Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Sen. Obama's Speech: A more perfect union

I read 's speech and then listened to it live.

A very well written, well read speech. One glaring issue cannot be ignored:

I have already condemned, in unequivocal terms, the statements of that have caused such controversy. For some, nagging questions remain. Did I know him to be an occasionally fierce critic of American domestic and foreign policy? Of course. Did I ever hear him make remarks that could be considered controversial while I sat in church? Yes. Did I strongly disagree with many of his political views? Absolutely – just as I’m sure many of you have heard remarks from your pastors, priests, or rabbis with which you strongly disagreed.


Given my background, my politics, and my professed values and ideals, there will no doubt be those for whom my statements of condemnation are not enough. Why associate myself with Reverend Wright in the first place, they may ask? Why not join another church? And I confess that if all that I knew of Reverend Wright were the snippets of those sermons that have run in an endless loop on the television and You Tube, or if conformed to the caricatures being peddled by some commentators, there is no doubt that I would react in much the same way.

All of this sounds wonderful until you consider that the very caricatures being peddled by some commentators existed on the Trinity UCC website until this week. Sweetness and Light used the Wayback Machine to compare today's Trinity UCC webpage with images of the past. As recently as January, the website had some very definite views that can be seen as racist by many:

We are a congregation which is Unashamedly Black and Unapologetically Christian… Our roots in the Black religious experience and tradition are deep, lasting and permanent. We are an African people, and remain “true to our native land,” the mother continent, the cradle of civilization. God has superintended our pilgrimage through the days of slavery, the days of segregation, and the long night of racism. It is God who gives us the strength and courage to continuously address injustice as a people, and as a congregation. We constantly affirm our trust in God through cultural expression of a Black worship service and ministries which address the Black Community.

I am having a problem in rationalizing these two very distinct positions. Sen. Obama claims the snippets have been magnified, yet the webiste tells a different story.

Sen. Obama's hope is for the next generation. Yet if his own children hear the same hate-filled words from the pulpit, how will they learn that while the scabs and the wounds of segregation run deep, they'll never heal if they're constantly picked at?

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