March 25, 2008

What Do You Think About Obama's Pastor?

Okay folks, I need your help on this one. You have been hearing about Obama's former pastor, Rev. Jeremiah Wright, in the news, and I'm curious to know what you think about this situation. Personally, I find myself agreeing with much of what Rev. Wright said, and I'm becoming increasingly convinced that the real issue here is not race but whether it is appropriate for a presidential candidate to criticize America. If you think I'm wrong, especially if you are outraged over my lack of outrage, I'd really like to hear from you.

According to Ornicus (and I agree), the most controversial statements made by Wright during various sermons are these reported by ABC News:
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. 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.

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.

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.
And these also reported by ABC News:
The winds of Katrina blew the cover off America. The hurricane exposed the hypocrisy, protecting white folks' property took priority over saving black folks' lives. This storm called Katrina says far more about a racist government than it does about the wrath of God.

The United States government has failed the vast majority of our citizens of African descent. For every one Oprah, a billionaire, you've got five million blacks who are out of work. For every one Colin Powell, a millionaire, you've got 10 million blacks who cannot read. For every one Condoskeeza [sic] Rice, you've got one million in prison. For every one Tiger Woods, who needs to get beat, at the Masters, with his cap-blazing hips, playing on a course that discriminates against women. For every one Tiger Woods, we got 10,000 black kids who will never see a golf course.
I'm a middle-class white guy who also happens to be an atheist, and I agree with the bulk of what Rev. Wright said, especially in view of the full context. Racism remains a serious problem in America. The United States has a long history of the sort of unilateral imperialism that is bound to upset other nations and result in terrorism. In fact, we are one of the leading sponsors of global terrorism. Rev. Wright should be mad, just as American atheists should be mad.

I see some atheists condemning Wright's comments as "hatespeak," and I am simply not seeing it that way at all. I've presented my theory about the real controversy here, but I'm feeling like I'm in such a tiny minority on this one that I'm wondering if I missed something obvious. It just seems to me that we have way more to worry about than Rev. Wright.

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