Wright Back

By Lee Speigel

Apr 27, 2008 12:34pm

Another passage from Rev. Jeremiah Wright’s April 13, 2003, sermon "Confusing God and Government" — perhaps better known as the "God d—- America" speech; watch it HERE — is making the rounds.

Wright says in the sermon, of the Iraq war, "we say that God will bless the shock and awe as we take over unilaterally another country, calling it a coalition because we’ve got three guys from Australia, going against the United Nations, going against the majority of Christians, Muslims and Jews throughout the world, making a pre-emptive strike in the name of God. We cannot see how what we are doing is the same thing that al-Qaeda is doing under a different color flag -– calling on the name of a different God to sanction and approve our murder and our mayhem.”

Writes conservative commentator Jim Geraghty at National Review, in a preview of Republican (or Hillary Clinton) talking points to come, "Permit me to propose a new rule: If your mentor of 20 years has ever declared the United States to be ‘the same as al-Qaeda, under a different color flag, calling on the name of a different God to sanction and approve our murder and our mayhem!’ you are ineligible for the presidency."

Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., was asked about Wright’s resurgence in the public today on "Fox News Sunday."

Quoting Wright on PBS Friday, saying the media treatment of him was unfair, unjust and untrue, anchor Chris Wallace asked Obama if he thinks that Wright is just the victim in this controversy.

"No," Obama said. "I think that people were legitimately offended by some of the comments that he had made in the past.  The fact he’s my former pastor, I think, makes it a legitimate political issue.  So, I understand that. I think that it is also true that to run a snippet of 30-second sound bites, selecting out of a 30-year career, simplified and caricatured him and caricatured the church. And I think that was done in a fairly deliberate way, and that is unfortunate, because as I’ve said before, I have strongly denounced those comments that were the subject of so much attention.  I wasn’t in church when he made them. But I also know that, you know, I go to church not to worship the pastor, to worship God.  And that ministry, the church family that’s been built there, does outstanding work, has been, I think, applauded for its outreach to the poor. He built that ministry, and I think that, you know, people need to take a look at the whole church and the whole man in making these assessments."

Obama said he did not talk to Wright about his decision to make a series of public appearances, but he earlier had said to him, "Look, we have very strong differences.  I do not agree with the comments that you made.  On the other hand, I regret that you have drawn so much attention."

Obama said, "it’s understandable that somebody, after an entire career of service, would want to defend themselves."

Asked by Wallace for specific examples of controversial remarks he recalls hearing from Wright’s pulpit, Obama said Wright "has oftentimes talked about some of the problems in the black community in very controversial ways.  I mean, I think — or in sharp ways, in ways that are provocative. You know, he will talk about the failure of fathers to look after their children in ways that, sometimes, people might be taken aback by. He can use street vernacular in his sermons in ways that people wouldn’t expect to hear in church … he has certainly preached in the past when I was there about the history of race in this country in very blunt terms, talking about slavery, talking about Jim Crow. The problem — and I pointed this out in my speech in Philadelphia — where oftentimes he would err, I think, is in only cataloging the bad of America and not doing enough to lift up the good. And that’s probably where he and I have the biggest difference."

Wright will speak at the National Press Club Monday morning.

- jpt

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