Until yesterday, Democratic Presidential Candidate Barack Obama has a potential millstone tied to his neck and threatening to cripple his campaign if not downright sink it. That millstone was Barack’s former pastor and a person who played a role big or small in his spiritual upbringing. As most people know and have seen, Reverend Jeremiah Wright, the man in question made several inflammatory remarks about the United States, her government and on the issue of race; some with credence such as social injustice in the nation’s history and others that were just ridiculous.
Now, if the most outrageous statements that I have made over my short life and even in the eight and a half years that I have been serving God were looped in short 30 second intervals, I would probably be ostracized by many. I believe that is certainly what happened with the play of the issue in the media when this first broke in March. That said, if that were the case for me, I would like to believe that there would be some repentance on my part if my inaccurate and inflammatory statements clearly wounded people (a common occurrence in my life I might add). Instead over the past few days, Rev. Wright seemingly sort to exploit the attention to further his own personal ventures at the expense of the effect on his church and a friend in Barack Obama who stood by him in light of the statements that were made.
When Barack gave his reverting speech on race in the United States last month in Philadelphia, I applauded the fact that he refused calls to disown his former pastor choosing instead to separate himself from the remarks and give Wright the benefit of doubt that he was grossly mischaracterized based on 30 seconds of the worst things he has said. Former Republican Presidential Candidate and Baptist Pastor Mike Huckabee even came out to his defense citing the era in which Wright grew up in, the sixties where racial tensions and divisions were unlike anything I have ever or probably will ever face. There was a personal element to it for me. I am close to my Pastor and he has helped shaped the person I am today and will be tomorrow and while my pastor might unintentionally create laugh lines for a couple of my friends (you know who you are) with his command of the English language, that is a far cry from the Black Liberation Gospel that Wright subscribed to.
Don’t get me wrong, the church is supposed to stand up and advanced the message of the bible and not adhere to all the practices of our culture. We are called to be in the world but not of it and certainly what is preached goes to that effect but not to preserve a culture that is outside the
Back to Rev. Wright, it is clear that with his performances and antics over the past few days, that he was unrepentant for what he said and further yet, he showed no sensitivity to Obama’s campaign and what it was striving to do i.e. lift the conversation of race from one that preyed on hatred to one which found a way for us to begin to close a dirty chapter in this nations history.
For now, it seems like the breakup is complete. It saddens me that it had to come to this. I believe that this is emotionally one of the hardest things that Barack Obama has had to do in his political career but sometimes, the hardest thing to do and the right to are the same…in this case, this was the Wright thing to do.