Now, I have to admit, I was not prepared for the argument. Down below, on a recent McCain post, I had a good dialogue going with my pal Marc. Even brother Jerry pitched in and we all found common ground to talk and where we disagree, we agreed to do so. Marc runs left of center, Jerry and I both right of center. It was a good, sound discussion of events and situations.
But then there was this morning at school. I have good friends that I have coffee with in the morning for a little bit before class starts and someone, though I forget whom, brought up the Obama situation with his pastor and how he had to disown him. Now, these guys are definitely left of center, though most won’t admit it. They don’t like labels they say. But I was surprised at how they felt that Obama was being unfairly smirched with Pastor Wright’s comments.
They said they thought it not fair that Obama get painted with Wright’s brush. They said it was too much like guilt by association. They said that whole they don’t agree with Wright’s comments (some of which they’d read only this morning), they didn’t think that meant that Obama could be judged by them.
I said I didn’t understand. I said we’re talking here about a close personal relationship. Obama has said on numerous occasions that he was very close to Pastor Wright, that at various times it was Wright who led him to faith in Jesus, Wright who married him and his wife, Wright who baptized his children, Wright who served as his spiritual mentor. Then, he took several weeks to offer tepid defenses and denunciations of Wright. He didn’t agree with much of what he said, but then much of what he said was “taken out of context.” So, the blogosphere went to work and provided the context. If anything, Wright’s comments amplified a more mean spirited, racist and angry view of the world. Then, on Bill Moyer’s, Wright played the victim saying he was mis-understood, taken out of context, knew that Obama had to say what politicians say, etc.
Then came yesterday. Wright went off the deep end. He accused the US govt. of being as bad as Al-qaeda, he accused whites of being permanently racist and he said that in fact, whites and blacks were different and he even said that blacks have more rhythm than whites. Imagine John McCain saying that. Imagine President Bush saying that. Imagine….Look at recent history to see what happens when whites make racist comments: Don Imus, Rush Limbaugh, Jimmy the Greek–the list goes on.
Now, I’m in full agreement that Barack Obama may not agree with his wacky, nutty, racist, xenophobic, far-out Pastor. I’ll even go so far as to say that maybe you cannot paint Obama with the same brush. But then, Obama did say that Wright was his spiritual mentor, didn’t he? And Obama did say he was a member of Wright’s church for 20 years, didn’t he? And many of the sermons we now have of Wright are from the 1990’s, aren’t they? And Obama has said that while there were some things he disagreed with, Pastor Wright was taken out of context, didn’t he?
Here’s the thing. I’m a church goer. And I’m very close with my pastor–he’s a good, close, personal friend of mine. And I know that we don’t see eye to eye on many subjects, politics among them. But my pastor has never said anything so inflammatory that I’ve been moved to leave the church. He has indeed made me uncomfortable, mostly in his targeted and right-on preaching of the Gospel, making me uncomfortable with the fact that I am, often times, not in line with the Word of God as I read and believe it. This, I believe, makes him a good, strong messenger for God. He’s a man of integrity and faith with a devout and deep faith. For all I know, he could be listening to Pastor Wright and sympathizing with him. But if so, he has not said it out loud to me or to anyone I know. And generally, he’s too busy preaching about Salvation by Grace, teaching how we are to love one another and be resources for good and messengers of God’s grace in the world to talk much about how the US is a terrorist state.
So, that’s what surprised me this morning. As I said, I’ll even go so far as to say you cannot paint Obama with the same brush: But, you can go as far as to say that a 20 year Pastoral relationship is a lot deeper than most people are willing to admit. And, I think you can go as far as saying that if Obama is just now denouncing Pastor Wright, it shows a serious lack of good judgment on his part. How’s he going to deal with bigger issues than his Pastor’s sermons?
Meanwhile, Mrs. Clinton is basking in the glow of…well, not glowing. She hasn’t been given the camera or the microphone as my friend Marc rightly points out, the press dogs this particular issue to death. And my man John McCain is still waiting for the other shoe to drop so he can finally have one opponent to face. McCain is savvy, he knows how to wait it out–and he knows how to handle the Democrats by not handling them. It’s rather like having an aquarium in front of you holding two rattlesnakes. You’re at a slight distance and you know that the snakes can get out at some point. Realistically, one will get out eventually. What you don’t want to do is knock the thing over and expedite the process. That’s McCain.