Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Barack Obama’s Judgment

A few days ago, after the numerous videos of Reverend Jeremiah Wright speaking from the pulpit hit the media, Obama said he had never heard the controversial comments of Wright while sitting in the pews. It was fairly easy to spot the lawyer-speak in his initial comments. I would guess he was still trying to figure out the best way to handle the situation and possibly hoping it would blow over.

The pundits are busy attacking, dissecting, parsing and responding to his comments. I’ll leave the tough stuff to all the news commentators and radio talk show hosts.

For me the crux of the matter is Obama’s judgment.

I wondered how he could have been in a church for 20 years and not understood the tone. Generally it takes me one visit, maybe two, to figure out the flavor of a church. I’m going to talk to members, read the literature if they have any, maybe check out the website if I see the need to know more. Obama’s church has cleansed their website of anything controversial during the past few days. I managed to get over there before they wiped it clean. The info was clear as to the message that was going to be preached from the pulpit.

How did Obama expect us to believe he was totally in the dark, as he led us to believe initially, regarding the focus of the church, the message being preached and the mission of the church? If he’s unable to figure out what his own church is doing, how’s he going to figure out what the country is doing? If he lied when he said he didn’t know about it, how can I trust him? If he was a member strictly because it was the politically expedient thing to do, how can I respect him?

What does it say about the man if he can sit Sunday after Sunday in a church, sit and talk for hours on end with the minister, make friends with the people in the church, probably eat with the minister and other church members and not have a clue how his preacher feels?

Today he did an about face with his speech. Today he said he was aware but he basically chose to overlook that side of his preacher. He likened his relationship with Wright to that of the one with his bigoted grandmother. It hurts but ya gotta love ‘em and stick with ‘em. Except, you don’t get to choose who your grandparents are, they come with Mama and Daddy. You choose your church. You can leave your church. These days there’s a choice on every street corner and practically every other house in-between.

Reverend Wright built the church. He WAS the church. The divisive talk portrayed on the videos wasn’t an aberration. He didn’t just look out on the congregation, check to see if Barack was in the pews and then spew. There are too many of these videos floating around from many, many sermons to have any right minded person believing Obama missed how his minister felt about Jews, September 11th, rich whites, rich blacks, Bill Clinton, Louis Farrakhan, and the list goes on.

Even if somehow he managed to miss every single sermon where Reverend Wright spoke about those things Obama now says he condemns, how does he get around the enthusiasm church members showed when Wright spoke? I’ve been in many, many churches, black, white, Pentecostal, Catholic, and everything in between. I have never been in one where a minister could have gotten away with damning America. I can guarantee that no matter how enthusiastic the congregation, if any minister said that the noise and clapping would have stopped. There would have been dead silence, or even possibly a shocked gasp.

No folks, that is not the kind of message a Christian expects to hear when they walk into their church to hear the word of God.

Barack Obama made a judgment call when he chose that church for his family. He made a judgment call every Sunday that he sat in those pews.

What does it say about Barack’s judgment that he would raise his children in this church? They probably went to Sunday School. They probably spent time with Wright. They heard the messages being preached. They soaked in the tenor of the minister’s beliefs and those of the congregation.

Obama might not agree with the overall mission and message of the church, yet he still chose to raise those little impressionable girls in that environment. What have they learned? What about all the other children who have been indoctrinated by Wright’s hate-speech?

If Barack Obama disagreed as vehemently as he’s leading us to believe, wouldn’t he have spoken out BEFORE it became a political hot potato? Wouldn’t he have kept his children away from that divisive message?

Wouldn’t he have spoken out if he were a man of integrity?

My grandmother was a product of the South. She grew up believing that someday there would be an all-out war between blacks and whites. She wanted to pull me out of school when she saw me holding hands with a black schoolmate during a game. She changed over the years. Her children and grandchildren preached at her, scolded her and worked at showing her how wrong she was in a loving way. While she never entirely let go of some remnants of her early beliefs, she opened her arms wide when my sister brought home two beautiful black children for adoption.

Obama compared Wright to a ‘crazy uncle in the attic’ on Friday when he first spoke to Fox News about the story. He chose to go to a church and listen to someone he thought should be locked in the attic? Huh? You don’t lock someone you love in the attic. But I stretch the point and digress.

I listened to Obama’s speech today. Flowery, moving, sounded great. Sorry, it didn’t change the facts nor did it explain away 20 years of church attendance. Best case? He joined one of the largest black churches in Chicago for political reasons and tolerated the talk.

Last thoughts. Barack may not have been listening, but his wife must have been taking in the message. If Mama hasn’t been proud of her country until recently, what has she been teaching her children about this great country?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Your comments and opinion of Mr. Obama are ignorant. Nothing in his life suggests he condones what Rev. Wright believes in. In fact he did not attend his church regularly Have you taken time to look at Obama's accomplishments? It doesn't sound so. Also, what about the remarks made by Billy Grahm about Jews?No one,including Nixon and later Reagan seemed to take offense.Move on and evolve.There are much bigger issues on the table and accept the fact that for the first time in US history the person most qualified for the position just happens not to be caucasion.