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Why did Obama stay in Rev. Wright's church?

 
 
nimh
 
Reply Sat 12 Apr, 2008 06:59 pm
It's the question that's visited five dozen threads.

A lot of the people asking are just conservatives looking for ways to dislike the guy. But it's not only been them. I remember Ebeth, too, expressing her incomprension why he didnt just leave, if the reverend were saying things that were out of line. So did Mame (I think it was).

Myself, I dont really get the confusion. I'm not Christian, but if I belong to a club of any kind, it can be because of many reasons. If my friends and neighbours are part; if the place is at the heart of the kind of work I do; if they do lots of good work; if I've learnt a lot of important lessons there; then sure, I will stay, even if the guy that runs it also says a bunch of stuff I strongly disagree with.

I dunno, maybe I'm not strict enough?

In Obama's case, many of his friends, neighbours and co-workers went to church there; the church played a central role in the kind of community work he did; it did much good work in a troubled community that needed every help it could get; and he learnt many valuable lessons from the reverend about religious matters. I can see easily enough why he would have stayed even if the same reverend also spoke a bunch of extreme nonsense occasionally.

But like I said, I'm not religious myself, so what do I know? And maybe I'm just not as able to articulate the reasons why it seems pretty understandable to me.

I did, however, come across two articles that said it better than I could. So I'm going to post them here, and of course I'd love to hear from people like Ebeth and Mame what they think.

I also came across two articles that dug a little deeper into the history of black churches in America, and how come the tone in many of them might take white outsiders aback at first sound. I dont suppose those will persuade many people who are offended by Wright's church, but they do provide some much-needed context.
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nimh
 
  1  
Reply Sat 12 Apr, 2008 07:05 pm
Mark Schmitt in the American Prospect, writing about Barack Obama, the Communitarian on March 18, wrote this about the ties that bind Obama to his church:

Quote:
Like Ed Kilgore, I'm continually fascinated not by the content of Obama's religious experience but by how he got there. Most politicians talk about religion from the perspective of having been raised in families that are somewhat more observant than they are as adults, so they are elevating religion from their childhood and their parents or grandparents. Others, like George W. Bush, found in religion a private salvation.

Obama's experience is unlike either one, and frankly unlike anyone's I know. His work as an organizer led him to the church, the church was the heart of the community in which he was working, he became religious because of his commitment to social change. It was neither personal, nor familial, but part of his forming an identity, but not just as an individual, as a member of a community. And thus, race, his public life, and religion are intertwined in a way that they are not for most people, even people whose social values and work originates in their faith.

Kilgore comments that this "won't make a lot of sense to those Americans who view church membership as an expression of consumer choice, and ultimately, of the spiritual discrimination and good taste of the religious consumer." Indeed, this was the viewpoint of my colleague this morning -- if you don't agree with what you hear in a church, go to another church. But Obama's analogy to family answered that about as well as could be answered -- the church wasn't serving just a personal function for him, it was situating him in a community in which he had chosen to live and work -- and work on behalf of.
0 Replies
 
nimh
 
  1  
Reply Sat 12 Apr, 2008 07:29 pm
Martin Peretz, the chief hawk at TNR, is a most unlikely person to defend anyone's ties to a black radical preacher.

But yet he did:

Quote:
Standing By His Man

Why Obama was right in not repudiating his pastor.
Thursday, March 26, 2008

The article overall is rather a ramble, but this part, referring to Peretz's own experiences in the synagogue, is clear:

Quote:
We are all linked to the places from which we came, though some of us have moved very far from them. My relationship to the different rabbis whose sermons I have not just heard, but heard intently over more than 50 years, would make a very difficult narrative--not quite as difficult as a narrative about my father and me, but up there. I now attend a synagogue in New York with my children and my grandson. I love the synagogue; I do not love the rabbis for I do not really know them personally. More to the point, I do not love their sermons.

Two years ago, Yom Kippur, the rabbi parsed a banal speech by Bella Abzug, the old and (if truth be told) faithful red mama, as if it were a sacred text. Feh. One of this congregation's ingenuous innovations to the routine confessional of sins ("We lie. We cheat ...") in the prayer book is the following: "We rush towards war and crawl to peace." This is a lie!

Why do I still pray with this assembly? Because, aside from the offending "hip" politics of the rabbis, there is an all-embracing warmth that suffuses the fold. There is beautiful music. The service is almost all in Hebrew. Still, my then-not-quite-four year-old grandson said to me on the way out, "I have never felt closer to God." Dayenu, as we say on Passover: "It is sufficient." Or, as one of the songs of the tradition known to almost every Jew puts it, Hinay ma tov ... : "How good it is for brothers to sit together ...".

The article proceeds on a more abstract note, but these bits are still worth a read as well:

Quote:
OK, Barack Obama's predicament is more complicated than mine. Remember he titled one of his books Dreams From My Father. I suspect that most of Obama's operative dreams came from his mother. After all, his father deserted him, the common nightmare of African American youth. (Increasingly also white youth.) That is a thread that connects Obama to his own generation of African Americans and to the next. His father did not inspire him to work hard at school or to become the editor of the Harvard Law Review. The supportive and yearning parent was his mother and, by extension, his maternal grandparents. They are his dreams, and his father is the absent yearning.

Obama's life was at once over-determined and under-determined. There are so many boxes he could have checked, and it is not altogether unsurprising that the one he checked most firmly was his father's box. I more than suspect that Pastor Jeremiah Wright is, in Obama's life, also his father's vagrant presence. No one should arrogate to himself counseling anybody to sever ties, even fragile ones, perhaps fragile ones especially, to one's father. Of course, it makes a difference that Obama's father was not an American but a Kenyan, not of a Christian background but a Muslim one. But the psychology of connection and separation is not an easy puzzle, and it does not fit a predictable pattern. Nonetheless, suffice it to say that it exists.

The fact is that many of us were astonished by the rhythm of the English language as it is practiced in Wright's church. Forget for the moment the content. Take a look at a service in what is now Otis Moss's church. This is a Christianity that seems to outsiders to have as much to do with break dancing as it does with the New Testament, and the culture of this one church is very much like the culture of thousands all over America. You may puzzle as to how Barack Obama, of the quiet demeanor and the Holmesian logic, can relate to this pattern of religiosity. But, if I may jog your oversensitized memory, there was more of Chicago's Trinity United Church in Martin Luther King's perorations than there was Reinhold Niebuhr. The typical black church service is not a Unitarian prayer meeting or Catholic devotions. It is something "other" that many of us have not experienced and do not know. It is not ours but theirs. And what's wrong with that?

You object: You were not caught out by Wright's rhythm or his vestments, by the congregation's hallelujahs or its songs of praise and prayer. What bothered you was his, their words. Mostly his, that is, Pastor Wright's words. You were concerned by the content. And so, at least in part, was I. Wright's content is not intellectually nuanced, and his words are in large measure crude. His content is often foul.

Of course, while one can assume that there is something in the style of Trinity's Christianity that attracts Obama, no one has even suggested that Obama agrees with any of Wright's controversial words. In fact, one knows from the senator's own words past and present that his love of country is unsurpassed--and unsurpassed in a way that will attract younger people who had lapsed into an unthinking and unrealistic internationalism.

Leaving a church is never a simple transaction. Episcopalians in America (and Anglicans elsewhere) have had all kinds of provocations. A gay bishop in New Hampshire has virtually split the communion. Some are secessionists because of Gene Robinson's elevation. Some want to stay and fight it. Others want to put the oppositionists to the fire. Some on the outs want to put themselves under the discipline of a religiously conservative African diocese. Mostly, they stay and grumble, one way or another. A similar process is underway in England, where suddenly the archbishop of Canterbury wants British Muslims to be permitted to live under Sharia law and forgo the liberties of British law. A church with leaders like that is bound to have troubles. But the church, big and small, national and local, will remain.

While pondering Obama's tribulations about his pastor, I also reflected about the far more laden crisis for Roman Catholic politicians who are for a woman's legal right to an abortion. Every so often, church authorities threaten to excommunicate them--a drastic act by a bishop or archbishop in his diocese. But it goes higher than that. On his trip to Latin America last year, for example, Pope Benedict approved a statement pronouncing that "legislative action in favor of abortion is incompatible with participation in the Eucharist," and politicians who vote that way should "exclude themselves from communion." In 2004, Sean O'Malley, the archbishop of Boston, said pro-choice politicians like John Kerry "shouldn't dare come to Communion." In any case, the position of the church is that such politicians have already excommunicated themselves. This is a far more urgent situation than the one in which Obama finds himself.

<snip>

But there is a new game in town, and it is finding men and women for Obama to repudiate. [..] The rule [of Hillary Clinton's campaign] is: Never be gracious if you have the chance to be vicious. The non plus ultra of this style was the still greedy ex-president suggesting that, while his wife loved her country, Obama didn't love his. The other malignant chores can be safely left by the Clintons for the journalistic right to perform. Both The Weekly Standard and Commentary will readily comply.

<snip>
0 Replies
 
nimh
 
  1  
Reply Sat 12 Apr, 2008 07:39 pm
Ron Sommerville, associate professor of the History of Global Christianity at Christian Theological Seminary in Indianapolis, chooses a more indirect way to explain what would have attracted Obama to this church, and to staying at it throughout the years, despite the occasional rant from the pulpit.

In a letter to the Indianapolis Star, he argues that in order to understand how that worked, we need to understand something about the nature of African-American churches in general. Hence the excursion into history first:

Quote:
Black church nurtured Obama's vision

April 3, 2008

<snip>

The reality that the color line has followed us into the 21st century and that religious institutions in the United States are largely organized according to race and ethnicity is a difficult pill for some to accept. [..] One consequence of this now preferential racial segregation is our virtual ignorance of each other's religious histories, beliefs and practices [..].

Obama's speech seeks to demystify this glaring ignorance of the African-American Christian tradition in general, and the particular African-American congregation and pastor that nurtured and guided him spiritually, morally, theologically and politically. The earliest roots of these churches can be traced back to the biracial churches of the enslavement era, where enslaved and freed persons were forced to worship with white Christians. Their protests against racial dehumanization and segregation eventually led to the formation of separate African-American churches in both the North and South in the 1700s.

These churches -- mostly Baptist, Methodist, Presbyterian -- formed the nucleus of African-American family, cultural, social, economic and political life in the post-emancipation era. Their preachers were respected for their charismatic leadership, biblical knowledge, oratorical ability and moral authority. Perhaps most importantly, they were expected to preach a gospel of liberation and hope that assured their listeners that they too were created in the image of God. As the leaders of their churches and communities many of these preachers became the first elected officials during the Reconstruction era. Like Obama three generations later, the majority of these African-American politicians honed their political and oratorical skills in socially conscious and politically active churches.

This prophetic black church tradition sustained the fight against the de jure and de facto segregation of the Jim Crow years and later formed the basis of the civil rights movement led by Martin Luther King Jr. and other black clergy. Like their enslaved and emancipated forebears these progressive clergy tapped into a tradition of social gospel preaching that, like the eighth-century Hebrew prophets, angrily denounced the sins of injustice and discrimination.

It is important to see Jeremiah Wright as a exemplary product of this black prophetic tradition, who in 36 years of ministry at Trinity UCC in Chicago was instrumental in transforming a struggling congregation of 12 families into an inner-city mega-church of 8,000 plus. From his appointment as pastor in 1972, Wright was committed to moving the congregation from it middle-class insularity to an empowering and liberating Christian presence in the community. Through his preaching and teaching, Wright challenged congregants not only share the gospel but to address political, social, and economic problems that plagued the community. [A commenter to this article added, "In UCC when you join you have to commit to volunteer-this church has done fantastic outreach in the community" - nimh]

We can possibly see how a young law school grad interested in community development might be attracted to a church like Trinity -- "a church that embodies that black community in its entirety -- the doctor and the welfare mom, the model student and the gang-banger." Part of this appeal was also Wright's pastoral ministry and spiritual mentorship; "He strengthened my faith, officiated at my wedding and baptized my children," said Obama. Hence we need to look beyond the sound bites of Wright's withering "jeremiads" to see the totality of the man, his ministry and message. Though flawed like the rest of us, he was a conduit for personal and social transformation.

It is absurd to imagine that a self-reflective and independent-minded leader as Sen. Obama would agree totally with every tenet of his former pastor's black liberation theology or his Afrocentric vision, especially when it conflicts with his own hopeful vision to form a more perfect union. I am grateful that Obama's vision was also nurtured in the womb of an African-American church.
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nimh
 
  1  
Reply Sat 12 Apr, 2008 07:59 pm
Finally, in the WaPo, Colbert I. King submitted a similar approach.

He, too, delved into history first. Because -- and this is the part about race relations and identities that conservatives (ironically, since conservatism was originally all about respecting the weight if history) will generally reject out of hand -- there is no understanding of black culture without an awareness of history.

OK, so this piece is notably more combative and political. Moreover, it really only tangentially touches on the subject of why Obama, personally, stayed with his church. That question itself really only comes up in the very last paragraphs, and it is described purely in terms of defiance. Whereas I doubt that Obama stayed with his church purely out of defiance.

In that sense, I think the above three articles offer more insight in why Obama did. But if you want to understand why many blacks will respond with defiance against the scandalised media onslaught about Wright, this one might help. Sure does do a good job in evoking why a fair measure of defiance is well justified.

Quote:
Why Obama Stands With His Church

Saturday, March 22, 2008

All they wanted to do was pray with the rest of the congregation. But that was asking too much.

To be sure, Absalom Jones and Richard Allen, two leaders in Philadelphia's black community, enjoyed great success in bringing African Americans into the Christian fold. But the steady growth in black membership at St. George's Methodist Episcopal Church distressed the white congregation that owned the church.

At first, black Christians were moved to seats along the wall. That still allowed for too much mingling. So one Sunday morning as Allen, Jones and the other black worshipers knelt to pray, white church elders tapped Jones and Allen on the shoulders and told them to take their praying upstairs to a recently built balcony.

Rather than submit to such humiliation, Jones, Allen and the rest of the black worshipers walked out.

The two men formed their own congregations. Jones gained permission from the Episcopal Diocese of Pennsylvania to establish America's first black parish, St. Thomas African Episcopal Church. He eventually became the Episcopal Church's first African American priest. Allen formed a Methodist congregation that eventually became today's multimillion-member African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church.

The walkout in the City of Brotherly Love occurred in 1787 -- a year that marks the beginning of America's independent black church, a theological movement born out of racism.

This history comes to mind as I listen to conservative commentators, chief among them MSNBC's Pat Buchanan, brand as "racist" the slogan adopted by Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago: "Unashamedly black and unapologetically Christian." Trinity is Barack Obama's church and the place where the Rev. Jeremiah A. Wright Jr. -- a gift to all who would bring down Obama -- served as pastor until his recent retirement.

Buchanan and his ilk look at Trinity's slogan with horror. They label the church's theological values "Afro-centric" and "racially exclusive." Trinity is beyond the pale of Christianity, at least their version of it.

Psst: Trinity has plenty of company, coast to coast. Many black congregations, from storefronts to mega-churches, are in sync with the Trinity slogan. They, too, see no need to apologize for their African roots. Nor are they ashamed of preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

But hey, what's with this newfound concern about African Americans worshiping among themselves in their own way? More important, who forced that separation?

As sociologist Kenneth Clark noted in his book "Dark Ghetto," ministers and lay leaders of white Christian churches historically were unwilling to incorporate large numbers of blacks into their houses of Christ. That's still the case today with some churches.

Truth is, folks like Buchanan don't really care that America's Christian congregations don't look like salt and pepper on Sunday mornings. The reality of blacks and whites worshiping apart doesn't disturb them.

If anything, Buchanan thinks African Americans are ingrates -- that we should be satisfied with our station in life. "America has been the best country on earth for black folks," Buchanan wrote in his column, "PJB: A Brief for Whitey," posted on his Web site yesterday.

"It was here that 600,000 black people, brought from Africa in slave ships, grew into a community of 40 million, were introduced to Christian salvation, and reached the greatest levels of freedom and prosperity blacks have ever known," he wrote. Buchanan would have African Americans fall to their knees and thank white people for their grace. "No people anywhere has done more to lift up blacks than white Americans," he wrote.

Buchanan & Co. mock Obama's notion of a racial divide in America and a need to heal the country. In their world, there are no black grievances worth noting.

Truth is, the right-wing commentariat is content to have black churches with timid members worshipping under the banner: "I'm but a stranger here; heaven is my home." It's those black congregations with pastors who make their churches a voice of liberating gospel, with a loud emphasis on sticking up for the persecuted and afflicting the comfortable, that right-wingers consider a threat to the republic.

Which gets me to the Rev. Jeremiah Wright.

I've never met him or been to his church. I've seen those TV snippets of his sermons. I've also heard what Barack Obama has said about his former pastor, their relationship and his views on Wright's rants. His explanations won't satisfy some, especially those who never planned to support him, anyway. As for me, 'tis enough, 'twill serve.

I also know, as Clark has pointed out, that church plays a religious and cathartic role unlike that of any other institution in the black community. It's a haven, a place for emotional release and personal affirmation. The pastor is given much leeway, so long as the church is held together as a family.

Those thoughts may be beyond the understanding of people who wonder why Obama will not leave Trinity.

I know why he stays. So, I bet, would Absalom Jones and Richard Allen.
0 Replies
 
blatham
 
  1  
Reply Sun 13 Apr, 2008 05:56 am
Quote:
The most damaging charge against each was an alleged connection with unpatriotic and potentially violent radicals.
more here... http://www.nybooks.com/articles/21290
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Foxfyre
 
  1  
Reply Sun 13 Apr, 2008 06:31 am
For me it is more simple and requires little psychobabble to understand. I think Obama initially went to TUCC because a) he needed to create at least the illusion that he was a respectable church-going man, and b) it was a 'megachurch' with a politically active head pastor who could help Obama further his fledgling political ambitions.

He stayed because a) he still needed a respectable church affiliation and b) he couldn't afford to alienate himself from that politically active head pastor who was helping him further his political ambitions. Whatever objection he had to the anti-American, racist, and other controversial rhetoric was either accepted or tolerated out of political expediency if not actually embraced as ideology. There is no other explanation for why a good father would immerse his children in that kind of environment.

As for his own personal faith, I cannot look into his heart and soul and know whether his faith is the real deal, but I have absolutely no reason to disbelieve what he says about that. As for his stated affection and admiration for Pastor Wright, I have no reason to disbelieve that either, but it does continue to raise the question about how much of Pastor Wright's influence is included in Obama's view of the world.
0 Replies
 
eoe
 
  1  
Reply Sun 13 Apr, 2008 08:14 am
He explained FULLY and COMPLETELY why he stayed at Trinity. But it's obvious that his explanation wasn't good enough for you, hence this thread.
Ridiculous. Rolling Eyes
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aidan
 
  1  
Reply Sun 13 Apr, 2008 08:16 am
http://www.politico.com/blogs/bensmith/0308/Wright_on_film.html

I don't get it. What does this guy say here that isn't true?

I find his presentation of his perception of the facts much more historically accurate than Pat Buchannan's.

It's only divisive when/if people cannot accept the truth in a message and make a commitment to positive change.

Maybe Obama thought he could be more of a unifying force within such a congregation because of his own unique situation.

I have to say- I haven't read anything that Wright has said that I say to myself, 'Now where could he have come up with that perception?'

As a black man of his age - I understand why he might think just about everything he's said (although I admit I'm sure I haven't read everything).
0 Replies
 
Foxfyre
 
  1  
Reply Sun 13 Apr, 2008 08:18 am
Do you guys accept a full and complete explanation from everybody--i.e. George W. Bush or John McCain or some other person from the other side of the aisle or even Hillary?--or is it only Obama's explanation that we must accept without question?
0 Replies
 
aidan
 
  1  
Reply Sun 13 Apr, 2008 08:23 am
explanation of what?
0 Replies
 
Roxxxanne
 
  1  
Reply Sun 13 Apr, 2008 08:32 am
Foxfyre wrote:
Do you guys accept a full and complete explanation from everybody--i.e. George W. Bush or John McCain or some other person from the other side of the aisle or even Hillary?--or is it only Obama's explanation that we must accept without question?


When did George W Bush EVER give a full and complete explanation abut his skeletons? When did John McCain give a full and complete explanation of his medical history.


OTOH when McCain answered the allegations of adultery, Democrats accepted it and moved on. You should do the same. You just keep repeating the same nonsense. Get over it.
0 Replies
 
Foxfyre
 
  1  
Reply Sun 13 Apr, 2008 08:36 am
aidan wrote:
explanation of what?


I was primarily addressing Eoe's post but took her name out when others showed up.

Actually, the only one who knows for certain why he stayed at TUCC is Obama himself. The rest of us can only speculate.

But that is true of anybody running for public office. None of us are privy to their motives or judgment or view of the world other than what appears to be. And however wrong our judgment of what appears to be may be, that is really all we have to go on when we are choosing a candidate to vote for.

The issue of Jeremiah Wright and anybody who might attend his church would be irrelevant in most cases. But the fact that Obama himself put his church, his faith, and his pastor at the forefront in his campaign makes it fair game for scrutiny. Obama wants to be President of the United States. He should not be exempt from any scrutiny that would be directed at any other candidate.
0 Replies
 
aidan
 
  1  
Reply Sun 13 Apr, 2008 08:46 am
I agree with every word you just said...but I also maintain that I don't find anything particularly wrong with Obama going to the church he chooses to go to.

I also don't know what all the hand-wringing is about what Wright says in his sermons. Whether or not it is true - those are his perceptions. Obama may or may not agree with them- and I'd be willing to bet that if he does (which I kind of do) he brings along with that agreement the ability to temper the inflammatory nature some might take from them because of his own family situation. If anything, he's well-placed within such a congregation with a pastor such as Wright- and I think it would be a shame if he left.

But I'm with you - I can't stand all this second-guessing of other peoples' motives. I tend to give them the same benefit of the doubt that I would want given to me - no matter which party they represent- now their ACTIONS- that's a different story. They make those open season simply by putting themselves in that position.
0 Replies
 
fishin
 
  1  
Reply Sun 13 Apr, 2008 08:50 am
I think Foxfyre largely hits the nail on the head without perhaps even knowing it:
Foxfyre wrote:
Do you guys accept a full and complete explanation from everybody--i.e. George W. Bush or John McCain or some other person from the other side of the aisle or even Hillary?--or is it only Obama's explanation that we must accept without question?


The positions of "evangelicals" has been pointed out by many people as a reason not to support Bush for the last 8+ years. How many times has our friend blatham made comments about Dobson on A2K? And how many of those have been in the context of an anti-Bush/Anti-Republican candidate or position?

Why should participation with one church, religion, sect, etc... be held up as an indicator of agreement while another one shouldn't? Why shouldn't the public question what's going on regardless of which side of the political fence the candidate is on?

I haven't read up on the Wright flap and I haven't watched the video clips. The whole thing is pretty much irrelevant to me and how I'll vote. But when it comes to questioning why people care or understand (or don't understand), well, what's good for the goose...
0 Replies
 
aidan
 
  1  
Reply Sun 13 Apr, 2008 08:55 am
George Bush's status as a Christian didn't/doesn't bother me in the least. I don't view Christianity in any form as a prohibiting factor when it comes to voting - in fact I think it's good for a candidate running for President to acknowledge that there's something (whatever it might be) greater than him or herself and worthy of worship.

What bothers me is more a lack of recognition that others might have different beliefs that are just as strong as a guiding force in their lives, and that that may come with different standards or credos that should also be respected.
0 Replies
 
Foxfyre
 
  1  
Reply Sun 13 Apr, 2008 08:56 am
aidan wrote:
I agree with every word you just said...but I also maintain that I don't find anything particularly wrong with Obama going to the church he chooses to go to.

I also don't know what all the hand-wringing is about what Wright says in his sermons. Whether or not it is true - those are his perceptions. Obama may or may not agree with them- and I'd be willing to bet that if he does (which I kind of do) he brings along with that agreement the ability to temper the inflammatory nature some might take from them because of his own family situation. If anything, he's well-placed within such a congregation with a pastor such as Wright- and I think it would be a shame if he left.

But I'm with you - I can't stand all this second-guessing of other peoples' motives. I tend to give them the same benefit of the doubt that I would want given to me - no matter which party they represent- now their ACTIONS- that's a different story. They make those open season simply by putting themselves in that position.


I think we're pretty close in perspective here Aidan.

The issue for me is not just TUCC as I won't vote for anybody with voting records as liberal as either Obama or Clinton so long as I have an alternative that isn't too difficult to vote for. (Admittedly, I will have to hold my nose to vote for McCain, but based on his votes, I can trust him to be right of center on most issues.)

The TUCC issue for me has been within the context of whether I want Obama or Clinton to be the Democratic nominee on the theory that the Democrat could be elected in November. In other words, would I prefer Obama or Clinton to be my President?

As far as likeability and personal respect goes, that would be Obama hands down. But there is a genuine concern that Obama might in fact share a view of the world as presented by Jeremiah Wright that I believe to be just plain wrong, even dangerous and destructive both for black people and for the country as a whole. If Obama does in fact mostly share Jeremiah Wright's sociopolitical theology, that alone would give Clinton the edge for me. And that is why this particular issue continues to hold my interest.
0 Replies
 
aidan
 
  1  
Reply Sun 13 Apr, 2008 09:20 am
I see what you're saying. And all I'll say is this...although my track record in terms of reading people is pretty good- I also acknowledge that I make mistakes sometimes-but I don't think I am here.

I don't read Obama as being a particularly bitter or hate-filled person. I don't think he's interested in dividing our country by race. I think, especially given his background, he's much more interested in trying to make it more cohesively manageable for all races and would like to see people of all races working to do that together.

The fact that he chooses to go to a black church is not as much of an issue as people want to make it. Black people historically worship differently from white people. It's a whole different ball game. I know because I was raised in an evangelical white church and I've spent many, many Sundays in evangelical black churches. I actually prefer the black churches because the level of emotional and spiritual release that is appropriate and allowed is different than I find to be more typical of white churches. Maybe he just enjoys that. I know I do. You feel lifted when you walk out of a black church...and when you sing...my goodness...maybe that's what he needs to feed his soul.

People just need to allow that there are differences in people an that's okay.
I don't think we have any racists running for President (from either of the major parties)
That's one issue I'm not worried about this time.
0 Replies
 
Foxfyre
 
  1  
Reply Sun 13 Apr, 2008 09:45 am
aidan wrote:
I see what you're saying. And all I'll say is this...although my track record in terms of reading people is pretty good- I also acknowledge that I make mistakes sometimes-but I don't think I am here.

I don't read Obama as being a particularly bitter or hate-filled person. I don't think he's interested in dividing our country by race. I think, especially given his background, he's much more interested in trying to make it more cohesively manageable for all races and would like to see people of all races working to do that together.

The fact that he chooses to go to a black church is not as much of an issue as people want to make it. Black people historically worship differently from white people. It's a whole different ball game. I know because I was raised in an evangelical white church and I've spent many, many Sundays in evangelical black churches. I actually prefer the black churches because the level of emotional and spiritual release that is appropriate and allowed is different than I find to be more typical of white churches. Maybe he just enjoys that. I know I do. You feel lifted when you walk out of a black church...and when you sing...my goodness...maybe that's what he needs to feed his soul.

People just need to allow that there are differences in people an that's okay.
I don't think we have any racists running for President (from either of the major parties)
That's one issue I'm not worried about this time.


I haven't heard anybody have a problem with Obama attending a predominantly black church. I have heard a lot of concern about him attending (and extolling) Jeremiah Wright's church. As one (black) pundit expressed in some detail, there are any number of wonderful predominantly black churches on Chicago's south side and had Obama attended almost any of those, there would be no problem. It is the anti-American, racist, and at times irrational accusatory rants of Jeremiah Wright that give people pause plus Wright's elevated status in Obama's life that Obama has verified.

But I hope you're right that this does not affect Obama's sociopolitical ideology, because if it does, I think that alone makes him unacceptable as an American president.
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Roxxxanne
 
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Reply Sun 13 Apr, 2008 09:50 am
http://coreygilmore.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2007/08/beating_a_dead_horse.jpg
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