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Open Letter To Barack Obama

March 16, 2008

(this is my first “open letter” here in the Chamber, so bear with me)

Don’t throw your pastor, Rev. Wright, under the bus.

Of course, it’s probably too late, as you’ve already repudiated his cherry-picked remarks, taken him off your campaign, and, apparently, erased his testimonial from your website, so I guess I’m writing this less in the vein of don’t and more in the vein of …why?

Doing all this reeks of political expedience, inherently calls into question your judgement (on why you chose to stick with the church for so many years), and overall, comes off as insincere.  No one is going to believe that you’ve suddenly discovered that Rev. Wright says controversial things now that ABC has broadcasted clips of his sermons for all the world to see, so why give anyone the incentive to scour through church records, interview parishioners and keep the issue in the spotlight while the drooling minions that are hell-bent to take your campaign down try to catch you in a GOTCHA! moment?

I watched as you went on 3 networks (FOX, CNN, and MSNBC) and clumsily attempted to distance yourself from the remarks that they kept playing in ad infinitum fashion.  You alluded to some of the good things the church has done for the community, but you had a hard time making the case for one important aspect: You.  The fact that you have had a successful life and are closer than anyone in history to being America’s first black president reflects favorably upon the church, doesn’t it?  I would think that a black church that can list among its long-term membership a state and U.S. Senator and the frontrunning candidate for the oval office would suggest that the church might have a positive influence on people, an influence that helped inspire you to answer the call to public service.    I understand that you can’t really come out and say all that, but to me, it appeared that you were more concerned with denouncing whatever rhetoric was deemed offensive instead of focusing on defending the church. 

The bottom line here is:  He’s your pastor.  You’ve made donations to the church.  There’s no escaping it, so why avoid it?  You shouldn’t have to cave and cast him aside simply because, suddenly, people are grilling you on the remarks that were made years ago.    

If one of the networks’ pundits asks you about his statement that America caused the AIDS virus or whatever say, “Fine, call up Rev. Wright and invite him to debate that position, I’m sure he’d be happy to.  Personally, I don’t subscribe to that view.  I’m sure many people out there don’t agree with absolutely everything that their minister or priest says, but I’m sure that most would say that they’ve had a positive influence on their lives.  It’s no different in my case”.  Or to address the accusation that Wright “hates America”, you could say, “I think Rev. Wright loves America like a parent loves their child, and sometimes he believes there’s reason to be angry”.   (After all, Wright is hardly alone when it comes to delivering negative rants on American culture from the pulpit.   Somebody is sinning, somewhere, after all.*) 

See, that sounds a lot more sincere than going so far as to whip out the knee-jerk CONDEMNED stamp.  That, and they can’t really go anywhere with it.  It’s like saying, “Yea, he’s my pastor, live with it.  Let’s move on.”  

In conclusion, I’m afraid that your reaction here has done more harm than good for your campaign.  You’ve put yourself in a hole on this that is going to be a distraction from the debate over the issues and why you’re the best man for the job.    For myself, I’ll continue to support you here in the Chamber, but I’ll say that I’ve been a little disappointed with how you and your campaign has handled these recent events. 

*In the interest of full disclosure, I haven’t been to a church service in many years.   Watching what is said by the televangelists, I sometimes wonder why people still go, quite frankly.  So, in this regard, I am not going to consider myself an expert on the range and scope of unhinged sermons, but I think it’s safe to assume that there are some strange things that get said out there.  For myself, I left the church because one person “possessed by Satan” was enough for me.

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32 comments

  1. Well, that didn’t take long. You guys blessed me with the opportunity to enjoy my first amendment rights for a week. Thank you so much. I was under the impression the I was living in the United States of America and that we had liberties bestowed upon us by the Constitution. Sorry, my mistake.


  2. On the other hand and to be rather cynical – doesn’t this show that Obama has the right stuff to be a politician – being able to just ditch something/someone when they become too costly?

    I was listening to what was called ‘Playing for time – Three Days in May 1940’ on Radio 4 or in one of the other programmes in the Churchill Season where Churchill flatly states that the only thing that is feasible within a democracy is what the voters will put up with.

    Could this not show that Obama understands this – whether or not he’s in any way like Churchill…


  3. Barack Obama cannot afford to have his THEOLOGY examined carefully. See:
    http://miraclesdaily.blogspot.com/


  4. Well, that didn’t take long. You guys blessed me with the opportunity to enjoy my first amendment rights for a week. Thank you so much. I was under the impression the I was living in the United States of America and that we had liberties bestowed upon us by the Constitution. Sorry, my mistake.

    -by kip

    ???


  5. As to this post, you guys have no clue…


  6. As to this post, you guys have no clue…

    -by kip

    You got that right.


  7. You’re right.

    There is no way Obama can convince anyone that he’s never heard anything controversial from Wright.

    He should, instead, go for pointing out the positives. I’m sure there are some. Does his church feed the poor? Does it help with heating bills fir the community?

    I assume so, but I don’t really know (mostly because I don’t care that much) … He has to counter the attacks directly, playing defense won’t work.

    Doing what he’s done, he took a hit. If he counter-charged, it could be a win bigger than Romney’s all-important Speech.

    To your footnote point … among church-attending evangelicals, I don’t know one who has use for televangelists. They’re almost all crooks and/or media whores, as far as I’m concerned. They have virtually nothing in common with the preaching I hear every Sunday.


  8. I had a troll on my blog recently tell me that since I support Obama this means everything coming out of Rev. Wright’s mouth are my thoughts too.

    The right wingers are getting desperate.

    Of course, I pointed out that Ted Haggard of the New Life Church was calling the White House every Monday for years (even came to visit a few times) and we all know what Haggard did: HE SLEPT WITH A GAY MALE PROSTITUTE AND DID DRUGS WITH HIM for a long time. When I said to the troll that this must mean ole Georgie loves the idea of having sex with gay male prostitutes and doing drugs with them…let’s just say…the troll was confused by his own hypocrisy and irony of his words!

    By the way, Wright has retired from his church and there are two new Pastors who have a completely different style in sermon giving. Pointing out to the trolls that the UCC accepts all religious thoughts makes their little Evangelical pea brains explode!

    Jackboot lickers can’t color outside the lines. It scares them, no?


  9. Chen good letter shows your character. The truth is like you and Wickle say. Should’ve come out differently. I’m in the camp he can’t work like that others believe he just didn’t think it through.As for Wrights retiring the effective date of that was 2.19.2008. So that’s not really a good reversal of the controversy. Many people Right,Left and center have read Obama’s books by the way and draw a curious line that he seems to forget his white mom and how he essentially grew up white. The race issue isn’t going away in America or this election so strap in and get ready for the turbulence.and Kay you got a lotta hate for someone with license plates saying Vacationland.


  10. I’m really surprised at the following Barack has amassed. Some of the time I agree with the things he is saying, and some I dont. I just hope people are truly listening to him, and not just taking his side because he is a man of color. Personally it doesnt matter to me about race or gender as long as someone can get us out of this mess George W has got us into.
    The problem as I see it the Democrats better make up thier minds and stop bickering between them selfs.
    They are just giving the Republicans ammunition for the election. GOD help us if John McCane becomes president, it will be four more years of Bushs bumblings and no one will be able to save us.
    COPILOTC72


  11. […] Obama to say that he’s never heard these things strains credibility. And at least one Obama supporter agrees with […]


  12. I think it’s hypocritical that those who are going after Obama are cloaking their attacks through his association with his pastor. I thought that the Separation of Church and State permitted free speech from the pulpits and that we are not held guilty by association by what pastors say.

    What next America? Guilty by association with our elementary school teachers, or mailman, or hairdresser?


  13. @stushie there is a line where and what the pulpit can preach in a political manner.And yeah there is a case for guilt of association when one lives in the public light and o the public dime.
    Barack picked this church to secure his house seat and enjoyed the support he got all the way to the Senate.So either he supports the message and messenger or he’s a complete liar and total pol tool.


  14. I gotta disagree with you a little bit here Chen. I don’t really see how Obama could’ve handled this any differently. Sure, in the end it shouldn’t really make a difference because we’re supposed to have seperation of church and state, and it’s very easy to be part of a church that you don’t agree with completely– but we all know that’s not how it works.

    I think the bigger point though is that all three candidates have these supporters: McCain’s got Hagee, Obama’s got Wright and Clinton has Pastor Manning, whose awful disgusting speech about Obama is posted on rebello. I invite you to check it out.

    The only difference is that Obama has cut ties with his radical, outspoken supporter and spiritual advisor. The same cannot be said of the other two.


  15. …and it’s very easy to be part of a church that you don’t agree with completely– but we all know that’s not how it works.

    How is it easy ?


  16. Well in2thefray, you may march in lockstep with whatever religion you belong to, but I prefer to think for myself. I consider myself Catholic, and yet I don’t follow every single piece of doctrine, so there you have it. It’s just that simple.

    There are many reasons for choosing a certain denomination or parish: fellowship, community organization, philosophy, etc. It’s very seldom, if ever, an all-or-nothing decision.

    Once again though, you choose to nitpick rather than think about the argument in its entirety, so I’ll mention again that McCain still counts Hagee as a valued supporter and Clinton continues her relationship with Pastor Manning, while Obama has cut ties with Rev. Wright.


  17. tommy I’m quite the steeple chaser. I’ve stood up in the middle of a sermon that was so clearly departing Scripture and left without any regrets.I’ve steered away from churches that are more cult than church. If I were a Catholic especially since I am a Bostonian…I wouldn’t be a Catholic.So the all or nothing in the church or social setting speaks to one’s character.If you can associate with a sometime racist just because they have a food pantry for the poor you’re morally deficient. I would say if anyone is lock stepped it’s you. The difference between someone who supports you verbally or financially compared to an uncle like associate a friend in one’s life is one if you can’t see it…what can I say ?


  18. My main worry is that Clinton is way too Republican and that right now we can’t afford this, because it’s still way too much power in the hands of the ultra-rich. With Obama I feel a possibility, a hope that maybe things might turn around in our country. If he doesn’t get elected it would also seem to say that the media is deciding for us, by beating our heads with propaganda.


  19. Let’s be honest. Churches are businesses and the pastor is the proprietor. He/She competes with other pastor and sometimes it gets ugly. This pastor, Jeremiah Wright, chose to build his congregation using a theology called black liberation theology which could just a easily be called black victimization theology.
    Oprah Winfrey stop going because she disagreed with this anti-white, anti-America approach and the loony theories Wright preaches. The Obamas choose to continue and to support this kind of theology.
    His candidacy is now toast due to racism – his own.


  20. tommy I’m quite the steeple chaser. I’ve stood up in the middle of a sermon that was so clearly departing Scripture and left without any regrets.I’ve steered away from churches that are more cult than church. If I were a Catholic especially since I am a Bostonian…I wouldn’t be a Catholic.So the all or nothing in the church or social setting speaks to one’s character.If you can associate with a sometime racist just because they have a food pantry for the poor you’re morally deficient. I would say if anyone is lock stepped it’s you. The difference between someone who supports you verbally or financially compared to an uncle like associate a friend in one’s life is one if you can’t see it…what can I say ?

    by in2thefray March 17, 2008 at 1:18 pm

    I do believe I’ll just ignore your nonsense this time around. Maybe in the future as well. Good luck.


  21. You can ignore it. You can look at the Pew study and see people leave churches and denominations at an increasing pace.Nonsense ? I don’t think so.


  22. Re: The “drooling minions” using the “incentive to scour through church records”…it’s already begun: Obama Attended Hate America Sermon

    It appears that Obama was campaigning that day, and the minions might have gotten this one wrong. But sooner or later, they’re going to discover an instance with Obama in a pew in front of Wright saying something controversial, and Barack’s gonna have some egg on his face. It’s only a matter of time.


  23. @stushie:

    I think it’s hypocritical that those who are going after Obama are cloaking their attacks through his association with his pastor. I thought that the Separation of Church and State permitted free speech from the pulpits and that we are not held guilty by association by what pastors say.

    Go ask Imus about free speech in America. He’ll tell you all about it.

    Wright is free to say whatever he wants from his pulpit, and we are free to condemn him for it.

    God BLESS America!


  24. “In this age, when it is considered the height of sophistication to be ‘non-judgmental,’ one of the corollaries is that ‘personal’ failings have no relevance to the performance of official duties. What that amounts to, ultimately, is that character doesn’t matter. In reality, character matters enormously, more so than most things that can be seen, measured or documented. Character is what we have to depend on when we entrust power over ourselves, our children, and our society to government officials. We cannot risk all that for the sake of the fashionable affectation of being more non-judgmental than thou. Currently, various facts are belatedly beginning to leak out that give us clues to the character of Barack Obama. But to report these facts is being characterized as a ‘personal’ attack. Barack Obama’s personal and financial association with a man under criminal indictment in Illinois is not just a ‘personal’ matter. Nor is his 20 years of going to a church whose pastor has praised Louis Farrakhan and condemned the United States in both sweeping terms and with obscene language. The Obama camp likens mentioning such things to criticizing him because of what members of his family might have said or done. But it was said, long ago, that you can pick your friends but not your relatives. Obama chose to be part of that church for 20 years. He was not born into it. His ‘personal’ character matters, just as Eliot Spitzer’s ‘personal’ character matters—and just as Hillary Clinton’s character would matter if she had any.” ~ Thomas Sowell

    The right wingers are getting desperate.

    Yeah, right loon. If desperate equates to laughing at you and your Malcolm X candidate, I’m as desperate as it gets…

    People like this useful idiot remind me that no matter how stupid the Republicans get, they’ll always have hope for re-election.


  25. I thought that the Separation of Church and State permitted free speech from the pulpits and that we are not held guilty by association by what pastors say.

    LOL! Yeah, I’ll be sure to tell my “white” pastor to not worry about what he says in the pulpit, IRS or not, TV or not. Good grief…


  26. Chen,

    It appears that Obama was campaigning that day, and the minions might have gotten this one wrong. But sooner or later, they’re going to discover an instance with Obama in a pew in front of Wright saying something controversial, and Barack’s gonna have some egg on his face. It’s only a matter of time.

    At least you aren’t naive enough to think the content of what’s showing on “Reverend” Wright’s sermon commentary is atypical.

    This is virtually every Sunday morning, I guarantee it. Pick a date Obama was there and I can guarantee they were bashing both America and anybody white…The “Reverend” knows nothing else and is certainly no theologian.


  27. And to think Pat Robertson puts fatwas on the president’s of other countries and hopes and prays he’s right that a terrorist attack is coming to America! Oh yeah, and don’t forget how ole Pat and ole Falwell decided on 9/11 that it was the gays who were to blame for 9/11!

    Neocons don’t divide America…they bring it together with love and compassion. Oh please! *vomit* What a crock of crap you reich wingers have been spewing about yourselves this week!

    America is hated and not trusted because of the American TalibanGOP and their beliefs! The hate continues because of them. Are the Mexicans next to be hated by them? Oh wait! They’ve been hating the Mexicans and wishing all of them to be dragged behind a 1974 Ford pick up truck because they hate them so much!


  28. on ‘Non-judgemantelism’ – what about that old virtue Wisdom?


  29. Unbelievable the level of angst you guys have.
    I’ve written a post on this, but since I’m banned from the tag-surfer, I’m sure none of you have read it.


  30. Not a big 700 Club fan but… Advocating the assassination of Hugo Chavez is still better than wanting the entire white race to be wiped out by God. The gays and 9/11 as well as AIDS being retribution and let’s add the Westboro Baptist trash about God Hates Fags @ military funerals. You’re right but none of that absolves Obama or Wright.
    Neocons never intended to unite nor in reality did their creators. (Socialist Party of America,Democratic Party)
    America is hated and untrusted by nations that are jealous and or powerless to alter the will of our nation. This has been true since WWII.
    The US government has “hated the Mexicans” for a long time. Nice tie in of symbolism about a race murder applied to a nation. I’d add that most people don’t hate Mexicans but have a hate and distrust of illegal aliens from anywhere.
    Back to the post. The speech will see reviews,raves and multi pronged punditry. The speech was a speech though. Painfully and meticulously prepared and delivered. He made a careful and judged political move today and opposing it will be called racist or right wing conspiracy. Well that’s sad and ironically contrary to what the speech was supposed to be about. What an election. Oh yeah one other thing that think this is all right wing GOP wing nut stuff. Honestly tell me Hillary isn’t hyperventilating with happiness and potentially involved in story searches of church attendence.


  31. I dunno if any of you guys caught Obama’s speech today, but I got the feeling that he either a) read my letter, or b) listened to someone that shared the same sentiment. My guess is the latter, but I’m glad that he appeared to do about as much as he could to right his ship here by addressing some of my concerns and clarifying his positions. The Rev might not have wound up under the bus after all.


  32. It is an excellent variant

    By the way, what do you think about this icons site?



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