Obama's pastor, Rev. Wright, in Context

We as seminarians often say, "You have to look at the verse in context!" It's quite frustrating when someone takes a small portion of a teaching out of context and misuses it.

May I submit to you that this should be true of how information is reported, as well?

Look, I don't agree with Reverend Wright on a host of things. But please be fair and thoughtful in how you evaluate him. The best way to do this is to first read up on and understand the paradigms of liberation theology and the Jim Crow era, both of which formulated his character.

Another way to do that is to listen to the things he says in context. I think you'll find it's not quite so bad as short clips make him out to be.

While you're at it, at least hear Obama out in his response.

And here is the hero of Christians all over, Mike Huckabee, and his reaction to the Obama speech.

1 comment:

j. dove said...


This is an interesting post. I've thought about the post overnight before watching the YouTube video this morning and wanted to share a few thoughts/ask a few questions.

(A) The whole issue of how, exactly, Rev. Wright's comments should affect Sen. Obama's candidacy has not been thought about nearly enough. Here are a few clarifying thoughts:

1. I accept that Obama going to this church for 20 years does not, necessarily, mean that he holds all the same views as Rev. Wright. We all need to be intellectually honest about this.

2. But, these and other comments by Rev. Wright DO at least raise questions about Sen. Obama's core convictions. Because I don't believe Sen. Obama could have been ignorant of Wright's anti-American positions (and by his own admission he was at the church at least sometimes when controversial statements were made) I submit that Sen. Obama's attendance and support for the church poses the following dilemma. Either:

(a) Obama knew of the church's positions and is sympathetic enough with them to remain in the church, which I think questions his judgment, or

(b) Obama knew of the church's positions, and though he opposed them, said (apparently) nothing, kept giving money to the church, and decided to stay (perhaps for political reasons?). This questions his integrity.

The crux of this disjunction rests on Obama's assertions that racial healing/unity is his core concern. My observation is simply that you CANNOT have racial healing as a core value, in any intellectually honest way, and attend for 20 years a church that, to say the least, borders on racism (or, if you want to be even more precise, I might simply say stokes, rather than settles, racial tension).

Is that fair?

In sum, Rev. Wright has a constitutional right, as does Sen. Obama, to hold to whatever opinion he wants to. This is obvious. But I don't want a President who lends a sympathetic ear to an influential anti-American pastor. Obama may, or may not, sympathize with Wright's positions, but were I, or almost anyone that I know, subjected to such ideology from the pulpit, I would raise strong, public objections and/or I would leave. Obama seems to have done neither. For 20 years.

(B) The CHIEF tragedy of Rev. Wright is how he has made a mockery of the pulpit and the Gospel. Liberation theology is not Gospel theology.

(C) I did listen to Sen. Obama's speech in its entirety, and I thought it was terrible, not in the delivery but in the content. But, that is for another discussion. I merely mention this to evidence that I have taken into account Sen. Obama's response.

At any rate, you can only trust that I submit these comments in a spirit of cordial conversation, rather than that of debate. We should both harbor few expectations of changing the other's mind, but a little clarity and friendly exchange could prove quite interesting.

Best wishes,