Why Does Anyone Care?

I see the intertrons is all aflutter about Obama’s apparently crazy-ass minister:

Sen. Barack Obama’s pastor says blacks should not sing “God Bless America” but “God damn America.”

The Rev. Jeremiah Wright, Obama’s pastor for the last 20 years at the Trinity United Church of Christ on Chicago’s south side, has a long history of what even Obama’s campaign aides concede is “inflammatory rhetoric,” including the assertion that the United States brought on the 9/11 attacks with its own “terrorism.”

In a campaign appearance earlier this month, Sen. Obama said, “I don’t think my church is actually particularly controversial.” He said Rev. Wright “is like an old uncle who says things I don’t always agree with,” telling a Jewish group that everyone has someone like that in their family.

This apparently does not sit well with the rubes:

Wright isn’t just someone with whom Obama is friendly. To criticize Obama for having friends with controversial, or even abhorrent, views would constitute guilt by association. But Wright is Obama’s spiritual leader. To be sure, no thinking person always agrees with his minister, priest, or rabbi on political and social issues. But it’s unusual for a thinking person to retain an affiliation with a church whose leader attacks his country unless, at a minimum, that person considers those attacks not “particularly controversial.”

Obama should explain why he retained his apparently close affiliation with Wright and his church in more persuasive terms than he has to date. Otherwise, I think it’s reasonable to draw adverse inferences based on that affiliation, including the inference that Obama doesn’t quite measure up as a “post-racial” figure.

Why does anyone give a shit what Obama’s minister thinks? Seriously? Why does anyone care what Hagee (McCain’s gay-bashing BFF) thinks? They are religious leaders. Who cares what they think- they are paid to peddle mythology to the masses, so who cares what sort of nonsense they spout? Is singing “god hates America” any crazier than telling people if they refuse to follow the wishes of an unknowable, invisible, unverifiable yet presumably omnipotent deity (as documented a couple thousand years ago by people who saw things in the desert after days without water) they will be damned to a fiery eternity in hell. That hell, of course, is conveniently located AFTER you die, so we can’t prove anything about that fiction, either.

So really. Who gives a shit what Obama’s minister thinks? He is just another bullshit artist.

And I know, I know, I am going to go to hell for writing this. Whatever.

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159 replies
  1. 1
    Dave says:

    I look forward to Powerline’s in-depth investigation into Hagee, Pat Robertson and every other two-bit con-artist the GOP has cultivated over the years to try and “own” religion.

  2. 2
    4tehlulz says:

    Let’s make a deal right-tards and media. If you want to roast Obama for Jeremiah Wright, then roast John McCain for John Hagee.

    Otherwise, shut the fuck up.

  3. 3
    Pb says:

    Nice one John, although I still prefer the original George Carlin:

    When it comes to bullshit, big-time, major league bullshit, you have to stand in awe of the all-time champion of false promises and exaggerated claims, religion. No contest. No contest. Religion. Religion easily has the greatest bullshit story ever told. Think about it. Religion has actually convinced people that there’s an invisible man living in the sky who watches everything you do, every minute of every day. And the invisible man has a special list of ten things he does not want you to do. And if you do any of these ten things, he has a special place, full of fire and smoke and burning and torture and anguish, where he will send you to live and suffer and burn and choke and scream and cry forever and ever ’til the end of time!

    But He loves you. He loves you, and He needs money! He always needs money! He’s all-powerful, all-perfect, all-knowing, and all-wise, somehow just can’t handle money! Religion takes in billions of dollars, they pay no taxes, and they always need a little more. Now, you talk about a good bullshit story. Holy Shit!

  4. 4
    mark says:

    OT, has anyone in the press had the stones to ask Hillary what she thinks about Rush shilling for her?

  5. 5
    David says:

    Why does anyone care? Because 98% of the voters have a version of the bullshit that they Know is the One True Version and any other version is Wrong.

    And if BHO or HRC or even McCain were to say in public what they probably believe in their hearts, which is simply that it all IS bullshit, they would immediately be marginalized and unable to compete in an election for dogcatcher, never mind President.

  6. 6
    cleek says:

    Why does anyone give a shit what Obama’s minister thinks?

    better question: why does any give a shit about what anyone at Powerline thinks, about this or anything other goddamned thing ?

  7. 7
    cleek says:

    s/anything other/any other/i

  8. 8
    4tehlulz says:

    Why does anyone care?

    This is different.

    ANGRY BLACK MAN SHOWS OBAMA HAETS TEH WHITE MAN OMGWTFBBQ101010

  9. 9
    John S. says:

    Why does anyone give a shit what Obama’s minister thinks? Seriously? Why does anyone care what Hagee (McCain’s gay-bashing BFF) thinks?

    Therein lies the rub.

    The same people that care (right-wingers, news outlets) about what Wright thinks don’t care what Hagee thinks.

    Call it the McCain rules.

  10. 10
    jrg says:

    This story’s got no legs for the right. They have blown their wad on the “Hussein” nonsense, so it damages their cred to acknowledge he’s a Christian.

    First it was “he’s a muslim!” Now it’s “He’s a Christian with a radical pastor!”. Next month it will be: “he’s a muslim!”

    The right is a pathetic bunch of mooks…

  11. 11
    skyler says:

    Obama’s a Muslim so obviously he isn’t influenced by his pastor. Morons.

  12. 12
    Bubblegum Tate says:

    Why does anyone give a shit what Obama’s minister thinks? Seriously?

    Because they think it’s a good Gotcha! line. They think it’s an easy means of attack: “ZOMG! Obama hangs out with racist radical who hates ‘Murrica!”

    But, as noted above, these are the same folks who gave Hagee a complete pass, so…they’re fucking stupid.

  13. 13
    Dennis - SGMM says:

    Otherwise, I think it’s reasonable to draw adverse inferences…

    Powerline trembles delicately as it drops to its knees and delivers its ten-thousandth knob job to the Republicans.

  14. 14
    libarbarian says:

    My Uncle has been harping on this “Obamas minister is a radical” thing for a while. I’m afraid it might have legs if they dont nip it in the bud.

    On an unrelated note: God this is painful to watch.

    Is it just me, or is there something disturbing about people who will

    1. complain about being accused of exploiting racism but continue to make the same “innocent mistakes” – like saying “We dont need no bling, all we have to do is sing”. I guess I could be wrong and it might be an innocent coincidence – we’ll see, if she wins the nomination, how frequently her people use words like “bling” and “shucking and jiving” when talking about McCain. Somehow I think they will suddenly emerge from their temporary fascination with young-people-slang and recover their WASPy love of proper English, right about Convention time

    2. Complain about sexism against their candidate, and the use of the word “periodically”, who will then explicitly shout “We need a woman to clean up Washington”.

    I know Hillary is cynical but I have to assume some of her supporters really have drunk the Kool-Aid.

  15. 15
    TheFountainHead says:

    Bets on when Hillary calls Obama out to reject and denouce?

  16. 16
    Chris says:

    You’d think Obama’s pastor would be more grateful to America for the fast track to executive office our nation offers to black men.

    Seriously though. This, the Ferraro flap, insufficient-pieces-of-flare-gate, Michelle Obama’s comments, and the whole national anthem/pledge of allegance kerfluffle all seem to stem from the same basic premise. How… how DARE those black people be insufficently grateful to our country! We allow them to vote and own property and read and everything!

  17. 17
    TheFountainHead says:

    I think Ben Smith managed to capture how I feel today perfectly:

    Sure does feel like we’re plunging into the abyss tonight.

  18. 18
    MJ says:

    So really. Who gives a shit what Obama’s minister thinks? He is just another bullshit artist.

    Obama has gone to listen to his garbage filled sermons in church for how many years John? You don’t think that shouldn’t raise some concerns or questions?

    You leaving the Republican party to join the Democrats is like quitting the Gambino family because you were disgusted with being involved with organized crime and then joining the Genovese family.

  19. 19
    jcricket says:

    People care because Republicans have spent 30 years telling them this kind of religious stuff is uber-important. And Democrats have spent 30 years afraid of saying things like JFK did in responses to questions about his allegiance to the Pope/Catholic Church:

    I am not the Catholic candidate for President. I am the Democratic Party’s candidate for President, who happens also to be a Catholic.

    You can’t get away with that anymore. Which is why we have all these kerfuffles about which spiritual leader said what and what the candidates think about it, coupled with all the superficial (for most) displays of fealty. Those that aren’t superficial tend to be the ones that want to enforce their religion’s code on the rest of us. Rock and a hard place.

  20. 20
    Rarely Posts says:

    He did make some pretty nasty comments about the Clintons. Probably some tax issues that need to be resolved…campaigning from the pulpit is a big no-no.

  21. 21
    Martin says:

    They can’t go there with black churches. They’ll get crucified if they go there with black churches. Historically black churches are different than white churches. Religion was the refuge for slaves. It was the first mechanism to communicate about social and political issues – it was their *only* safe place. These things have never been separated. It was the only (and still is to some degree) where blacks could be open about how they saw the world around them and the injustices that they faced and they’ve always combined these things with the religious message. Its a very different kind of message and one that is hard for whites to understand if they haven’t been exposed to it extensively.

    If the MSM keeps digging into black churches looking for gold, the black community will cut them off hard. They’ll take it as though someone broadcast video of a private family discussion. Obama likened Wright to an uncle that sometimes goes off on rants. The MSM will be reminded of the long tradition in this country of burning down these institutions and why they have been targets for so long. They’ll be reminded of the 16th street church bombing. There is no way the MSM comes out ahead on this, but dickheads like Hannity are too stupid to realize it.

  22. 22
    Martin says:

    My Uncle has been harping on this “Obamas minister is a radical” thing for a while

    He is a radical. All prominent religious figures are. The Pope is as well, but your uncle probably can’t see that.

  23. 23
    Sasha says:

    And just to remind those who may have forgotten:

    “Why Should God Bless America?”

    http://www.rightwingwatch.org/.....erica.html

  24. 24
    Martin says:

    Bets on when Hillary calls Obama out to reject and denouce?

    She won’t. She knows better. She wouldn’t have a black staffer left the day after and she wouldn’t get a penny from any black group ever again.

  25. 25
    demimondian says:

    John, I’m going to call you out here. I think you’re wrong.

    Yeah, what’s-his-name is a minister, and speaks from a pulpit. That’s not what’s important. What’s important is that people in his congregation listen to him, presumably because they find value in his out-loud meditations, and could go elsewhere if his views were truly repulsive to him.

    It’s not unreasonable to ask someone “Do you find value in what he says? If not, should you not denounce it when it goes across the line?” Obama needs to find an answer to that demand.

  26. 26
    Dennis - SGMM says:

    Obama has gone to listen to his garbage filled sermons in church for how many years John?

    So that’s why all of Ted Haggard’s parishioners were taking it in the ass.

  27. 27
    Wilfred says:

    It’s less a question of what Obama’s minister thinks than the traditional controls exerted by the Democratic party on more pliant black ministers. This kind:

    Bishop Greene,a typical Negro clergyman, smug and full of self-righteousness, he was just another drunken bum on the Bowery when the good Mr. White-Man found him and sent him to the Theological Seminary, and it was there he found out about his other good white friend “Jesus” and now he is a big shot Bishop over several churches, he is a respectable and “influential” member of his community, has homes on Sugar Hill and in Westchester, two cadillacs and plenty of money… and all because of this good Mr. White-Man…The prosecutor then succeeds in deflating the “religious bag of wind” as the defense attorney and the Supreme Judge look on.

    That’s from the Nation of Islam’s review of Farrakhan’s 1959 play The Trial, in which the Bishop is the cultural chameleon traditionally lampooned by the Black Muslims.

    Obama’s minister is not a Bishop Greene, so he’s a threat to white women, democracy and the American Way.

  28. 28
    Mark Gisleson says:

    Hagee is NOT McCain’s pastor, he’s a politically influential yahoo whose support McCain coveted.

    The Rev. Wright is provocative and challenges his congregation. I appreciate that Obama sought out a congregation where he could have his values challenged, and where the congregants are encouraged to think for themselves.

    I’m sure a poll of Wright and Hagee’s congregations would be quite interesting. I suspect you’d find much more diversity of opinion from the Chicagoans than the Texans. A church can help teach you how to think, or it can tell you what to think. I’d much rather catch a Wright sermon than one of Hagee’s.

  29. 29
    Martin says:

    He did make some pretty nasty comments about the Clintons. Probably some tax issues that need to be resolved…campaigning from the pulpit is a big no-no.

    He wasn’t campaigning. You are allowed to talk about political issues from the pulpit. You aren’t allowed to advocate for them. I assure you there was no shortage of talk about stem-cell from the pulpit of churches across the country, including comments on Pelosi or Democrats or whoever.

    Now, Obama has greater restrictions being a candidate than Wright, but Wright didn’t tell people to go out and vote for a candidate. Besides, he’s not really referring to these people in a literal sense – they’re metaphorical. It’s a bit hard to explain and I’m far from an expert on it.

  30. 30
    The Other Steve says:

    does anyone care what Hagee (McCain’s gay-bashing BFF) thinks?

    I thought Hagee was the Catholic basher. Although I’m sure he probably also bashes gays, and a variety of other peoples too.

  31. 31

    Since it is a personal mythology it does matter, at least to those who take whatever mythology seriously. John knows exactly why it counts, he just doesn’t think it should.

    Demi,
    If I were to take Christianity seriously, as in the words of Jesus, I don’t think “bless” would be a part of the equation. To enslave and then treat as pariahs an entire piece of the population raises questions about “bless.” Engage in torture, engage in economic warfare on you own populace, etc, etc, and it begins to get tough to see “bless.” Now if people want to head on down that road, their approval of the non-Jesus aspects starts to get real public. Is it good propaganda or easily spun into something nice? Not really, but real contradictions can be pointed out.

    Sure, it’s an odd thing to be non-religious and find yourself holding people/government more firmly to their religious tenents than they do. Maybe that means that philosophy is more honest than religiosity, that’s a debate that stirs real trouble and I’m not going to play.

  32. 32
    JR says:

    Maybe nobody should “care” what crazy-ass religious leaders think, but the fact is that millions of crazy-ass members of the American public do care. Or at least pretend to.

    And it matters very much that our political leaders are not seen embracing the positions and support of these “crazy-ass” religious leaders. The authoritarian followership of this nation need to be told what to do, and they need to see that Establishment Power is not subject to what their privately-chosen religious leaders “believe.”

  33. 33
    Martin says:

    It’s not unreasonable to ask someone “Do you find value in what he says? If not, should you not denounce it when it goes across the line?” Obama needs to find an answer to that demand.

    But he’s not saying what you think he’s saying and everyone in the room knows it. Wright has helped bring the black community where it is precisely because he has crossed many lines. The community understands his words – and it’s why Farrakhan gets a pass on some things as well because he’s doing it too at times. Sure, now and then they cross even the line that the black community will accept and Wright may have in this video, but for well over a century the white community has been the one to establish what that line is, and the only way the black community has had to take some fraction of control in the situation is to cross the line set down for them. I know it’s not the answer you want to hear, but it’s wrong to ask Obama to denounce words that are said in his church, even if he disagrees with them. He can disagree with him and has said that he disagrees with him, but asking Obama to denounce Wright will be interpreted very broadly as the white community asking him to denounce his religion. It’s a very dangerous and damaging thing to ask.

  34. 34
    Bruce Moomaw says:

    Well, yes, but Hagee isn’t actually McCain’s own minister. Obama had better throw this loon over the side, FAST. My mother (who admittedly, is so frantic to vote for Hillary that she’d list Obama’s failure to put the toilet seat down as a strong argument against him, but who is also usually somewhere to the Left of Kim Jong Il) has already been raising screaming hell about Obama’s association with that “black nationalist” church, and she certainly won’t be alone now. If Obama doesn’t dump Wright now, he will — genuinely — deserve what he gets.

  35. 35
    tBone says:

    He wasn’t campaigning. You are allowed to talk about political issues from the pulpit. You aren’t allowed to advocate for them.

    I think that’s an awfully small needle you’re threading there. I’m a full-on Obamabot and Wright’s comments made me wince. It didn’t sound much different than the kind of stuff we heard coming out of Bush-supporting churches in 2004.

  36. 36
    John S. says:

    That’s not what’s important. What’s important is that people in his congregation listen to him, presumably because they find value in his out-loud meditations, and could go elsewhere if his views were truly repulsive to him.

    So, what’s important is discerning whether congregants really listen to their pastor and take his sermons to heart? That’s gonna be hard to figure out, unless you have Bush-like powers to read people’s souls.

    I don’t think you’re really keeping up with these things, demispoof, because Obama already said:

    In a campaign appearance earlier this month, Sen. Obama said, “I don’t think my church is actually particularly controversial.” He said Rev. Wright “is like an old uncle who says things I don’t always agree with,” telling a Jewish group that everyone has someone like that in their family.

    That pretty much sums it up. I am Jewish and have older relatives (including a couple of uncles) who are very racist, and often refer to black people as ‘schfartzas’ or ‘darkies’. They don’t stop me from attending family functions. I go, and when they say such things I politely disagree and leave it at that because I cannot change their minds. Just because I happen to go to the ocassional shabbos dinner with a couple of racists doesn’t mean I agree with them and it doesn’t make me a racist.

  37. 37
    demimondian says:

    Sorry, folks, but this is a bullshit argument. If you make time in your life to listen to me, then you better be prepared to explain what you get out of it. If you expose your children to my writings (which I strongly caution against, as a parent), then you *certainly* need to explain why you do that.

  38. 38

    […] David StanfordnHOtherwise, I conceptualise it’s reasonable to entertainer unpropitious inferences based on that affiliation, including the reasoning that Obama doesn’t quite movement up as a “post-racial” figure. Why does anyone wage a adjustment what Obama’s rector thinks? … […]

  39. 39
    quickdraw says:

    Not that I don’t agree with you in theory, John, ’cause I do. But Obama’s the one who wanted to “reach out to evangelical Christians and other religious Americans and tell them what [Liberal Christians] stand for.” One of his biggest, prettiest, most well-received speeches was all about reconciling faith, politics, and the role of religion in America.

    So it’s not unexpected, and may even be slightly less ridiculous than usual, that the ‘Thumpers Obama’s reaching out to are making a big deal out of this.

    That said, the last time I checked, the UCC didn’t require its members to agree completely with everything their pastors say, and there’s no reason why Obama can’t disagree with his pastor’s political views and still get something out his sermons spiritually. Point that out once and move on.

  40. 40
    D-Chance. says:

    demimondian Says:

    What’s important is that people in his congregation listen to him, presumably because they find value in his out-loud meditations, and could go elsewhere if his views were truly repulsive to him.

    It’s not unreasonable to ask someone “Do you find value in what he says? If not, should you not denounce it when it goes across the line?” Obama needs to find an answer to that demand.

    And the “crazy old uncle” quip doesn’t wash. When you have a loon of a relative, you tend not to go to his house every seven days and subject yourself to a half-hour or so of his rantings, unchallenged and uninterrupted, much less take your wife and children there to be subjected to the same speeches and ideas. If I, or anyone else, went to a church and found a preacher’s views disagreeable, it wouldn’t take more than a week to move to another house of worship where I would feel more comfortable with the message and/or messenger.

    Obama’s got some ‘splainin’ to do on this one. And that little “of what even Obama’s campaign aides concede…” passage in the ABC piece indicates that he knows it, too.

  41. 41
    demimondian says:

    Sorry, John S., but the “family function” argument doesn’t add up. I didn’t get to choose my family, but I can choose to avoid the parts which I consider to be bad for my kids. Obama has the same choice, only amplified — he doesn’t have to belong to that church.

  42. 42
    Ellison, Ellensburg, Ellers, and Lambchop says:

    If you don’t see the difference between Wright (whose church Obama elects to attend and presumably donate to) and Hagee (with whom McCain once ate breakfast!), then you all have drunk the last of Teh Koool-Aids. And/Or, you’re just being remarkably dishonest. And/Or you’re all dim. I’ll entertain all three options.

  43. 43
    Mike P says:

    John,
    I see what you did here. Most excellent post.

  44. 44
    tBone says:

    If you don’t see the difference between Wright (whose church Obama elects to attend and presumably donate to) and Hagee (with whom McCain once ate breakfast!), then you all have drunk the last of Teh Koool-Aids. And/Or, you’re just being remarkably dishonest.

    Bolded in lieu of a reply.

  45. 45
    Wilfred says:

    If Obama doesn’t dump Wright now, he will—genuinely—deserve what he gets

    What I hope he gets is the vote of everybody who is completely sick of the criminal hypocrisy that screeches about little known black preachers while untold millions have been slaughtered in the name of whatever is being sold as the right way to think at the moment.

    Now if enough people are not sick of the that same hypocrisy that is currently waging yet another war to profit the few at the expense of tens of thousands of brown skinned people then, yes, we do deserve exactly what we get.

    You want the shuffling Knee-Grow.

  46. 46
    D-Chance. says:

    And you’re locked into family. Your relative is your relative by blood. You CHOOSE your church and minister. You have a racist Jewish uncle, he’s yours for life. You have a racist pastor, you switch from the First Baptist Church to the Second Baptist Church. If you don’t like that one, either, you move to the XYZ Street Baptist Church, or even visit the Last United Methodist Church, or whatever. Religious association is a matter of choice, pure and simple. Hardly a “nothing I can do about it” thing.

  47. 47

    At the risk of being offensive, etcetera, it’s because they can’t scream “nigger!”

    I know. Bad word. But it’s the word that they are GOING CRAZY from not being able to say, and, thus, this.

    Has anyone else noticed this shitstorm of absolute and utter trivial nonsense? I mean, Geraldine Ferraro finally screamed her lunatic meme (“He’s only leading because he’s a black man”) and everybody flibbered and flabbered about the 1000 pound gorilla in the room. Obama was right: it was “ridiculous.” But the crypto-racist press can’t grow up and can’t move on, and so they endlessly parse, in hopes that they can scream the word they desperately want to scream.

    But can’t.

    But here, HERE, we have a perfect chance for the haters of the Wingnutosphere to actually ALMOST scream that word it must be KILLING them to have to bite their tongues over.

    I’ve read a bunch of the postings, and they are, universally, karazee. Nutso. Rubber Room stuff.

    Just look at the talking heads. They CAN’T STOP talking about what the percentage of Whites and Blacks who voted for whom in Mississippi was. The ONLY thing missing was the the word … the word that they can’t bring themselves to say, so they “code” it up in crazy, insane ways and nutso crap like this comes out. John, you should have mentioned the actual ABC News headline that launched a thousand Sheets:

    Obama’s Pastor: God Damn America, U.S. to Blame for 9/11

    I had hoped that we could move bravely into the new century, instead of still being stuck on melanin content. That’s right, naked killer apes, MELANIN content. Not character content. Not issues. Not anything rational. And WHY ABC News doesn’t fire these MORONS for even suggesting that analyzing Obama’s Church’s Sermons is meaningful is beyond me.

    I mean Rezko? Nothing there. “Plagiarism”? Nothing there. Funny African Outfit? Nothing there. “Favoritism”?

    Please Hillary. Please Geraldine. When was the last time that ABC News parsed YOUR pastor’s sermons?

    They can’t say the word they’d love to say, and so they come up with insane crap like this.

  48. 48
    MJ says:

    He said Rev. Wright “is like an old uncle who says things I don’t always agree

    Obama’s analogy doesn’t work. A person has no control over who they have for an Uncle. (see Harold Ford Jr.) You do make a choice and have control over the church you attend.

  49. 49
    Gus says:

    Republicans care about it because they think a politician’s views should mirror those of his church. They can’t wrap their heads around a Catholic like Kerry (or Rudy! for that matter) disagreeing with their church on a political matter. Democrats tend to believe in the separation of church and state, Republicans don’t.

  50. 50
    Mike P says:

    Ellison, Ellensburg, Ellers, and Lambchop Says:
    Um, McCain has gone out of his way to seek out Hagee’s endorsement. He’s gone around talking about how proud he is to have Hagee’s endorsement. I’m certain McCain knew of Hagee’s fringe views and he still wanted his endorsement anyway.

    So…what’s the difference here? At least Obama didn’t dump his entire church when it became the politically expedient thing to do (and he has repeatedly said he doesn’t agee with Wright on several issues). McCain, on the other hand, saddled up to folks like Hagee and Parsley exactly BECAUSE it was the politically expedient thing to do.

  51. 51
    Rarely Posts says:

    Martin, did you listen to what he said? I’m not sure how using the name Clinton falls in the category of metaphorical. Please explain.

  52. 52
    Wilfred says:

    Hart Williams absolutely fucking nailed it.

  53. 53
    ThymeZone says:

    blacks should not sing “God Bless America” but “God damn America.”

    Basically, most of the world says God Damn America since George Bush became its president.

    WASHINGTON — The United States has often irritated the rest of the world, but lately it’s gotten worse — and more dangerous.

    In increasing numbers, people around the globe resent American power and wealth and reject specific actions like the occupation of Iraq and the campaign against democratically elected Palestinian leaders, in-depth international polling shows.

    Analysts say America’s image problem is pervasive, deep and perhaps permanent, an inevitable outcome of being the world’s only superpower.

    But there is worse news. In the past, while Europeans, Asians and Arabs might have disliked American policies or specific U.S. leaders, they liked and admired Americans themselves.

    Polls now show an ominous turn. Majorities around the world think Americans are greedy, violent and rude, and fewer than half in countries like Poland, Spain, Canada, China and Russia think Americans are honest.

    “We found a rising antipathy toward Americans,” said Bruce Stokes of the Pew Global Attitudes Project, which interviewed 93,000 people in 50 countries over a four-year span.

    What’s the big deal?

    If I want to know what Obama thinks about America, I will listen to him:

    I am not voting for his pastor.

    Are we voting for a pastor? In that case I suggest we get rid of all officials whose pastors tell them that the earth is fucking 6000 years old. Fire those motherfuckers, and then hassle me about Obama’s minister.

  54. 54
    empty says:

    You know, listening to the clips of Jeremiah Wright in context I really don’t see why Obama has to distance himself from him. What Wright speaks to is the black experience in America. Yes, his language is provocative. But he is not a politician – he is a preacher and I thought being provocative was part of the job description for a preacher. He rails against the government and ots policies – and sometimes against those in power who promote those policies. But he doesn’t preach hate against a particular group like Hagee does. I think Obama’s response has been both courageous and classy – adjectives I don’t normally apply to him. More power to him.

  55. 55
    Asti says:

    Hell? What’s that? There is no Hell. If you want to believe in Hell, consider yourself already there. This world is the best description I can think of for Hell.

  56. 56
    Martin says:

    Man, you guys are going down a truly shitty path today.

    Should we talk about the traditionally german churches in PA that embrace German culture? What about the Armenian Apostolic church that I lived near for a while that didn’t have sermans in English but incorporated talks of Turkish ethnic cleansing to their sermons? Are they racist against Turks?

    Look, you can’t dig in to people’s churches PERIOD. Who has the videos of Clinton’s minister talking? Nobody? What about McCains? Nobody? Why is it acceptable to dig into Obama’s church because an occassional sermon is charged and to leave everyone elses alone because ‘oh, it’s probably cool…’. Does nobody see that some churches is fair game and other churches aren’t?

    How many churches have had talks about the evils of homosexuality? Does every Catholic automatically hold that homosexuals are morally corrupt? Does every Catholic have to renounce the Pope to get out of that bind? Apparently these people can choose their religion, so they simply need to choose not being Catholic. Can a Rabbi not talk about anti-semitism and aggression in certain Muslim countries without every member having to denounce him for racist talk against arabs?

    Look, there is a HUGE double standard being applied here. Actually, there are several, but no good will come of egging this on.

    And there is a difference with Hagee. Hagee has endorsed McCain at McCains request. McCain isn’t treating Hagee as a spiritual advisor, he’s treading him as a political ally, and that’s a game changer. Obama has not sought Wright in a political role, nor has Wright offered one. Once you take on a political role, pretty much everything you say as part of that role becomes part of the campaign – Power and Ferraro are prime examples. McCain is a fucking fool for tying politics and religion in the manner he has because of where it forces the process to go. Obama hasn’t made any such mistake. Wright is part of Obama’s private life and needs to stay there just as McCain and Clinton’s ministers are part of their private lives.

  57. 57
    Svensker says:

    What empty said.

  58. 58
    Asti says:

    Look, you can’t dig in to people’s churches PERIOD.

    Why? Because so many people attend church that it must be a good thing? Just because a lot of people believe God has a human-born son doesn’t mean God has a human-born son. I suppose because millions of people want to believe a virgin can give birth to a baby that makes it alright? And then these people argue with each other over whether her womb could be put to use again afterward by a human man after an omnipotent God. Go figure!

  59. 59
    Rarely Posts says:

    Martin, I don’t know where FOX got the video of the church but it seems pretty obvious that the most likely place was from a member of the church.

    Making those comments about riding dirty was really unbelievable.

  60. 60
    Cyrus says:

    If Obama doesn’t dump Wright start wearing an American flag lapel pin now, he will—genuinely—deserve what he gets.

    Fixed. Seriously, that’s what this is about. Whether Obama, or in this particular news cycle someone he deems inspiring or influential, is insufficiently patriotic. Fuck it, I don’t care. And what Obama really feels about Wright isn’t that interesting to me, but I really, actively don’t care at all about whether Wright and/or Obama are insufficiently patriotic. There are a lot of people who might vote Democrat or lean left or whatever who will still say “I agree with him on some things, but do we really want a president who respects people who don’t love America?” Those people are at least as dumb as the people who voted for Bush because they’d like to have a beer with him.

    A big chunk of the country would agree with a lot of what Wright said, if only he weren’t so impassioned about it. (Because you know, the national discourse just has no room for angry… pastors.) If only he just stuck to the facts and didn’t lead on to one particular conclusion of it. If he didn’t phrase his conclusions in religious terms.

    “The government gives them the drugs, builds bigger prisons, passes a three-strike law and then wants us to sing ‘God Bless America.’ No, no, no, God damn America, that’s in the Bible for killing innocent people,” he said in a 2003 sermon. “God damn America for treating our citizens as less than human. God damn America for as long as she acts like she is God and she is supreme.”

    Replace “God damn America” with “America should be ashamed” or “America should have done better,” and everyone to the left of Joe Lieberman would agree with it.

  61. 61
    Martin says:

    Martin, did you listen to what he said? I’m not sure how using the name Clinton falls in the category of metaphorical. Please explain.

    Clinton/Monica is metaphorical of how the white establishment betrays the partner it swore fidelity to (Hillary as minority communities) in order to service its own needs. Bill sold out his loyalty to Hillary just as the white democratic establishment (the Clintons) sold out their pledged loyalty to the black community when they made the statements they did in South Carolina – which is when the sermon took place. Wright may be guilty of misinterpreting Bills comments, but the metaphor is spot on, and doubly powerful by invoking Bill in the metaphor itself. The black community doesn’t play soft with messages like most of the white community does.

    He’s not calling out the Clintons necessarily (and I’m taking semi-blind swings here). He’s reminding the congregation that there is genuine fidelity and there is false fidelity. Bill wasn’t faithful to Hillary and they should watch out for politicians that are unfaithful to the black community – that will tell them what they want to hear to get votes. At the same time, the black community accepted that fidelity because it benefitted them, just as Hillary has benefitted politically from her association with Bill, so it’s a soft rebuke against the community for playing the game as well. You saw some of that at the SotBU with Gregory’s comments:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JAcN5iKArQU

    The white evangelical community could make exactly the same speech using McCain as proxy for the GOP who has pandered for the votes of the religious right but wasn’t above cheating on his wife, just as the GOP bailed out on their support for the evangelical platform. That would be viewed as crude in the white community, but the black community accepts that because of the power of the message.

    So just as white churches reach back to Jesus and draw on imagery from the Bible to make a point about a modern situation, black churches draw on more modern imagery. They parallel the crucifixion with lynching, for example, to be reminded that their fight is a different one and one that the white Christian community has long forgotten. If Wright had reached back to a dead figure in history, nobody would accuse him of being any kind of -ist, but because it was a living figure, it’s easier to attach certain kinds of identities to them and draw contrasts. But it’s wrong to do that without understanding the culture here.

  62. 62
    Rick Moran says:

    This apparently does not sit well with the rubes

    This from our urban sophisticate who lives in West Virginia?

  63. 63
    tBone says:

    This from our urban sophisticate who lives in West Virginia?

    Is Moran working for the Clinton campaign now? I can’t remember if West Virginia counts or not.

  64. 64
    Rarely Posts says:

    Martin,

    Maybe you haven’t seen the other clip FOX aired. The minister tells the congregation that Bill Clinton screwed black people just like he screwed Monica. He was slightly more poetic about it.

    That’s no metaphor.

  65. 65
    Rarely Posts says:

    Never mind, Martin. I see you did see the video.

    Wow. Just wow.

  66. 66
    tBone says:

    The minister tells the congregation that Bill Clinton screwed black people just like he screwed Monica. He was slightly more poetic about it.

    That’s no metaphor.

    I think Martin is being too generous with Wright’s comments, but in the spirit of being a nitpicky asshole – I want to point out that “Clinton screwed black people just like he screwed Monica” is indeed a metaphor. Or a simile, if you want to get really persnickety.

  67. 67
    Egilsson says:

    Right wing ministers have asserted that God caused 9/11 and/or Katrina as retribution for American tolerance for homosexuals.

    Obama is really getting whacked with a double-standard. It’s even worse because he didn’t go out an solicit support from Wright the way McCain did Falwell/ Robertson / Hagee.

  68. 68
    Martin says:

    Because so many people attend church that it must be a good thing?

    Because it’s too easy to build an association that is undeserving which only threatens religious free-speech. Look, civil rights happened *because* of free speech in black churches, not in spite of free speech in white churches. It happened in spite of overwhelming statistical odds against it. Blacks were outnumbered, but it was the ability of churches, both black and white to cross lines that society established which allowed it to happen.

    And don’t play a religion card on me, I’ve been an strict atheist since the day I was born. But churches (and freethinking groups among other places) are arenas where new ideas need to be put forward. They need to be able to challenge us. That doesn’t mean we have to agree with the sermon, but we need to be free to hear it and for it to be delivered.

    Wright wasn’t calling on our enemies to attack us when he said America was responsible for 9/11, he was calling on us to consider our role in this country and how we as a nation treat others and to not dump that responsibility solely on our leaders since they will dump it on someone else. He’s challenging us to take moral responsibility for everything America does and when America does something that we consider to be morally wrong to take some of that responsibility and to act on it as if we personally had done something wrong. My God, if that isn’t the very message that all truly patriotic Americans would agree with. But the objection is with the packaging that it comes in, and that some people can’t get past that to reach the message because the white community has been marinating in weak platitudes for so long that anything spicy burns like lava. The packaging is designed to strike you because the passive pin on the lapel shit isn’t working. After a while, people just wake up and put on the pin without thinking. The point of putting on the pin in the first place was to make you think but how long did that last?

  69. 69
    Rarely Posts says:

    I think Martin is being too generous with Wright’s comments, but in the spirit of being a nitpicky asshole – I want to point out that “Clinton screwed black people just like he screwed Monica” is indeed a metaphor. Or a simile, if you want to get really persnickety.

    Yeah, I was going with persnickety. I have to admit Martin is a master of spin. I’m kind of in awe. And more than a little disappointed that anyone could excuse this man’s behavior.

  70. 70

    The reason why they’re going after the pastor at the church Obama attends is because they don’t have anything else on the guy. If they can somehow keep working Farakkhan’s name into the conversation then they’re doing what they need to do – scare whitey!

  71. 71
    Phil says:

    Uh, we give a shit because Obama gives a shit enough to have his kids sit through it? It reflects on his character no?

  72. 72
    Martin says:

    I think Martin is being too generous with Wright’s comments, but in the spirit of being a nitpicky asshole – I want to point out that “Clinton screwed black people just like he screwed Monica” is indeed a metaphor. Or a simile, if you want to get really persnickety.

    I agree that it’s strong tea, and may well be over the line, but the community felt betrayed by both Bill and Hillary’s comments leading into SC. The kind of comments you see here being made toward Hillary are what Wright was expressing there. If Obama read this blog, would he have to actively denounce 80% of what we say or would it be acceptable to say that reading our words aren’t agreement or endorsement of them? Why are Wrights words different? Why should we expect politicians to self-censor out of fear that they might hear or read or see something that they disagree with and then be hounded as endorsing. Just because it is institutionalized in a church doesn’t make it any more legitimate to Obama’s views than if those very words were on a blog that Obama read one day. And it would be wrong to assume that Wright takes his own words literally. They are words designed to provoke thought, to challenge preset notions.

    Or are people assuming that Wright invokes Bill riding dirty in every sermon just because they’ve seen him do it one time?

  73. 73
    dslak says:

    I have to admit Martin is a master of spin.

    This is rich, coming from the person who claimed that Ferraro’s “Obama only got where he is because he’s black” comment really just means “black men got the vote before women did.”

    I move that we change Rarely Posts’s name to Often Hacks.

  74. 74
    dslak says:

    Does “riding dirty” mean something other than having drugs? It would be pretty cool, if they were down with Bill smoking the chronic (so long as he didn’t Bogart it, of course).

  75. 75

    […] I don’t know why anyone thinks this is controversial- of course he said it, as that is what they have been saying all along. At some level, though, I think it does boil down to this: […]

  76. 76
    Martin says:

    Uh, we give a shit because Obama gives a shit enough to have his kids sit through it? It reflects on his character no?

    No, because we don’t know what happens after. We don’t have the whole picture here. Do Obama’s kids share Wrights views? We don’t know, so we can’t say one way or another whether it is a good or bad thing.

    But what people are doing is putting themselves with their values and their ways of doing things in that church, which is a different set of values and a different way of doing things and saying that if I swap out just this one piece, I can draw conclusions of the whole. That’s wrong. We don’t know what is happening around that piece to really understand the role that it plays or how it reflects on Obama’s judgement. We’d have to look at the whole, which we are both unwilling and unable to do.

    So I’m not saying whether Wright is over the line or not. I’m saying nobody here can judge whether it is or not and we need to trust that community knows where its boundaries are and acts accordingly. People here are missing that this is community with known bounds and a known order of conduct and that they operate within that, and we are not part of that community. I think we could all agree that this board has known bounds and a known order of conduct that is not appropriate to a discussion at a PTA meeting. It would be wrong to take a comment from this place, drop it in a PTA meeting and say it reflects on the whole of our individual character. The media community outside of that church who is now peeking in the doors, which is dominated by white men with white men standards and white men sensibilities CANNOT be stepping in an telling a black church what their conduct should be. CANNOT. It would be a clear statement that black people can’t manage their own affairs.

    So again, I’m not saying whether Wright is right or wrong. I’m saying as someone not part of the culture that is preserved almost solely within the bounds of that church that is is simply wrong for anyone not part of that culture to judge. We have to trust that they can judge.

  77. 77
    ThymeZone says:

    I’ve been an strict atheist since the day I was born

    Oh Sweet Jesus, that is the funniest spoof line I have seen in ages.

    An atheist since you were born!

    BWAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

    I tip my hat.

    Oh Goddy Bless.

  78. 78
    Martin says:

    An atheist since you were born!

    Fair enough, but I can’t really recount the day. Permit me some poetic license here.

  79. 79
    mrmobi says:

    So really. Who gives a shit what Obama’s minister thinks? He is just another bullshit artist.

    And I know, I know, I am going to go to hell for writing this. Whatever.

    I don’t care what any minister says, but the Clinton campaign has found itself an “issue” with which to dismantle Obama. Minister Wright, and his admiration for Farrakahn should do the job nicely. Of course, no one else will have to endure having clips of their pastor broadcast via YouTube, but that’s fair because the media is biased against Senator Clinton, right?

    Never mind that in the process of tearing itself apart, the Democratic Party will lose the black vote (permanently) and achieve long-term minority status, all during a period when the GOP is demonstrating itself to be the most corrupt, incompetent, sorry ass excuse for a political party ever. We must remember, the most important thing is for Hillary to win.

    In the coming days and weeks we’ll see mostly oblique racial charges from Penn and others (all while saying it is Obama who is using racist tactics), and there will be new charges of intolerance and black separatism. None of it is true, of course, but it will stick with a significant portion of the racist vote in the middle of PA and elsewhere.

    Issues?
    Who gives a shit about issues, haven’t you heard there’s a negro radical running for President? He’s got to be stopped!

    President McCain and Vice President Lieberman. We are so very fucked.

    John, I’ll be there in hell when you arrive. Look for me in the “liked bourbon too damn much” room.

  80. 80
    tBone says:

    Or are people assuming that Wright invokes Bill riding dirty in every sermon just because they’ve seen him do it one time?

    This is a fair point. I highly doubt that Wright fills every sermon with bon mots that are that inflammatory.

    If he does, I might consider joining his church just for the entertainment value.

  81. 81

    Stop trying to use logic in dealing with things like this. It doesn’t matter that no reasonable person could blame Obama for the (idiotic) thoughts of his former pastor. But what matters is that a LOT of people will only hear “Obama’s pastor says ‘God damn America'” and that will be enough to hurt him.

    Dismissing this as illogical is only burying yourself politically. I certainly hope Obama isn’t so stupid as to act like this won’t be a big deal. If he does then this will be his Swift Boat moment.

  82. 82

    libarbarian Says:

    My Uncle has been harping on this “Obamas minister is a radical” thing for a while. I’m afraid it might have legs if they dont nip it in the bud.

    Precisely. I think those who dismiss this as of no import are being monumentally stupid. Did we not learn anything from the Swift Boat crap in 2004? It doesn’t matter if LOGICALLY the argument makes no sense. All most people will hear is “Barack Obama’s minister says ‘God Damn America'” and that will knock 5-10 points off his numbers in the Fall.

    Laugh all you want about how silly this is, IT WORKS. And if Obama doesn’t deal with it well he (and we) will pay the price.

  83. 83

    Martin Says:

    [The Pope] is a radical. All prominent religious figures are. The Pope is as well, but your uncle probably can’t see that.

    And there goes the Catholic vote!

    Sigh

  84. 84
    Martin says:

    But what matters is that a LOT of people will only hear “Obama’s pastor says ‘God damn America’” and that will be enough to hurt him.

    It won’t really hurt him. Most of the people that freak out about it were never in Obama’s camp to begin with and a decent number that freak out at first will listen to reason. This came out too early to really do harm (it’s been out there for 6 months as it is) and there will be many people out there explaining why it is unfair to tar Obama with that brush.

    The biggest damage will be to relations with the black community. If you thought they were pissed off at the GOP and the media establishment before, having the GOP reach into one of their churches to damage a black candidate will make them apocalyptic. I don’t know if the GOP is smart enough to get that, but if they do, I hope they realize that McCain isn’t worth doing that kind of damage.

  85. 85
    Bruce Moomaw says:

    Let us also keep in mind that unfortunate but elementary fact of American politics pointed out by Matt Yglesias: lunatic bigoted white pastors are far more politically acceptable in the US than lunatic bigoted black pastors for the simple reason that they have far more followers, there being far more white people in this country. As a matter of cold-blooded political strategy, that fact must also be taken into consideration. I don’t, however, exactly see why EEEL thinks McCain’s sin in sucking up openly to Hagee for votes — and refusing to denounce his statements — is less serious than Obama’s. But then, EEEL is very often difficult to understand.

    As for Cyrus: What’s with Wright’s “The government gives them the drugs”? When you combine that sort of thing with this guy’s previous anti-Semitic slobberings, exactly what is so controversial about thinking Obama should separate himself from him, just as McCain should separate himself from Hagee (but will unfortunately suffer fewer political consequences for not doing so)?

  86. 86
    Rarely Posts says:

    mrmobi, yep, it’s Hillary’s fault that Obama’s minister is an asshole.

  87. 87
    orogeny says:

    Balloon Juice has gotten to be a lot less fun to visit since it has become Obama Central, but this thread is comedy gold. Reading your comments trying to rationalize Obama’s attachment to a “lunatic, bigoted pastor” is hilarious. C’mon now…have you watched the video? This is the man who has been Obama’s spiritual advisor for 20 years. Don;t you think that something a bit stronger than “It sounds like he was trying to be provocative,” and “I don’t think my church is actually particularly controversial.”? I certainly think that McCain deservs to be lambasted for his attachment to the anti-catholic, anti-gay Pastor Hagee, but Obama’s situation seems to be worse here. McCain is just cynically trying to get the votes of the fundies who follow Hagee…Obama is a long-term member of Wright’s church.

  88. 88
    orogeny says:

    Sorry, left out “is in order” at the end of that 4th sentence.

  89. 89
    Rarely Posts says:

    orogeny, do you think those that attend the Westboro church of faggot killers should be given the benefit of the doubt, because they could be strong enough to take that shiit with a grain of salt and we should trust their judgment.

    mmkay, that might have been over the line.

  90. 90
    4tehlulz says:

    mmkay, that might have been over the line.

    ‘sup Hillary?

  91. 91
    orogeny says:

    Nope…not if they choose to keep going. If they do, they obviously feel that they are getting worthwhile guidance and advise from the asshole. If somebody chooses to go to the World Church of the Creator to listen to Matthew Hale spout off about RAHOWA every Sunday, they can’t say, “I just believe in the non-racist parts of the sermon”…not if they keep showing up every Sunday. I’m not comparing Wright to Hale, just using Hale as an extreme example.

  92. 92
    EJ says:

    So he’s pointing out that the US puts itself on a moral high horse while building huge prisons to house ever greater numbers of poor black people?

    It’s a fucking fact, Jack. It’s only “controversial” because a lot of white people don’t want to hear it. Too bad.

    If anything, I’m glad to vote for a guy who is a member of a church where the pastor challenges the country to live up to its ideals.

  93. 93
    orogeny says:

    Let’s see…white people are either racist or self deluded…America is a racist country which builds prisons just for the purpose of locking up poor black people…

    That’s going to play really well in the general election.

  94. 94
    MGKrebs says:

    All you asshats can go on about who cares. This could very well win Hillary the nomination, and McCain the White House.

  95. 95
    Jay says:

    Now it’s bullshit that American imperialism and meddling brought us 9/11? Funny.

  96. 96
    Asti says:

    He’s challenging us to take moral responsibility for everything America does and when America does something that we consider to be morally wrong to take some of that responsibility and to act on it as if we personally had done something wrong.

    I got no problem with that.

    My God, if that isn’t the very message that all truly patriotic Americans would agree with. But the objection is with the packaging that it comes in, and that some people can’t get past that to reach the message because the white community has been marinating in weak platitudes for so long that anything spicy burns like lava. The packaging is designed to strike you because the passive pin on the lapel shit isn’t working. After a while, people just wake up and put on the pin without thinking. The point of putting on the pin in the first place was to make you think but how long did that last?

    That’s what I have a problem with. I think it’s more moral to not be ‘patriotic’ and not wear symbolic lapel pins to “show your patriotism”. I think it’s more moral to look at the world through the eyes of the people this country screws and not through the eyes of patriotic assholes who feel the need to “live right”.

    For more on the reasons why I feel so strongly against religion, it’s interesting that most people follow a path that they think is righteous when their own Bible tells them in the last days so many would follow a path of unrighteousness. I think these people who act patriotic and wear their flag lapel pins and stink up the conversation with shit about abortion and the godless think the ones who are unrighteous are the ones who don’t live like them, and, I think they got it totally backwards.

    I’d like to see religion left out of politics, thank you.

  97. 97
    ThymeZone says:

    I’d like to see religion left out of politics, thank you.

    And that puts you right in line with the Founders.

    Separation of church and state is right there in the instructions they left us.

  98. 98
    ThymeZone says:

    “Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between Man & his God, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legitimate powers of government reach actions only, & not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should “make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,” thus building a wall of separation between Church & State.”

    Jefferson.

  99. 99
    ThymeZone says:

    (regarding) the first draft of the First Amendment offered on the floor of the House through various versions until final passage, along with the rationales offered as reasons for each change that came along:

    James Madison composed the first draft. His wording: “The civil rights of none shall be abridged on account of religious belief or worship, nor shall any national religion be established, nor shall the full and equal rights of conscience be in any manner, or on any pretext, infringed.” (There would be no more Salem witch hunts, no more Inquisitions. There would be no more letters from the Danbury Baptists, or from the good Jew who wrote to Washington asking if Jews were to be persecuted.) That was the context of the issue being addressed — not questioning the importance of religion as the basis of morality in our government, nor the applicability in our government of the laws of God.

  100. 100
    army193 says:

    Obama feels that Rev. Wright is like his uncle…America want you to throw your family over the cliff…

  101. 101
    Nellcote says:

    Pretty sad that people are passing judgement on a man 35 years in the pulpit based on 10minutes of video clips selected by Fox News.

  102. 102
    orogeny says:

    So, TZ, carrying what you’ve written to it’s logical extreme, if a candidate for President is a member of a Christian Identity church, it’s none of the voter’s business?

  103. 103
    orogeny says:

    I’m sure that 10 minutes is completely inconsistent with anything else that he has ever said; just a momentary indiscretion.

    An ABC News review of dozens of Rev. Wright’s sermons, offered for sale by the church, found repeated denunciations of the U.S.

    Well, maybe not.

  104. 104
    ThymeZone says:

    So, TZ, carrying what you’ve written to it’s logical extreme

    What I’ve written? I quoted Madison and Jefferson.

    I have to tell you how to be a citizen? I get $500 an hour for that advice. I think you can figure it out for yourself.

  105. 105
    orogeny says:

    You really, honestly believe that as long as one’s beliefs are couched in terms of religion, they should have no bearing on the voter’s evaluation of a candidate? Polygamy, beating children, human sacrifice…as long as it’s a religious belief, it is out of bounds?

    As a citizen, I know that my government may not discriminate against any individual based on their religious beliefs. I also know that as an individual, it’s my right, and that of every other citizen of this nation, to make my decision as to who to vote for based on whatever criteria I feel are appropriate. I may disagree with the people who voted for Huckabee because of his religiosity, but it was completely within their rights to do so.

    I’ll vote for the Dem in this election, no matter which of the two ends up as the nominee. But if you don’t think that a hell of a lot of the “Reagan Democrats” are going to be turned off by this kind of thing, especially if Obama doesn’t somehow make it abundantly clear that he does not agree with Rev. Wright, I think you may be fooling yourself.

    The tough thing for Obama is figuring out how he does it without it looking like he’s throwing his old mentor under the bus for political reasons.

  106. 106
    ThymeZone says:

    You really, honestly believe that as long as one’s beliefs are couched in terms of religion, they should have no bearing on the voter’s evaluation of a candidate? Polygamy, beating children, human sacrifice…as long as it’s a religious belief, it is out of bounds?

    Nope. Sorry, if want to put words in my mouth, you are going to have to do better than that.

    If you have a point to make or an argument to advance, wouldn’t it be easier to just do it and not waste time constructing strawmen? Seriously. You are doing a good imitation of a troll. I mean, if you aren’t one.

    What I believe is that no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States. I don’t know where I came up with that, it just popped into my head from somewhere. Hmm.

    Notice that I said “shall” and not “should.” I think the choice of that word was rather deliberate, don’t you?

    “God damn America” is not a religious statement, is it? What religion advances that theology, exactly? It sounds like a some other kind of declaration, but it’s not religious as I read it. What do you think?

    LBNL, what argument do you think you are having, and with whom do you think you are having it?

  107. 107
    Nellcote says:

    Roland Martin schools Lou Dobbs (and you)
    =========================================
    DOBBS: You and I have mentioned — we’ve discussed the minister here. He is obviously very controversial, Afrocentric. Give us you’re — you know the man. Give us your take.

    MARTIN: Well, actually, a couple of things. First, Lou, Trinity United Church of Christ is not being investigated
    by the IRS. The United Church of Christ denomination is where Obama spoke at their national conference. So the IRS is looking in to the denomination, not the church.

    DOBBS: Right.

    MARTIN: All right. But in terms of — in terms of Reverend Wright, first of all he’s been the pastor since 1972.
    He just retired on Sunday. In fact, one of the reasons why he is not talking — I even tried to get him on my
    radio show. He’s not talking this whole week because they have services every night, celebrating his years as a
    pastor.

    And so, he is considered one of the preeminent pastors in the nation. “Ebony” magazine named him one of the top 15 black preachers of the entire 20th century. So we talk about Afrocentric, what that also deals with, frankly, is a
    relationship between the church, the black church, historically, as well as the continent of Africa. And so that
    is one of the reasons why — so he is considered one of the top experts on the whole issue of the Afrocentric.

    And so, he is clearly one of the top pastors of the city. Trinity is one of the most influential churches in city
    of Chicago, black, white, or whatever.

    DOBBS: And to that, how in the world does end up that a magazine published by the church ends up putting Louis
    Farrakhan as a — basically canonizing the man in — not in the literal sense?

    MARTIN: Well again, another little detail that — “Trumpet” magazine was indeed published by Trinity Church. When
    they chose to become a national, they became independent of the church. Jerry Wright, the pastor’s daughter, she’s a publisher. But the magazine is no longer under the arm of the church, it’s now an independent publication.

    But again, one of the things that people don’t realize in terms of — first of all, Chicago is a home of black
    nationalism. So when you talk about the Nation of Islam, when you talk about the National Black United Front, you
    talk about various groups along those lines, it has a rich history in terms of that particular group.

    So you have a combination there of black nationals in Chicago, in terms of being involved in the political area
    here — when Harold Washington ran in 1983, he put together that coalition in terms of all your traditional black
    politicians and black nationalists, white liberals as well. And — wants Hispanics to become mayor of Chicago. So
    it’s not uncommon, frankly, for the relationship to be there between Christian churches, as well as the Nation of
    Islam here in Chicago.

    DOBBS: OK, that’s a lot of words between —

    MARTIN: That’s just the truth.

    DOBBS: No, no. I’m just saying, it’s a lot of words between Pastor Wright, the magazine, the canonization, if you
    will, of Farrakhan by that magazine and the relationship between Pastor Wright and Senator Obama. What is going on
    here?

    MARTIN: It’s very simple, Lou. And that is, Obama is a member of the Pastor Wright’s church. And so Pastor
    Wright — he was one of the endorsers of the Million Man March in 1995. But here’s what is very interesting, Lou.
    When I watched the debate last night, when Senator Clinton made her comment about he should go further, what a lot of folks don’t realize, also, is that in 1995, President Bill Clinton had some positive words to say about what?
    The Million Man March — that was led, that was created — and the key note speaker there, Louis Farrakhan.

    The Millions More Movement took place in 2005. President Clinton had some positive words to say about that as
    well. And so what you have here is a very interesting situation with Farrakhan. There are a number of people who
    do not like Minister Farrakhan, that is very obvious. But there others who do respect the fact that what they have
    done in terms of dealing with black men who have been in prison, who have been abusing drugs and alcohol.

    And so, you have a different viewpoint of Farrakhan based upon the various deeds. Keep in mind, Jack Kemp in 1996 got in a lot of trouble as a V.P. nominee, Lou, when he praised Farrakhan’s focus on self reliance. Jews said wait
    a minute, hold up. This is Farrakhan you are talking about. So he knows what it feels like to be in a presidential
    campaign and say anything good about Farrakhan.

    DOBBS: Well, the issue here I think, too is — much of — I’m going to say it this way and I’ll probably get into
    all sorts of trouble. But much of white America doesn’t understand much of black nationalism, the role of Pastor
    Wright and the Afrocentric movement within the United States, which has been very important as we have seen the emergence of a black middle class in this country.

  108. 108
    Blue says:

    Obama got married by a guy who chants “God Damn America.” He had his kids baptised by a guy who chants “God Damn America.” He has spent twenty years listening to a guy chanting “God Damn America.” He gave $22,000 last year to support a guy chanting “God Damn America.”

    Fuck Obama. I’m voting for Hillary. If she loses, I’m voting for McCain. I don’t want this toxic bullshit anywhere near the levers of power.

  109. 109
    Asti says:

    I’ll vote for the Dem in this election, no matter which of the two ends up as the nominee. But if you don’t think that a hell of a lot of the “Reagan Democrats” are going to be turned off by this kind of thing, especially if Obama doesn’t somehow make it abundantly clear that he does not agree with Rev. Wright, I think you may be fooling yourself.

    You get so upset about who is Obama’s minister and yet you would give Hillary a pass I’ll bet. Simply hilarious. The hypocrisy is really thick these days. I got news for a you, a lot of decent Dems are totally turned off by Hillary RIGHT NOW!

  110. 110
    orogeny says:

    So, now I’m a troll?

    You’ve lost me. I was under the impression that, by quoting some of the founding father’s words pertaining to the separation of church and state, you were making the case that Obama’s beliefs, or a least those of his spiritual advisor should be off limits because they came out of his church. If not, what was the reason for the quotes?

    My position is this: Obama’s pastor/mentor/spiritual advisor of 20 years has a history of making statements that are offensive to a lot of voters. I don’t see how you can just blow that off. McCain is getting some grief (a lot less than he should be getting) for his association with Hagee. I was a strong Edwards supporter, but if I’d found out that he has a close, long-term relationship with someone who was making similarly offensive statements, I would have expected him to either disavow those statements and end his association, or he would have lost my vote.

  111. 111
    orogeny says:

    You get so upset about who is Obama’s minister and yet you would give Hillary a pass I’ll bet. Simply hilarious. The hypocrisy is really thick these days. I got news for a you, a lot of decent Dems are totally turned off by Hillary RIGHT NOW!

    When did I bring Hillary into this conversation? I’ll be honest, right now I’m not sure who I really want to be the nominee…I was originally hoping for Gore, then went with Edwards as my second choice. I ended up supporting Hillary because I was turned off by the self-righteous attitude of the Obama supporters on the various blogs I read. Lately, though, Clinton has said some things that pissed me off..the “McCain is better than Obama” remark being the chief one. So, at this point, I’m one of the “undecided” voters that I’ve always kind of looked down on.

  112. 112
    Asti says:

    Obama got married by a guy who chants “God Damn America.” He had his kids baptised by a guy who chants “God Damn America.” He has spent twenty years listening to a guy chanting “God Damn America.” He gave $22,000 last year to support a guy chanting “God Damn America.”

    Fuck Obama. I’m voting for Hillary. If she loses, I’m voting for McCain. I don’t want this toxic bullshit anywhere near the levers of power.

    Good ole patriotic (red, white) and “blue”, do you not realize that America is NOT the eden that some people would have you believe? You’re going to let this sway your decision? You see the way Obama conducts himself in a campaign, how can you be so angry at him and give a pass to those who are aggressively tossing personal attacks at him. He is calm and trying to hold debate on the issues while his opponents (one democrat, one republican) throw personal attacks into the fray. If that is the way you feel, you never had any intention of voting for Obama anyway, I see right through you.

    As I said above, America is not the eden you are trying to make believe it is, and the toxicity is in the negative campaigning that you are embracing. You are not fooling anyone.

  113. 113
    Asti says:

    I’ll vote for the Dem in this election, no matter which of the two ends up as the nominee. But if you don’t think that a hell of a lot of the “Reagan Democrats” are going to be turned off by this kind of thing, especially if Obama doesn’t somehow make it abundantly clear that he does not agree with Rev. Wright, I think you may be fooling yourself.

    This is what I was citing, glad to see you updated your post to say that Hillary is not perfect. The original post looked somewhat imbalanced.

  114. 114
    Asti says:

    My position is this: Obama’s pastor/mentor/spiritual advisor of 20 years has a history of making statements that are offensive to a lot of voters.

    I would rather vote for someone who has a pastor/mentor/spiritual leader who offends Americans than one who is offensive herself.

    Moreover, if we’re talking about the patriotic fervor of this nation, we need to be offended, this patriotism is toxic itself. I’ll tell you how strongly I feel about that, when I hear that song “I’m Proud to be an American”, I sit down and shut up. I don’t sing, I don’t stand and act all patriotic, I abhor people who do. I am an American because I was born here, not because Americans are special for any reason. We’re not.

  115. 115
    ThymeZone says:

    So, now I’m a troll?

    Taking my clips of the Founders and turning them into something else entirely and then trying to put those words in my mouth … what you do you call that? I don’t if you are a troll, but you are sure doing a good imitation of one.

    Where you got that nonsense, I have no idea, but you didn’t get it from me. Like I said, if you have an argument or position to advance, why would you waste your time constructing an elaborate strawman? I don’t get it.

    You’ve lost me. I was under the impression that, by quoting some of the founding father’s words pertaining to the separation of church and state, you were making the case that Obama’s beliefs, or a least those of his spiritual advisor should be off limits because they came out of his church. If not, what was the reason for the quotes?

    The purpose of the quotes was pretty much self explanatory:
    I strongly advocate church and state separation, and I find considerable support for it in the words of the Founders. That is the position I advanced, nothing more, or less, here. Upthread, I made an asssertion about Obama’s minister, and my political view on that. The two ideas are related but not inseparable. Where you got your “impression” I have no idea.

    And are you seriously going to argue with me without taking the time to do better than “Obama’s beliefs, or at least those of his spiritual advisor ….” ? I don’t know, or care, about Obama’s religious beliefs, and I care somewhat less about those of his minister. I said that upthread. I don’t ascribe his minister’s beliefs to him any more than I ascribe the nutty shit George Bush’s pastor believes to George Bush …. unless Bush says that he also holds the nutty idea. I won’t call your minister to find out what you think. I’d ask you. Get it?

    My position is this: Obama’s pastor/mentor/spiritual advisor of 20 years has a history of making statements that are offensive to a lot of voters. I don’t see how you can just blow that off. McCain is getting some grief (a lot less than he should be getting) for his association with Hagee. I was a strong Edwards supporter, but if I’d found out that he has a close, long-term relationship with someone who was making similarly offensive statements, I would have expected him to either disavow those statements and end his association, or he would have lost my vote.

    That’s your view? Well, you wasted the preceeding posts, because you could have just said that without wasting our time with a lot of horse manure about what you thought my views are. What’s the discussion? Your view, or mine?

    I’ve stated mine clearly. I hold Obama to believe what I hear him say he believes, nothing more or less. If you want to make him responsible for some preacher’s views, that’s up to you. I think that is idiotic, but that’s another topic. I also believe that Jefferson and Madison were right about church and state, and that the message is clear, and it’s expressed nicely in the Constitution: No religious test as qualification for any office or public trust. I take that to mean exactly what it says.

    John Kennedy said that he would follow the Constitution, not the advice of the Pope. That was good enough for America, enough to get him elected at least. I haven’t seen many candidates for office that would cross that line, except for a few rightwing nutjobs who are apparently out to establish God’s Dominion On Earth via the political pathway. I of course will oppose them with all vigor.

    I’ve never heard Barack Obama say any troubling words about America. Until he does, I won’t assume that he will.

    If “toxic shit” is too scary for officeholders, then the entire GOP needs to resign from all office today. Their nutty beliefs and 6000-year-old-earth idea are dangerous, right? Barack Obama looks pretty nontoxic to me.

    I think you are being ridiculous. I don’t expect any candidate to disavow the ideas of all the people with whom they have had contact. I believe what he says, that’s good enough for me. If that isn’t good enough for you, that’s up to you. Vote for the most pure and slobber-pandering sonofabitch, or bitch, you can find. You deserve nothing less.

  116. 116
    Asti says:

    I think you are being ridiculous. I don’t expect any candidate to disavow the ideas of all the people with whom they have had contact. I believe what he says, that’s good enough for me. If that isn’t good enough for you, that’s up to you.

    absolutely! ;)

  117. 117
    Asti says:

    I would have expected him to either disavow those statements and end his association, or he would have lost my vote.

    If your someone you kept company with was a child molestor, does that mean you shouldn’t be allowed to have children? Would you give them back if you found out about it? Who would you give them to? Are we really all judged by the company we keep? Are we not allowed to involve ourselves with interesting and different thinking people because (heaven forbid) it might mean we think exactly like they do? Are you really that judgmental of others?

  118. 118
    ThymeZone says:

    One more thing I want to say about the “spiritual advisor” theme:

    A spiritual advisor, like an intellectional advisor, will, if she is any good, instruct on how to think, and how to approach faith. She will not instruct on WHAT to think or believe.

    Somebody who tells you what to think is not an advisor, that’s a parent, or a control freak. Not an advisor.

    Spirituality is about discovery and growth, not about memorizing somebody else’s views.

    Barack Obama strikes me as a person who gets this. Some posters here? Not so much.

    If Obama’s minister is about questioning authority and challenging the powers that be, then I am for that.

    God bless America? Not when America fucks itself and the world with stupid, grossly inappropriate behavior. People who say God Bless America automatically and then fuck it over five minutes later are not doing me any favors. They’re trying to bullshit me.

  119. 119
    Asti says:

    If your someone you kept company with was a child molestor, does that mean you shouldn’t be allowed to have children? Would you give them back if you found out about it? Who would you give them to? Are we really all judged by the company we keep? Are we not allowed to involve ourselves with interesting and different thinking people because (heaven forbid) it might mean we think exactly like they do? Are you really that judgmental of others?

    I want to point out something here, there is a reason why the spiritual advisor is not treated as a member of the Obama campaign, that is because he is NOT a member of the Obama campaign. The reason why Geraldine Ferraro received the nastygrams she did was because she WAS a member of the Clinton campaign and said what she said to stir up a racist debate that would benefit the Clinton campaign. It was unfair, it was uncalled for, it was cruel and it was racist. If Obama’s spiritual advisor became a member of the Obama campaign and involved his religious views in the campaign’s strategy, I’d be saying the same thing about him. He’s not and he isn’t.

  120. 120
    Martin says:

    You really, honestly believe that as long as one’s beliefs are couched in terms of religion, they should have no bearing on the voter’s evaluation of a candidate? Polygamy, beating children, human sacrifice…as long as it’s a religious belief, it is out of bounds?

    YES! Have you ever read the Bible? Pretty much all that shit is in there. Slavery, casting children down on rocks, stoning your relatives, you name it.

    The problem is that you are making the very WRONG connection that reading the Bible or embracing the Bible make those someone’s beliefs. Reading it doesn’t mean embracing it, doesn’t mean condoning it, doesn’t mean adopting it as truth or right. If a pastor reads the very same words out loud, is that any different?

    A bunch of respected white evangelical churches organized an event and invited the GOP candidates to attend. Huckabee did attend. They sang the following, to the tune of ‘God Bless America’:

    Why should God bless America?
    She’s forgotten he exists
    And has turned her back
    On everything that made her what she is

    Why should God stand beside her
    Through the night with the light from his hand?
    God have mercy on America
    Forgive her sin and heal our land

    The courts ruled prayer out of our schools
    In June of ‘62
    Told the children “you are your own God now
    So you can make the rules”
    O say can you see what that choice
    Has cost us to this day
    America, one nation under God, has gone astray

    Why should God bless America?
    Shes’s forgotten he exists
    And has turned her back on everything
    That made her what she is

    Why should God stand beside her
    Through the night with the light from his hand?
    God have mercy on America
    Forgive her sins and heal our land

    In ‘73 the Courts said we
    Could take the unborn lives
    The choice is yours don’t worry now
    It’s not a wrong, it’s your right

    But just because they made it law
    Does not change God’s command
    The most that we can hope for is
    God’s mercy on our land

    Why should God bless America?
    She’s forgotten he exists
    And has turned her back on everything
    That made her what she is

    Why should God stand beside her
    Through the night with the light from his hand?
    God have mercy on America
    Forgive her sins and heal our land

    Which could also be called a denouncement of America by the same metric as Wrights, but wasn’t considered that because it came from a white audience and was gentler in tone. And almost nobody heard about it because, guess what, people waved the whole thing away because it was a white event. But it is no less critical of this nation than Wrights words.

    I’ve seen several people reference Wright saying ‘God Damn America’ and were pissed and calling him a racist. The only way he’s a racist is if you project that America is a white country and assume that Wright is attacking white people. This is the problem we have trying to look at Wrights statements. We see a black man giving an animated lecture to black people and people are projecting controversial statements that have *no racial component at all* as being racist. This is a projection of OUR prejudices when we do that. And it’s happening a LOT in this story. Not all the time, of course, but as the story expands, it is becoming more racist in tone from the people commenting on it.

    And people are applying a HUGE double standard in this case because nobody knows what goes on in Hillary’s church. She’s a member of The Fellowship along with Inhofe and Brownback. What do you think those sermons are like? We don’t know, because we’re only going to judge based on the black pastor.

  121. 121
    Martin says:

    Good ole patriotic (red, white) and “blue”, do you not realize that America is NOT the eden that some people would have you believe?

    j

    Asti, put your lapel pin back on and everything will be candy and flowers again.

  122. 122
    Asti says:

    YES! Have you ever read the Bible? Pretty much all that shit is in there. Slavery, casting children down on rocks, stoning your relatives, you name it.

    The problem with the Bible is that it was written by so manyu different people with so many different points of view that it does not introduce ONE ideal but many different ideals and those ideals are many times at odds with each other. There are over 600 contradictions in the Bible. There are storyies that don’t match, there are two testaments which say completely different things and to be quite honest, I have a completely different take on it than 99.99999% of the world after reading it. You should be ashamed for using the Bible as a source of your political beliefs.

    As for symbolic lapel pins, no thanks, I don’t believe in symbolism of any kind, I believe in reality and real ideas. I will not be brought to wear a stupid pin and join a hive mentality.

  123. 123
    ThymeZone says:

    I will not be brought to wear a stupid pin and join a hive mentality.

    Bzzz. Honey?

  124. 124
    Asti says:

    Bzzz. Honey?

    Well, you’re hive, yes… ;) but ONLY your hive, does it have room for me? I need to warn you, if I’m there, I have to be Queen Bee, I’m funny that way. ::grins::

  125. 125
    ThymeZone says:

    if I’m there, I have to be Queen Bee

    Okay this beehive metaphor might be in trouble, the queen never goes outside does she? I don’t know my bee-havior too well …..

  126. 126
    Asti says:

    Okay this beehive metaphor might be in trouble, the queen never goes outside does she? I don’t know my bee-havior too well …

    You haven’t figured out yet that I’m an “Indoor Girl”? LMAO

  127. 127
    Beej says:

    Suppose that a member of Martin Luther King’s church in Birmingham, Alabama had decided to run for oh, I don’t know, City Council. I know, I know, I’m getting into the realms of surrealism here, but bear with me. And suppose that King’s parishoner (let’s call him Mr. P) was confronted with the fact that he belonged to a church which was led by a man who advocated integration of the Birmingham transit system! And probably school desegregation! And maybe some elements of socialism! Should Mr. P then be required to either explain away his reasons for remaining in that church or (since church membership is a choice) switch churches?

    If I were running for senator on the Democratic ticket here in Nebraska, would I have to explain why I was a member of the United Methodist Church which (the demonination not my specific church) ten years ago excommunicated a pastor for performing a committment ceremony for a lesbian couple? With my church’s pastor as the prosecuting advocate no less?

    Yesterday, I finished reading a collection of the columns of William Buckley. Should I, if I were running for office as a Democrat, have to explain why I would read such a thing? After all, what one reads is also a choice.

    John and Martin are absolutely right. Down this path lies ruin.

  128. 128
    shieldvulf at playful says:

    It looks like the terrorists (I mean the Repuglicans) have already won this thread.

    Why? Because any subject that shifts the discussion away from what our leaders DO to WHO THEY ARE is a distraction and a ruse. You chumps are busy talking about religion and character, neither of which address the question, “What should our leaders DO?” Not one of you sees into Senator Obama’s heart and mind. Hell, if you think for a moment, you’ll realize you don’t especially see into your OWN. These are not observable, measurable subjects. Nor are they the business of VOTERS.

    It’s this simple: if the worst person will do the best job in your interests, and the best person will work against your interests, who will you vote for? Easy, right? So lay off the mind-reading, and pin these fuckers down to WHAT. THEY. WILL. DO. Let Jesus and Kali sort out the angels.

    Oh, and as our gracious host nearly said, it’s not like any of the available religious leaders is going to be accurate in his/er observations in any consistent manner. Every one of them talks about invisible things far too much to get it right all that often. Their work is guessing with gusto according to their various playbooks. So, yes, what do they have to do with governance?

    Buried under this crap and the Ferraro crap just lately is a line that ought to be the banner headline. It ought to be what you’re talking up. Senator Obama said recently that, “If you are working, you should not be poor.”

    Now THAT is an ambitious goal and a measuring stick for an Obama presidency. It ain’t everything, but at least it’s POLITICAL. Which Jeezits they chew is not at all.

    Cheers!

    Vulf

  129. 129
    4tehlulz says:

    What I learned from this thread:

    1. Black people always agree with their pastors or what some random scary nigger says, and should be judged by what they say.

    2. White people do not always agree with their pastors or with people whose endorsement they suck dick for, and should not be judged by what they say.

    3. Lily White WASP Liberalism isn’t dead.

    4. ?????
    5. Profit!

  130. 130
    orogeny says:

    If your someone you kept company with was a child molestor, does that mean you shouldn’t be allowed to have children? Would you give them back if you found out about it? Who would you give them to? Are we really all judged by the company we keep? Are we not allowed to involve ourselves with interesting and different thinking people because (heaven forbid) it might mean we think exactly like they do? Are you really that judgmental of others?

    If someone I knew had a long-term advisory relationship with someone who they knew was a child molester, damned right I’d want to keep them away from kids.Don;t you think Rudi Giuliani’s relationship with accused child molester Alan Placa was an important issue?

    You keep rationalizing this as though Obama just casually knew Wright and never in any way indicated that he agreed with what he has been preaching. For 20 years, he has attended Wright’s church, he has listed to his sermons, he has supported him financially, he has brought his family to Wright’s church to listen to those sermons. TZ, Asti…you say that there is nothing at all wrong with preaching “God damn America.” You say that “America fucks itself and the world with stupid, grossly inappropriate behavior.” That may be the truth, but how do you think crap like that will play in the general election? When the Repubs start running ads showing Obama with his arm around Wright and then show him bellowing “God damn America” and “America is the No. 1 killer in the world.”? Hell, they managed to turn war hero John Kerry into a lying coward who didn’t deserve his medals and you’re trying to say that this isn’t going to be an important issue in the campaign if Obama is the nominee?

  131. 131
    orogeny says:

    1. Black people always agree with their pastors or what some random scary nigger says, and should be judged by what they say.

    2. White people do not always agree with their pastors or with people whose endorsement they suck dick for, and should not be judged by what they say.

    3. Lily White WASP Liberalism isn’t dead.

    You left out:

    4. Any white person who tries to hold a black politician to the same standard to which he’d hold a white politician is a racist pig.

  132. 132
    4tehlulz says:

    4. Any white person who tries to hold a black politician to the same standard to which he’d hold a white politician is a racist pig.

    My, my. Aren’t we feeling defensive today?

  133. 133
    orogeny says:

    LOL

    Point taken. It’s kind of hard not to get a bit defensive here if you’re not an Obama worshiper.

  134. 134
    Cyrus says:

    I agree with EJ at 8:13, and Asti at 11:49.

    As for Cyrus: What’s with Wright’s “The government gives them the drugs”?

    It has been strongly argued that cocaine from the Nicaraguan contras was sold in the U.S., with the help of the CIA. What Gary Webb wrote was heavily attacked, but whether the doubt cast on it was legitimate or not, it is a simple fact that there were “some Contra-cocaine connections.” Even if some impartial historian 100 years in the future definitively proves that none of those connections led into American cities, are you really surprised that a black man assumes the worst?

    There are several important differences between Obama-Wright and McCain-Hagee, and for that matter Lott-Thurmond and GOP-Falwell-Robertson-Dawson too.
    • The OW relationship is mostly if not entirely personal. The MHLTGOPFRD relationship is mostly if not entirely political.
    • To the extent that there is anything wrong with Wright, there is no way it would ever become government policy. Much of the complaints about the MHLTGOPFRD relationship could impact the government, and indeed already have.
    • Wright is looking at facts with the perspective of a black man old enough to remember segregation — he just might be a bit bitter. MHLTGOPFRD are looking at a completely fictional sense of being persecuted with the perspective of religious doctrine — they are insane.

    And, once again, what is this supposed to say about Obama? Is he a Manchurian candidate — not for muslims, but for the Black Panthers?

  135. 135
    Cyrus says:

    When the Repubs start running ads showing Obama with his arm around Wright and then show him bellowing “God damn America” and “America is the No. 1 killer in the world.”? Hell, they managed to turn war hero John Kerry into a lying coward who didn’t deserve his medals and you’re trying to say that this isn’t going to be an important issue in the campaign if Obama is the nominee?

    Oh, this will almost certainly hurt Obama as a candidate, unfortunately. I’m just saying that it really doesn’t reflect badly on him as a person.

  136. 136
    orogeny says:

    Oh, this will almost certainly hurt Obama as a candidate, unfortunately. I’m just saying that it really doesn’t reflect badly on him as a person.

    At his point, all I care about is the electability of whoever is the nominee…I just want to make sure that John McBush is not the next president. And if Obama is going to beat him, he’s going to have to find a much better way to get past this issue than saying than the man who he has credited with turning his life around is just “an old uncle who says things I don’t always agree with.”

  137. 137
    ThymeZone says:

    TZ, Asti…you say that there is nothing at all wrong with preaching “God damn America.” You say that “America fucks itself and the world with stupid, grossly inappropriate behavior.” That may be the truth, but how do you think crap like that will play in the general election?

    Let me know when Obama’s preacher runs for office.

    Meanwhile, let’s examine the utterings of everyone Clinton and McPain talk to and make sure that everything is on an equal footing. Fuck, the Hagee endorsement alone cancels this nonsense out. The Catholics co-sponsored the Holocaust? Let’s make the campaign a contest of Dueling Crazyfuck Ministers, and throw in a little massive recession and undesired war, and see what happens, and quit acting like a bunch of chattering old women, shall we?

  138. 138
    orogeny says:

    let’s examine the utterings of everyone Clinton and McPain talk to

    Gee, ThymeZone, seems like you’re “wasting your time constructing an elaborate strawman.”

  139. 139
    eye says:

    *cough cough* european voice here ..

    what I’m still unclear on: yes, some of you are arguing whether Mr Obama distanced himself enough from this pastor or not. But. why should he? Isn’t what that pastor is saying _true_? and sane?

    Since we’ve just had an important 70-year-memorial over here in my home-country, I just wanted to point out that to me, personally, there can be no positive thoughts about any kind of patriotism after 1933-45. None whatsoever. Claiming superiority with country-of-origin as a basis is wrong, evil and leads to bad things.

  140. 140
    mike says:

    Er…As an African-American in my 40’s, all I can say is you Whites really just don’t get it. Do you have any idea what Wright has seen and experienced in his life? Had you been in his shoes (or any AA’s shoes) in the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s (even the 80’s in many places) you’d understand his sentiment. Why or how can you expect an AA to be patriotic about this country after all we’ve been thru and are still suffering? You would speak out and condemn those who would bring you and your kind suffering and pain; why is it so crazy that an African American should?You cannot know, unless you’ve experienced it for yourself, the dehumanization and humiliation of being Black in this White society. No White person (that isn’t Gay) that I’ve ever met in this country could ever have any idea.
    Nuff said on that from me…
    You know, I wish we could really just drop this whole race thing – esp. between these two very good Dem rivals. It’s idiotic, embarrasing and remarkably immature. Worse, we’re going to blow the chance to get a Dem in the WH and hand over the reins of this country to a complete idiot that promises to continue the same unsuccessful and destructive policies pursued by the dickhead whose in the Oval Office now.
    Let’s stop this B.S. now!!! I don’t give a damn about who started what; it is time to end it NOW!!!

  141. 141

    Martin Says:

    It won’t really hurt him. Most of the people that freak out about it were never in Obama’s camp to begin with and a decent number that freak out at first will listen to reason.

    This is precisely the idea I am trying to counter. Voters don’t rely on reason when making political decisions. Emotions are 95% of it. The biggest mistake Democrats have made in the last few years is to assume that they can reason their way out of arguments like this.

    It. Doesn’t. Work.

    You have to make an emotional argument to counter it. If you think that appealing to people’s reason will work than you will fail.

    And it’s not just the people who wouldn’t vote for Obama in the first place that matter here. Of coure the 30% who are in that category won’t listen to any kind of counter-argument. But the 30% in the middle who might be swayed by this story will listen to this argument. But, for the most part, only if it is an emotional argument.

    The human brain works primarily based on emotions. Millions of years of evolution made it that way. Reason is an extremely new invention created by man to try and wish away the idea that we are emotional beings. It has its place, but don’t ever come to rely on it when it comes to politics because, again, you will lose.

  142. 142
    Martin says:

    That may be the truth, but how do you think crap like that will play in the general election?

    Victory!

    Here’s the anatomy of a smear:

    1) Send Ferraro out to some backwater paper to suggest that Obama’s blackness makes him unqualified.
    2) Send Ferraro out to a more prominent outlet to repeat the same message on the eve before an election that will be split on race lines because every fucking thing in MS is still split along race lines.
    3) Controversy generated, get the media to start attacking Ferraro but have Ferraro dig in, because who would dig in on a gaffe, they’d only dig in if they were right (it takes a particular kind of person to stuff their morality far enough away to do this right)
    4) The media second guess those remarks and have PROOF now out of Mississippi that she’s actually kinda telling the truth (if we ignore a whole bunch of other facts) so the ‘unqualified black man’ meme is out there.
    5) Ferraro resigns to protect Clinton saying that Obama called her a racist and is smearing her because she is white
    6) Media starts to innocently push the ‘scary black man’ meme.
    7) Video clips from 2 months ago and 5 years ago, that everyone has had for ages suddenly appear on mainstream media outlets. Not only does Ferraro assert that Obama is a scary black man, he’s actually hung out with another scary black man! PROOF
    8) Clinton apologizes if anyone was offended by the 20 year setback in race relations she just kicked off. That wasn’t her intention at all. Really.
    9) Obama’s negatives now through the roof because BLACK! people vote for him and because his BLACK! pastor once said ANGRY! words, Clinton can twirl her hair and shuffle her feet and ask if you wouldn’t kindly shift your delegates to her since she won’t instigate a race war in November.

  143. 143
    Martin says:

    This is precisely the idea I am trying to counter.

    No, I understand, but Obama is presenting an emotional message anyway – a positive one. He doesn’t need to build much more there. But he needs a scaffolding of facts and reason around it for the rational people to grab onto. They’ll rationalize away the Wright thing if Obama can reach them emotionally and the other bits are nearby.

    But thats what makes this so insidious from Clinton. It’s designed to absolutely poison the Democratic party and the election by playing to people’s basest fears. This is ‘do you want to see your daughter in a burka?’ politicking within our own party.

  144. 144
    orogeny says:

    You’re right, Martin. It’s all a plot by America’s rich white overlords to keep the black man in his place. I wouldn’t even be posting here if my kleagle hadn’t ordered me to do so.

  145. 145
    Martin says:

    Since we’ve just had an important 70-year-memorial over here in my home-country, I just wanted to point out that to me, personally, there can be no positive thoughts about any kind of patriotism after 1933-45. None whatsoever. Claiming superiority with country-of-origin as a basis is wrong, evil and leads to bad things.

    Americans believe they are innocent – especially white Americans. Invading Iraq was the right thing to do even if it cost the lives of hundreds of thousands of people. People rationalized that away as a ‘better them than us’ when they thought WMDs were there and when the justification shifted to ‘liberate them from a dictator’ they never realigned their thinking to ask if it makes any sense at all to see hundreds of thousands of people killed as an acceptable cost of liberation. So, rather than say ‘ooh, we fucked up’ we put our lapel pin back on, our yellow ribbon magnet on our car, and give $20 to the United Way so that they can use that money to sew some poor kids arm back on. See, we’re not so bad. We gave $20 and we support our troops. No guilt on me.

    And we’ve always done this. Not 20 years after the civil rights act America put enormous pressure on South Africa to end Apartheid as some kind of moral crusade. We couldn’t bother to fix the problem ourselves for 90% of our history, and much of the underlying poison was still there (Reagan in Philadelphia, MS as proof) but we could make it all right by fixing South Africa. No effort to really look at what we were and had done by our own hand because that is hard and painful, so we’ll just wave our economic wand and fix things elsewhere and call it even.

  146. 146
    ThymeZone says:

    seems like you’re “wasting your time constructing an elaborate strawman.”

    Well then, since that’s the only type of exchange you seem to understand, we must be getting closer to a consensus.

  147. 147
    4tehlulz says:

    You’re right, Martin. It’s all a plot by America’s rich white overlords to keep the black man in his place. I wouldn’t even be posting here if my kleagle hadn’t ordered me to do so.

    And with this post, orogeny concedes defeat.

  148. 148
    ThymeZone says:

    Er…As an African-American in my 40’s, all I can say is you Whites really just don’t get it. Do you have any idea what Wright has seen and experienced in his life?

    Well, as elder white guy here, I’ll take a shot. Yes, I think I do. For anonymity reasons I can’t tell you much of the “I was born in a log cabin” life story to back it up, but I think as white people go I have a pretty good idea.

    I agree that Wright is right, there is plenty of reason for outrage … any American who can’t get upset over his country’s behavior in one context or another just isn’t paying attention.

    But to me, the central question here is whether we are going to let this political contest focus on Wright and his issues. Saying, as I am, that we should not do so, does not dismiss Wright’s points or his value.

    Let me be clear: Barack Obama is my candidate, I am now $1200 that I can’t afford into his campaign and I want him to win as much as any voter in this country. But I know for a fact, if this campaign turns into a referendum on the black experience, he can’t win. That’s not because the black experience isn’t relevant, or profoundly important, it’s because it isn’t what THIS year and THIS election are about. It isn’t about DOMA either, or a hundred other things. It’s about Iraq, and the economy, and what kind of politics we want in this country.

    We have to keep our eye on the ball. After we win, we can all have a beer and talk about DOMA and how we continue to move past the long and terrible era of American racism. One we can do the latter is to elect Obama, and we won’t do that by letting Wright speak for him.

  149. 149
    Martin says:

    You’re right, Martin. It’s all a plot by America’s rich white overlords to keep the black man in his place. I wouldn’t even be posting here if my kleagle hadn’t ordered me to do so.

    That’s you projecting. It’s been you projecting all through this thread. There are angry white men preaching all over this country but nobody casts aspersions on their parishioners for them. We have them angry and preaching on TV, even, so it’s not even a secret we don’t know about.

    Pat Robertson blames America for Katrina – ON TV! He and Falwell blame America for 9/11. ON TV!

    Then Falwell said, “What we saw on Tuesday, as terrible as it is, could be miniscule if, in fact, God continues to lift the curtain and allow the enemies of America to give us probably what we deserve.”

    Robertson replied, “Well, Jerry, that’s my feeling. I think we’ve just seen the antechamber to terror, we haven’t begun to see what they can do to the major population.”
    Falwell said, “The ACLU has got to take a lot of blame for this. And I know I’ll hear from them for this, but throwing God…successfully with the help of the federal court system…throwing God out of the public square, out of the schools, the abortionists have got to bear some burden for this because God will not be mocked and when we destroy 40 million little innocent babies, we make God mad…I really believe that the pagans and the abortionists and the feminists and the gays and the lesbians who are actively trying to make that an alternative lifestyle, the ACLU, People for the American Way, all of them who try to secularize America…I point the thing in their face and say you helped this happen.”

    Robertson said, “I totally concur, and the problem is we’ve adopted that agenda at the highest levels of our government, and so we’re responsible as a free society for what the top people do, and the top people, of course, is the court system.”

    Is that ANY different from Wright blaming America’s foreign policy for 9/11? Other than the fact that Wright is providing an actual reality, causal relationship where Pat and Jerry are providing a supernatural, moral relationship? The 700 club is broadcast nationally and is almost certainly watched by many politicians. Many politicians have claimed either Falwell or Robertson as spiritual advisors. Did we question a whole raft of our politicians over that association? Did we ask them to denounce or reject them? No, of course not. They’re all white, it’d be stupid to assume that a white pastor hates America. It’d be stupid to assume a white politician would blame America. It’d be stupid therefore to assume that a white politician isn’t smart enough to draw their own conclusions from a sermon they hear.

    BUT! Here we have a black pastor saying almost the same exact thing and people are outraged! Why? Because apparently it’s not stupid to assume that a black pastor hates America. It’s apparently not stupid to assume that a black politician would blame America. And apparently is isn’t stupid to assume that a black politician isn’t smart enough to draw their own conclusions from a sermon they hear.

    The double standard here is unbearably obvious, yet people keep pushing against it. And if you think my example above is an outlier, it isn’t. White evangelicals have been saying *exactly* what Wright has been saying (maybe not as poetically or viscerally) for years with white politicians in the pews. Nary a peep from anyone.

  150. 150
    orogeny says:

    nobody casts aspersions on their parishioners for them

    There are plenty of people casting aspersions on their parishioners. One of the reasons, not the top one, but a factor, in why I’ve hated George Bush since he came on the national scene is the cadre of fundamentalist, millennialist wackos he associates with. Jerry Falwell was a bigoted nutcase and I would never vote for someone with deep ties to his organization. One of the many reasons I wouldn’t vote for Huckabee ia his fundamentalist, evolution-is-a-crock ignorance. Every Catholic, gay person, and woman in the country should refuse to vote for McCain unless he clearly and unequivocally denounces the garbage put out by Hagee. Show me a candidate who regularly attends Fred Phelps’ church and you’ve shown me a candidate I would not vote for.

    I’m not saying that people should not vote for Obama. If he’s the nominee, I’ll be voting for him. I am saying that if he doesn’t do something pretty quickly to distance himself from Wright and his statements, it’s going to make a win in the general election a lot tougher.

  151. 151
    orogeny says:

    Don’t you see that you’re the one applying a double standard? You keep pointing out terrible things that right-wing white preachers said as if that somehow makes it all OK. When Falwell and Robertson made those ridiculous statements, the left (myself included) raised hell about it. McCain’s association with Hagee and Hagee’s bigoted words have been all over the left blogosphere. But now it’s unfair to say anything about Obama’s association with Wright and to point out the things that Wright has said and written?

  152. 152
    ThymeZone says:

    I am saying that if he doesn’t do something pretty quickly to distance himself from Wright and his statements, it’s going to make a win in the general election a lot tougher.

    Yeah, I’d be more convinced of your sincerity if you were doing more to establish that distance and less to wring your hands over the lack of distance.

    The fact is, we don’t elect people based on what their ministers say on Sunday. If we do, then John McPain is going to have a hard time getting the Catholic vote after taking the endorsement of a guy who calls the Catholic church a “whore.”

    Stand up for the independence of the candidate, don’t add to the bullshit by acting like you’re afraid of this issue.

    But hey, that’s just me. I’m crazy enough to think that Iraq, Hagee, Keating, lobbyists, and a recession are enough to sink McCain in November. I really don’t think that Wright can overcome that mountain of shit that McCain has to carry around with him. Wright is good, be he ain’t that good.

  153. 153
    ThymeZone says:

    No I am not a leprechaun, I just type me fingers too fast.

  154. 154
    Martin says:

    You are jumbling up a bunch of different types of associations to try and prove your case:

    There are plenty of people casting aspersions on their parishioners. One of the reasons, not the top one, but a factor, in why I’ve hated George Bush since he came on the national scene is the cadre of fundamentalist, millennialist wackos he associates with.

    Yet you know nothing about his pastor. It’s not the fact that he listens to sermons on fundamentalist, millennialist shit, it’s that he and the people he has picked to work with actually are working to turn that into policy. That’s totally different.

    Jerry Falwell was a bigoted nutcase and I would never vote for someone with deep ties to his organization.

    But deep ties aren’t going to his church. Deep ties infers something else – something actionable.

    One of the many reasons I wouldn’t vote for Huckabee ia his fundamentalist, evolution-is-a-crock ignorance.

    Because he personally has presented and campaigned on that as how he would govern. Again, totally different. Carter, being a baptist, probably has heard no small number of evolution-is-a-crock sermons but has consistently spoken out in defense of teaching it in schools. We don’t really know what he believes on this, but we judge him on his actions, not what he has heard.

    Every Catholic, gay person, and woman in the country should refuse to vote for McCain unless he clearly and unequivocally denounces the garbage put out by Hagee.

    And McCain sought out Hagee for a political endorsement. By doing that, McCain promoted Hagee’s views from being religious to being political. Fair game I say for being stupid enough to go down that path. But Wright isn’t part of Obama’s team and Obama has sought no political connection to him or to any other religious leader.

    Show me a candidate who regularly attends Fred Phelps’ church and you’ve shown me a candidate I would not vote for.

    But you don’t know who attends Phelp’s church or what is said in that church. And what Fred says in that church and who he says it to really isn’t the issue, is it? The issue is what Fred’s followers do when they leave the church and picket funerals. I assure you that I could go to Freds church and listen to his sermon and it wouldn’t change my behavior one bit. It’s not what a person hears and reads that is what you worry about, it’s how they act. Show me *anything*, any speech, any policy, any writing from Obama that suggests that he is an angry black man, that he hates America, that he thinks he’s been fucked over by the white man. Show me evidence from Obama.

    And he has distanced himself from Wright. The narrative is already starting to change to his new pastor, which is a nice way to deal with it. And nobody said that winning the general would be easy, but if we yield to this kind of crap, it’ll continue forever. At some point you need to dig in and say that you won’t allow racial concerns to influence your judgement of a candidate. Half of this strategy from Clinton is to force voters (delegates and superdelegates, mainly) who are totally okay with Obama’s race to vote against him out of racial and electoral prudence. But that’s really no different than simply voting against him because he’s black, isn’t it? Clinton is just giving you an excuse by which to do it. In the end, there is no difference between “I won’t vote for him because he’s black” and “I won’t vote for him because others won’t vote for him because he’s black.” One is just easier to rationalize.

  155. 155
    4tehlulz says:

    McCain’s association with Hagee and Hagee’s bigoted words have been all over the left blogosphere.

    The media, and most people outside the blogosphere (which is most voters), don’t give a shit about Hagee. That is an undeniable fact — McCain SEEKS his endorsement, Bill Donahue raises a stink, McCain sez: “I don’t agree with him, lol”, and the controversy dies.

    Funny how the media got interested in the black preacher, though — we’ll have to wait and see if this maintains traction or not.

  156. 156
    orogeny says:

    I’d love to think that “Iraq, Hagee, Keating, lobbyists, and a recession are enough to sink McCain in November,” but I was dumb enough to think the Iraq, Rove, economic stagnation and a skyrocketing deficit would be enough to sink Bush in 2004. Obama will win the left in the general election, but he’s got to win the middle as well and this kind of thing is just what will drive a big chunk of those voters to the other side. I think that what’s playing in the media right now is just a tiny preview of what the wingers have planned for the fall. McCain has managed, with the help of the media, to convince a big part of the electorate that he’s a “maverick”, not the war-loving, right-wing ideologue that he is, so it won’t be hard for folks in the middle to rationalize voting for him.

    Holding our hands over our ears and chanting “la la la la”, isn’t going to do a damn bit of good. Only one person can change the dynamic and that’s Barack Obama. If he comes out strongly and says that he disagrees with Wright and is severing his ties with him, it might help. The downside to that is that it will look to some people as if he’s dumping an old friend for political gain. Seems like someone in his campaign team should have seen this for the potential problem it was a long time ago and addressed it preemptively.

  157. 157
    orogeny says:

    I assure you that I could go to Freds church and listen to his sermon and it wouldn’t change my behavior one bit

    For 20 years, after donating thousands of dollars to support it? That’s a bit unbelievable.

  158. 158
    Martin says:

    Holding our hands over our ears and chanting “la la la la”, isn’t going to do a damn bit of good. Only one person can change the dynamic and that’s Barack Obama.

    So much for the lesson of the civil rights movement. Yeah, Dr. King just needed to work harder to put down the vicious attacks against him. The rest of the black community should have capitulated.

    For 20 years, after donating thousands of dollars to support it? That’s a bit unbelievable.

    We’ve seen video of, I think, 3 sermons over a span of 7 years. My guess is he’s given over 350 more during that time, and probably 1000 over the 20 years. What did the other sermons say? Or are you assuming the angry black man is always an angry black man because all black men are angry black men? I think you are.

  159. 159
    ThymeZone says:

    this kind of thing is just what will drive a big chunk of those voters to the other side.

    To the other side, where the candidate has been endoresed by an insane preacher who thinks the Catholic church is a “whore” and conspired with Hitler to get rid of the Jews?

    Why don’t we stop worrying about what the crazy people will think and keep our eye on the ball and get this guy nominated and elected?

    Adolf Hitler attended a Catholic school as a child and heard all the fiery anti-Semitic rantings from Chrysostom to Martin Luther. When Hitler became a global demonic monster, the Catholic Church and Pope Pius XII never, ever slightly criticized him. Pope Pius XII, called by historians ‘Hitler’s Pope,’ joined Hitler in the infamous Concordat of Collaboration, which turned the youth of the [sic] Germany over to Nazism, and the churches became the stage background for the bloodthirsty cry, ‘Pereat Judea'[15]…. In all of his [Hitler’s] years of absolute brutality, he was never denounced or even scolded by Pope Pius XII or any Catholic leader in the world. To those Christians who believe that Jewish hearts will be warmed by the sight of the cross, please be informed—to them it’s an electric chair. (pp. 79-81)

    The Roman Catholic Church, which was supposed to carry the light of the gospel, plunged the world into the Dark Ages…. The Crusaders were a motley mob of thieves, rapists, robbers, and murderers whose sins had been forgiven by the pope in advance of the Crusade…. The brutal truth is that the Crusades were military campaigns of the Roman Catholic Church to gain control of Jerusalem from the Muslims and to punish the Jews as the alleged Christ killers on the road to and from Jerusalem. (Hagee, p. 73)

    Does the right really want a battle of the crazies?

    Bring it on, their crazies can’t be beaten. They are the craziest fucks of all.

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