19 March 2008

What More Can Obama Say?

After listening to some TV talkers and reading comments off the radio, I have to conclude that Senator Obama's Philadelphia speech left something to be desired for some people. Maybe they wanted him to explicitly refute specific claims Rev. Wright made about the origin of AIDS or the distribution of crack. Maybe they wanted him to say that Wright is evil. Maybe they wanted him to quit the church, even though Wright has retired from the pulpit.

Some people seem to think that Obama said too much. For certain people, ideologues in particular, to explain is always to excuse. For Obama to have said anything other than "Rev. Wright is wrong and wicked" was effectively to incriminate himself in their eyes. As ideologues, they want nothing less than the annihilation of "black nationalist" thought, however you define it. They would also like him to say the words they love to hear: "America is the greatest nation in the world." That makes them idolators.

It amuses me to see superpatriotic Americans squirm when confronted with the prophetic aspect of the Judeo-Christian tradition they revere. Liberals had their turn to squirm in September 2001 when Revs. Falwell and Robertson blamed the terrorist attacks on sexual immorality. Now the right wing rages, but their anger is of a different kind. I wonder if I detect a little guilty conscience at work when they condemn a Christian for condemning America. I wonder whether they dare ask themselves whether Rev. Wright is more of a Christian than they are. As far as I know, he worships the Christian God and Jesus Christ. By comparison, conservatives, neocons, Republicans and other superpatriots seem to worship the United States instead. Think about it a while and I think you'll agree. As a non-believer myself, I'm not telling anyone to worship God instead of their country, but when I look at self-proclaimed Christian believers engaged in idolatry, I see the irony in the current scandal.

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