He did not say that the mess he is in has as much to do with religion as with racism–and, indeed, religion is the reason why our political discourse in this country is so scandalously stupid.
The problem of religious fatalism, ignorance, and false hope, while plain to see in most religious contexts, is now especially obvious in the black community. The popularity of “prosperity gospel” is perhaps the most galling example: where unctuous crooks like T.D. Jakes and Creflo Dollar persuade undereducated and underprivileged men and women to pray for wealth, while tithing what little wealth they have to their corrupt and swollen ministries. Men like Jakes and Dollar, whatever occasional good they may do, are unconscionable predators and curators of human ignorance. Is it too soon to say this in American politics? Yes it is.
Despite all that he does not and cannot say, Obama’s candidacy is genuinely thrilling: his heart is clearly in the right place; he is an order of magnitude more intelligent than the current occupant of the Oval Office; and he still stands a decent chance of becoming the next President of the United States. His election in November really would be a triumph of hope.
But Obama’s candidacy is also depressing, for it demonstrates that even a person of the greatest candor and eloquence must still claim to believe the unbelievable in order to have a political career in this country. We may be ready for the audacity of hope. Will we ever be ready for the audacity of reason?
Say what you will about Reverend Wright’s sermon excerpts. I like some of them; I dislike a lot of them. But his social commentary — as distorted as his views may be — is just as ignorant as preaching that people will go to hell for not believing that Jesus Christ is the path to God. Or that we should believe in superstition over reality.
I’m glad he’s no longer affiliated with Obama’s campaign, but it’s still hard for me to understand how someone with Obama’s intelligence could have been influenced into Christianity by someone like Wright.
I wish I could believe that Obama has just been going to church for political reasons (instead of going because he believes their theology), but even if that were true, we’d never find out about it.