Obama could no sooner disown the Rev. Jeremiah Wright than he could disown the black community.  Well, at least up until the past few days.  He still hasn’t disowned him per se, but he certainly has tried to distance himself from his 20-year pastor.

But the discussion has been that what one heard from Wright’s pulpit was part and parcel of church in that selfsame black community.  But the LA Times has been asking black clergymen in LA and finds that, no, Wright’s rants aren’t necessarily mainstream.

In a series of nationally televised appearances over the last few days, the Rev. Jeremiah A. Wright Jr. has defended his controversial remarks as "prophetic theology," and said criticism of him amounted to an attack on the black church.
But most black church leaders and members reached Tuesday disagreed.

"This didn’t have anything to do with the black church — it was basically an attack on the individual message he proclaimed, which hurt some individuals," said the Rev. K.W. Tulloss of Weller Street Missionary Baptist Church in Boyle Heights. "My own members were offended by Rev. Wright’s words. His views have cast a wedge between people, and that’s the exact opposite of the unity Jesus represented."


Bishop John Bryant of the African Methodist Episcopal Church, who has known Wright for 30 years, said he would have used less provocative language.

"How one speaks is as important as the right to do so," Bryant said. "If it is done in an inflammatory way, the substance of the message gets lost in the rhetorical style."

Kerman Maddox, a member of First AME church in Los Angeles, said that he had listened to hundreds of sermons in black churches nationwide as part of his political and community work, and that Wright’s messages did "not represent mainstream black thought on Sunday morning."

He said he had never heard pastors curse America or proclaim, as Wright had, that the U.S. government caused AIDS among blacks. He said the common pulpit themes had long been unity, personal responsibility, loving your neighbor and improving your neighborhoods.

But the biggest concern Tuesday among local black religious leaders — and across a wide swath of black Los Angeles — was not about Wright’s words per se but about their impact on Obama’s historic campaign.

It’s been a while since all this came out; why didn’t anyone in the media think to ask these questions earlier? 

But the main question to me is this; what does this say about Obama himself?  He’s not running on experience — he’ll lose to McCain if he is — so one of main things to consider is his judgement.  If he’s shocked to find out that his own pastor is so far out of the mainstream after spending 20 years with him, that does not reflect well on that judgement.

Filed under: DemocratsDougGovernmentPoliticsRace IssuesReligion

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