Culture, Global, Identity, Politics, Religion

Blogging the Omer, Day 41 & 42: Obama Resigns from his Church

Week Six, day Six
Yesod of Yesod
Week Six, day Seven
Malchut of Yesod
Reported all over the place, but the WaPo doesn’t have that annoying registration thingy. As pretty much everyone knows, Obama has had a lot of political problems with his church. First there was the out of context Wright quote, which was taken to mean that Wright hated every white person, but especially Jews. Apparently the latest hitch has been (Roman Catholic) Rev. Michael Pfleger slamming Clinton in a sermon and implying that she’s a white supremacist.
I have to admit, I have some mixed feelings about this. Now, y’all know that I’m pretty annoyed about the misogyny behind a significant amount of the anti-Clinton activity, from speechifying, to musing about her personal life and sartorial choices, and don’t even get me into the various objects intended to deride (nutcrackers and the like). Let me just say, I don’t think that Obama himself is a misogynist.
But let’s get away fro this most recent thing, which I think Obama shouldn’t have to answer for, either, and get back to Wright. I think that Wright may well be saying something that we ought to be listening to. If you’re an African American, your experience of racism is quite different than any other group of color’s in this country. Unlike (Ashkenazi) Jews and Italians whose move up the economic ladder has allowed us to assimilate and blend in, and the Japanese and Chinese whose model minority status is moving them in that direction as well (along with extremely high exogamy rates), if you’re African American, your class has to get pretty outstandingly high before you – as an individual- are exempted from some of the worst of the bigotry. Even then, go someplace where your name isn’t recognized, and you can wear silk and rubies and it’s not going to help you much.
SO, while I don’t necessarily love Wright, I think we need to listen to him a little more carefully, because he can tell us a lot about what we don’t normally hear. and so, I respected Obama for sticking to his church and not resigning. Especially since it is often true that when you cut yourself off from someone who is angry, you’ve lost your chance to talk to them and help them see a different way out. Obama was a trusted friend, insofar as a clergyperson can unbend among congregants, and Obama might have led him to a more nuanced way of speaking. Who will do that now?

8 thoughts on “Blogging the Omer, Day 41 & 42: Obama Resigns from his Church

  1. This is absolutely absurd. F’ Wright and his church! Obama had to choose, and should have done so much, much earlier. You can’t be holding hands with black nationalists AND be the president of all Americans.
    As we have learned from our sages,
    “You have to put down the rubber duckie if you want to play the saxaphone.”
    H. Clinton NEVER would have pulled this shit. Learn from it, KRG, and don’t make the same mistakes Obama did. When you run for the head of The Seminary, make sure you aren’t anywhere near the the fabrenteneh feminist groups you are so fond of, and make darned sure you haven’t been holding their hands for a long time. You don’t have to thank me now, KRG…but I am giving you sound advice.

  2. This is the problem with the US electoral system.
    Why is it such an issue what Obama’s pastor says?
    The press should be talking about what the candidates themselves say, and what their credentials are.
    Is Wright running for president?
    Not that any of this is related to what KRG writes about African-Americans and racism, which is another matter.

  3. These jackass responses suggesting Wright is the true voice of the Black church are truly bigoted in their own right. The entire notion that all Wright needed was someone to influence the ‘nuance” of his speeches rather then his hybrid political/religious beliefs, is laughable. What this country does not need is a Black radical stuck in the 70’s using THIS ballot as a mouthpiece. Not when we finally have a candidate of color being taken seriously. You like Wright’s message? You think it’s missing from the range of leftist discourse?… then perhaps you need to get out more.
    Also, it’s a problem what his pastor says because Obama made religion an overt part of his campaign. If you were running for President, and announced you were a proud Orthodox Jewish candidate, and then Kahane was your Rabbi – wouldn’t you expect people to care?!

  4. ALthough I take ugh’s point, I wonder if we haven’t missed something, which perhaps I didn’t say clearly enough, which is how WRight’s nationalism (which granted as ugh says is a bit stuck in the 70’s) has been focused upon as a tool to discredit Obama, althoght WRight’s actual words have been largely taken out of context and inflated in a particular way. His actual message by and large seems to have been one rather different than the one portrayed in the media

  5. How so? If his message has been obscured, it’s probably been in his favor. Not much of what he says is all that original, or unique to him first of all. So if you’re familiar with the viewpoints he’s parroting, it’s hard to ignore the weight of these statements once you’ve heard them first as standard 5%’er/NOI rhetoric. In that regard, the press was just naive. I wonder how many Jewschool readers have sat through a Nation of Islam sermon? Much of what these people say is on target, and sounds like typical leftist speak…much of it is inspiring, even brilliant, but you can not give value to what you agree with while blocking out the biased hateful ideologies which they originate.
    Of course it’s purpose is to take a shot at Obama and discredit him….and why shouldn’t it? That it’s a blatant political tactic is no great defense for Obama. Yesterday he left the church. So you tell me, is he doing it because he’s bowing to public pressure, in which case he’s failed to stand his ground and back up his own beliefs…. or is it an admission of guilt that Trinity is not the church for a President of the United States? We want Obama to be who he says he is… and it’s turning out Obama has no clothes.

  6. I actually think KRG’s analysis of the importance of Wright’s experience and perspective is right on!

  7. “We want Obama to be who he says he is… and it’s turning out Obama has no clothes.”
    Just what the hell does this mean? Are you saying he’s principled for leaving his church or not?
    “but you can not give value to what you agree with while blocking out the biased hateful ideologies which they originate.”
    Don’t people do this all the time? i.e. pick and choose what ideologies they agree or disagree with a person? Can’t one agree with McCain on climate change and immigration while disagreeing with just about everything else? Nobody should ever have to take a person’s complete worldview piecemeal.

  8. The fact that you just equated McCain’s moderate neo-conservatism with Nation of Islam politics is more then a little strange.
    Put my comment back into context – while many of us would agree with much out of Farrakahn’s mouth, it’s still ultimately dangerous to ignore the crazy stuff the man says for obvious reasons, like empowerment and such. I’ve heard NOI give great speeches, but I would have to be naive to separate it from the larger picture of what they’re about, and what their words imply. Likewise, we also chastise those who quote the David Duke website. I agree, don’t take a worldview piecemeal….do you even understand your own statement?
    If Obama genuinely opposed Wright then why didn’t he do so before it reached the boiling point of media pressure? We all knew it was going to happen. Why didn’t he do it back when his picture appeared on a Trinity Church magazine next to every major Black figure of our time, including Farrakhn, that EXCLUDED Martin Luther King ?
    Don’t play naive.

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