have to assume that he conforms to the core tenets of the organization, which seem awfully black separatist to me.

Conservatarian on May 2, 2007 at 1:27 PM

I think Kate Griffin handled the situation remarkably well. She didn’t let Colmes’s interruptions disturb her and she got her point out very eloquently. And she’s right.

Privatestock on May 2, 2007 at 1:36 PM

Nobody else honestly shocked by this quote:

Religious fundamentalism is on the rise worldwide, and it forces OTHER religiouns to become more fundamentalist and doctrinaire out of self defense.

Nonfactor on May 2, 2007 at 3:02 PM

“Obama is probably going to get a pass on this whole issue.”

Maybe, maybe not.

Hillary’s war room no doubt has contingencies to use this as a last resort.

Obama’s only qualification to be president is his charisma. It certainly isn’t his skills as a legislator or experience as a manager or governor. Anything that tarnishes his charisma weakens him as a candidate, and claiming a race-baiting black radical as his “spiritual mentor” does him no good.

georgej on May 2, 2007 at 3:04 PM

there is no way obama is gonna be prez of the USA.

Locrian on May 2, 2007 at 3:22 PM

Now that TheOprah has endorsed Messiah Obama, Mrs. Clinton’s war room will take care of the religious zealousness rearing its ugly head in the democrat party.

It’s always baffled me why blacks vote for democrats when the vast majority of blacks are out of synch with demcocrats on every social issue. ??

SouthernGent on May 2, 2007 at 6:11 PM

More proof of a double standard advocated by the Left and accepted by the majority at this time: Blacks may openly advocate racial intolerance and attack whites, Whites are prohibited from even assembly based on race without being labeled racist.

omegaram on May 2, 2007 at 7:40 PM

Had to put this somewhere

Just check out the top shirt

Reaps on May 2, 2007 at 8:05 PM

*closes hyperlink* whoops..

Reaps on May 2, 2007 at 8:06 PM

I think Kate Griffin handled the situation remarkably well. She didn’t let Colmes’s interruptions disturb her and she got her point out very eloquently. And she’s right.

Privatestock on May 2, 2007 at 1:36 PM

I meant to comment earlier, but I agree with you. She was the most impressive dolly O’Reilly has ever had on. Other than MM, the conservatives are usually 2nd rate. The libs don’t have anyone better than 3rd rate, so it’s not a problem.

Laura Schwartz is a first rate nitwit.

Jaibones on May 3, 2007 at 9:09 AM