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The Politics of Religion

I am sure we are all looking forward to the end of the Democratic Primaries. I hate that I’ve become obsessed with exit polls and CNN, but I guess it’s a necessary evil if I want to remain informed. In the grand tradition of mud slinging and hidden scandals uncovered, something new has hit the fan for Barack Obama. Video of some of his pastors sermons have recently “surfaced” *I use that term loosely* and threaten to cost him a lot of support.

            For those of us that attend predominantly black “progressive” churches comments in the pulpit regarding issues of race are the norm. In the last eight years many pastors have commented on the ill effects the policies of George W have had on people of color here and abroad. Some of our more informed and liberated pastors probably had a lot to say about Bill Clintons policies *Rwanda , 3 strikes, welfare reform et al* but that’s neither here nor there right now. My point is the politics of race often find themselves stirred into the sermon. Now that Barack is leading in the polls and pretty much changing the landscape of American politics, video footage from 2001and 2003 have surfaced. In these videos Barack’s pastor delivers sermons that pretty much put America on blast. Whether you agree or disagree with the messages of Jeremiah Wright do they equate to a pastor that “hates America”?  Is it me, or is do you notice the trend of any and every person that speaks intelligently about the misdeeds of the United States is automatically labeled a “hate monger”?  Why is a man trying to liberate his congregation deemed Anti-American?  Side bar: are members of the Klu Klux Klan considered Anti-American?  I mean why is it okay to demoralize the people that pretty much built this country based on their race, but a black man speaking truth to power equates to hating this country?????

            The point of this blog is not to debate the merits of Reverend Wright’s speech.  Whether we agree on his words is neither here nor there, my question is SO WHAT!?!?!?!?  Why are sermons from 2001 and 2003 now a thorn in the proverbial side of the Obama campaign?  I think part of it is desperation on the side of his opponents.  I won’t blame this one solely on tiny tears, as the conservative Republicans probably stand to gain more by this than anyone.  Barack was painted into corner when these speeches suddenly became headline news.  Someone wanted to slow Barack’s roll.  No one cared about these speeches when Barack ran for the United States Senate.  No one cared about these speeches when Barack gave the keynote address at the 2004 Democratic Convention, but now that he is poised to beat the Clinton machine, and is predicted to probably beat McCain the words of his pastor somehow equate to his presidential viability. 

            Some black people were disappointed, as they thought Barack threw his Reverend under the bus when the media attacked.  Some white people were disappointed as they thought Barack’s membership in this church showed evidence that he is anti America, and thus anti white.  A few days ago Barack gave a speech that some say was the most eloquent speech ever given by a Presidential candidate.  Some say it’s too little too late, but what do you say?  Was Barack’s response acceptable to you?  In the grand scheme of things, do you think his most recent speech (which can be viewed below in the Wednesday Wind-UP), was too little too late and hence he should kiss the White House goodbye?



March 19, 2008 - Posted by | Politics, Race, religion


  1. In my opinion there was not one word of ‘untruth’ in Jeremiah Wright’s sermon. However, the media did their usual media tricks in terms of taking snipets of several sermons thus not giving the listener the advantage of hearing the words in their proper context. In any event I truly believe that because of his “WONDERMUS” 🙂 rebuttal many of those who were unclear of his position are so much more informed. (Especially those who in the past have been undecided) I believe the whole mess will eventually work in his favor. The only disappointment I had with the Brotha is that when asked on ABC’s Nightwatch which he considered himself first, a Black Man or an American .. . . . the Brotha replied “American”. I’m going to take that as a Brotha having to concede a small compromise for the “bigger picture”. Coming from a church that preaches Liberation Theology I’m convinced that Obama knows that the Creator made him a “Black Man” first and that he’l be that no matter where he resides on this planet.

    Comment by Shangazi | March 20, 2008

  2. I feel that they are just reaching for anything to dirty the mans image. Contemporary politics 101 and McCarthyism at it’s best. But why would we expect any and different? Hillary has her back to the wall, and sees the presidency slipping away. She pulling out every stop right now. Some of these sermons are years old like you said, now they surface. I was watching Bill Maher last night and someone made a great statement on the show. See it’s not about black or white at this point. He just the right man in a perfect situation. At times the way he brushes the dirt off his shoulder, makes him look even better. I feel he’s handling this field of land mines with class and grace. Whatever doesn’t kill him in this election, will only make him a stronger President.

    Comment by The Lone Wolf | March 20, 2008

  3. It is my opinion that Senator Obama’s insight and ability to address the issue that plague America come from being under the prophetic ministry of Rev. Jeriamiah Wright.

    Comment by Rev. Page | March 23, 2008

  4. I liked his analogy that everyone has a relative in their family that says things occasionally that make you cringe. That doesn’t mean you should disown that relative. Part of the history of the Black church was a result of White segragated churches. As slaves, Whites wanted us to believe in Christianity but they wouldn’t allow us into their churches. They made slaves sit outside and listen to the sermons through the windows.

    In 1787 Absalom Jones and Richard Allen, two leaders in Philadelphia’s black community attended St. George’s Methodist Episcopal Church. At first the white Pastor of the church allowed the Blacks to sit against the walls during service, then they were asked to move to the balcony. Rather than do that Jones gained permission from the Episcopal Diocese of Pennsylvania to establish America’s first black parish, St. Thomas African Episcopal Church. He eventually became the Episcopal Church’s first African American priest. Allen formed a Methodist congregation that eventually became today’s multimillion-member African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church. Now they are accusing us of having segregated churches!

    I don’t condone the comments that Pastor Wright made but I UNDERSTAND! His pain and point of views are real and come from real life experiences that he can’t let go. How many of you are walking around with baggage that you won’t let go? It’s hard to let go….but Let Go and Let God!

    Comment by Miss Linda | March 24, 2008

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