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Author Topic: The Trial of Jeremiah Wright  (Read 4081 times)
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helot2000
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« on: April 20, 2008, 04:54:52 AM »


The defendant will please rise. The story of Jeremiah Wright became more interesting to me this last week when I came across his back story.  I read a lot of print and on-line stuff and sadly, I can't find my way back to the article I read but this Wiki bio fleshes out the points I didn't previously know.
 
Quote from: Wiki
From 1959 to 1961, Wright attended Virginia Union University, in Richmond. Inspired by President John F. Kennedy's 1961 challenge to "Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country," Wright gave up his student deferment, left college and joined the United States Marine Corps and became part of the 2nd Marine Division with the rank of private first class. In 1963, after two years of service, Wright then transferred to the United States Navy and entered the Corpsman School at the Great Lakes Naval Training Center, where he graduated as valedictorian. Having excelled in corpsman school, Wright was then trained as a cardiopulmonary technician at the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland where he graduated as salutatorian. Wright was assigned as part of the medical team charged with care of President Lyndon B. Johnson. Before leaving the position in 1967, the White House awarded Wright three letters of commendation.

So far, so good. 

Quote from: Wiki
Wright became pastor of the Trinity United Church of Christ, Chicago on March 1, 1972, at a time when its membership was only 87 members. In March 2008, Trinity United Church of Christ is the largest church in the mostly white United Church of Christ.

Still good.

Quote
"the chickens have come home to roost...G*d damn America, etc.

Err, not so good.  The strange thing is that its not like Wright has been preaching in his basement.  Trinity Church was prominently featured in the PBS Frontline show, "Keeping the Faith" in 1987.  The church service is broadcast...that would be why we have the footage.  The church is Afrocentric but includes white folks.  In fact, one white member told this story.

Quote from: Chicago Tribune
I do have a bit of personal context. About 26 years ago, I became engaged to my wife, an African-American. She was at that time and remains a member of Trinity. Somewhere between the ring and the altar, my wife had second thoughts and broke off the engagement. Her decision was grounded in race: So committed to black causes, the daughter of parents subjected to unthinkable prejudice over the years, an "up-and-coming" leader in the young black community, how could she marry a white man?

Rev. Wright, whom I had met only in passing at the time and who was equally if not more outspoken about "black" issues than he is today, somehow found out about my wife's decision. He called and asked her to "drop everything" and meet with him at Trinity. He spent four hours explaining his reaction to her decision. Racial divisions were unacceptable, he said, no matter how great or prolonged the pain that caused them. God would not want us to assess or make decisions about people based on race. The world could make progress on issues of race only if people were prepared to break down barriers that were much easier to let stand.

Rev. Wright was pretty persuasive; he presided over our wedding a few months later. In the years since, I have watched in utter awe as Wright has overseen and constructed a support system for thousands in need on the South Side that is far more impressive and effective than any governmental program possibly could approach. And never in my life have I been welcomed more warmly and sincerely than at Trinity. Never.

I am left confused.  The guy had a brilliant start and a great middle.  Where did the radical part come in?  Were the seeds that bore bitter fruit planted when MLK was gunned down?  Was the guy losing it in his old age and thus, finds himself in retirement?  I really don't know.  I'm curious to learn (and not be told) the whole story but I don't think anyone has delivered it yet. 
« Last Edit: April 20, 2008, 08:19:55 PM by helot2000 » Logged

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Brendan
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« Reply #1 on: April 20, 2008, 05:39:55 AM »

Disclaimer:  I'm an atheist, so theology is essentially an anthropological exercise for me.  That said, I find it an interesting topic, so I've done my share of reading.

Black liberation theology stems largely from a minister named James Cone, who wrote a number of books on the subject in the late 60s and early-mid 70s.  The central precept of "Black Theology and Black Power" is:

Quote
As we examine what contemporary theologians are saying, we find that they are silent about the enslaved condition of black people. Evidently they see no relationship between black slavery and the Christian gospel. Consequently there has been no sharp confrontation of the gospel with white racism. There is, then, a desperate need for a black theology, a theology whose sole purpose is to apply the freeing power of the gospel to black people under white oppression.

Certainly it's a descendent of the civil rights struggle and the black power movement, and it reflects the disservice done by many Christians who didn't stand up for the civil rights of African-Americans.

Before msduncan and his crew start bleating about reverse racism/bigotry/whatever, it's instructive to actually read some Cone:

Quote
Hordern : From the point of view of the Christian church, one of the most significant things to come out of the racial situation is black theology. When that is mentioned, of course, we think of you, Jim. You have moved us, angered us, and illuminated us. However, many readers have problems with your work. They feel that, because they were born with skin of the wrong color, you have excluded them from dialogue. There seems to be some vagueness on your use of the terms “white” and “black.” On the one hand, in A Black Theology of Liberation, page 12, you say that blackness symbolizes the oppressors and enslavement. In that use a person with white skin may in fact be “black,” while a person with black skin may be “white.” This definition of terms is a healthy change from the usual symbolic meanings of white and black.

But do you always follow this definition? For example, you say on page 22 “unfortunately, American white theology has not been involved in the struggle for black liberation.” If you are following your first definition, this statement is true by definition because any theology which had been involved in the struggle for liberation would be “black.” Why then do you say “unfortunately”/ It would appear that you are using “white theology” here to describe theology as written by men whose skins are white. But, if that is so, is the statement universally correct?

Cone: The vagueness of the terms “black” and “white” is intentional and I think necessary. While I do not minimize the need for logical consistency, there are times when rationalistic logic breaks down. This is especially true when one is dealing with concrete historical experiences that are not universal. There is the situation of the oppressed as they reflect theologically upon the significance of their oppression and liberation. Because oppressors are the persons who devise the language tools for communication, their canons of logic do not include a form of the oppressed. “meaningful discourse” is always language which does not threaten the powers that be.

If the oppressed are to attain their freedom, they must begin to create a new style of communication which is consistent with their struggle for liberation. In part they must deny the accepted canons of logic, allowing the liberation struggle alone to be the logical test for meaningful discourse. Logical consistency, as defined by the oppressors, is irrelevant.

Ultimately, it's a theology that prizes the battle on behalf of the poor and oppressed, which puts it in direct opposition to the corporatists who run the modern Republican party.

Elsewhere in "A Black Theology of Liberation" Cone writes:  "Any message that is not related to the liberation of the poor in a society is not Christ's message. Any theology that is indifferent to the theme of liberation is not Christian theology."

That's the context in which Wright makes statements like "God damn America."  There's apparently some biblical significance to the phrase "damn" that eludes me (beyond the popular culture meaning of "Fuck that thing!"), but it's more interesting if you look at the full text of the speech:

Quote
“When it came to putting the citizens of African descent fairly, America failed. She put them in chains. The government put them on slave quarters. Put them on auction blocks. Put them in cotton fields. Put them in inferior schools. Put them in substandard housing. Put them scientific experiments. Put them in the lower paying jobs. Put them outside the equal protection of the law. Kept them out of their racist bastions of higher education, and locked them into positions of hopelessness and helplessness.”

“The government gives them the drugs, builds bigger prisons, passes a three strike law and then wants us to sing God Bless America. Naw, naw, naw. Not God Bless America. God Damn America! That’s in the Bible. For killing innocent people. God Damn America for treating us citizens as less than human. God Damn America as long as she tries to act like she is God and she is Supreme.”

“The United States government has failed the vast majority of her citizens of African descent. Think about this. Think about this. For every one Oprah, a billionaire, you’ve got 5 million blacks that are out of work. For every one Colin Powell, a millionaire, you’ve got 10 million blacks who cannot read. For every one Condi-Skeezer Rice, you’ve got 1 million in prison. For every one Tiger Woods, who needs to get beat at the Masters, with his Cablanasian hips, playing on a course that discriminates against women, God has this way of brining you up short when you get to big for your Cablanasian britches. For every one Tiger Woods, we’ve got 10,000 black kids who will never see a golf course. The United States government has failed the vast majority of her citizens of African descent.”

“Tell your neighbor he’s (going to) help us one last time. Turn back and say forgive him for the God Damn, that’s in the Bible though. Blessings and curses is in the Bible. It’s in the Bible.
“Where government fail, God never fails. When God says it, it’s done. God never fails. When God wills it, you better get out the way, cause God never fails. When God fixes it, oh believe me it’s fixed. God never fails. Somebody right now, you think you can’t make it, but I want you to know that you are more than a conqueror through Christ. You can do all things through Christ who strengthens you.”

It's part and parcel of a religious movement founded by black Americans who remember the pre-civil rights era.  As a non-religious person, I'd love it if everyone in this country suppressed their religious fervor in favor of our secular political system, but Republicans have been attempting to eliminate the separation between church and state for decades now.  Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell are a good example.  I'll have to go through msduncan's posting history to see if he's bothered condemning them.

This entire Wright "issue" only exists because Republican operatives want to diminsh Obama's appeal.  Anyone who seriously thinks that Obama intends to act as some sort of anti-white-american sleeper agent is a moron.
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CSL
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« Reply #2 on: April 20, 2008, 06:51:41 AM »

Jeremiah Wright shouldn't have any explaining to do. No matter how right I might bend on some issues his rhetoric has ample basis in fact and reasoning for the simple way the black community has usually been led aside, forgotten about, or shunned much like it always has been. My hope is that Obama has taken this in stride - I know he isn't so foolish as to be as simplistic in his thinking as Wright may have been - but I hope when in office he also manages to realize that black leadership in many cases has also been somewhat to fault for this, its undeniable that those holdovers from the civil rights era like Jesse Jackson haven't exactly been helpful in the last decade at the least.
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Brendan
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« Reply #3 on: April 20, 2008, 04:02:49 PM »

Quote from: CSL on April 20, 2008, 06:51:41 AM

Jeremiah Wright shouldn't have any explaining to do. No matter how right I might bend on some issues his rhetoric has ample basis in fact and reasoning for the simple way the black community has usually been led aside, forgotten about, or shunned much like it always has been. My hope is that Obama has taken this in stride - I know he isn't so foolish as to be as simplistic in his thinking as Wright may have been - but I hope when in office he also manages to realize that black leadership in many cases has also been somewhat to fault for this, its undeniable that those holdovers from the civil rights era like Jesse Jackson haven't exactly been helpful in the last decade at the least.

Jackson's had some pretty stupid moments (Hymietown!?) but the Rainbow Coalition has been an effective advocate for social justice in the US for the last twenty years, and he deserves commendation at least for that.
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Blackadar
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« Reply #4 on: April 20, 2008, 07:56:09 PM »

I'm absolutely no fan of Wright's statements.  They're inflammatory, unnecessary and in many cases false.  The whole "the US Government sponsors drugs and AIDS in black communities" thing is stupid.  It's not in black communities, it's in poor communities.  Yes, there is this sense that "social triage" has been happening since the 80s, where the poor communities are left to die in poverty, violence, drugs and disease like wounded soldiers.  But I don't buy the active intervention of the US Government nor the race component.

The "chickens are coming home to roost" comment does have some truth to it.  Hell, it's directly attributable to 9/11.  We trained and sponsored Osama Bin Ladin during his fight against the Soviets and then dropped the entire area once the Berlin Wall came crashing down.  As such, those chickens did come home to roost, as well as many others given our interference in the area (like giving Saddam the stuff to make the WMDs).

However, when someone castigates Wright but won't do the same for Falwell or Robertson - whose comments (I believe) were far worse than Jeremiah Wright's - I think that goes to show the inherent racial bias or ignorance of the individual.  I just don't see any other conclusion that can be drawn.
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Brendan
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« Reply #5 on: April 20, 2008, 08:04:01 PM »

Quote from: Blackadar on April 20, 2008, 07:56:09 PM

I'm absolutely no fan of Wright's statements.  They're inflammatory, unnecessary and in many cases false.

Totally agreed.

Quote
However, when someone castigates Wright but won't do the same for Falwell or Robertson - whose comments (I believe) were far worse than Jeremiah Wright's - I think that goes to show the inherent racial bias or ignorance of the individual.  I just don't see any other conclusion that can be drawn.

There's one other obvious possibility - amoral political pragmatism.  If you're willing to say anything to get your candidate elected at the expense of the other guy's candidate, you'd spread these memes.
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Electronic Dan
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« Reply #6 on: April 20, 2008, 09:00:46 PM »

Quote from: Brendan on April 20, 2008, 05:39:55 AM

This entire Wright "issue" only exists because Republican operatives want to diminsh Obama's appeal.  Anyone who seriously thinks that Obama intends to act as some sort of anti-white-american sleeper agent is a moron.

While I agree that the implication that Obama is going to act as a Manchurian candidate is absurd, the issue isn't a non-issue.  Obama states that he only heard about some of the statements when he first started to run for office, and yet he put him on one of his campaigns advisory board in December, well after that.

Some of us might take issue with letting a bigot work for us.

Maybe even Obama:

Quote
"I understand MSNBC has suspended Mr. Imus," Obama told ABC News, "but I would also say that there's nobody on my staff who would still be working for me if they made a comment like that about anybody of any ethnic group. And I would hope that NBC ends up having that same attitude."

http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/story?id=3031317

That said, I have issues with McCain with regards to Hagee, etc.
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Brendan
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« Reply #7 on: April 20, 2008, 11:59:07 PM »

Quote from: Electronic Dan on April 20, 2008, 09:00:46 PM

Quote from: Brendan on April 20, 2008, 05:39:55 AM

This entire Wright "issue" only exists because Republican operatives want to diminsh Obama's appeal.  Anyone who seriously thinks that Obama intends to act as some sort of anti-white-american sleeper agent is a moron.

While I agree that the implication that Obama is going to act as a Manchurian candidate is absurd, the issue isn't a non-issue.  Obama states that he only heard about some of the statements when he first started to run for office, and yet he put him on one of his campaigns advisory board in December, well after that.

There are plenty of instances within both parties where people with disqualifying conditions are appointed to political positions.  This is just another instance of that.

Quote
Some of us might take issue with letting a bigot work for us.

I cited the Cone interview above because it's an important element of this particular brand of Christianity.  The money quote is "On the one hand, in A Black Theology of Liberation, page 12, you say that blackness symbolizes the oppressors and enslavement. In that use a person with white skin may in fact be “black,” while a person with black skin may be “white.” This definition of terms is a healthy change from the usual symbolic meanings of white and black."  It's a convenient shorthand to say Wright's a bigot, but I think the point of this thread was that he's a more complicated person than has been portrayed on the news.  There're plenty of white people who attend his church.  Why would they attend if he hated white people?
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Electronic Dan
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« Reply #8 on: April 21, 2008, 01:10:09 AM »

Quote from: Brendan on April 20, 2008, 11:59:07 PM

It's a convenient shorthand to say Wright's a bigot, but I think the point of this thread was that he's a more complicated person than has been portrayed on the news.

Yes, Wright is much more than a sum of inflammatory statements.  But that doesn't change the fact that he made those inflammatory statements.

Quote
There're plenty of white people who attend his church.  Why would they attend if he hated white people?

Maybe, like Obama, they hadn't heard his remarks until they made the news?

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Brendan
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« Reply #9 on: April 21, 2008, 01:19:26 AM »

Quote from: Electronic Dan on April 21, 2008, 01:10:09 AM

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There're plenty of white people who attend his church.  Why would they attend if he hated white people?

Maybe, like Obama, they hadn't heard his remarks until they made the news?

My understanding is that these were sermons to his entire congregation.
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Electronic Dan
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« Reply #10 on: April 21, 2008, 01:56:20 AM »

Quote from: Brendan on April 21, 2008, 01:19:26 AM

Quote from: Electronic Dan on April 21, 2008, 01:10:09 AM

Quote
There're plenty of white people who attend his church.  Why would they attend if he hated white people?

Maybe, like Obama, they hadn't heard his remarks until they made the news?

My understanding is that these were sermons to his entire congregation.


So you think Obama lied? icon_confused

Not that it matters, plenty of people listen to (or tune out) things that they disagree with.  I have gay friends that regularly go to services where they know they aren't entirely welcome. 
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helot2000
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« Reply #11 on: April 21, 2008, 02:25:25 AM »

Quote from: Electronic Dan on April 21, 2008, 01:56:20 AM

So you think Obama lied? icon_confused

Not that it matters, plenty of people listen to (or tune out) things that they disagree with.  I have gay friends that regularly go to services where they know they aren't entirely welcome. 
It's funny you mention this. One of my thoughts is of two Catholic friends who are quite vocal and frequent in complaining about their churches.  I have to hear about it from a coworker who gets all fired up about the Sunday sermon.  It's everything I can do to bite me tongue to keep from saying "HELLO! You don't actually have to keep going back!" The other friend is an unmarried 30something who had to sign a code of ethics to work for the church.  Of course, she doesn't actually follow the code as she lives with her boyfriend who is divorced and being a self described Feminist, she's on the opposite side of her religion on number of important issues.  I'm not saying this is applicable to Obama but I am saying that when it comes to religion, our personal behavior can sometimes defy reason and logic.

As to Obama and the sermon in question, his claim is that he wasn't there.  Which brings up a though...how regularly did Wright give a sermon like the one discussed?  Since these were televised, I'm guessing we've heard the worst or else the press would be on to the Next One and then the Next One. 
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« Reply #12 on: April 21, 2008, 02:42:25 AM »

Quote from: Brendan on April 21, 2008, 01:19:26 AM

My understanding is that these were sermons to his entire congregation.

Considering that the average attention span is several times shorter than the average sermon length - it's quite possible that by the time he made comments like this - nobody heard them as  everybody was too busy thinking and passing notes back and forth about what they were going to go eat lunch after service.
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Brendan
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« Reply #13 on: April 21, 2008, 02:43:44 AM »

More useful reading:

Obama and Race:

Quote
“The big thing for Wright is hope,” said Martin Marty, one of America’s foremost theologians, who has known the Rev. Wright for 35 years and attended many of his services. “You hear ‘hope, hope, hope.’ Lots of ordinary people are there, and they’re there not to blast the whites. They’re there to get hope.”

Professor Marty said that as a white person, he sticks out in the largely black congregation but is always greeted with warmth and hospitality. “It’s not anti-white,” he said. “I don’t know anybody who’s white who walks out of there not feeling affirmed.”


Obama's Minister Committed "Treason" But When My Father Said the Same Thing He Was a Republican Hero:

Quote
When Senator Obama's preacher thundered about racism and injustice Obama suffered smear-by-association. But when my late father -- Religious Right leader Francis Schaeffer -- denounced America and even called for the violent overthrow of the US government, he was invited to lunch with presidents Ford, Reagan and Bush, Sr.

Every Sunday thousands of right wing white preachers (following in my father's footsteps) rail against America's sins from tens of thousands of pulpits. They tell us that America is complicit in the "murder of the unborn," has become "Sodom" by coddling gays, and that our public schools are sinful places full of evolutionists and sex educators hell-bent on corrupting children. They say, as my dad often did, that we are, "under the judgment of God." They call America evil and warn of immanent destruction. By comparison Obama's minister's shouted "controversial" comments were mild. All he said was that God should damn America for our racism and violence and that no one had ever used the N-word about Hillary Clinton.

A Candidate, His Minister and the Search for Faith :

Quote
Mr. Obama was entranced by Mr. Wright, whose sermons fused analysis of the Bible with outrage at what he saw as the racism of everything from daily life in Chicago to American foreign policy. Mr. Obama had never met a minister who made pilgrimages to Africa, welcomed women leaders and gay members and crooned Teddy Pendergrass rhythm and blues from the pulpit. Mr. Wright was making Trinity a social force, initiating day care, drug counseling, legal aid and tutoring. He was also interested in the world beyond his own; in 1984, he traveled to Cuba to teach Christians about the value of nonviolent protest and to Libya to visit Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi, along with the Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan. Mr. Wright said his visits implied no endorsement of their views.

Followers were also drawn simply by Mr. Wright’s appeal. Trinity has 8,500 members today, making it the largest American congregation in the United Church of Christ, a mostly white denomination known for the independence of its congregations and its willingness to experiment with traditional Protestant theology.

Mr. Wright preached black liberation theology, which interprets the Bible as the story of the struggles of black people, who by virtue of their oppression are better able to understand Scripture than those who have suffered less. That message can sound different to white audiences, said Dwight Hopkins, a professor at University of Chicago Divinity School and a Trinity member. “Some white people hear it as racism in reverse,” Dr. Hopkins said, while blacks hear, “Yes, we are somebody, we’re also made in God’s image.”

Quote
“Reverend Wright is a child of the 60s, and he often expresses himself in that language of concern with institutional racism and the struggles the African-American community has gone through,” Mr. Obama said. “He analyzes public events in the context of race. I tend to look at them through the context of social justice and inequality.”

About the Rev. Jeremiah Wright:

Quote
The United Church of Christ, the denomination of the Chicago church, is overwhelmingly white. And Wright is an equal-opportunity critic, often delivering scorching lectures about black society, telling audiences to improve their educations and work ethic.

"I can remember Jeremiah saying in probably half his sermons: Everyone who's your color ain't your kind," Richard Sewell, a church member, said last year.
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Brendan
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« Reply #14 on: April 21, 2008, 02:49:08 AM »

Ah, and here's a video.
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Brendan
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« Reply #15 on: April 21, 2008, 02:58:08 AM »

Quote from: DarkEL on April 21, 2008, 02:42:25 AM

Quote from: Brendan on April 21, 2008, 01:19:26 AM

My understanding is that these were sermons to his entire congregation.

Considering that the average attention span is several times shorter than the average sermon length - it's quite possible that by the time he made comments like this - nobody heard them as  everybody was too busy thinking and passing notes back and forth about what they were going to go eat lunch after service.

There's a great omelette place near my old episcopal church, if you're looking for a recommendation.
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Electronic Dan
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« Reply #16 on: April 21, 2008, 03:21:53 AM »

Quote from: helot2000 on April 21, 2008, 02:25:25 AM

I'm not saying this is applicable to Obama but I am saying that when it comes to religion, our personal behavior can sometimes defy reason and logic.

It's not just religion - people's behavior can defy reason and logic for lots of reasons (even politics).  icon_wink

Quote
As to Obama and the sermon in question, his claim is that he wasn't there.  Which brings up a though...how regularly did Wright give a sermon like the one discussed?  Since these were televised, I'm guessing we've heard the worst or else the press would be on to the Next One and then the Next One. 

The stuff has come out over a long period of time (as far back as the start of last year, and as recently as last month), so there might still be more stuff to be found.  Were all of his sermons videotaped?
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« Reply #17 on: April 21, 2008, 05:02:42 AM »

Quote from: Electronic Dan on April 21, 2008, 03:21:53 AM

Quote
As to Obama and the sermon in question, his claim is that he wasn't there.  Which brings up a though...how regularly did Wright give a sermon like the one discussed?  Since these were televised, I'm guessing we've heard the worst or else the press would be on to the Next One and then the Next One. 

The stuff has come out over a long period of time (as far back as the start of last year, and as recently as last month), so there might still be more stuff to be found.  Were all of his sermons videotaped?

They appear to have been televised for a long time.

Here's the text of another of his sermons, The Audacity to Hope.


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Electronic Dan
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« Reply #18 on: April 28, 2008, 03:44:02 PM »

Wright keeps on talking:

Quote
Mr. Wright had likened the Romans at the time of Jesus’ crucifixion to the Marines and had suggested that the United States was acting like Al Qaeda under a different color flag.

Meanwhile, McCain tries to use the "the terrorists prefer Obama" attack. 

Quote
“It’s clear who Hamas wants to be the next president of the United States.”

 disgust
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« Reply #19 on: April 28, 2008, 05:55:43 PM »

I really wish Wright would stop going on TV shows.  Everytime I think we are done hearing about him Meet The Press is showing clips of him talking.

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« Reply #20 on: April 29, 2008, 11:00:46 AM »

Longtime reader, first time poster here. I just felt it was time to chime in.

I still don't know what the big deal is with Rev Wright.
His charges of 'chickens coming home to roost' and the government spreading AIDs and Drugs in black communities is mostly true. It's just the truth hurts.
To unpack this a bit, there's already good responses that we did provoke 9/11, as horrible as it was... All you have to do is listen to those that attack us (and we funded for years prior) - they'll tell you WHY. Sad truth, but meddling in other parts of the world will always cause problems.

As for Drugs in 'black' communities - this is indisputable with all the information of the CIA during Iran/Contra. Yes these were low income neighborhoods, but they're primarily black. The CIA was the main bagman for the cocaine that helped start the crack epidemic. Sad, very sad - but very true.

Even Manuel Noriega was happy to talk about his selling of drugs to the US Government (or CIA) at his trial in the US - but it just happened to be on the back pages of the news, because the first Gulf War started. Sad, but true. It seems people that read the NY Times missed that story that day... And the rest of the country.

Now, the big one is AIDS. There is no information either way to support that argument. I think it's bunk. HOWEVER - I researched the idea in college, with inspiration of a governmental report that escapes me, of the US Government creating AIDs and was able to trace back the first instance of any such charge to a newspaper in India called "The Patriot". The Patriot was an old Soviet Union Active Measures shill during the Cold War. As you research instances the story appeared - it spread like wildfire around the region and eventually reached South Africa YEARS after the initial disinformation campaign began... Now, here's where it gets interesting. You begin to read black leaders, such as Spike Lee, and many others begin to say they believe undoubtedly that the US government created AIDS in major US media. By the mid-90s, over 90% of black church goers believed that the government created AIDS.

So basically, you have a nasty charge against our government that was probably the most effective disinformation campaign many scholars believe to come out of the cold war.... And sadly, you have a very important man in the community believing in something that was hearsay 100s of times before it even came to him. That part, to me, is not necessarily unforgiveable, however - the information IS out there... A radical charge like that needs more due dillegence IMO - but for disinformation to be effective, it also has to be credible. Has our government done things to create such vitriol? You bet.

Meanwhile, you have knuckleheads spewing even more ridiculous charges on the Right supporting GOP candidates and no one really cares. I think that this is an attack on the churches in black communities. The civil rights movement was a generation ago - but there are those that lived during the Jim Crow era that are still quite alive. If you look into these communities - the movement still has a long long way to go, and they have every right to be mad. I think that struggle has changed, though, and is more economic than racial... You see lots more mix in the 'ghetto' demographically than you did say 15 years ago.

I think this even being an issue shows the blatent racism going on in this country today. To nitpick ONE sermon ,amongst many others, and destroy a man who didn't say any such thing, is a said commentary on how racist the US is. Even voters in Pennsylvania, Ohio, etc said RACE was important to them in tremendously large numbers.

I'm calling foul on the media, Clinton, McCain, the RNC and all the other idiots who keep bringing up Rev Wright. I will say, though, that I think Wright is correct in asking Obama to stay true to who he is, but he IS being a turkey basically marginalizing Obama as a 'politician'. That's some low rent garbage right there - and if I'm Obama, I give him my middle finger after all the support he has given Wright.
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« Reply #21 on: April 30, 2008, 02:56:14 AM »

Quote from: denoginizer on April 28, 2008, 05:55:43 PM

I really wish Wright would stop going on TV shows.  Everytime I think we are done hearing about him Meet The Press is showing clips of him talking.
It's almost like Wright is purposely torpedoing Obama's chance to become President.  Then Wright can run around and say "See, America was never going to let a black person be President." I scanned a number of political sites and all of Obama's numbers are falling like a stone thrown in the ocean.

Good grief, it is going to be Hillary after all.   crybaby

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« Reply #22 on: April 30, 2008, 03:07:20 AM »

The person who organized that Nation Press meeting thingy and invited Wright is a big time Clinton supporter. Naturally, conspiracy theories are abound.
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« Reply #23 on: April 30, 2008, 04:30:28 AM »

The whole thing seems coordinated and staged to give Obama a pretext to dissociate himself from Wright despite previous reluctance to do so.
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« Reply #24 on: April 30, 2008, 05:00:18 AM »

I get the sense that Obama isn't listening to what Wright is saying, and is selling down the river to make himself look good.
Typical politician bullshit. I didn't expect different, but I hoped. Imagine if a politician said something different than the jingoistic and ludicrous "the terrorists hate our freedom" and tried to have an actual analysis around the issue. "Because we're awesome and they suck" is so second grade, whereas "could it be that the terrorists aren't kidding when they state their reasons for attacking" would seem to be the correct response.
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« Reply #25 on: April 30, 2008, 05:36:09 PM »

Quote from: Grundbegriff on April 30, 2008, 04:30:28 AM

The whole thing seems coordinated and staged to give Obama a pretext to dissociate himself from Wright despite previous reluctance to do so.

Which is exactly what he did, according to today's headline. Forcefully and in no uncertain terms.

The old-skool black leadership that's built upon the culture of victimhood finds Obama threatening. He is not part of that club, and his presidency would marginalize them.
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« Reply #26 on: April 30, 2008, 05:56:46 PM »

Culture of victimhood?  These are people who had to fight for their basic civil rights.  They may overshoot the target these days, but you can't say that their ire is unearned.
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« Reply #27 on: April 30, 2008, 07:30:12 PM »

Wright seems to be going off the deep end.  He said in the past that he doesn't agree with Farrakhan's views bvut now he's praising him as great.  He says Farrakhan isn't his enemy because Farrakhan didn't make him black (why does Pastor Wright hate god?).    And he's saying that Obama's only condemning his remarks because he's running for president.  Nice "friend" there.

Weight seems to be playing to an audience to try to keep his 15 minutes of fame as long as possible.  What an ass.
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« Reply #28 on: April 30, 2008, 10:09:18 PM »

I won't speak to the racial aspects of Wright's comments and sermons, but in general terms sentiments that God judges nations based on their actions are pretty common in conservative religious circles.  Most would find it in very poor taste and very judgmental to say that a specific event like 9/11 is retribution for a specific sin or whatever, but the general sentiment that we reap what we sow and that the degradation of our society will bring judgments instead of blessings is not shocking, and is very Biblical.  It seems to me that his sermons are simply typical fired up southern, conservative messages that are being taken way out of context and subtly twisted.  The media might love to vilify a quote like 'God damn America', and get the general public riled up about it, but I wouldn't be surprised that similar, if less vigorous, statements are made on pulpits across North America on a regular basis.

The one major mistake I think is being made is that he's continuing to speak out.  I'm in agreement with Grund that this almost seems like an intentional strategy by Obama and Wright to distance himself, which would smack of Obama selling out to be more widely appealing.
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« Reply #29 on: May 01, 2008, 02:50:24 AM »

Quote from: Brendan on April 30, 2008, 05:56:46 PM

Culture of victimhood?  These are people who had to fight for their basic civil rights.  They may overshoot the target these days, but you can't say that their ire is unearned.
There are many paths one can choose in the fight for equality.  In the 60s, we had Malcolm X  and Martin Luther King.  Which of these two did the most to advance the cause of equality and civil rights? Even if one acknowledges that there can be a time and place for "burning shit down," it didn't work out in 1968.  I just finished an interesting read on LBJ and his Great Society legislation planned for 1968.  After MLK was assassinated and inner cities burned from coast to coast, LBJ put it on hold in large part because America (i.e. whites) perceived new programs with government money going to the inner cities as something akin to a protectionist racket. 

Brendan, I respectfully suggest that Jackson, Sharpton and Wright seem to be products of a bygone era and their style and tactics seem better suited for the U.S. as it was in the 1960s.  Contrast those three with the approach of Bill Cosby.
Quote
From Birmingham to Cleveland and Baltimore, at churches and colleges, Cosby has been telling thousands of black Americans that racism in America is omnipresent but that it can’t be an excuse to stop striving. As Cosby sees it, the antidote to racism is not rallies, protests, or pleas, but strong families and communities. Instead of focusing on some abstract notion of equality, he argues, blacks need to cleanse their culture, embrace personal responsibility, and reclaim the traditions that fortified them in the past. Driving Cosby’s tough talk about values and responsibility is a vision starkly different from Martin Luther King’s gauzy, all-inclusive dream: it’s an America of competing powers, and a black America that is no longer content to be the weakest of the lot



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« Reply #30 on: May 01, 2008, 03:26:47 AM »

Quote from: helot2000 on May 01, 2008, 02:50:24 AM

Quote from: Brendan on April 30, 2008, 05:56:46 PM

Culture of victimhood?  These are people who had to fight for their basic civil rights.  They may overshoot the target these days, but you can't say that their ire is unearned.
There are many paths one can choose in the fight for equality.  In the 60s, we had Malcolm X  and Martin Luther King.  Which of these two did the most to advance the cause of equality and civil rights? Even if one acknowledges that there can be a time and place for "burning shit down," it didn't work out in 1968.  I just finished an interesting read on LBJ and his Great Society legislation planned for 1968.  After MLK was assassinated and inner cities burned from coast to coast, LBJ put it on hold in large part because America (i.e. whites) perceived new programs with government money going to the inner cities as something akin to a protectionist racket. 

Brendan, I respectfully suggest that Jackson, Sharpton and Wright seem to be products of a bygone era and their style and tactics seem better suited for the U.S. as it was in the 1960s.  Contrast those three with the approach of Bill Cosby.
Quote
From Birmingham to Cleveland and Baltimore, at churches and colleges, Cosby has been telling thousands of black Americans that racism in America is omnipresent but that it can’t be an excuse to stop striving. As Cosby sees it, the antidote to racism is not rallies, protests, or pleas, but strong families and communities. Instead of focusing on some abstract notion of equality, he argues, blacks need to cleanse their culture, embrace personal responsibility, and reclaim the traditions that fortified them in the past. Driving Cosby’s tough talk about values and responsibility is a vision starkly different from Martin Luther King’s gauzy, all-inclusive dream: it’s an America of competing powers, and a black America that is no longer content to be the weakest of the lot





Thanks, that nicely encapsulates what I was getting at. Obama did not get where he is by parroting the rhetoric of Jesse Jackson et al, and an Obama presidency would be an end-run around their -- well, culture of victimhood is the only way I can think to put it. Ending that would be a huge step forward...and I say this as somebody who's not an Obamamaniac.
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Brendan
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« Reply #31 on: May 01, 2008, 04:04:20 AM »

Quote from: helot2000 on May 01, 2008, 02:50:24 AM

Brendan, I respectfully suggest that Jackson, Sharpton and Wright seem to be products of a bygone era and their style and tactics seem better suited for the U.S. as it was in the 1960s. 

I agree - that was why I made the overshooting the mark comment.  None of those three is part of the "burning shit down" crowd, however, and they all have direct links to the SCLC and King tradition.  They're not Black Panthers, they're civil rights activists (and celebrities, which is the part that seems to trip them up in the end.)

My objection is Ironrod's generalization; I assume he really only means Sharpton and Jackson for their prominent and publicized cries of racism in the Tawana Brawley and, uh, well, I guess Duke Lacrosse cases, because it's not like Charlie Rangel and John Conyers portray themselves as victims.

Ultimately, that one word, 'victimhood', is the one that has me raising an eyebrow - what does that mean in this context?  Is anyone in favor of affirmative action part of the "culture of victimhood"? Or is that limited to people who want reparations paid for slavery?  What's the line?
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« Reply #32 on: May 01, 2008, 05:04:52 AM »

There would be no MLK Jr without Malcolm X, and vice versa.

Here's Michael Eric Dyson on Cosby.
I can't get behind somebody who's an exception to the rule of poverty in most black communities talking about "boot-straps," especially when the prison-industrial complex has been ravaging communities of color as of late, enough to really gut any hopes for "self-improvement."
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« Reply #33 on: May 01, 2008, 06:38:58 AM »

Quote from: Eduardo X on May 01, 2008, 05:04:52 AM

Here's Michael Eric Dyson on Cosby.

especially when the prison-industrial complex has been ravaging communities of color as of late
Not going to speak for Ironrod, but I agree that there is definitely a culture of victimization in the black community and this is an excellent example. Their community is being ravaged by the prison-industrial complex - and here I thought it was just that crimes were being committed and people were being put in jail for those crimes.
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« Reply #34 on: May 01, 2008, 06:51:07 AM »

Quote from: cheeba on May 01, 2008, 06:38:58 AM

Quote from: Eduardo X on May 01, 2008, 05:04:52 AM

Here's Michael Eric Dyson on Cosby.

especially when the prison-industrial complex has been ravaging communities of color as of late
Not going to speak for Ironrod, but I agree that there is definitely a culture of victimization in the black community and this is an excellent example. Their community is being ravaged by the prison-industrial complex - and here I thought it was just that crimes were being committed and people were being put in jail for those crimes.

http://sentencingproject.org/Admin/Documents/publications/rd_sentencing_review.pdf
http://sentencingproject.org/Admin/Documents/publications/rd_stateratesofincbyraceandethnicity.pdf
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« Reply #35 on: May 01, 2008, 01:03:00 PM »

Quote from: Brendan on May 01, 2008, 06:51:07 AM

Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick hurls the N-word, blames his perjury and sex scandal on racism, lynch mob mentality.
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« Reply #36 on: May 01, 2008, 03:02:44 PM »

Quote from: cheeba on May 01, 2008, 01:03:00 PM

Non sequitur! How fun.
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« Reply #37 on: May 01, 2008, 04:26:49 PM »

Quote from: Eduardo X on May 01, 2008, 03:02:44 PM

Non sequitur! How fun.
Yeah when arguments are provided rather than links then it should be really fun.
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« Reply #38 on: May 01, 2008, 04:31:46 PM »

The Pennsylvania study found that, controlling for other factors, including severity of the offense and prior criminal history, white men aged 18-29 were 38 percent less likely to be sentenced to prison than black men of the same age group.  In addition, white men of this age group were sentenced to an average prison term that was almost three months shorter than that give to black men of this age group.  Furthermore, black men aged 18-29 were more than four times as likely to be sentenced to prison as white men over the age of fifty.
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« Reply #39 on: May 01, 2008, 05:18:16 PM »

I think the evidence of inequality in the sentencing of black and latino youths is indisputable.  Someone brought up Bill Cosby earlier in the thread.  I saw him speak on this topic a while back.  His basic point was that racism in the legal system is a given.  The trick for today's young black men is not to be entangled in the legal system in the first place.  You can only be a victim of sentencing inequality if you allow yourself to reach the point of being sentenced.  His message is that it will not be easy for blacks to climb out of their current social economic place in American society.  But it must start with black men taking responsibility for the children they father.  There are far too many single black mothers and young black men growing up without fathers. 
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