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Reverend Wright, No Longer Outta Context -- Two Articles


Looking for Mr. Wright -- The minister reveals that he's as
radical and bigoted as his critics insist.


The Real Rev. Wright


Looking for Mr. Wright -- The minister reveals that he's as
radical and bigoted as his critics insist.


By Jonah Goldberg
April 29, 20088
http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/la-oe-goldberg29apr29,0,5010765.column

God bless the Rev. Jeremiah Wright!

After Barack Obama gave his big race speech in mid-March, many critics noted that the Illinois senator had thrown his own grandmother under the bus to defend his controversial pastor. Well, Wright proved over the last few days that he would not be outdone. He not only threw Obama under the bus, he chucked much of the liberal and mainstream media under there with him. If this keeps up, to paraphrase Roy Scheider in "Jaws," he's gonna need a bigger bus.

For six weeks, Obama's biggest supporters have diligently argued that to so much as mention Wright is in effect racist. When Hillary Rodham Clinton said that Wright wouldn't have been her pastor, Andrew Sullivan gasped on his Atlantic blog that this was "a new low" in the election. When Lanny J. Davis, Clinton's consummate spinner, defended her on CNN by describing what Wright actually said, CNN's Anderson Cooper lambasted Davis for daring to even repeat Wright's comments. Newsweek's Joe Klein chimed in, "You're spreading the poison right now."

Obama and his defenders have repeatedly insisted that the bits from Wright's sermons that got wide circulation last month had been taken "out of context." His infamous sound bites were grounded in concrete theological or factual foundations, they claim. He was quoting other people. He's done good things. Nothing to see here, folks.

And so God bless Wright because he's left all of these folks holding a giant, steaming bag of ... well, let's just call it a bag of "context."

Let's start with the news out of his speeches Sunday and Monday: Wright, Obama's mentor and former pastor, is worse than we thought. He's a bigot, at least by the standards usually reserved for white people such as former Harvard President Lawrence Summers or "The Bell Curve" author Charles Murray.

On Sunday in Detroit, he explained to 10,000 people at the Fight for Freedom Fund dinner of the NAACP -- an organization adept at taking offense at far less racist comments from nonblacks -- that whites have an inherent "left-brain cognitive, object-oriented learning style. Logical and analytical," while blacks "learn not from an object but from a subject. They are right-brain, subject-oriented in their learning style. That means creative and intuitive. The two worlds have different ways of learning."

Blacks even have better rhythm, Wright explained.

CNN carried the speech live, and news anchor Soledad O'Brien reported from the scene that it was "a home run."

Then, Monday morning at the National Press Club, Wright attempted to clear the air about all of the supposedly deceptive sound bites he's been reduced to.

So, does he stand by his "God damn America" statement?

Well, yeah. He explained that until American leaders apologize to Japan for the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki as well as to black Americans for slavery and racism, we will remain a damnable nation.

What about that bit about America's chickens coming home to roost on 9/11? Yep, we heard him right. "You cannot do terrorism on other people and expect it not to come back on you; those are biblical principles," he explained.

Asked whether he stood by his assertion that the U.S. government created HIV as part of a genocidal program to wipe out the black race, Wright mostly dodged but ultimately offered this nondenial denial: "I believe our government is capable of doing anything." He also offered a zesty defense of Louis Farrakhan -- "one of the most important voices in the 20th and 21st century" -- and dismissed criticism of Farrakhan as an anti-Semite.

To cap it off, Wright threw Obama under the bus. First, the pastor explained, Obama himself had taken Wright out of context. Moreover, Obama neither denounced nor distanced himself from Wright. And, besides, anything that Obama says on such matters is just stuff "politicians say." They "do what they do based on electability, based on sound bites, based on polls." So much for Obama's new politics.

On Friday, Wright appeared on Bill Moyers' PBS TV show, in which Moyers all but shouted "Amen!" every time Wright took a breath. The impression viewers were supposed to take away: Wright is on the side of the angels, not like those "Swift-boating" crazies at Fox News.

But then Obama himself told "Fox News Sunday" that he considers Wright fair game -- as long as you don't quote him out of context.

It's a deal.

Wright is every bit as radical as his detractors claimed and explodes Obama's messianic rhetoric about standing foursquare against divisiveness. Which is why that chorus you hear rising up from the John McCain and Clinton campaigns sounds an awful lot like this: "God damn Jeremiah Wright? No, no, no: God bless Jeremiah Wright!"


The Real Rev. Wright


By Rich Lowery
April 29, 2008
http://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/
2008/04/the_real_rev_wright.html


The Rev. Jeremiah Wright has taken Barack Obama's critically acclaimed race speech in Philadelphia, ripped it into bits, and tossed it in the air to serve as confetti for his parade through the media.

In that speech, Obama said Wright had been taken out of context, a defense the pastor has made himself. If only we knew the true Wright, Obama complained, instead of just "the snippets of those sermons that have run on an endless loop on the television and YouTube." In his interview with Bill Moyers on PBS, Wright said the playing of his sound bites was "unfair," "unjust" and "untrue."

Then cometh the good reverend to step all over the out-of-context defense in a speech at the National Press Club. He defended his "chickens come home to roost" statement about 9/11 in exactly the same terms as in his original sermon: "You cannot do terrorism on other people and expect it never to come back on you." He stood by his damnation of America and his contention that the U.S. government had created AIDS: "I believe our government is capable of doing anything."

For good measure, he dishonestly denied Louis Farrakhan's infamous denunciation of Judaism as a "gutter religion" and called him "one of the most important voices in the 20th and 21st century." The more Wright talked, the more he sounded like a Christian Farrakhan.

Near the end of his majestically awful performance, he corrected reporters, telling them that Obama "did not denounce me. He distanced himself from some of my remarks." About this at least, Wright was sober and precise. "I can no more disown him than I can disown the black community," Obama said in Philadelphia. At the Press Club, Wright similarly insisted that the attacks on him were an attack on the "black church."

Obama and Wright thus slander both the black community and black church. As Stanley Kurtz of the Ethics and Public Policy Center reports in the latest National Review, Trinity United Church of Christ "is arguably the most radical black church in the country." Its black liberation theology has been rejected by mainstream black churches, a source of frustration for its adherents. This theology is at the root of all that Wright says, so the "context" is as radical as his highly publicized fulminations.

James Cone, the founder of black liberation theology, forged a worldview mingling Malcolm X-style revolutionary black nationalism and third-world Marxism with prophetic Christianity. He calls it "a theology which confronts white society as the racist anti-Christ." In a war against "white values," black pastors must ??" as Wright has ??" reject "white seminaries with their middle-class white ideas about God, Christ and the church."

When Wright came to Trinity Church in Chicago in the 1970s ??" invited to give the worship a more black inflection and foster stronger ties to the community ??" the middle-class parishioners who had beckoned him left when they got a dose of his radicalism. The national United Church of Christ denomination considered distancing itself from the Wright-led church. Yet Obama came ??" and stayed.

In search of an identity and a community, Obama found it in Trinity, where he was converted by Wright's signature "Audacity to Hope" sermon and its black-liberation themes of the suffering of blacks merging with that of the ancient Israelites (not to be confused with today's condemnable Israelites). Obama can't be begrudged his youthful initiation, but remaining at the church for two decades? Wright is a canker on his candidacy, raising questions about who he really is and about his honesty.

In a slippery dance, Obama maintains that he was thoroughly shocked by Wright's original radioactive statements and hadn't heard him say such things, although he did hear other (always carefully unspecified) "controversial" things. The threat to Obama as the paladin of the "new politics" is that, as he dodges and distances on Wright, people will come to agree with his former pastor's newly dismissive evaluation: "He says what he has to say as a politician."
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