Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Obama's pastor

The issue of Barack Obama's pastor has been in the news in recent days, due to some video clips of Rev.Jeremiah Wright making some inflammatory remarks during some of his sermons. I'm sure you've seen clips of Rev. Wright's sermons, but if you haven't, go to YouTube and check it out. Probably you'll find it with the search parameters of "Obama" and "Jeremiah" and "sermon". They weren't pleasant, and they were such that you wonder how Obama could sit and listen to these sermons for 20 years.

To help with damage control, Obama made a speech about the issue, and about the racial divide in general. Here's a link to a transcript of what he said. It came out to 8 pages when I printed it out. If you read it, you see that Obama is indeed an eloquent speaker and writer. But eloquence alone isn't going to cut it. Here's why:

Obama is really, really good about hitting all the right notes at the right time, and he tries to cover everybody. He tries, but he's missing someone, and it's someone significant enough that it's enough to keep me from voting for him.

Had Obama been on the prolife side of the abortion debate, I could very much believe that he means what he said in that speech. But not only is he prochoice, he is probably THE most prochoice of all the candidates that are or were running in both parties. What that means is that he's leaving out the unborn in that eloquent speech of his. All the wonder and the glory that he hopes for all of us stops short of helping the unborn, the most helpless and defenseless of us all. If he can't find room in that big ol' tent of his for the unborn, then it undermines the credibility of his claim to want to help everyone.

But then there's more.

There is also the matter that he's a politician. It is the nature of politicians to try to say things that appeal to the broadest amount of people as possible. But not only is he a politician, he's also a politician running for office. That tweaks the need for him to watch what he says and how he says it.

But there's more still.

Not only is he a politician running for office, he's running for the office of President of the United States, the grandest stage of all. That increases the need for him to watch what he says several times over. He HAS to say the right thing at the right time, whether or not he believes what he says. And there's reason to doubt that what he said in his speech was just words. I already mentioned that he's a politician.

However, consider that he was part of Rev. Wright's congregation for 20 years. A pastor's influence on one's life is not like a local barber or butcher - this person serves a highly critical role that is surpassed only by one's spouse and children. Obama couldn't have sat in the pews for that long and not be affected by what Wright has said - either in a positive way or a negative way. I have no doubt that Wright has good Christian qualities, but some of the sermons he gave shows that he also has a dark side. And the question then becomes: Did that dark side reach out to Obama?

Consider this: Obama won't wear an American flag pin on his lapel, this despite his eloquent speech about being proud to be an American. Why not? My guess that it could be partly because of what Wright had said about this country and the many sins that it has committed. I also love my country, and I also know that it has committed many sins in the past. I also believe that it commits sins today with legalized abortion. But I love my country just the same - enough to wear an American flag pin on my lapel.

That Obama refuses to wear one, even though he is a politician running for the highest office in the land. Remember, it's crucially important that politicians try to do and say things that will reach out to the most people possible. Wearing an American flag lapel pin would be one of those things. You reach more people that way, and it costs very little reputation-wise to pin on one. And yet, he won't do it - despite how important it would be. It costs him more to his reputation to be known for refusing to wear one than actually wearing one would cost. Logically, it just doesn't make sense.

That's enough of a cumulative effect that it makes me wonder just how far apart his views are from mine. Right now, it's already far enough, and he's not getting my vote, because all of the above is enough to make me suspect the sincerity of his words. That is, I highly doubt that he actually believes what he states in his speech. Bottom line, he is a politician saying what he needs to say, and very little else.

Getting back to Rev. Wright, I had forgotten about this, but the Brite Divinity School (located on the campus of Texas Christian University) will be hosting Rev. Wright in an event that is scheduled to award him for his life's work. However, TCU expressed a concern for safety issues, and succeeded in getting the event moved off campus. I think that, since the Brite school had already made those plans, they should have gone ahead as planned. But something must have come up to cause this change, but neither TCU or Brite is talking. We'll just have to wait and see what happens when that time comes. The event is scheduled for the 29th, and I'll let you know if anything happens.

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