Friday, March 14, 2008

Barack responds to the comments of his pastor

On my faith and my church
The pastor of my church, Rev. Jeremiah Wright, who recently preached his last sermon and is in the process of retiring, has touched off a firestorm over the last few days. He's drawn attention as the result of some inflammatory and appalling remarks he made about our country, our politics, and my political opponents.

Let me say at the outset that I vehemently disagree and strongly condemn the statements that have been the subject of this controversy. I categorically denounce any statement that disparages our great country or serves to divide us from our allies. I also believe that words that degrade individuals have no place in our public dialogue, whether it's on the campaign stump or in the pulpit. In sum, I reject outright the statements by Rev. Wright that are at issue.

You can continue reading here.


Kansas Bob said...

Great respnse by Barack!

I checked out his new pastor.. I'm curious that way :)

I liked the videos that I watched and posted a great message that he gave here.

Thanks Julie for posting Barack's response.

tamarika said...

Julie, Thanks for visiting my blog. And thanks for posting Barack Obama's response about his pastor. We are fortunate to be living through such interesting times. I am so excited at the prospect of Obama becoming our President. Finally, someone who I can be proud to represent me!

Dave said...

Here's what I had to say in the comments section on Obama's HuffPo blog entry (don't bother trying to find it, there are so many comments left there that it's almost not worth bothering to contribute because they just get buried):

This blog post is a good start, but I think that Barack is going to have to say these things in person, on camera, addressing the voters, in order to put this issue "somewhat" to rest. The emotions and the issues raised by Rev. Wright are actually very worthy of discussion and serious reflection. But Obama's task is to assure the voters that inflamed rhetoric does not inform his thinking and judgment on the serious issues that he would deal with as President of the USA. I see this as a good test of his leadership and if he handles it well, the issue will enhance, rather than harm, his credibility as the future head of the executive branch of our government.
(end o' comment)

Last night he did go on CNN and addressed the issue directly in an interview with Anderson Cooper. I don't know that this will put the matter behind him completely but I thought overall he handled it well. I have more to say about it over on my own blog. :o)

Cheryl said...

I support neither Obama nor Hillary nor McCain. I'm a Libertarian, so know up front, that I have no dog in the Democratic hunt.

Granted, I do not know Obama's heart, but I find it exceedingly difficult to believe that Obama does not share, at least somewhat, in the beliefs of Rev. Wright. How can someone attend a church for 20 years without having some common views with the leader of that church (and I wish I could say they are just spiritual views, but obviously, he preaches politics from his pulpit as well).

Whether or not Obama heard these specific sermons is irrelevant. These types of beliefs do not just spring suddenly "out of context" from unrelated beliefs. I don't believe that Wright was preaching the love of Jesus for 20 years, and then suddenly, in the sermons when Obama was not in attendance, he starts to preach about the collective guilt of the U.S. (especially rich whites) for almost every bad thing that has ever happened.

Of course, the U.S. has some terrible acts that rightly deserve to be called out and dealt with, but incendiary speech that blames it all on the rich or the whites or whoever is just one more tired old way of rejecting personal responsibility. "My lot in life is because of 'the man'."

Just what is it that Wright and people who think like him want?! He mocks blacks who have attained status and respect through education and hard work, like Colin Powell and Condoleeza Rice. He considers them sell outs. What does he want?! To be given power and wealth and respect just BECAUSE he's black? I honestly don't get it!

Wright seems remarkably similar to people who constantly look backwards regarding the war in Iraq and say over and over..."We should have never gone to war." Yes, okay, we know. But now we're there. How do we go forward and end the debacle?

We need answers and solutions from our leaders, not the stating of the obvious. And if they don't have answers and solutions, maybe they shouldn't be the leaders! Wright certainly is not wrong to point out where and how we ALL have failed, but people need to be hearing from every pulpit about hope for answers and solutions, not blame and division.

I'm hoping that if Obama becomes president that the answers and solutions are what he will offer, and not choose to take the path of his spiritual advisor who seems to heap blame upon everyone but himself.

julieunplugged said...

What I find difficult about this whole topic is that white America has no understanding of the spiritual path of the black Christian church. As a result, they project their own ideas of what the meaning is onto Wright's words (and I agree that they are incendiary and are intended to be).

The "love of Jesus" that Wright was preaching may in fact bear little resemblance to a white Baptist church, like the one that Huckabee may have led. Their focus is on social justice, not on eternal salvation.

Likewise, Rev. Wright's messages ranged through a series of topics, including the ones that led Obama to title his book "The Audacity of Hope" - based on a sermon title by Wright.

I totally agree that all this cannot possibly spring from a vacuum. As a result, don't you feel even a bit more hesitant to jump to the conclusion that you understand that this is more victim theology on the pat of blacks? Aren't you a little curious about what fuels these ideas and why they seem to resonate with Wright's community?

Of course, the U.S. has some terrible acts that rightly deserve to be called out and dealt with, but incendiary speech that blames it all on the rich or the whites or whoever is just one more tired old way of rejecting personal responsibility. "My lot in life is because of 'the man'."

This paragraph is stunning. You dismiss the heinous acts that have been called out by saying they are called out in the context of rejecting personal responsibility?

And if that is in fact the criteria you are using, then isn't Obama an example of what you consider worthy of praise: someone who didn't allow his lot in life to be determined by the man (black or white)?

My problem with your above sentiment is that I don't think white people have even the vaguest clue what it means to grow up black in America. Certainly all of us have been dealt a hand... but the equity of opportunity to transcend it is both enhanced by privilege and thwarted by disadvantage and discrimination depending on who you are and where you come from.

Cheryl said...

Of course, I have no idea what it's like to grow up black in America. What I was getting at, and I thought I stated it pretty clearly, but maybe not, is that Rev. Wright mocks the black people who have attained status, power, and wealth through hard work and education.

How does he want other black people to achieve status, wealth, and power? I would think he would be extolling the virutes of work and education, rather than tearing down those who have chosen to go that route.

My point is that it requires personal responsibility and working for those things, not just having them handed to you because events in the past have worked against your culture.

Of course, there is still prejudice, but it works both ways, in all races. I would love it if youtube would put some soundbites of Wright's sermons where he puts forth solutions for working together to accomplish better things for all of us. I just haven't been able to find them.

And as I also said, I do hope that if Obama becomes president, he will provide solutions.

julieunplugged said...

Cheryl, I actually do agree with you about Condoleeza Rice and Colin Powell from an outsider's perspective. What I've heard from the inside is that the black community sometimes feels that to make it in the white world, you must abandon your roots and embrace white culture, white values, white success models to get there. That's what makes some blacks feel that they have "betrayed" their roots to find success.

Cheryl said...

Julie, I know you have done more research into and reading about and experiencing of black culture than I, so I ask this in all sincerity... if working hard and getting an education to have wealth and power is considered abandoning the black culture, what is the black culture's way of attaining those things? Why is that "selling out?"

julieunplugged said...

I think Barack is actually a good example of *not* selling out *and* working hard to transcend his circumstances. Barack took his law degree and returned to the south side of Chicago to help achieve justice in a place where blacks were suffering.

It's not that hard work isn't important - it's the idea that there's a history and a people that are a part of that growth.

Obviously it's much more complex than I can express in a comment box, but that's the idea.

Kansas Bob said...

I think that.. on this one anyway.. I agree with Al Sharpton