An Obamawatch 2008! exclusive article.
This is an article that I received via email concerning the media’s perpetual fascination with Sen. Barack Obama and his pastor at Trinity United Church of Christ, Rev. Dr. Jeremiah A. Wright Jr. I think it does stand to reason that any article published in a newspaper of a major city that has enough audacity to refer to God as a woman is in fact good press. However, I do admonish the readers of this article to do a Google search of Alex Beam to see what his past articles have read like, it should be an interesting read.
Keep it uppity, JLL
as a note of biblical reference, the mention of the sermon in the article is a reference to a January 13th, 2007 sermon at the 11 o’clock service. “Putting Limits on the Lord,” John chapter 6 www.tucc.org
Obama’s not running from his minister
By Alex Beam, Globe Columnist ?|? January 28, 2008
Elbows are being thrown in the presidential campaign: some name-calling, some vague allegations of skulduggery and double-dealing. But this is not the Main Event. The real dirty tricks, a la Swift-boating, will kick in around Labor Day, after the two parties have chosen their candidates for the general election.
Should Barack Obama win the Democratic nomination, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright will become much more famous than he is now, and much more famous than he would ever want to be.
Wright, the pastor of the Trinity United Church of Christ on the South Side of Chicago, is already a little bit famous. Former Illinois state senator Obama has worshiped at Trinity for many years and borrowed the title of his book, “The Audacity of Hope,” from one of Wright’s sermons. As “Obama’s minister,” Wright has been profiled by several newspapers, and the forward shock troops of the right-wing hate machine, i.e. Fox News, have already lobbed a few shells in his direction. But in a competitive national election, Wright can expect the fire to double, redouble, and redouble again. Obama will end up wishing he was Mormon.
The first accusation against Wright, and by extension against Obama, is that Trinity is a “separatist” church. In its mission statements, Trinity proclaims its commitment to God and to the African-American community that surrounds the church. “We are a congregation which is Unashamedly Black and Unapologetically Christian,” its website proclaims. “Our roots in the Black religious experience and tradition are deep, lasting and permanent.”
More or less by accident, I found myself in Obama’s old state senate district a few times last summer. It is overwhelmingly black and very poor. (Originally 72 percent African-American, with 23 percent of the families living below the poverty level, the 13th senate district became less black but remained equally poor after a 2002 remapping.) One of the district’s major white-run institutions, the University of Chicago, has been talking about urban renewal since before World War II, with very little to show for it.
Whites are welcome at Trinity, but the huge congregation, which claims 8,000 members, is almost all African-American. So if the church proclaims its commitment to “the Black community, the Black family, the Pursuit of Education, the Pursuit of Excellence, and the Black Work Ethic,” God bless them.
Doesn’t God help those who help themselves? Well, She tries Her best.
Wright is accused of being “controversial.” Heaven forfend! Controversial, as we know, means uttering truths in a very impolitic way. In a famous, controversial sermon called “What’s Goin’ On?” Wright opined that “the entire war in Iraq and the larger ‘war on terror’ have been based on lies, half-truths, and distortions to serve the agenda of the United States imperialism.” Let’s see . . . there were the nonexistent weapons of mass destruction . . . now the Bush Administration wants to negotiate a “treaty” with Iraq for a permanent American military presence. If it acts like imperialism and quacks like imperialism, maybe it is imperialism.
Wright’s other major sin is being “wrong” on Israel. He has compared the Israeli rule in Palestine to South Africa’s apartheid regime, and called for divestment in companies doing business with Israel. But Wright’s thinking has been very much in tune with the policies of the mainly white, New England-rooted, United Church of Christ, to say nothing of mainstream American Protestantism in general.
For obvious reasons, Obama has had to put some distance between himself and his pastor. But to his credit, he has not severed his ties with Wright, and there is no indication that he will. To her credit, Hillary Clinton, who paints herself as a church-attending, Chicago-area Christian Protestant when it suits her, has not dragged Wright and Trinity into her anti-Obama smear campaign. Yet.
Maybe Clinton is too smart to take on Wright, who possesses not only great rhetorical gifts but a ferocious sense of humor. Earlier this month, he addressed the Clinton-Obama battle head on, telling his congregation that many feel African-Americans should vote for Mrs. Clinton “because her husband was good to us.” But “that’s not true,” Wright proclaimed. “He did the same thing to us that he did to Monica Lewinsky.”
He who has ears, let him hear.
Alex Beam is a Globe columnist. His e-dress is firstname.lastname@example.org.