Mark Steyn's column on the now-infamous Reverend Jeremiah Wright and the implications of his radical chic sermons for the Obama campaign is a must-read:
‘I’m sure,” said Barack Obama in that sonorous baritone that makes his drive-thru order for a Big Mac, fries, and strawberry shake sound profound, “many of you have heard remarks from your pastors, priests, or rabbis with which you strongly disagreed.”
Well, yes. But not many of us have heard remarks from our pastors, priests, or rabbis that are stark, staring, out-of-his-tree flown-the-coop nuts. Unlike Bill Clinton, whose legions of “spiritual advisers” at the height of his Monica troubles outnumbered the U.S. diplomatic corps, Senator Obama has had just one spiritual adviser his entire adult life: the Reverend Jeremiah Wright, two-decade pastor to the president presumptive. The Reverend Wright believes that AIDs was created by the government of the United States — and not as a cure for the common cold that went tragically awry and had to be covered up by Karl Rove, but for the explicit purpose of killing millions of its own citizens. The government has never come clean about this, but the Reverend Wright knows the truth. “The government lied,” he told his flock, “about inventing the HIV virus as a means of genocide against people of color. The government lied.”
Does he really believe this? If so, he’s crazy, and no sane person would sit through his gibberish, certainly not for 20 years.
Or is he just saying it? In which case, he’s profoundly wicked. If you understand that AIDs is spread by sexual promiscuity and drug use, you’ll know that it’s within your power to protect yourself from the disease. If you’re told that it’s just whitey’s latest cunning plot to stick it to you, well, hey, it’s out of your hands, nothing to do with you or your behavior.
Before the speech, Slate’s Mickey Kaus advised Senator Obama to give us a Sister Souljah moment: “There are plenty of potential Souljahs still around: Race preferences. Out-of-wedlock births,” he wrote. “But most of all the victim mentality that tells African Americans (in the fashion of Rev. Wright’s most infamous sermons) that the important forces shaping their lives are the evil actions of others, of other races.” Indeed. It makes no difference to white folks when a black pastor inflicts kook genocide theories on his congregation: The victims are those in his audience who make the mistake of believing him. The Reverend Wright has a hugely popular church with over 8,000 members, and Senator Obama assures us that his pastor does good work by “reaching out to those suffering from HIV/AIDs.” But maybe he wouldn’t have to quite so much “reaching out” to do and maybe there wouldn’t be quite so many black Americans “suffering from HIV/AIDs” if the likes of Wright weren’t peddling lunatic conspiracy theories to his own community.
Found via the Brothers Judd
; much more from the Anchoress, in a post titled, "Obama, Psychic duality & the churches
It has been exceedingly difficult to discuss race in this nation for about 30 years, because anytime anyone - white or black - has tried to make a serious point, the word “racist!” is immediately flung out; lasting and damaging labels are instantly attached to people, and so everyone just shuts down. People guard their words and swallow provocative debating points - even if their aim is to generate a real, open and honest forum of ideas - because no one wants to be called a racist. This happened to Bill Clinton and to Bill Cosby; it happened to Rush Limbaugh and Geraldine Ferraro, and driving today I heard the word spat out at Sean Hannity. It happened to me, actually, last week, when I was called a “racist” on another blog for writing this; I was also deemed “hypersensitive” about being called a racist.
To which I replied, “I don’t think you’d like it.”
But see, I didn’t think anything I wrote was “racist.” I simply made the mistake of trying to discuss race at all.
“Black” America is forced to live a psychic duality, but in a way, “white” America is, too. We are supposed to - apparently - somehow split our brains, into never even noticing that there are racial differences between us, unless we’re working in praise of those differences. So, there are no differences between us…but we celebrate the differences…but their are none, and if you think there are, you’re a racist. Now celebrate!
Does that make sense? No wonder the national psyche is so battered. No wonder Obama is having difficulty straddling this chasm, despite his long legs. No wonder issues of race are distracting us from a much larger issue, which is whether he is competent to be our president and CIC.
No one likes being called a racist, and fear of being so labeled (or called “sexist”) is part of what is roiling both the nation and this particular election. You cannot talk “race” (or gender) without being denounced by people who don’t want to shatter their own illusions about their own “righteous” ways, or who don’t want to enter the discussion because they might be called “racist,” or a “sexist” too. Toxic, toxic.
Obama’s candidacy has, for better or worse, - I think probably for better - revealed the complicated and shaky state of race-relations in America. Middle class “white” America had not realized just how touchy things were, perhaps because we hadn’t “wanted” to see it, or perhaps because in our minds, with our kids rapping and adopting “street” clothes and lingo, and the popular culture seeming fairly ingrained with a “multi-culti” mindset, it simply seemed like race had become a secondary or tertiary matter. Or we hoped it had.
Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King waited for the day when his children would be judged not on the color of their skin but on the content of their character. That day seems very far away, right now, and “white” America - even “well-meaning” white America - shares blame in that. But perhaps “black” America does too. Dr. King was not, I don’t think, exempting blacks from the challenge of considering a man’s character before his skin color, but modern reverends like Wright and Meeks seem to be teaching otherwise.
I wonder what Rev. Wright's typical Easter message is like.