By Richard Larsen
Perhaps it was inevitable that the Clinton vs. Obama showdown for the Democratic nomination would devolve into a race-baited contest. What couldnâ€™t have been foreseen, at least for many, is Barack Obama would be, if not the initiator of it, at least the perpetuator of it.
Some of the highly incendiary sermons of Senator Obamaâ€™s pastor and spiritual mentor, Rev. Jeremiah Wright of The Trinity United Church of Christ came to light this week. In a move at damage control, Mr. Obama made a speech this week to address his church and his relationship with the pastor. He instead made it a speech about race.
This is becoming increasingly uncomfortable. Itâ€™s easy to foresee a time when, if Obama is elected, any discussion about policy will be contorted to a discussion about race in order to obfuscate or at least blur the issue at hand.
Granted, the kind of black liberation theology that is proselytized by Rev. Wright and his church is inextricably linked with the culture Obama has tried to associate with in order to establish his bona fides as a black politician, according to Juan Williams of PBS. This is understandable to an extent since he was raised by a white grandmother, whom he threw under the bus in his speech for being â€œa typical white personâ€ herself, and was not raised in the environment characterized by his church.
Since Wrightâ€™s controversial statements were made in the context of sermons from the pulpit, and fit a pattern of such diatribes against white people and America in general, it should be safe to say that his comments reflect part of his churchâ€™s belief system, or theology if you will. Such a characterization would be true to black liberation theology.
Mitt Romney was theologically crucified over his Mormon Church teachings. While still a candidate, he was constantly grilled about his faith, its theology, and their influence on him. This required Romney to deliver his landmark speech in Houston last fall about religion in America. Pundits were divided over whether he addressed sufficiently the issue of inculcation of his faith by his Mormon parents. Many praised his speech, while his detractors claimed he sidestepped the issue.
In the case of Obama this week, he not only sidestepped the issue, he contorted and twisted the issue from one of faith and religious association to one of race. This was not surprising considering the tenets of his church and his pastor are anathema to mainstream Americans.
Romney is now out of the race. But in the spirit of fairness, letâ€™s engage in a little comparative religious analysis of just two tenets from Obamaâ€™s church and Romneyâ€™s.
According to Rev. Wright, â€œThe government gives them the drugs, builds bigger prisons, passes a three-strikes law and then wants us to sing ‘God Bless America.’ No, no, no, God dâ€”- America, that’s in the Bible for killing innocent people. God dâ€”- America for treating our citizens as less than human. God dâ€”- America for as long as she acts like she is God and she is supreme.â€
From Romneyâ€™s spiritual leader, Mormon President, Gordon B. Hinckley, â€œBless this chosen land that it may remain forever free, that peace and liberty may bless the lives of its people, and that righteousness may reign in the land.â€
Regarding the attacks of September 11, 2001, Rev. Wright yelled to his congregation, â€œWe 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.â€
President Hinckley in October, 2001, â€œYou are acutely aware of the events of September 11, less than a month ago. Out of that vicious and ugly attack we are plunged into a state of war. For the first time since we became a nation, the United States has been seriously attacked on its mainland soil. But this was not an attack on the United States alone. It was an attack on men and nations of goodwill everywhere. It was cruel and cunning, an act of consummate evil.â€
These are just two examples, but the pattern should be clear. In short, there is little in Mr. Obamaâ€™s theology and belief system to indicate heâ€™s a unifier. The hate speech spewed forth by his minister of twenty years is racist, hateful, divisive, and anti-American. Next to Obamaâ€™s church and its racism and hate, Mormon teachings sound downright orthodox.
In light of this, I think I would much rather have a Mormon President, or even neighbor for that matter, than someone from Obamaâ€™s church, including the Senator. I think weâ€™ve heard enough hate this week from Rev. Wright to last a lifetime. We donâ€™t need any more.
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