I am sometimes amazed at the absurdity of the way political pundits and news analysts frame so-called news.
In recent days I listened to sound-bytes of Dr. Jeremiah Wright, pastor of South Chicago’s Trinity UCC. This is the church attended by Barak Obama for some 20 years. The sound-bytes revealed Wright’s radical preaching, his unpatriotric and anti-American extremes, as well as his dangerous politics - a real loose cannon, if you believe soundbytes.
This Pastor Wright was obviously a dangerous liability to presidential candidate Obama. Any worthy candidate would disengage from such a person. This set the stage for Obama to denounce his pastor and for political pundits to pounce on their prey.
Then CNN grabbed the spotlight. Bill Moyer interviewed Dr. Wright and did an excellent job. The interview proved enlightening and revealed Wright as an educated and successful pastor. Wright led a successful social ministry in South Chicago, taking an impoverished black church of 87 members to a new level of community influence with a membership of 8,000. Predominantly black, the church ministered across racial and cultural lines, bridging uncrossable barriers of race, class, and creed. Maybe Wright was not so wrong after all!
But then, Wright spoke to the Detroit NAACP and loosed his “Difference is not deficient oration” to some 10,000. CNN aired it in its fullness. Wright declared himself answerable to God, committed to reconciliation, to right relationships, and added his positive “yes we can” philosophy (borrowed by Obama and around which Obama built his political platform.
Wright’s speech was filled with the prophetic genre of the “so-called black church.” I’ve listened to many such orations of prophetic rhetoric over several decades. I find it in the biblical tradition of Jesus as well as the Old Testament prophets. However, Wright’s explanations at the Press Club the following day, could have been more diplomatic, more “politically correct”, but he chose to be forthright, open, and honest.
Wright left the political hacks slashing away at him, for his arrogance, narcissism, and speaking for people he didn’t represent. He was obviously self-seeking. His crack about Cheney never serving in the military revealed the way the media frames issues. I too have wondered about the real patriotism of an administration that uses “preemptive strike” to justify war and challenges the patriotism of those who question their policy (they only eliminate those who frame such issues--like Dan Rather).
Wright’s positive ministry has been good news to many people. Yet, the media frames a conflict between pastor and parishioner, between the unpatriotic preacher and a nation at war. Why? The media is more intent on capturing an audience than presenting news, more intent on making money than lifting national morality, more intent on muzzling politically incorrect clergy and keeping the shifting sands of politics within manageable bounds.
In the meantime, I will follow Obama as he tiptoes through the political tulip bed, and await Wright’s coming book. Never mind that I defended Obama against those religious imperialists and politico’s who called him a Muslim, pointed to his secret terrorist connections, and shouted his name Barack HUSSEIN Obama. I find such divide and conquer critics far more offensive, subversive, and dangerous than I do Jeremiah Wright (not to mention unChristian and unAmerican).
So, I guess it really will not surprise anyone when I say that I find too much about Jeremiah Wright that is right to be bothered by the trivia of his incorrect PCness. And that is my take on that from Kentucky..............Wayne