31 March 2008

Rev. Wright's Wrongs Revisited

Senator Obama was quoted over the weekend as saying: "Had [Rev. Wright] not retired, and had he not acknowledged that what he had said had deeply offended people and were [sic?] inappropriate and mischaracterized what I believe is the greatness of this country, for all its flaws, then I wouldn't have felt comfortable staying at the church."

I thought the Senator didn't need to say more on the subject after his Philadelphia speech, but I was unrealistic. He's probably being realistic by putting extra distance between himself and the minister, but it would have been more interesting to hear him defend Wright, though not his specific words, on freedom-of-religion grounds. At a time when Americans routinely criticize China for imposing patriotic tests on all clergy from Catholic priests to Tibetan lamas, should the United States really be leaning in the same direction? Shall American ministers be obliged to bless America, and forbidden from damning it? Must they be Americans first and Christians (or fill in the blank) second? If so, so much for freedom of conscience in this country.

Some readers may object that Wright's offense was not his attitude, but the lies he allegedly told about his country. If so, then let me play the devil's advocate by asking what you think of the lies he told in every other sermon, including all those that had nothing to do with politics and everything to do with divine revelation. Are the standards of evidence suddenly different, now? I wonder why ...

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