Here’s Obama latest response regarding his spiritual leader and that leader’s odious views:
Q: I don’t know if you’ve seen it, but it’s all over the wire today (from an ABC News story), a statement that your pastor (the Rev. Jeremiah Wright of Trinity United Church of Christ on Chicago’s South Side) made in a sermon in 2003 that instead of singing “God Bless America,” black people should sing a song essentially saying “God Damn America.”
A: I haven’t seen the line. This is a pastor who is on the brink of retirement who in the past has made some controversial statements. I profoundly disagree with some of these statements.
Q: What about this particular statement?
A: Obviously, I disagree with that. Here is what happens when you just cherry-pick statements from a guy who had a 40-year career as a pastor. There are times when people say things that are just wrong. But I think it’s important to judge me on what I’ve said in the past and what I believe.
Several points come to mind. First, the “things [Obama] believes” (and should be “judged” on) include the following: Pastor Wright should be his spiritual leader; Pastor Wright’s church should receive a substantial amount of money from Obama; Obama’s children should, at an impressionable age, be exposed to Pastor Wright’s sermons, as opposed to less hateful religion instruction they could receive elsewhere.
Second, Obama is still defending Wright, and very lamely (Wright’s “on the brink of retirement;” he’s made “some controversial statements” in the past; his statements are being “cherry picked”). Wright wasn’t near retirement in 2001 when he blamed 9/11 on the U.S; nor was he near retirement in 2003 when he said God should “damn America.” And the statements at issue aren’t merely “controversial” or “just wrong”; they are deplorable.
Worst of all is Obama’s suggestion that Wright is the victim of “cherry picking.” Wright’s statment span a full range of issues including (just to mention some that have come to light so far) America’s treatment of its citizens (some are treated as less than human); America’s overall approach to the world (horrible enough to deserve 9/11); Israel and Palestine (Israel commits war crimes with U.S. assistance); World War II (it was criminal for the U.S. to bring the war with Japan to a successful conclusion the way it did); and HIV (he suspects the U.S. government of helping to spread the virus). As ABC News said, its “review of dozens of Rev. Wright’s sermons, offered for sale by the church, found repeated denunciations of the U.S.” And let’s not forget Wright’s decision to honor Louis Farrakhan.
So there’s no cherry-picking occurring here. Furthermore, the cherry-picking defense, even when plausible, has never been accepted when it comes to racism. Don Imus, for example, has received widespread condemnation for very occasional statements that showed racial insensitivity. Trent Lott was condemned for one statement praising Strom Thurmond’s 1948 presidential campaign.
Obama appears to be playing a double game here, distancing himself from Wright without really denouncing him. It’s essentially the same game Obama (we now see) has been playing for years — cater to racist black nationalists at home while presenting himself as “post-racial” nationally.