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Wright Dubs Controversy "Attack on the Black Church"

Wright Dubs Controversy "Attack on the Black Church"

Barack Obama's pastor Jeremiah Wright wrapped up a weekend of appearances this morning at the National Press Club in Washington, DC. After the somewhat comical and seemingly drawn-out import given to the Wright controversy at the last Democratic debate, I imagine some are ready to retire this topic.

Jeremiah Wright doesn't seem to want to retire it, as much as rebrand it — from a political discussion concerning the beliefs of Barack Obama to a cultural and racial discussion about the state of faith. In his response today, he said this:

I stand before you to open up this two-day symposium with the hope that this most recent attack on the black church is not an attack on Jeremiah Wright; it is an attack on the black church.

Yesterday he spoke to this notion saying, "I come from a religious tradition that does not divorce the world we are living in with the world we are headed to. The black religious tradition is different. We do it a different way."

Throughout his remarks today he kept a wink-wink rapport with the almost entirely supportive audience. I'm ready to move on from the Obama/Wright connection, but his new tact made me bristle. To see why,

. In his rebranding of the national debate about his remarks, including the "God damn America," statement, and the "chickens coming home to roost" sermon, as an attack on a way of worship, he's hinting that if one's not involved, one certainly couldn't understand. It's as though he's treating us as a nation of rubes who've just pulled the shrink wrap off a VHS of Sister Act and realized, "Aw, shucks! They sure do faith real different!"

My problem with his "chickens coming home" sermon, was never that he delivered it, or the way he preached, or what he was wearing or any of those trappings that Wright might be labeling as "different" — my only objection is the date on which he said those words. On the Sunday after 9/11, that a spiritual leader would use incendiary language to a shocked congregation seeking solace is entirely inappropriate — and if that's what Wright calls "different," I'd have to say he's right. As for an "attack on the black church?" I guess we'll have to agree to disagree.

Do you think the recent reactions to Wright's sermons are an attack on the black church?

Here's Wright answering questions this morning at the National Press Club.


lula29 lula29 9 years
Funny how McCain and Hillary aren't judged by the company they keep.
lula29 lula29 9 years
Oh please. I've investigate Rezko thoroughly and there's not much to it. Wright is a minister of a church that does good work. The Black Church was created because of White discrimination which didn't allow Blacks to attend church with Whites. Due to that discrimination a tradition was created that still exist in the community today, hence Wright speaks about the Black Church. Hence there are Black college, organizations, etc. If it wasn't for the history of discrimination in the first place, such entities wouldn't exist.
Cassandra57 Cassandra57 9 years
liliblu, thanks for the references, information is always useful. I did some googling, too. All the sources I was able to find (without spending a lot of time) were from biased sources like the HuffPoo and DailyKos. That doesn't invalidate them, it just makes me read critically. Quinn is a hired consultant. Some of his other clients are questionable. That doesn't make McCain responsible for those other clients. The quotes I read look like they could have been taken out of context. However, I certainly agree that McCain should be able to find a more reputable firm! Obama's relationships are personal, which makes them informative about the individual's character. (With the possible exception of Rezko, which I believe is mostly business, but partly personal.) That's why I would draw a distinction between the two.
liliblu liliblu 9 years
Lainetm stated: "We are all judged by the company we keep. It may not always be fair, but it's true, and generally enlightening. In Obama's case, now, we've seen: Tony Rezko (see, Wright, and William Ayers / Bernadine Dorn. I could understand not judging someone harshly based on one relationship, but here are three long-term relationships which all seriously concern me." But Clinton and McCain also have "questionable" associations but the press does not give them the same scrutiny. *McCain has a close association to Richard Quinn,a white supremacist. He was a political advisor for McCain in 2000 and is still associated with him to this day. Quinn on David Duke:"What better way to reject politics as usual than to elect a maverick like David Duke? What better way to tweak the nose of the establishment?"
hypnoticmix hypnoticmix 9 years
Great posts Jillness. For those of you who are over it, understandable. I however have a little more interest when it comes to wanting to peel back more layers to a story that is by any means clear or finished. I can only speak for myself but it is apparent how dangerous a facility the mass media has become while watching this story unfold from point A to now. We all know that the media has adopted a practice of cutting out inflammatory and controversial statements with surgical precision and delivering it to us with the rapidity of the oceans tide until our collective conscious surrenders to the suggestion. This practice is applied to anyone who'll make a story not just Rev. Wright. We know this yet we lap it up as though it is milk from our mother’s tit. The media knows we do this which is why the media persists in doing it. They're not the fools; we are for falling for it every time. Even after this weekend again only the choice inflammatory statements played over and over and only those statements being studied and commented on. Of course under that standard you will have a negative view of the subject. As for the question do I think that recent reactions to Rev. Wright are an attack on the black church? No more than saying happy holidays is an attack on Christmas. What recent reactions are in my opinion is not so much an attack but an over sight and indifference to what the black church is and the prophetic tradition of preaching. When reporters pulled black parishioners aside and played the clips for them most of the parishioners looked at the reports like....yeah...and? Most of the parishioners were surprised that it was such a shock that black churches preached in such a hard line manor. It has been stated many times in defense of Rev. Wright that Martin Luther King Jr. was also a traditional prophetic black preacher. How his views and speeches especially during the Vietnam War mirror that of Rev. Wrights views. So I guess my question is if we are collectively so outraged and disgusted with Rev. Wright’s views, why the hell do we celebrate Martin Luther Kings Jr. Day? The only thing that I have heard come out of Rev. Wright’s mouth that was worded and delivered irresponsibly is his charge suggesting a government cover up regarding HIV, but again you see my criticism of that comes from a sound bite which was removed from a whole sermon. A sermon which sighted the Tuskegee experiment among others. I can't read a paragraph of a book and tell you the whole story. This is what we need to do in this day and age when information is so critical and moves at the blink of an eye it is up to us to be diligent, thoughtful and investigate our digestion and delivery of information. I do not belong to a black church nor do I hold any allegiance to Rev. Wright I'm just tired of a really dangerous pattern of manipulating, restructuring, re-contexting information in our society and having it delivered to us as fact which in most cases it is not. As for Rev. Wright taking the opportunity to defend him self and ad some context to his statements. All I can say is if some person or organization striped my words of their genuine intent and delivered them around the world falsely I would do the same thing.
samantha999 samantha999 9 years
Maybe now the press will expose what they call "reverse racism." Maybe Wright needs an exorcism?!!!
Cassandra57 Cassandra57 9 years
Samantha, apparently Wright does not think God is colorblind. He has previously referred to the "black church", "black family" and "black work ethic", among other things. His comments this weekend mock what he perceives as "white" worship patterns and even different learning styles between black and white children. IMO he's the one with race issues.
samantha999 samantha999 9 years
I thought G-d was color blind. I thought church was a place you sought refuge, solace, enlightenment, peace and love. Black church, white church or any church, Wright should have said he felt it an attack on blacks not black church. He was quoted as saying"If G-d is not for us and against white people, then he is a murderer." He endorses Farrakhan as a great man. I do not think he represents any church.
Cassandra57 Cassandra57 9 years
We are all judged by the company we keep. It may not always be fair, but it's true, and generally enlightening. In Obama's case, now, we've seen: Tony Rezko (see, Wright, and William Ayers / Bernadine Dorn. I could understand not judging someone harshly based on one relationship, but here are three long-term relationships which all seriously concern me.
CaterpillarGirl CaterpillarGirl 9 years
Wright has an obvious "victim" mentality and will continue to cry fowl on behalf of his "race" whenever possible, he is just an insignificant former pastor who likes seeing his face in the media. I will be saying "wright who?" in 10 days.
syako syako 9 years
Is there an emoticon for running around in circles?? Guys this has all been discussed/debated/hashed out before. Some of us will continue to believe that Wright does have an influence on Obama while others of us will adamantly oppose that. That's just the way it is. And as for Wright - he's the one being the media wh0re right now, so if you want the media to drop it so badly then send him on vacation like someone else mentioned... At first I had a teensy bit of respect for the man for sitting on the sidelines and letting Obama doing the explaining and for him staying out of the spotlight, but now I've lost that because he is grabbing the reins and running with it (which he has every right to do, but that causes me - and I assume others - to lose respect for him)
azulsky azulsky 9 years
Just a note Wright is Obama's former pastor not current and until McCain's sought after and accepted endorsement from Hagee is given the same coverage and scrutiny this is really a non-issue for me. Obama responded to this here's a link from Washington Post Obama's response: "I have said before and I will repeat again that some of the comments that Rev. Wright have made offend me and I understand why they've offended the American people," Obama said in a brief airport tarmac press conference in Wilmington, N.C. "I just want to emphasize that this is my former pastor," Obama said. "Any of the statements that he's made both to trigger this controversy and that he's made over the last several days are not statements that I've heard him make previously. They don't represent my views. And they don't represent what this campaign's about."
egilbe2 egilbe2 9 years
Hotstuff- I completely agree with you. Citizensugar- I think that posting a picture like the one at the beginning of this post is inflammatory and contributes to the idea that Rev. Wright is crazy. Finally, I think that everyone, has at one time or another been in a position that we do not agree with. For example: 1. I am pretty liberal but I live in a conservative, Southern state. Most of the people I have become friends with here are very conservative people, politically speaking. Though there is alot we disagree on, we still find ways to be friends. 2. In college, I was a part of lots of organizations, many of whom had initiation rituals that could be considered hazing. I am not a fan of hazing, nor was I ever. I knew those organizations and the good they did on campus, in the community, and for individuals and thier development was more important than whatever the barriers to entry might be. 3. I have relatives who I think are selfish and inconsiderate. They do things to other people, and to me that I really dont get. But do I cut them off? No. Would I ever? No. Not only because they are my family and I love them but because I know there is more good than bad and I choose to focus on the good. We pick and choose, in all of our relationships, what we will allow to define our relationships. Barack Obama's relationship with Trinity United Church of Christ and Rev. Wright are clearly about more than just the soundbites we have had heard and seen. It is not our place, at any point, to judge why or when or if he should have left that church. His decisions and his faith are personal and it is unfortunate that the media has made them a matter of public debate. Quite frankly, I am more concerned with candidates who do not practice any faith at all than those whose views I may disagree with.
hotstuff hotstuff 9 years
The bottom line is that Wright is NOT running for President. Hell he isn't even the Pastor of that church anymore!!!
sweetrae80 sweetrae80 9 years
i think the media needs to drop this issue. i think that they are taking select quotes from Wright and spinning them out of control.
lula29 lula29 9 years
People go to church all the time and don't agree with their pastors on everything. Just because you go to church doesn't mean you lose all objective thought. Members who belong to organizations and blindly follow their leaders are members of cults. Members of a church go to listen to sermons, but still retain objectivity, those who don't might want to check themselves, they might belong to a cult. Churches have always discussed political issues, thus the reason why many political movements started in the church, specifically the Black Church, (Yeah I said Black Church, look up the term if you have a problem with it, Blacks were generally segregated from Whites, including in church and historically had to create their own, and thus the term exist and still exist today due to that history.),for example, the Civil Rights movement. Martin Luther King was a minister, HELLO!!! I've said this before but, there aren't very many places where people go and are able to speak frankly about what's going on in the world. Church should continue to be one of those places. Why not? If people are allowed to think objectively I don't see the issue.
harmonyfrance harmonyfrance 9 years
I am so tired of this. I agree with some of you above. Pastors, Preachers, Ministers...what have you...Stay out of the Presidential Race!
Kimpossible Kimpossible 9 years
But a change is coming because we no longer see others who are different as being deficient. We just see them as different." I don't understand, did Wright say this? I don't agree with the statement either. I mean if this were truly the case then we wouldn't have the racial issues we have. It is possible I'm missing something though.
Bettyesque Bettyesque 9 years
Im sorry Jillness at what point did that I make that claim. The fact that I think your candidate is not able to run this country has nothing do with Wright. My comments were directed to his beliefs. I called into in question him attending a church where he disagrees so much what a preacher says.
Kimpossible Kimpossible 9 years
I just dont see how one sits there and listens to this and does not walk out if they "vehemently disagree". the only thing I can think of for an answer to this is, fear. usually fear of going to hell, or of some form of retribution. Not saying I agree or that I would sit there either (I too left the church after 35 years because I finally realized how hypocritcal I was being by attending when I didn't agree with the majority of what they said), it's just a thought as to why some might continue to fill the pews.
Jillness Jillness 9 years
I couldn't resist one more... Betty, find one of Obama's positions on policy that supports your theory that Wright has effected Obama's ability to run the country.
Jillness Jillness 9 years
Here is where I am torn. I am a firm believer in the Federalist Papers, and agree that it is a citizen's obligation to speak out when they disagree with their government. Actively agreeing or disagreeing is a contribution. I do not think Wright was criticizing the American people in the original clips. The full context confirms this. I think it is very dangerous when people try to suppress dissatisfaction with the actions of the government. When they call people unpatriotic for dissent, it is hypocrisy. However, I feel that if you really want to not just cause a stir but make positive change for whatever you see as just, you have to package it in a way that doesn't just grab the people that agree with you, but more importantly, the people who don't agree with you. I don't think saying he should shut up is right...but I really think that he says he wants to fight racism, but his approach just stokes it. He is hurting his own cause. I know he wants to get people's attention, but you also have to be persuasive. It isn't the lack of fact in some of what he says, it is that it seems he phrases it in the most offensive way possible. He seems peeved at Obama, when Obama showed him mercy. That seems pretty sketchy to me. Realistically, everyone knows Obama has been a victim of this man. Wright's views aren't found in any of Obama's policies, and yet people force the connection. I have had my say, and I don't think I will be commenting or reading anymore articles about Wright (good luck, I know). There are so many waaaaaaaaaaay more important things. McCain wants to take Russia out of the G8 for goodness sakes!
Bettyesque Bettyesque 9 years
And the media's timing is impeckable. I think it is so comical how the favor flip on these candidates. Obama was the obvious favorite and in a matter of days they have become Hillary junkies. Its such a joke.
Bettyesque Bettyesque 9 years
How could you attend a church for 20 years and not share the same views? Here is the thing, I have stopped going to church because of political issues that are discussed and opinions that I disagree with. That is after having attended for 18+ years. I just dont see how one sits there and listens to this and does not walk out if they "vehemently disagree". Wrights comments are not one isolated occurrence.
lula29 lula29 9 years
Rev. Wright reminds me of every minister I grew up with as a kid. It's the reason I don't attend church to say. He does make good points, but honestly, I never cared then, and I really don't care now. I can see why he stepped out, because he feels like he's being attacked as well as the church community he belongs to. I think he felt the need to redeem himself and in his defense, he was at an NAACP event and the media decided to air his speech, he didn't seek them out. At any rate, I'm over it.
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