14 March 2008

More Words That Matter – The Obama / Wright Edition

Some people are more important in folks’ lives and development than others. Parents and family are important, but can’t be chosen. Spouses and close friends are important and can be chosen. Churches and pastors can be chosen as well. I’ve mentioned before that Senator Barak Obama ought to choose his supporters more carefully – specifically his campaign workers. But Sen. Obama’s relationship with his pastor, Jeremiah Wright Jr., is more personal, more personally chosen, and more telling.

There has been more than a little reporting about this in selected places (like here), but not with the force and effect of the last few days. Last night, Brit Hume read a transcript of a sermon by Mr. Wright in which he literally asked God (big G) to damn America many times. Sadly, these are far from the only comments made by Sen. Obama’s “longtime spiritual mentor.”

Here are some significant quotes from Mr. Wright, as reported by Fox News:

“We bombed Hiroshima. We bombed Nagasaki. And we nuked far more than the thousands in New York and the Pentagon and we never batted an eye,” Wright said.

“We have supported state terrorism against the Palestinians and black South Africans, and now we are indignant because of stuff we have done overseas is now brought back into our own backyard. America is chickens coming home to roost.”

The pastor also said: “The government lied about inventing the HIV virus as a means of genocide against people of color. The government lied.”

From what I watched on Brit Hume’s show tonight, the “chickens” comment (and perhaps the others) were delivered by Mr. Wright the Sunday immediately after the terrorist attacks in 2001. Surely Sen. Obama would have, should have, must have felt that he needed to distance himself from a man who chose to proclaim such things from the pulpit. Far from distancing himself from his mentor, Sen. Obama titled his book based on a comment by Mr. Wright.

Indeed, only today Sen. Obama has released a statement that he “strongly condemn[s] the statements that have been the subject of this controversy.” But this seems more than a little belated and far less than sincere. Obama has not left the church “because of his “strong links” to the church, where he married his wife and where his daughters were baptized.” But as my wife pointed out, this church and it’s now-retired pastor are not God. Obama could have walked away if he felt morally obligated. Obviously he did not sense that obligation.

And this revelation concerning the Obama-Wright tie comes on the heels of Sen. Obama’s dealings with Antoin Rezco and even links to the FARC as reported by Investor’s Business Daily. These aren’t the kinds of friends, mentors or associates I want a future president to have. I have the audacity to hope that these issues, combined with the ambiguity of candidate Obama up to this point, will result in a decisively negative reconsideration of Sen. Obama by the electorate.

Post Script: I've since found this excellent piece in the Wall Street Journal online. It's a must-read.

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