Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Obama Rejects & Denounces Wright

Barack Obama has put substantial new distance between himself and his former pastor:

I am outraged by the comments that were made and saddened by the spectacle that we saw yesterday ... What became clear to me was that he was presenting a world view that contradicts what I am and what I stand for ... I gave him the benefit of the doubt in my speech in Philadelphia explaining that he's done enormous good. ... But when he states and then amplifies such ridiculous propositions as the U.S. government somehow being involved in AIDS ... There are no excuses. They offended me. They rightly offend all Americans and they should be denounced.
Given the deference typically given to "Reverends" and similar religious loonies, this is a strong denunciation.

Wright is officially thrown under the bus. Our politics have already spent too much time on this "Reverend."

Good riddance.


Samuel John Klein Portlandiensis said...

Well, thank whatever you wish to thank that we can at last say that the battle against non-flag-lapel-pin-wearing minorities has been concluded.

Guess we can have that conversation about race some other year then.

: JustaDog said...

It took him 20 years to figure out he doesn't agree with Wright's philosophy?

Sorry - don't buy it. The guy is doing his usual lie-and-hide.

Dale said...

SJKP, Obama has said plenty about race and has plenty more to say. Indeed he's written entire books about it. That conversation should go on, and it can. It should not be centered on a self-preening pastor looking to crack wise for an amen chorus, one who immediately turns opposing views into an attack on his precious church, if not his favorite god. That conversation is always already available, and offers nothing but tired dead ends. I believe Obama has something better and more productive to say about it all.

justadog, I see this as the rot of faith-based thinking and faith-centered reverence. Churches and pastors (and the like) offer up an extremely high chaff to wheat ratio but make it plain that one's eternal soul rests on swallowing it all. Stir in hidebound ideas about "respecting elders" and you get this kind of crap, where otherwise thoughtful people find themselves embarrassed by their religious affiliation. I don't think it's fair to say Obama is faking here. I think he's been pulled into the same dynamic that a lot of religious people have been sucked into. If he can model breaking out of it, he'll do everyone a gigantic favor.

Fundamentally, what I see here is Obama rejecting not so much Wright but Biblical "logic" -- a logic that says that there's a superhero above the clouds punishing some nations and favoring others, dispensing diseases and violence as a parent would dispense groundings. Obama won't quite put it that way -- this is the USA, in which prominent political figures are absolutely required to treat their batshit religions reverentially -- but that's what is going on. And that's huge.

Samuel John Klein Portlandiensis said...

Dale: I take your point. I'll differ only in so far as I think that the sins of those who surgically removed the Reverend Wright's words and insisted on distracting us all with them are perhaps larger than the reverend speaking out at all, even if impolitely.

I think he made a point about how minority races get treated in this country that, if it was going to be brought up, if it was going to be put on the table at all, needed better than tha shallow, jejune treatment it wound up getting, and the eventual use of them to try and discredit someone who may not have actually agreed with them at all.

MDread said...

It would appear that most of your negative remarks are actually aimed at the church and organized religion. The bottom line is you need to look at the man himself because no one has to agree 100% with anyone else to get along with them. And no one has can say that they have a mentor or friend that is without fault. Many people sit under pastors that they do not agree with everything they say but do still see the good in them. if you want to know the truth about barack obama then check out this site: http://www.liesaboutobama.net

Dale said...

MDRead, yes, my comments are mostly aimed at the poison of religion. My latest post covers this more in depth. Note that I am an Obama supporter. It angers me that this noisy "Reverend" clown has made such a mess, but that's really an instance of a larger anger that noisy clowns like him continue to be relevant in this society's politics.

Wright has had a terrific chance to step forward and show how his life of thinking about and honoring his favorite god advances the cause of justice and peace. Instead he has shown himself to be a ridiculous fool, and has, to date, done more than any other person to assure that John McSame ends up in the White House.

I am delighted that Obama denounced him in such clear terms. I only wish he had done so sooner, nad I wish he had not been under political duress to attach himself to a church in the first place.

I would like to see all of these god-addled clowns -- Wright, Hagee, Pat Robertson, James Dobson, William Donahue, Farrakhan, the whole lot -- to take their bullshit back to church / mosque / whatever.

Samuel John Klein Portlandiensis said...

I would like to see all of these god-addled clowns -- Wright, Hagee, Pat Robertson, James Dobson, William Donahue, Farrakhan, the whole lot -- to take their bullshit back to church / mosque / whatever.

On that, we are in 100% agreement.

Dale said...

SJKP, one other note on the racial aspect: last night I heard one of the cable news talkers, I think Lawrence O'Donnell, capture pretty well my thoughts on it. When Wright's youtube clips first made their waves, Obama responded with his Philadelphia speech in which he gave Wright the benefit of the doubt and began a very forward-looking and thoughtful conversation about race in the USA that got past some of the worn-out dynamics, skapegoating, name-calling, and other familiar ruts. This was Wright's big chance to step forward and put his sermons in a wider context -- to join that higher-level discussion. While Wright did a little of that during his weekend tour of publicity, he also went off the deep end by amplifying some of the worst notions in those youtube clips. He took Obama's opening and dragged it all back in the sewer, in other words.

I think Obama was justified in giving his pastor the benefit of the doubt in the first place. I think that was the kind of gesture one should expect from someone attempting to "elevate the discourse." But Wright played the screaming clown and took it back down into the muck.

Obama gave the man a fair chance. He gave him an opening to advance what he says he values -- a view of race, a view of politics, and a view of god. Wright answered with bullshit and clowning. Obama rightly decided he's not going to follow Wright back to the same tired trash and pushed him under the bus. And good riddance.

A grownup discussion on race will require grownups. It remains to be seen whether enough willing grownups exist. It's clear Wright isn't one of them, and now it's clear (for anyone who actually cares) that Obama is prepared, to his credit, to identify and dismiss the non-grownups, even if it cuts against his personal wishes and presumptive loyalties.