The real mystery to me is why the Obama campaign has never properly responded to the questions linking Barack Obama to the fiery bombast of Reverend Jeremiah A. Wright. I can only assume that the Obama campaign people do not understand the general workings of the African American church. If they did they would have quickly moved to answer the criticism from Hillary Clinton that she would have immediately left the church upon hearing such statements spoken from the pulpit.
Please follow the rest below the fold.
I agree with Reverend Wright when he asserted in his speech at the Press club that most African-American churches are different from most White churches. Unfortunately, after tossing out that teaser to the national audience, he did not elaborate as to what those differences might be. Obviously there are many subtle differences, but I will address the most important difference as it relates to the mess that Rev. Wright has created for the Obama campaign,
Most African American churches (Baptist, Pentecostal, non-denominational, etc) customarily RECORD their Sunday services in entirety. This is a procedure that has become an accepted standard for decades, starting many years ago with cassettes, then progressing to CD’s and now recording in the DVD format. Most churches then offer this recorded media for sale primarily to members who might wish to have the means of seeing the service again in the comfort of their homes. The sale of this recorded media also provides a means to raise additional funds for the church. Unfortunately, the people in charge of the Audio/Video Ministry are never suspicious of large orders when they are requested from the outside. They are just “happy-glad” to make a sale which will add more funds to the church’s generally strapped budget.
ABC News ordered recordings of Rev. Wright’s sermons at Trinity United Church of Christ (TUCC) going back to 2003 and spent time reviewing each sermon. Their conclusion was that Rev. Jeremiah had a lot more controversial things to say than actually wound up on YouTube. However, ABC also reported that it is not known if Barack Obama was actually in the congregation at the time that these controversial sermons were being preached. Without unimpeachable eyewitness testimony, it is not possible to prove that Barack was present at any of these sermons.
However, politically it is critical to address a smear decisively when it is first publicized, and as I mentioned above, Hillary rode this horse for all it was worth. She seized on each planted question that asked, “What would she have done if she heard her pastor make such statements?” She stated over and over, that she would have immediately got up and exited the church. Her response carries the pernicious implication that Barack was in the congregation every Sunday without fail, and so he must have heard each and every Rev. Wright’s sermons and hence he must concur with Wright’s messages if he remained a member of TUCC.
I don’t know about you, but I consider myself to be a member in good standing in my church, but I am not there each and every Sunday. Also, there are some Sundays when I get to church I find out that some other person from the Ministerial Staff has been chosen to be the preacher of the day, Further, the church has many special Sunday’s, such as Women’s Day, Men’s Day, Youth Sunday, Mission Sunday, etc and on these special occasions a guest Minister will be invited to deliver the sermon appropriate for the event. Therefore, depending upon your personal schedule and the schedule of special events at church, it is possible to miss many of the senior pastor’s sermons.
I will not join those legions of bloggers who have written sincere heartfelt suggestions for Barack to deal with the Rev. Wright problem. But I do think that it is the responsibility of the Obama campaign to get the truthful details about the public availability of the videos from the TUCC video library, and demonstrate that this “guilt by association” smear planted by the Clinton campaign is more than a stretch of the imagination, that it is just plain ridiculous.