During a speech yesterday at the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia Senator Barack Obama confronted head-on the issues surrounding the recent revelations of the statements the long time minister of his church and former mentor had made about 9/11 and how blacks should "damn" America for its "continuing mistreatment of them".
Senator Obama's speech was both powerful and eloquent as he strove to explain and defend his 20 year relationship with the now retired minister of Trinity United Church of Christ, Reverend Jeremiah Wright, tying it to the still lingering cause and effect of the segregationist or Jim Crow laws enacted during the late 1800's.
Last week a firestorm of controversy erupted around Senator Obama after the MSM reported some of what the Reverend Wright had been preaching from his pulpit at Trinity United Church of Christ on the south side of Chicago, the same church Senator Barack Obama and his family have been members of for 20 years. The Reverend had married Senator Obama and his wife, Michelle, baptized their children and the Senator "credited" Wright for the title of his book, "The Audacity of Hope".
Sen. Barack Obama's pastor says blacks should not sing "God Bless America" but "God damn America."
"The government gives them the drugs, builds bigger prisons, passes a three-strike law and then wants us to sing 'God Bless America.' No, no, no, God damn America, that's in the Bible for killing innocent people," he said in a 2003 sermon. "God damn America for treating our citizens as less than human. God damn America for as long as she acts like she is God and she is supreme."
In addition to damning America, he told his congregation on the Sunday after Sept. 11, 2001 that the United States had brought on al Qaeda's attacks because of its own terrorism.
"We bombed Hiroshima, we bombed Nagasaki, and we nuked far more than the thousands in New York and the Pentagon, and we never batted an eye," Rev. Wright said in a sermon on Sept. 16, 2001.
"We have supported state terrorism against the Palestinians and black South Africans, and now we are indignant because the stuff we have done overseas is now brought right back to our own front yards. America's chickens are coming home to roost," he told his congregation.
One of the questions aimed squarely at Senator Obama was whether he had heard the remarks made by Wright and if so, did he agree.
Did I know him to be an occasionally fierce critic of American domestic and foreign policy? Of course. Did I ever hear him make remarks that could be considered controversial while I sat in church? Yes. Did I strongly disagree with many of his political views? Absolutely -- just as I'm sure many of you have heard remarks from your pastors, priests or rabbis with which you strongly disagreed.Obama went on to call the Reverend's remarks "divisive" and a "distorted view of America".
But the remarks that have caused this recent firestorm weren't simply controversial. They weren't simply a religious leader's effort to speak out against perceived injustice.
Instead, they expressed a profoundly distorted view of this country -- a view that sees white racism as endemic, and that elevates what is wrong with America above all that we know is right with America, a view that sees the conflicts in the Middle East as rooted primarily in the actions of stalwart allies like Israel, instead of emanating from the perverse and hateful ideologies of radical Islam.
As such, Rev. Wright's comments were not only wrong but divisive, divisive at a time when we need unity; racially charged at a time when we need to come together to solve a set of monumental problems -- two wars, a terrorist threat, a falling economy, a chronic health care crisis and potentially devastating climate change; problems that are neither black or white or Latino or Asian, but rather problems that confront us all.
While Obama roundly condemned Wright's remarks as divisive and distorted he also defended the Reverend, calling him the man who had introduced the Senator to his Christian faith more than twenty years ago, a man "who spoke to me about our obligations to love one another; to care for the sick and lift up the poor".
What could Barack Obama have done?
Read the rest of "Obama: Jim Crow and the Democrats"
Image - Jim Crow Songbook
Image - Jim Crow sign
Source - Chicago Sun Times - Obama's Rezko's Ties Deeper Than Land Deal
Source - CNN - Transcript of Obama's Speech
Source - ABC News -
Obama's Pastor: God Damn America, U.S. to Blame for 9/11
Source - Obama: Jim Crow and the Democrats
Source - Yahoo News - Obama confronts racial division
Source - PBS - The Rise And Fall of Jim Crow Laws
Source - Jim Crow History
Source - Infoplease - Famous Firsts
DBKP.com - Bigger, Better!.
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DBKP.com - Bigger, Better!.