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April 30, 2008
Column #1,392
Advance for May 3, 2008
Lamentations of Jeremiah & Obama
by Mike McManus

Rev. Jeremiah Wright, whose televised anti-American sermon excerpts embarrassed his church member, Sen. Barak Obama, told the National Press Club, "This is not an attack on Jeremiah Wright. It has nothing to do with Senator Obama.  It is an attack on the black church
launched by people who know nothing about the African-American religious tradition.

"If you think I am going to let you talk about my mama and her religious got another thing coming," he said with a grin to cheers of black clergy packing the press conference.

Bishop Harry Jackson, African-American pastor of Hope Christian Church, and radio commentator on 400 stations, later countered: "I must take a stand against heresy masquerading as Christianity. It is not the media...which has attacked the black church.  It is Jeremiah Wright who has attacked and undermined the black church.

"The media has simply done its job of reporting outrageous anti-American, anti-Christian and unpatriotic statements of Rev. Wright," Jackson charged.

Curiously, after many allegations that his sermon excerpts were "taken out of context," Wright defiantly defended his controversial assertions at the National Press Club.

Mere days after the terrorism of 9/11 killing 3,000 Americans, Wright proclaimed, "We bombed Nagasaki...We supported state terrorism against the Palestinians and black South Africans, and now we are indignant because...America's chickens are coming home to roost."

His explanation? "If you heard the whole sermon, first of all, you heard that I was quoting the ambassador from Iraq...To quote the Bible, `Be not deceived. God is not mocked. For whatsoever you sow, that you also shall reap.' Jesus said, `Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.'  You cannot do terrorism on other people and expect it never to come back on you. Those are biblical principles, not Jeremiah Wright bombastic, divisive principles."

Nonsense!  America inflicted no terrorism on Saudi Arabia, home of most suicide bombers of 9/11.  Wright completely misquotes Jesus who was urging people to love others as they would like to be loved, not return hatred for hatred.

Indeed, Jesus preached we should love our enemies.

Asked why he charged that the government created AIDS to kill black Americans, Wright replied with an indignant, "I believe our government is capable of doing anything." 

This is evidence? No, it is a outrageous "rant" as Obama charged on Tuesday.

Wright's allegations had elements of truth. Asked about his patriotism, he replied, "I served six years in the military. Does that make me patriotic? How many years did Cheney serve?"

However, his charges sharply undermined Obama. Asked why the Senator denounced Wright's sermon excerpts, the preacher explained, "He had to distance himself, because he's a politician, from what the media was saying I had said, which was anti-American... He did what politicians do," saying politically expedient things. 
Those comments were galling to Obama, who responded in a press conference with a passion not previously shown: "I have spent my entire adult life trying to bridge the gap between different kinds of people. That's in my DNA, trying to promote mutual understanding to insist that we all share common hopes and dreams as Americans and as human beings. That's who I am. That's what this candidacy has been about.

"Yesterday we saw a very different vision of America. I am outraged by the comments that were made and saddened...I have been a member of Trinity United Church of Christ for almost 20 years. The person I saw yesterday was not the person I met 20 years ago. His comments were not only divisive and destructive, but I believe they end up giving comfort to those who prey on hate, and I believe they do not portray accurately the perspective of the black church. They certainly don't portray accurately my values and beliefs. And if Rev. Wright thinks that that's political posturing, as he put it, then he doesn't know me very well..." he said sadly.

"When he states and then amplifies such ridiculous propositions as the U.S. government somehow being involved in AIDS, when he suggests that Minister Farrakhan somehow represents one of the greatest voices of the 20th and 21st century, when he equates the United States wartime efforts with terrorism, then there are no excuses. They offend me. They rightly offend all Americans. And they should be denounced. And that's what I'm doing very clearly and unequivocally here today."
Why did the pastor torpedo a church member who might be elected President?  Narcissism, hubris and self-aggrandizement that will spark future book sales and big lecture fees.

Christianity had absolutely nothing to do with it.


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