Croker Sack

"Democracy is the theory that the common people know what they want, and deserve to get it good and hard." — Henry Louis Mencken (1880-1956)

Monday, March 17, 2008

Head of United Church of Christ Defends Jeremiah Wright

The defense of Rev. Jeremiah Wright by Rev. John H. Thomas, General Minister and President of the United Church of Christ, is amazing.

What's really going on here? First, it may state the obvious to point out that these television and radio shows have very little interest in Trinity Church or Jeremiah Wright. Those who sifted through hours of sermons searching for a few lurid phrases and those who have aired them repeatedly have only one intention. It is to wound a presidential candidate. In the process a congregation that does exceptional ministry and a pastor who has given his life to shape those ministries is caricatured and demonized. You don't have to be an Obama supporter to be alarmed at this. Will Clinton's United Methodist Church be next? Or McCain's Episcopal Church? Wouldn't we have been just as alarmed had it been Huckabee's Southern Baptist Church, or Romney's Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints?

If the churches attended for a significant length of time by the others harbor a hateful man like Wright, then let's hear about it.

Thomas apparently would rather change the subject with this weak attempt to pretend that someone like Wright might be found preaching at Clinton's or McCain's preferred church.

It gets worse:

Many of us would prefer to avoid the stark and startling language Pastor Wright used in these clips. But what was his real crime? He is condemned for using a mild "obscenity" in reference to the United States.

If that's not amazing, I don't know what is. Shouting "God damn America" is not "a mild 'obscenity.'" Is this really how low Thomas has to stoop to defend Wright?

What motivates Thomas? Apparently, it is his intensely partisan political bias. Note this, which immediately follows the "mild obscenity" defense:

This week we mark the fifth anniversary of the war in Iraq, a war conceived in deception and prosecuted in foolish arrogance.

Now, it could be that Thomas suffers from paranoid delusions, and really believes that President Bush deceived us; but I don't think so.

Ironically, Thomas accuses others of partisan motives in an earlier attempt to divert our attention:

"These attacks, many of them motivated by their own partisan agenda, cannot go unchallenged," Thomas emphasizes. "It's time for all of us to say 'No' to these attacks and to declare that we will not allow anyone to undermine or destroy the ministries of any of our congregations in order to serve their own narrow political or ideological ends."

Obama is scheduled to make a speech tomorrow in which he will try to persuade people not to think ill of him for attending that church for two decades and attempting to keep his hateful preacher out of public view during his campaign. ("You get a little rough in the sermons," said Obama.)

Can Obama do better in defending himself than the weak defense offered for Wright by the head of the United Church of Christ?

If he cannot, he had better not be the Democrats' nominee.

No man who believes even half what Obama has said about unity and change in this campaign would stay in that church, but Obama stayed for two decades.

No one in the congregation shows any surprise or displeasure at Wright's hateful ranting in those videos, yet Obama wants us to think he is surprised and never heard such things personally in twenty years of attending that church.

Obama's defense so far is really hard to believe. If the video excerpts aired to date are a "caricature" of Wright, then why did the congregation react as though they expected it, liked it, and wanted to hear more? They knew Wright, and so did Obama.


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