April 26, 2008

Bill Moyers plays Whiffleball with the Rev. Wright [Karl]

Not that anyone should expect that Bill Moyers Journal will involve journalism, but the former LBJ flack’s “interview” with Barack Obama’s longtime spiritual adviser, Rev. Jeremiah Wright cannot be fairly called a softball game. It would be more apt to compare it to whiffleball.

At the very outset of the program, in which Moyers made the following disclosure:

I joined a UCC church on Long Island 40 years ago and attend Riverside Church in New York City, which is affiliated with American Baptists and the UCC. But I couldn’t remember ever having met Reverend Wright. So I wanted to know more about the man, the ministry, and the church.

This disclosure by Moyers (who it turns out had met Wright, while working for LBJ) is perhaps the only moment of journalistic integrity in the program as this bias turns out to be relevant at the end of the “interview.” The program went entirely downhill from there, either because Moyers failed to do much research beforehand, or did the research and decided to hide it from his viewers.

Thus, Moyers allowed Wright to deny that the “unashamedly black and unapologetically Christian” TUCC embraces a race-based theology and even framed the discussion of Black Liberation Theology this way:

BILL MOYERS: Lots of controversy about black liberation theology. As I understand it, black liberation theology reads the bible through the experience of people who have suffered, and who then are able to say to themselves that we read the bible differently, because we have struggled, than those do who have not struggled. Is that a fair bumper sticker of liberation theology?

REVEREND WRIGHT: I think that’s a fair bumper sticker. I think that the terms “liberation theology” or “black liberation theology” cause more problems and red flags for people who don’t understand it.

BILL MOYERS: When I hear the word “black liberation theology” being the interpretation of scripture from the oppressed, I think well, that’s the Jewish story–

REVEREND WRIGHT: Exactly, exactly. From Genesis to Revelation. These are people who wrote the word of God that we honor and love under Egyptian oppression, Syrian oppression, Babylonian oppression, Persian oppression, Greek oppression, Roman oppression. So that their understanding of what God is saying is very different from the Greeks, the Romans, the Egyptians. And that’s what prophetic theology of the African-American church is.

BILL MOYERS: Yeah. But talk a little bit about that. The prophets loved Israel. But they hated the waywardness of Israel. And they were calling Israel out of love back to justice, not damning–

REVEREND WRIGHT: Exactly.

BILL MOYERS: Not damning Israel. Right?

All of which nicely sets up Wright’s spin on his “G-d Damn America” sermon following the 9/11 attacks.

If Moyers had any journalistic integrity he might have gone beyond a bumper-sticker understanding of Black Liberation Theology and asked about the underlying Marxist frame work of liberation theologies in general. Given Wright’s denial of a race based-theology, he might have confronted him with material from the man whom Wright acknowledges as the person who systematized it:

It is fair to say that there is no one so identified with Black Liberation Theology than Dr. James H. Cone.

The concept of “blackness” is central to Cone’s work. In his groundbreaking 1969 book, Black Theology and Black Power, Cone wrote: “The fact that I am black is my ultimate reality,” and ”Black Theology knows no authority more binding than the experience of oppression itself. This alone must be the ultimate authority in religious matters.” Cone has been ambiguous about the concept of blackness, sometimes referring to “a particular black-skinned people in America,” at other times asserting it is “an ontological symbol for all people who participate in the liberation of man from oppression.” People familiar with the past writing of our host, Jeff Goldstein will recognize the latter as the substitution of one pernicious fiction for another.

…Indeed, in a paper titled “Black Power, Black Theology,” Cone wrote, “Black Theology is the theological arm of Black Power, and Black Power is the political arm of Black Theology.”

Moyers could have followed that up with the fact that when Cone is asked where his theology is institutionally embodied, he always mentions TUCC.

That Moyers equates Black Liberation Theology with the Jewish story also reveals his shallowness or duplicity. As I have previously noted:

In liberation theology, the Exodus story is a central paradigm for various revolutionary social movements. However, the point of the Exodus was not only liberation from slavery under Pharaoh, but also service and obedience to God. If liberation was the only point, God might have been just fine with the Exodus afterparty featuring Edward G. Robinson and the Golden Calf, but the Bible clearly says otherwise.

The same shallowness or duplicity is present in comparing Wright’s prophetic theology to the traditional prophetic voice. Richard Landes — a historian specializing in Millenialism also known for debunking Palestinian propaganda — has already dissected this defense of Wright’s sermons:

As someone who has read the prophetic texts, and thought a good deal about them in the context of the tradition of self-criticism, I think these characterizations of the “prophetic stream” represent a profound misunderstanding. The prophets are ferocious in their criticism of their own people; they have relatively little to say about the real oppressive forces in the world of their day in the 8-7th centuries BCE. When the people of Israel get smashed by the Assyrians and the Babylonians, the prophets don’t go into a rant about how evil these vicious imperialists are; they invoke them as God’s agents in punishing Israel for their sins. When, under more normative conditions, when they chastize rulers and aristocracy for their treatment of the poor, they do so again with vigorous, even violent rhetoric, but they do so in the hopes of changing their people. The prophets, however rough they may be, love the people they chastize, and rebuke them for the sake of their transformation.

***

All this is very far from what is here invoked as “Black Liberation Theology” or the “prophetic stream” of African-American churches. There, although Reverend Wright repeatedly speaks about “we,” he really means the white ruling class who, in his mind, deliberately conspire to destroy, even wipe out the blacks, the innocent victims of that malevolence.

The two then segue into the bogus claim that Wright was being quoted out of context in the video clips on TV and the Internet. This was what PBS rolled out as the teaser, so I will only add that this part of the “interview,” is all the more shameless in context, given that the two have just been ripping the Exodus and the prophetic tradition completely out of context.

Next, Moyers tries to generate some sympathy for Wright by asking about alleged threats made against Wright and TUCC, followed by questions about the blues. Great questions. Compelling, and rich.

Then the air cover for Obama:

BILL MOYERS: You know, you mentioned Senator Obama. In the 20 years that you’ve been your pastor, have you ever heard him repeat any of your controversial statements as his opinion?

REVEREND WRIGHT: No. No. No. Absolutely not. I don’t talk to him about politics. And so here at a political event, he goes out as a politician and says what he has to say as a politician. I continue to be a pastor who speaks to the people of god about the things of God.

Some have already noted that Wright characterizing what Obama does and says “as a politician” may itself damage Obama, who positions himself as a new kind of politician. I would add that Wright’s characterization is essentially false, given that Black Liberation Theology — and liberation theology generally — is at its core a religious casting of Leftist political activism, and that this is precisely what appealed to Obama about Wright and TUCC.

Moyers then joins Wright in some dissembling regarding Louis Farrakhan:

BILL MOYERS: But even some of your admirers say it would be wrong to gloss over what Martin Marty himself called- who loves you- called your “abrasive edges.” For example, you know, Louis Farrakhan lives in the south part of Chicago, doesn’t he? You’ve had a long complicated relationship with him, right?

REVEREND WRIGHT: Yes.

BILL MOYERS: And he, you know, he’s expressed racist and anti-Semitic remarks. And, yet, last year-

REVEREND WRIGHT: Twenty years ago.

BILL MOYERS: Twenty years ago, but that’s indefensible.

REVEREND WRIGHT: The Nation of Islam and Mr. Farrakhan have more African-American men off of drugs. More African-American men respecting themselves. More African-American men working for a living. Not gang banging. Not trying to get by. That’s not indefensible in terms of how you make a difference in the prisons? Turning people’s lives around. Giving people hope. Getting people off drugs. That we don’t believe the same things in terms of our specific faiths. He’s Muslim, I’m Christian. We don’t believe the same things he said years ago. But that has nothing to do with what he has done in terms of helping people change their lives for the better. I said direct quote was what? “Louis Farrakhan is like E.F. Hutton. When Lewis Farrakhan speaks, black America listens. They may not agree with him, but they’re listening.

That’s part of what Wright wrote and said about Farrakhan. The “Lifetime Achievement Award” bestowed on Farrakhan by TUCC’s magazine, run by Mr. Wright’s daughter, quotes Wright further:

“When Minister Farrakhan speaks, Black America listens,” says the Rev. Dr. Jeremiah A. Wright, likening the Minister’s influence to the E. F. Hutton commercials of old. “Everybody may not agree with him, but they listen…His depth on analysis when it comes to the racial ills of this nation is astounding and eye opening. He brings a perspective that is helpful and honest.

“Minister Farrakhan will be remembered as one of the 20th and 21st century giants of the African American religious experience,” continues Wright. “His integrity and honesty have secured him a place in history as one of the nation’s most powerful critics. His love for Africa and African American people has made him an unforgettable force, a catalyst for change and a religious leader who is sincere about his faith and his purpose.”

The accompanying video shown at the award’s gala dinner (taken offline now) referred to Farrakhan as “misunderstood.” But Wright is flat-out lying in claiming that Farrakhan’s anti-Semitic remarks were 20 years ago. Moyers either did not know that or did not want to bother calling Wright on it.

Moyers then tosses in another whiffleball:

BILL MOYERS: What does it say to you that millions Americans, according to polls, still think Barack Obama is a Muslim?

Obviously, it says that there are misinformed people in America, though this is one of the few points in the program where Moyers is not helping Wright misinform his viewers.

The wind-up question?

BILL MOYERS: Our denomination, the United Church of Christ has called for a sacred conversation on race in America. What are the steps that you think from all of your experience can be taken to move race relations forward?

That “sacred conversation” is the UCC’s effort at playing the race card to dodge the criticism Wright has brought on the denomination through his stewardship of the Trinity UCC in Chicago — a point acknowledged by some UCC members. That Moyers does not acknowledge it as such makes his prior disclosure one of his few valuable contibutions to the set piece.

As pw favorite happyfeet correctly predicted:

[T]his has nothing to do with Wright saying anything at all but just an opportunity for Moyers and Wright to speak in calm really quite reasonable and respectful tones and generate some clips for fellow travelers to disseminate. Duh.

The whiffleballs Moyers tosssed to Wright bear that out, especially when compared with how Moyers wanted John McCain grilled about the theology of John Hagee last month. Ironically, even some Democratic consultants think Wright’s current media blitz is ill-timed, reviving a story damaging to Obama just as it was dying out again.

Thus, Moyers proves himself more hack than flack. Maybe next week, Moyers can have Bill Ayers explain how he was never convicted for the Weather Underground bombings. “Convicted? No, never convicted.”

****
update: additional thoughts courtesy Jeff, here.

Update x2: Insta-lanche!

Posted by Karl @ 7:00am
161 comments | Trackback

Comments (161)

  1. …and yes, I am (to paraphrase a Wright sermon) “sick of this sh*t.” But that is likely part of the plan, too.

  2. TUCC doesnt have an alter. it has a stage.

  3. Rev. Jeremiah Wright is a productive American, obviously. He served his country and paid his taxes. Professionally he presided over a Christian congregation of over 8,000 strong on the Southside of Chicago. By every indication his community benefited from his life’s works.

    God bless Jeremiah Wright, I wish him well in life and happiness in retirement.

    I, like Gov. Mike Huckabee, like Sen. John McCain, see no reason to be anything other than respectful to Rev. Jeremiah Wright.

  4. It should be clear now that Chicago-an “Black Liberation Theology” is Farrakhan’s most credible disguise so far for American Islam.

    Even the Wahabbi’s know that if they keep the cutting edge of the executioner’s sword sharp, the Dhimmis won’t feel it parsing their skin – until it’s too late. Black Liberation Theology has been carefully crafted to serve as the stealthy, honed edge of Farrakhan’s scalpel.

    OT, but remember the “protests” in Florida’s Broward and Palm Beach counties after election 2000? Did anyone notice the same, stocky, Arab-looking man rooting-on and cheerleading the illiterate, “disenfranchised” Floridans. He appeared in front of every “Count Every Vote” protest that I saw on C-Span.

    I wonder if that Arafat-esque rabble-rouser isn’t a devoted member of Obama’s Church, too. Seems likely…

  5. First we had Mona getting dingleberried by the gleens. Then we had Baracky Husseini Obama being jocksniffed by Excited Andy. Now we have Wright being deep throated by Moyers. Ugh.

  6. - Did anyone really think that the contingent of Black American society that “clings” to its race card advantage was going to go away quietly?

    – The encouraging thing to take from all of this, is that even though the average Black American is not above playing both sides of the street to their advantage, they continue to vote for Obama en masse, which says they will go along with the Wrights on the surface, but do not really share the views of the race baiting victimhood group.

    – Bill Cosby understands the struggle. Thats why the Sharptons, Jacksons, and Wrights see him as pissing in their political cornflakes, and why the good Rev Wright can recklessly throw an Obama, or a Rice, under the bus with happy abandon.

  7. I used to live downstairs from an FOI. He came from a shattered home, his brother was in jail, and the Nation of Islam was just about the only thing that gave his life form and purpose. Rev. Wright fables not, in regards to the NOI salvaging young black men. It’s up to the church to show them a better way, rather than merely warn about the dangers of racial fanaticism.

    And Herman, if you’re reading, you can keep that fifty bucks you owe me. Just give it to someone else in need, if you find yourself in an opportunity to help someone.

  8. More Rev Wright, please. Hold the Moyers, though.

  9. Rev. Wright fables not, in regards to the NOI salvaging young black men.

    Very true. Unfortunately, Farrakhan wraps the teaching of self-respect, self reliance and personal in the same old racist, victimization theology. “You need to be a man and take care of your business” is an excellent message. Adding “…because Whitey and the Jews are gonna keep you down if you don’t” is problematic.

  10. Whiffleball? I felt like I was watching soft biracial gay porn.

  11. Was anyone surprised by Moyers’ questions? It’s not as though he hadn’t been in the tank before.

  12. “Because not just anybody can summarize the news” – wow, what an elitist tagline. What exactly is your credentials that give you the right, but not others, of spewing your opinions into the public space? Looking at your “About me” page, I guess it’s your creative writing degrees – fair enough, keep writing this short fiction.

    I completely disagree with your opinion here. I’m hardly a supporter of Wright, but after watching the disgusting deluge of manipulated snippets and soundbites of his sermons, I found Moyers interview and Mr. Wright’s responses to be surprisingly intelligent, inspiring, and just. I doubt it will change much, as most of us have proven ourselves to be an unthinking, uncaring mass of judgements. Try to consider the black experience in America, try to understand why blacks still carry around resentment. Try to realize that in most places in this country, blacks are still feared and distrusted and kept “in their place”.

    Why didn’t you mention any of the good works Rev. Wright’s ministry is doing for the Chicago southside community? Why does it disturb whites, who have every advantage in a country founded by whites, when minorities put effort into trying to help and lift up their own? If they don’t, they’re considered lazy. If they do, they’re considered racist. They just can’t win.

  13. Moreover, TUCC defenders invoke the same defense, claiming the church espouses self-reliance, etc.

  14. Bill Malley is begging for some Godwin. Just sayin’.

  15. Bill Malley is not defending Wright. But he wants to know why I’m not.

  16. Left out of the initial post: In Black Theology and Black Power, Cone wrote, “Theologically, Malcolm X was not far wrong when he called the white man ‘the devil.’” Why would that disturb whites? Or anyone else, for that matter?

  17. - Its called, “looking at the bright side”. I don’t blame him. The Wrights of Black society underpin their racism with just enough community good works to stay barely inside the line. Something that mimics the Hamas templet, but does it in a country where its works because of the civility.

  18. Not to mention that Malley has me confused with Jeff. It’s that level of attention being paid to the Wright stuff, no doubt.

  19. Bill Malley: MANIPULATED SOUNDBITES? How were they manipulated? Did someone isolate individual words and cobble together phrases like, “God Damn America” and “Chickens Coming Home To Roost?” I don’t care if Jeremiah Wright spent the rest of his time singing patriotic ballads, the statements he made are alarming, incendiary, and racist.

    And you clearly don’t get the sub-title of this blog.

    Get a clue, and a sense of humor.

  20. “Mr. Wright’s responses to be surprisingly intelligent, inspiring, and just

  21. “Because not just anybody can summarize the news” – wow, what an elitist tagline….most of us have proven ourselves to be an unthinking, uncaring mass of judgements.

    Before I answer the rest of your questions, I need to know whether you’re an unthinking mass or an elitist. Otherwise, the irony freezes me up.

  22. …after watching the disgusting deluge of manipulated snippets and soundbites of his sermons…

    Can someone give me just one example of how a specific soundbite was taken out of context and its meaning twisted?

  23. Why does it disturb whites, who have every advantage in a country founded by whites, when minorities put effort into trying to help and lift up their own?

    I’m not disturbed by it, I insist on it.

    If they don’t, they’re considered lazy.

    Yes.

    If they do, they’re considered racist.

    No. If they do, they’re considered honorable. They earn self respect and respect of others. The only time they’re considered racist is when they behave like racists.

  24. RH Potfry,

    You should care if he spent the rest of his time singing patriotic songs. It would be strong evidence that the other statemetns were allegorical or that there was some greater contect which had been artfully removed.

    The fact, though, that the obvious counter attack has not been made, the release of similar collections of sermon highlights that instead illustrate his patriotism and racial tollerance–singing those patriotic ballads–is what is, or should be, instructive.

    Instead we are treated to Bill Moyers puff pieces becasue it’s the most effective response they have.

  25. Why does it disturb whites, who have every advantage in a country founded by whites, when minorities put effort into trying to help and lift up their own? If they don’t, they’re considered lazy. If they do, they’re considered racist.

    False dilmena.

    The most certrainly can put every effort into lift up their own without trying to tear down others. That’s what’ll get anyone considered racist.

  26. - You can’t be an effective “victim” without a good old fashioned “Devil”. Elementary activism 101.

  27. The press, particularly ABC and Fox, have been very irresponsible regarding Reverend Wright. He has been used as a tool to smear Obama with the association; I think the apt label would be “Racial McCarthyism”. The reports about Wright have been extremely shallow — mostly just the playing and re-playing of two or three sound bytes over and over without any context. Yes, this is what passes for journalism in the United States these days! How can anybody defend this? Therefore, for Protein Wisdom to criticize Moyers as shallow? Come on now! You might not like Reverend Wright, but you can’t credibly criticize Moyers as “shallow” for providing a more in-depth, holistic look. After all, what had previously been presented by the MSM can only be labeled as caricature.

    Thank you for your forum! May you and yours be well.

  28. Methinks we will never see Willie Malley round these parts again. Arrogant plouftters like that never bother to defend their temper tantrums. Usually the throw in the “i was a lifelong Republican until Bush, or the racist attacks on Obama”.

  29. The “chickens have come home to roost” phrase was NOT Wright’s but a quote he was making from a FORMER AMBASSADOR, a WHITE man.

    Enoch Root, TUCC does too have an altar (and “altar” is spelled with an A); you can see it clearly in the videos. But like many churches in the mainline Protestant / preaching church tradition, it has a centrally located pulpit that is higher than the altar (check out your local white Presbyterian or UCC church built any time from 1620 to 1960); and like any other megachurch it has a “stage” type configuration which enhances the sight lines for the very, very large congregation.

  30. - Glad to have given you the opportunity to spread your apologist talking points. Hurry back soon. One thing though. If someone calls you a racist because you choose not to vote for Obama. we’d like to defend you but you’ve made that impossible with your clearly thought out arguments. Sorry. Have a bice day.

  31. Jackoff Foster – You didn’t bother to read any of Karl’s writings on Wright before posting that pablum, did you? I keep hearing the Barackys say that this is all being taken out of context, but they never go any deeper than that and attempt to show the full context. Why? Because it is not taken out of context in the least, you lying fucking crapweasel.

  32. - Whoa. The Obamasmurfs side of the moonbat gaggle must be more worried than usual. They’re out in full force today.

  33. Well, yes, when Farrakhan and the Nation of Islam murdered Malcolm X, Black America listened. It’s why the people of Harlem burned Mosque #7 to the ground three days later.

  34. Hi JD:

    I read this article (because it was linked to RCP), and posted a response. I’m happy to have a conversation with reasonable people, but I’m not sure that you qualify. The context of the Wright sound bytes was much longer sermons. To say that the sound bytes weren’t taken out of context is simply wrong on its face.

  35. - Ok Jack. Parse “God bless America…..no…..not God Bless America….God damn America…. God damn America….it says it right in the bible….”

    – I’ll wait.

  36. I keep hearing the Barackys say that this is all being taken out of context, but they never go any deeper than that and attempt to show the full context.

    And here comes Jack again, to do exactly that. A longer sermon, you see!

    The thing is, once in a while, you’ll get one of them to explain the full context to you. It turns that it’s exactly what you thought it was, only HES ABSOL0UTELY RIGHT!!!

    Context. Nuance.

  37. Here’s your context, Jack. Feel free to explain how it’s something other than what it’s been portrayed as.

    We took this country by terror away from the Sioux, the Apache, the Aroawak, the Comanche, the Arapaho, the Navajo. Terrorism! We took Africans from their country to build our way of ease and kept them enslaved and living in fear. Terrorism! We bombed Grenada and killed innocent babies, non military personnel. We bombed the black civilian community of Panama with stealth bombers and killed unarmed teenagers and toddlers, pregnant mothers and hard-working fathers. We bombed Gadhaffi’s home and killed his child. Blessed are they who bash your children’s head against a rock! We bombed Iraq. We killed unarmed civilians trying to make a living. We bombed a plant in Sudan to payback for the attack on our embassy. Killed hundreds of hard-working people; mothers and fathers who left home to go that day, not knowing that they would never get back home. We bombed Hiroshima! We bombed Nagasaki, and we nuked far more than the thousands in New York and the Pentagon, and we never batted an eye! Kids playing in the playground, mothers picking up children after school, civilians – not soldiers – people just trying to make it day by day. We have supported state terrorism against the Palestinians and Black South Africans, and now we are indignant??? Because the stuff we have done overseas has now been brought back into our own front yard! America’s chickens are coming home to roost!

    Also, what context was the “White government invented AIDS to create a black genocide” ripped from? Do enlighten us, won’t you?

  38. Jackoff – Just because you act nice, does not make you any less of a shallow liar. Show us how these egregious snippets from Jeremiah Wrights Greatest Hits, the sermons he selected for DVD, were taken out of context. I would love to learn the context for the US government creating AIDS to kill blacks. I would love to know the context for God Damn America. I would love to know how the chickens coming home to roost rant was not blaming 9/11 on the US.

  39. - Its hard to know if these birdbrains are Barakey bobbleheads defending Wright to try to save Obamas ass, or some of the RoboBitches front guard trying to fan the flames with ignoramus arguments that would make a 7 year old blush.

  40. The context of the Wright sound bytes was much longer sermons. To say that the sound bytes weren’t taken out of context is simply wrong on its face.

    You don’t have any idea what “taken out of context” means, do you? Someone told you that was the official response to the Wright statements, so now you are running around, posting it on all the blogs like you know what you are talking about. Makes you feel like a big boy, doesn’t it? Almost grown-up? Kind of cute.

  41. Well, and I don’t agree with it, Rev. Wright was making the point that violence boomerangs. He set the whole thing up in a Biblical framework, of which I don’t agree.

    You asked for the contextual misunderstanding, I’m just re-telling it. Don’t shoot the messenger.

    The snippets unfair? Somewhat, yes. Rev. Wright’s message? Dumb. Real dumb.

  42. Hi Big Bang Hunter and Pablo.

    Hey, right wing preachers have also said that “God will damn America”. Typically their context refers to God damning America for the sins of its citzenry, like Homosexuality. I have not heard the entire Wright sermon. Like most everyone else, I’ve just heard the single phrase. But my understanding is that the sermon was about not reacting violently to the violence of 9-11. The sermon was fundamentally pacifist.

    The first point that I made was about condemning people for their associations: McCarthyism. (“I am not now, nor have I ever been a member of the Communist Party!”) If I were to engage in some McCarthyism, I would note that I was met at this site by somebody, presumably a regular participant, by being called “Jackoff” and a “lying fucking crapweasel”. Now I’m a big boy, and I actually had to smile. But can I now smear the Protein Wisdom site as nothing but a group of anti-intellectualist name-callers?

    cheers,

  43. “Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country.”

    That was totally taken out of context. It was part of a much longer speech! JFK has been so misunderstood.

  44. Typically their context refers to God damning America for the sins of its citzenry, like Homosexuality.

    Yes, and they’re whackjobs too.

  45. Hugh Hewitt had more excerpts from the “Reverands” sermons on last night.

    The man is despicable.

    And he has a neat little habit of having the congreation repeat phrases he just said. “Turn to your neighbor and say ‘The Government Lies’.”

    I’m sure that Baraky turned to his neighbor more than once over the course of twenty years.

  46. So, jackoff. You have not read the speech, yet claim it is being taken out of context, and have relied on the Leftist defenses that it is simply being taken out of context. You are a real intellectual heavyweight there.

  47. Protein wisdom commenters: because not just anybody can have an opinion.

  48. - Violence does boomerang often times thor. A perfectly valid point. But not where it doesn’t apply. And it doesn’t apply to America.

    – Unfortunately for it to apply you have to buy into the whole “hate America first” soft Marxist boondoogle aimed at the easy atmosphere of American politics. In other words, the premise BEHIND the bullshit is wrong to begin with.

    – The old Leftist harangue about American hegemony is something they need to squeeze in as a small skybox in the political stadium so they even can have a voice. Its total bullshit, but it serves the purpose.

    – Is THAT what they want to pass off as “context”. I think so.

  49. Now that I know those nasty, racist, hate America statements of Jeremiah Wright were part of longer sermons I feel so much better. It makes them sound almost unitey instead of divisive with that context.

    Thank you.

  50. - Well it certainly would tend to unite Whites. Not sure thats what they were exactly after though.

  51. Hey, right wing preachers have also said that “God will damn America”. Typically their context refers to God damning America for the sins of its citzenry, like Homosexuality.

    1) If you can find any actual right wing politicians who have sat in that specific right wing church for 20 years, I doubt they will have any supporters here. You probably won’t because…

    2) You are most likely thinking of Fred Phelps, who is a Democrat, and….

    3) How dare you take these theoretical right wingers out of theoretical context!!111!!!!!

  52. - Jeff, you really should put out some Ads for better trolls. This is too easy.

  53. I’m pretty famous for mocking those who believe certain Teletubbies to be gay, and for excoriating those who, for instance, insist Kid Rock should be kept away from the inauguration parties of Presidential daughters.

    Ditto those Christian conservatives and paleocons whose arguments mirror those of the left in structure.

    I have a search function, if you don’t believe me. But if you don’t believe me, let me just say that you are taking this entire comment out of context.

    I said GOOD DAY, sir!

  54. Jack Be Nimble:

    You said: “I have not heard the entire Wright sermon. Like most everyone else, I’ve just heard the single phrase. But my understanding is that the sermon was about not reacting violently to the violence of 9-11. The sermon was fundamentally pacifist.”

    For the love of God, Jack, what in tarnation are you doing debating its content when you haven’t read it? Your “understanding” is not fully informed then, is it?

    Please Jack. Step away from the computer.

  55. - You….you….
    CONTEXTUALIST!!11eleventyonest!!11

  56. Howdy Jeff.

    Hey, how can somebody take an _entire comment_ out of context?

  57. Pingback: Wright or Wrong? And Who Do You Think Wright’s Right? : NO QUARTER

  58. Jack Mehoff – Did you go and read thw sermons yet, or do still presume to make your assertions from a base of sheer unadulterated ignorance?

  59. - The Left knows this is a hopeless battle. But when life gives your cow pies all you can do is make koolaid.

    – This election cycle amusement never ends.

  60. Hi RH:

    It’s fairly clear that the Moyers interview adds texture to Wright. He’s not a one-dimensional character; hey, nobody is. So how is Moyers “shallow” for shining this light? I don’t need to read more of Wright to make this observation.

  61. Jack,

    I have laid out numerous instances where Wright flat out lies about what he believes. Is Moyers presenting a holisitc view, or helping Wright perpetuate a fraud on the gullible?

  62. Oh, I see. Why actually study where Wright is lying? Go and be happy Jack. Ignorance=bliss.

  63. - Pretty “soft” light Jack. More like the camera gauze you’d expect if Lucile Ball was on the set. Or maybe the soft gentle lighting suitable for a Mary Tylor Moore fireside chat.

    – The only light that was shed on anything was that the Left wants desperately to trmporize that lies and rapacious words he mis-spoke and reinvent the “pooh Rev Wright” as a good flag waving patriot, “just so badly, and unfairly, misunderstood”.

    – That should be recognizable to you Jack. Same thing you’re doing. Let me know how that works out for you and your fellow travelers.

  64. Jack – Between the two, who do you think currently holds a lower opinion of America, Reverend Wright or Bill Moyers?

  65. The “chickens have come home to roost” phrase was NOT Wright’s but a quote he was making from a FORMER AMBASSADOR, a WHITE man.

    You know who else is white? Medea Benjamin, Bill Ayers, and former US Attorney General Ramsey Clark.

  66. Sorry man. I missed the lies. 20 years? So what. I know that people here don’t want to allow Wright to offer a defense. Hey, judgement is easier without letting somebody express their point of view. And I think it is fair to judge Wright as a racist. Hey, we’re all a bit racist! But is that all he is? He’s _just_ a racist? No. He’s done great things for the poor, and the black community within which he lives. But it doesn’t help your cause to humanize him, does it?

    I think your points are fair. Let’s debate Black Liberation Theology. Hey, it’s a new philosophy to me. But I wonder if people really care about Black Liberation Theology.

    First and foremost, this debate is about smearing Barack Obama.

  67. Karl:Go and be happy Jack.

    Happy Jack isn’t smart, but he’s full of spite
    His head in the sand at the lies of Wright
    The kids would all laugh at his posts content-free
    And they rolled on the floor at his gullibility.

    The kids couldn’t tell Jack
    They tried, tried, tried
    They dropped clues on his back
    He lied, lied, lied, lied, lied.

    But they couldn’t stop Jack, or his line of crap.
    And they couldn’t prevent Jack from running his yap.

  68. Howdy Jeff.

    Hey, how can somebody take an _entire comment_ out of context?

    By not understanding intertextuality, intratextuality, ironic markers (for such things as situational irony), reprises, tone, voice, or the separation of “Jeff G” the commenter and blog editor from Jeff G the historical personage sitting here sniggering in his underpants.

    To name just a few ways.

    One point being (which I hadn’t even thought about until just now, busy as I am on the side editing some video) that it is just as easy to take an _entire comment_ out of context as it is snippets if in fact what we don’t concentrate on is intent (rather than on the potential ways things can be read when chopped up and prepared for sound bites).

    — Which argument, as the regulars here will recognize, just reinforces my genius!

  69. RTO – Those patriotic songs you mentioned Rev. Wright singing earlier, which country(ies) might they be from? We know he has a fondness Libya. Do Hamas and Hezbollah have anthems?

  70. How about Camptown Races?

  71. Comment by Jack Foster on 4/26 @ 10:56 am #

    Howdy Jeff.

    Hey, how can somebody take an _entire comment_ out of context?

    Jack, I can’t speak for Jeff, but I’m going to answer thusly – by not putting an entire comment into the author’s original intended context.

    I just had a flashback to the powerful feeling I get when watching a fish desperately flop right before I step on its head to take the hook out.

  72. - “Do Hamas and Hezbollah have anthems?

    – They haven’t gotten around to writing anthems yet. They’re still learning to play the AK-47.

  73. Daley,
    Someone had to finance Wright’s lavish, new digs on the links.

    You gotta sup’ to dine, I always say.

  74. “….– Which argument, as the regulars here will recognize, just reinforces my genius!

    – Actually it reinforces his genius for being a poopie-head, and scamming us all these years with promises concerning a certain brass balled ‘dillo that finds endless ways to avoid dancing for his drugs and drink.

  75. Karl

    Another excellent analysis. If the Obamessiah acolytes “commenting” here keep complaining about “taken out of context”, you might direct them to Hugh Hewitt’s extensive audio clips of the :::cough::: sermons in question.

    I especially like (as in giggle worthy) Wright’s continued interchanging “Roman” and “Italian” when talking about the occupiers of Israel during Jesus’ time.

  76. Jack,
    “Who cares about Black Liberation Theology?”

    Gosh, I do. If a man running for president spent twenty years listening to virulent racist demagogue, and kept coming back for more, I would say that man cannot represent me.

    Is that a hard concept for you, that I would not vote for a racist?

    And is racism irrelevant to *you*?

  77. Jack

    Here is the context of “God damn America” with the added bonus of Wright calling Dr. Rice “Condaskeeza”.

    This is no sermon it is political rabble rousing.

  78. - I keep looking for that part in the bible about “rich White folk inventing AIDS to destroy the Black race”, but it just doesn’t seem to be there.

    – Maybe its writen in the same color ink, and in the same mysterious language as the “living document” section of the Constitution that Marxocrat numbskulls claim talks about “right to murder babies”.

    – Really strange its so hard to find.

  79. Pingback: On "smears," McCarthyism, Barry O, and Black Liberation Theology

  80. Funny how Progressives call it THEOCRACY when religion and politics mix yet when Progressives their politics with religious they call everyone a RACIST for not supporting The Messiah.

    As for Rev Wright “He’s done great things for the poor, and the black community within which he lives” after thirty plus yers of preaching Southside Chicago remains to this day a gangland misery of death, destruction and decay.

  81. er that’s ‘when Progressives mix their politics with religion they call everyopne a RACIST for not supporting The Messiah”

  82. 2005… $5,000

    2006… $22,500

    2007… $26,270

    No matter how religious they may or may not be, people are tired of seeing faith used as a tool of attack. They don’t want faith used to belittle or to divide. They’re tired of hearing folks deliver more screed than sermon. Because in the end, that’s not how they think about faith in their own lives. – Baracky

    Condoskeeza

    The government lied about inventing the HIV virus as a means of genocide against people of color.

    And we nuked far more than the thousands in New York and the Pentagon and we never batted an eye.

    We have supported state terrorism against the Palestinians…

    No! No No! God Damn America!

  83. Oh. Condaskeeza. Sorry.

  84. The “chickens have come home to roost” phrase was NOT Wright’s but a quote he was making from a FORMER AMBASSADOR, a WHITE man.

    and he was quoting it because he didn’t agree with it?

  85. I was going to answer some of the Obama supporters’ questions here, but what the hell: I figured I’d just turn it into a new post.

  86. - You’re taking it all out of context maggie. This is about KITTENS!

  87. -“….I figured I’d just turn it into a new post.”

    – Ok….ok…..jesus…. nag nag nag…..

  88. Pingback: Why so quiet? (Scripting News)

  89. more about the “quoted” ambassador.

  90. To whomever said that the “chickens coming home to roost” line wasn’t said by Wright – sorry, it was. Here it is (in CONTEXT!)

    “We took this country by terror away from the Sioux, the Apache, the Aroawak, the Comanche, the Arapaho, the Navajo. Terrorism! We took Africans from their country to build our way of ease and kept them enslaved and living in fear. Terrorism! We bombed Grenada and killed innocent babies, non military personnel. We bombed the black civilian community of Panama with stealth bombers and killed unarmed teenagers and toddlers, pregnant mothers and hard-working fathers. We bombed Gadhaffi’s home and killed his child. Blessed are they who bash your children’s head against a rock! We bombed Iraq. We killed unarmed civilians trying to make a living. We bombed a plant in Sudan to payback for the attack on our embassy. Killed hundreds of hard-working people; mothers and fathers who left home to go that day, not knowing that they would never get back home. We bombed Hiroshima! We bombed Nagasaki, and we nuked far more than the thousands in New York and the Pentagon, and we never batted an eye! Kids playing in the playground, mothers picking up children after school, civilians – not soldiers – people just trying to make it day by day. We have supported state terrorism against the Palestinians and Black South Africans, and now we are indignant??? Because the stuff we have done overseas has now been brought back into our own front yard! America’s chickens are coming home to roost!”

  91. And he forgot the Iroquois, and the Hurons, and the MicMac, amongst others! That’s TRIBALISM!!!!

  92. I realize this is probably taking “n _entire comment_ out of context,” but to me this just seems somehow, I don’t know…”twisted”

    “Jeff G the historical personage sitting here sniggering in his underpants”

  93. And what is even more amusing in an absurd way, is that Andrew Jackson was responsible for moving the Cherokee out of their lands, in defiance of the US Supreme Court. And the Democrats hold Jefferson-Jackson Day dinners, while the Republicans hold Lincoln Day and Eisenhower Day dinners.

    The absurdity, it is wonderful to behold, yes?

  94. “Jeff G the historical personage sitting here sniggering in his underpants”

    I think Dave Barry has the trademark on that; Jeff ought to be careful.

  95. Well, they aren’t so much underpants as athletic sliding shorts with protective cup.

    You never know when some nutcase from British Columbia might show up and try for a double leg take down followed by a knee bar.

  96. I wasn’t planning on commenting, but Jeff’s later post made me want to point out what I see as flaws in Karl’s piece.

    “”This disclosure by Moyers (who it turns out had met Wright, while working for LBJ) is perhaps the only moment of journalistic integrity in the program as this bias turns out to be relevant at the end of the “interview.” The program went entirely downhill from there, either because Moyers failed to do much research beforehand, or did the research and decided to hide it from his viewers.””

    I think several characterizations here are disingenuous. First, to say Moyers had “met” Wright is a bit of an overstatement. He was an assistant working on LBJ’s heart, of which there were many. Unless you think Moyers knows them all by name, saying they’ve “met” is overreaching in a big way.

    Second, I don’t think Moyers joined UCC after the Wright ordeal, so I imagine the disclosure is designed to show his motive to understand how someone in his own denomination could say such things. If anything, I think it would give him a motive to genuinely get to the heart of what Wright sees over anything else.

    “”Thus, Moyers allowed Wright to deny that the “unashamedly black and unapologetically Christian” TUCC embraces a race-based theology
    Unless you can point to me where he denied a race-based theology, I think you may have overreached for that assertion. I think agreeing the liberation theology being about “people who have been oppressed” allows for an interpretation through blackness, and he didn’t deny that. However, acknowledging race shouldn’t be equated with being a race based church, as might be evidenced in the members of several other races in Trinity.””

    All of which nicely sets up Wright’s spin on his “G-d Damn America” sermon following the 9/11 attacks
    What? A dangling assertion without any evidence as to why his 9-11 attacks weren’t spin? And why is an out of context snippet considered truth and putting it in context equals spin? Unless you’ve seen preachers preach full sermons ninety seconds at a time, I’d be wary of arguing for the veracity of the snippets.

    “”If Moyers had any journalistic integrity he might have gone beyond a bumper-sticker understanding of Black Liberation Theology and asked about the underlying Marxist frame work of liberation theologies in general. Given Wright’s denial of a race based-theology, he might have confronted him with material from the man whom Wright acknowledges as the person who systematized it:””

    You’re mixing what you’re trying to prove in the quote: leftism and race-based theology. As far as I can see, the subsequent quote has no reference to leftism though it does have race-based elements.

    “”That Moyers equates Black Liberation Theology with the Jewish story also reveals his shallowness or duplicity. As I have previously noted:””

    Unless you have acquired the sole ability to interpret the Bible for all, that you have a different interpretation of what should be emphasized in the Bible does not make Moyers or Wright “shallow and duplicitous.” There is no single, correct interpretation of any scripture, and to imply that people are evil who interpret it differently has been a key theme in human violence for centuries.

    I should note, you make a good point citing Landes argument. However, that one scholar argues against the identical-ness of the present African American prophetic tradition and the traditional prophetic tradition isn’t to say that the former didn’t emerge from the latter and show several similar qualities. Additionally, Wright’s sermons do emphasize the changing of its own congregation, as Jeff criticizes later with the Black Value System and other programs. In fact, I would question whether or not Landes has even heard the whole sermon in context, because Wright constantly, through ministry and rhetoric, attempts to change his own congregation. That’s why he talks about education of the members and getting kids into more hopeful positions and out of gang banger positions.

    “”The two then segue into the bogus claim that Wright was being quoted out of context in the video clips on TV and the Internet. This was what PBS rolled out as the teaser, so I will only add that this part of the “interview,” is all the more shameless in context, given that the two have just been ripping the Exodus and the prophetic tradition completely out of context.””

    I don’t think that it follows that the snippets of Rev. Wright’s sermons should be considered truth while the context of his sermon be considered backpedaling. That’s a pretty dubious claim to make.

    I would concede that Liberation theology does take a disproportional view on Liberation, but no one is defaming the Bible based on the out of context Liberation theology, as would be analogous in your argument with Wright’s clips and his personality here.

    “”Next, Moyers tries to generate some sympathy for Wright by asking about alleged threats made against Wright and TUCC, followed by questions about the blues. Great questions. Compelling, and rich.””

    This is where I think you start to show your bias, working from the conclusion of making a soft interview and then finding support to justify it. Unless you believe that the threats and the blues aren’t part of what makes Jeremiah Wright who he is, than I would be wary of discounting discussion on it.

    “”I would add that Wright’s characterization is essentially false, given that Black Liberation Theology — and liberation theology generally — is at its core a religious casting of Leftist political activism, and that this is precisely what appealed to Obama about Wright and TUCC.””

    My problem with this is the following: community organizing instead of individual attainment and helping the poor instead of helping yourself, are leftist values… thus by definition that majority of churches in America are leftist. At the very least they are in majority altruistic, which puts in to place far more programs that favor the ideology of the left than the individual responsibility doctrine of the right. Thus, I think your point may be correct, but I find its significance disputable.

    “”[T]his has nothing to do with Wright saying anything at all but just an opportunity for Moyers and Wright to speak in calm really quite reasonable and respectful tones and generate some clips for fellow travelers to disseminate. Duh.”””

    This is another example of bias in the piece (since it wholeheartedly agrees with this quotation), because the subtext of the quotation says “yeah, the media’s just trying to show us Rev. Wright exists as a human being outside the 30 seconds worth of clips we’ve seen of him. What kinda magic show are they trying to pull? We know he’s a crazy lunatic. Why else would he speak calmly unless it was staged?” Quite frankly, I think it’s insulting to Rev. Wright to imply that he can’t speak reasonably and respectfully.

  97. Pathetic….absolutely pathetic that such a large portion of ‘so called Americans’ actually defend any of this nonsense. Blind patriotism is a result of innocense for the most part, but deliberate rank hatred for your country, its government and the majority of its citizens is a result of corruption at levels of evil that are equal to Osama Bin Laden and Hitler. Both of those evil animals practiced and preached the same rank hatred, taking advantage of innocent blind patriots to feed their own meglomania. Mankind will never overcome this evil as long as we continue to try and ‘understand’ evil, rather than eradicate evil. We cannot eradicate evil by ‘understanding’ it. Evil is eradicating innocense, children are the last innocents and even they are being told to ‘understand’ evil rather than eradicate and condemn it. Obama speaks of hope and change but is he hoping he stops influencing adults, children and blacks to hate their country, its government and its citizens with whom they disagree with? Does Obama want to change this pattern that even America, the greatest nation in history, has fallen victim too? No, Obama wants to ‘change’ the fact that America, being the greatest nation mankind has ever created, is the last ‘hope’ for mankind.

  98. The context of “God Damn America?”

    The Sunday following 11 September 2001.

  99. “Well, they aren’t so much underpants as athletic sliding shorts with protective cup”

    Well, that clarifies things! Teh snigger did seem to echo…

  100. Context?

    I got your context right here!

    http://hughhewitt.townhall.com/blog

    Rev. Wright is despicable.

  101. In response to Comment # 22: “Can someone give me just one example of how a specific soundbite was taken out of context and its meaning twisted?” I can do better than give one example. EVERY soundbite is by its definition and structure “taken out of context”. This is so because a soundbite is a small piece of the larger whole. Thus, by lifting it from the entirety, it is taken by that act “out of context”.

  102. *sigh* well, Marcel, then this is where you provide the larger whole that changes the meaning. otherwise, how is it “twisted”? and why is “out of context” a bad thing?

  103. Dave.

    Brevity is the soul of twit.

  104. David Wynn’s points, in turn:

    1. Moyers says they crossed paths and shows a picture of himself standing right behind Wright. They met, though my post obviously does not turn on that.

    2. The import of Moyers being a UCC member has nothing to do with when he joined. It has to do with TUCC being the largest UCC church and UCC’s ongoing damage contol effort. It’s like Pat Robertson saying something stupid, then getting interviewed on The 700 Club about it.

    3. Where does Wright deny a race-based theology? Right here:

    BILL MOYERS: So, when Trinity Church says it is unashamedly black and unapologetically Christian, is it embracing a race-based theology?

    REVEREND WRIGHT: No, it is not.

    That there may be non-black members of Trinity is attributable to BLT’s varying conceptions of “blackness.” I explain that in a very long post on BLT linked above. You might try reading the Moyers interview and the essay before accusing me of overeaching.

    4. The comments in the 9/11 sermon are no better in context. I provided a link for that, which you again do not acknowledge. But here’s another one for you to ignore.

    5. The Exodus story. I wrote: “However, the point of the Exodus was not only liberation from slavery under Pharaoh, but also service and obedience to God.” If you think reading the second part out is in any way a faithful (no pun intended) reading of Exodus, I doubt I could convince you otherwise.

    6. The prophetic voice — largely the same response as #5. BLT — like liberation theology generally — is all about inverting the general principles of Christianity (and sometimes Judaism), while retaining just enough of the veneer to fool the gullible. That the French Revolution had some of the features of the American Revolution does not mean I should think the former just peachy, just because I favor the latter.

    As for Wright’s good works, as pointed out many other places, one could say the same thing about Farrakhan and NoI. I do not subscribe to the view that indoctrinating blacks to hate white society is necessary to improve their lives. YMMV.

    7. The threats under discussion occurred in the last month or so. I don’t think they are responsible for what he preached for the prior 20 years.

    8. The fusion of religion and Marxism is the core of liberation theology. BLT adds in an extra layer through Karl Barth. It goes far beyond the general religious concern for the poor. My essay on BLT quotes Pope Bendict XVI (then-Cardinal Ratzinger)on this, and links to his paper on it.

    9. The tone is of course part of a piece in Which Moyers actively or passively helps Wright lie repeatedly about BLT, Farrakhan, etc. Of course, Wright doesn’t walk around shouting when he’s not preaching. Why anyone would find that rehabilitating is beyond me, given it’s the content of his sermons that are at issue.

  105. I’d still look out for Mr. Barry’s attorneys, Jeff. No matter what you wear around the nether regions, a legal pit-bull is to be feared.

    And what one could do to the virtual rugs here isn’t to be contemplated!

  106. @91: Hate to say it, but the initial reference is further back in the sermon, where he noted that an ambassador, “a white man” (make of it what you will, echoed Malcolm X saying the chickens were coming home to roost. The clip is in the relevant section on Moyers’ site. It’s not a direct quote, it’s a call back. Personally, I don’t see as much of a problem with this one as with the other statement of his that gets played over and over.

    @98: Life does not come in flavors of good and evil, and I think people are capable of understanding that if they take a minute to calm down and think about the situation. Those were some pretty inflammatory comments by Rev. Wright, what might he have meant? It seems in the time I’ve read and listened to all the coverage of it, people could’ve watched the sermon 100 times over. I do agree with another commenter that I’d like to see the whole thing, but I also think the extended videos on the Moyers website provides enough context to show why each particular phrase was used.

  107. So he was quoting a white ambassador, Dave. Was that in approval, or disapproval? I say the context of the remarks is that he approved of the quote. You now show me where it was that the he was disapproving the quote.

    People are quoted for effect in a paper or a speech – what was the intent of the quote? Approval or disapproval?

  108. Pingback: Getting to Know Him [Dan Collins]

  109. Pingback: Where did all of the sh*t talkers go? « The Sable Verity

  110. and, um, if you look at my link @#90, you’ll see that it’s questionable whether Ambassador Peck was actually on FNC the day before Wright’s sermon.

  111. Karl, first, I wanted to thank you for engaging me. I have a lot of respect for authors who actively defend their work.
    Now, to the response…

    1. Moyers says they crossed paths and shows a picture of himself standing right behind Wright. They met, though my post obviously does not turn on that.

    True, perhaps I misread your statement as suggesting they because they had a prior relationship that it undermined the authenticity of the interview. I think such a casual relationship, if even qualifying for that status would do nothing of the sort to the interview.

    2. The import of Moyers being a UCC member has nothing to do with when he joined. It has to do with TUCC being the largest UCC church and UCC’s ongoing damage contol effort. It’s like Pat Robertson saying something stupid, then getting interviewed on The 700 Club about it.

    That could be, but you didn’t mention anything about the UCC pulling the strings behind the Moyers interview, via evidence or allegation. Personally, I thought the disclosure gave motive to Moyers, indicating that he had an interest in trying to get at the heart of this person who said inflammatory things but yet still shares a part of his identity.

    3. Where does Wright deny a race-based theology? Right here:
    BILL MOYERS: So, when Trinity Church says it is unashamedly black and unapologetically Christian, is it embracing a race-based theology?
    REVEREND WRIGHT: No, it is not.
    That there may be non-black members of Trinity is attributable to BLT’s varying conceptions of “blackness.” I explain that in a very long post on BLT linked above. You might try reading the Moyers interview and the essay before accusing me of overeaching.

    Zing. Got me. I didn’t read close enough. :-\

    4. The comments in the 9/11 sermon are no better in context. I provided a link for that, which you again do not acknowledge. But here’s another one for you to ignore.

    I’ll pose another question then, since apparently I did miss your link the first time through. My understanding of “context” is that Wright was starting to sense a turn in the American discourse from “why do they hate us” to “let’s go get the bad guys” with an alarming degree of indiscretion in determining who the bad guys actually were. As such, he sought to show that America has done bad things in the past. He did it in a very shocking way, one that didn’t even resonate with all the members of his church (as you might see in the video clips). As such I have to ask, is it wrong to criticize America for her injustices? When he does so, he immediately follows the accusation with “for killing innocent people… for treating her citizens as less than human… for as long as she acts like God and thinks she is supreme.” To my ears, I hear a critique on the forgetfulness of America to forget her atrocities, and references to some of the bad things she’s done. Is that content really the problem?

    5. The Exodus story. I wrote: “However, the point of the Exodus was not only liberation from slavery under Pharaoh, but also service and obedience to God.” If you think reading the second part out is in any way a faithful (no pun intended) reading of Exodus, I doubt I could convince you otherwise.

    If you’re going to accuse all others who read the Bible differently from yourself as “unfaithful” then I doubt there is much I can say to convince you otherwise either.

    6. The prophetic voice — largely the same response as #5. BLT — like liberation theology generally — is all about inverting the general principles of Christianity (and sometimes Judaism), while retaining just enough of the veneer to fool the gullible. That the French Revolution had some of the features of the American Revolution does not mean I should think the former just peachy, just because I favor the latter.
    As for Wright’s good works, as pointed out many other places, one could say the same thing about Farrakhan and NoI. I do not subscribe to the view that indoctrinating blacks to hate white society is necessary to improve their lives. YMMV.

    First, I mentioned this elsewhere, I am a first-time reader, so I’m sorry for having not read your other stuff first.

    However, I’ll state again, if you believe that there is a firm set of “general principles of Christianity” and don’t specify what they are, this can lead to a justification for vilifying any beliefs that are different from yours. I think Liberation Theology is another flavor of Christianity. It’s not mainstream, but to try to deny it’s Christian-ness is to deny its affirmation of Jesus, commitment to the poor, and the connection to the Divine it facilitates for its members. Granted, it’s not fair to ask you to make a religious proof in one article, so I’ll suffice to express a contrasting opinion.

    7. The threats under discussion occurred in the last month or so. I don’t think they are responsible for what he preached for the prior 20 years.

    True. But I think the interview had a broader scope than simply “Why did Wright say those things we’ve all heard?”

    8. The fusion of religion and Marxism is the core of liberation theology. BLT adds in an extra layer through Karl Barth. It goes far beyond the general religious concern for the poor. My essay on BLT quotes Pope Bendict XVI (then-Cardinal Ratzinger)on this, and links to his paper on it.

    Hmm…. I can can see the proletariat parallels… ok I’ll bite for now. This question really gets into the purpose of religion, because depending on your viewpoint religion doesn’t have to offer a rational political system in case it ever does become the world mainstream. However, I’ll have to read up on it more.

    9. The tone is of course part of a piece in Which Moyers actively or passively helps Wright lie repeatedly about BLT, Farrakhan, etc. Of course, Wright doesn’t walk around shouting when he’s not preaching. Why anyone would find that rehabilitating is beyond me, given it’s the content of his sermons that are at issue.

    I’m not sure I ever saw a about LT in the piece, even given your Marxist connection. I do agree that he messed up on the Farrakhan comments though.

    However, the reason people might like to see another side of Wright is because I would argue the attack against him isn’t really about the content of the sermons at all. If it was, we’d hear much more than sound bytes in the news. We’d hear people quoting multiple sermons, linking different ideas together into a mesh wider worldviews that would create a web of problems in terms of perspective for a presidential candidate to be exposed to for years. Instead, we see a characterization of a man in the 3-5 minutes (or as little as 10 seconds) of the sermons he’d given which were already characterized as some of his most controversial. I think there are valid intellectual critiques against LT, but yours is the first place where I’ve heard that at issue in terms of Rev. Wright, and I consider myself a fairly in touch person. So I don’t think it’s really touched the minds of Americans at all, and just plain isn’t what’s “at issue.”

    I think what’s “at issue” is best summed up by Wright himself:
    “I think they wanted to communicate that I am- unpatriotic, that I am un-American, that I am filled with hate speech, that I have a cult at Trinity United Church of Christ. And, by the way, guess who goes to his church, hint, hint, hint?”
    Isn’t that the message that’s been echoed about Wright for weeks and thus “at issue” for most American’s when they hear the name Jeremiah Wright?

  112. David Wynn,

    I’m not suggesting the UCC is pulling the strings on the interview. I am suggesting that Moyers — as a UCC member — could very well have a bias toward rehabbing Wright, along the same lines that the UCC is attempting. Not a conspiracy, but shared self-interest. As I wrote, the fact that he disclosed that potential bias was one of the better things about the interview.

    You wrote:

    As such I have to ask, is it wrong to criticize America for her injustices?

    I suspect this is the likely crux of our disagreement. The vast majority of Americans’ reaction to 9/11 was not to go off on the blame America first, “Why do they hate us?” schtick. It was Wright’s reaction because that was his worldview before 9/11. Nor is this sermon an isolated example of it. The sermon that Obama identified as bringing him into TUCC involved Wright going off on the Hiroshima bombing. It is the standard Leftist view that America is held to a standard of perfection, while the rest of the world is to be excused, because it’s their culture, it’s the fault of imperialism, and so on. Whether you agree or disagree with that worldview, voters have every right to ask about the influence such a spiritual adviser has on a presidential candidate. Moyers, by not asking those questions and going along with the idea that Wright is being taken out of context, disserved the public.

    As for asking “Why did Wright say those things we’ve all heard?”, if your point is that we must understand how oppressed and ill-treated he has been as a black man in America, I could point to his biography, but will leave it at noting that there are many, many blacks who do not think and behave as Wright does.

    Conversely, Wright continually condemns the US for injustices — real, sometimes exaggerated and occasionally imagined — throughout its history. I suppose I could blame all of those injustices on the religious persecution that first drove people to the shores of America. Anyone can find “root causes” if they look hard enough.

    More broadly, I’m not writing what I do about BLT lightly. Click on the BLT link in the original post. You’ll find the now-Pope explaining why regular LT is thisclose to heresy. While he’s obvs coming from a Catholic perspective, his critique explains the degree to which LT inverts basic principles of traditional Christianity beyond Catholicism. (I’m not Catholic, fwiw)

    Moreover, inasmuch as it was Jeff’s post that inspired your initial comment, I would note that LT and BLT both rely on a hermeneutic common to many Leftist strains of thought, i.e., that Scripture is a “text” that can be “interpreted” to mean whatever the interpreter wants, as opposed to the intent of the author as revealed in the plain meaning of the text. I could explain how that plays out in the Exodus example, ignoring the point of the Biblical liberation because the liberation of BLT is disconnected from the notion of personal salvation. But that explanation might not make sense to you until you read the BLT essay.

  113. Karl,

    To sum up and end civilly, I think it’s fair to say you’ve done a lot more thinking behind BLT issues than I have, and I don’t want to disrespect your work with regards to that. As I said, I’ll look more into it thanks to you.

    I think it’s fair to say you’ve caught the key difference between us. I personally think Americans did ask ourselves why they hated us for about a week, before we settled on them hating us for our freedoms and continued on as if nothing else could make sense, but I think we’ll just put it to rest for now.

    And for a change, I’ll be brief. Mainly to say I appreciate your engagement. If you don’t mind, I’m going to start checking in with you guys regularly and maybe comment some more as well (but hopefully not at such egregious length). I look forward to reading more of your stuff.

  114. David Wynn,

    Though the regular commenters can be rough here at times (on both sides), I think you would be a welcome addition. It is far better, imho, to have a civil disagreement and engagement, than to deal with some of the trolls we have from time to time.

  115. Karl – Who are you calling rough, asshole?

  116. I thought we agreed on “tart”.

  117. I like tarts; my mom’s got a great recipe- oh, never mind.

  118. 107 stated in part “…and I think people are capable of understanding that if they take a minute to calm down and think about the situation. Those were some pretty inflammatory comments by Rev. Wright, what might he have meant?”

    A perfect example of post 97. Thank you for providing us with a great example sir.

  119. Were you disappointed to learn that his comments during the sound bites the media often played, were merely quotes from the Ambassador? Were you expecting an uneducated lunatic to go on one of those rants?

  120. I’m more disappointed at how many people think that makes what was said alright. like if I said, “go fuck yourself!” I’m just quotin’ Cheney, so nobody should take offense.

  121. It doesn’t make me feel a whole lot different whether Wright attributes the “chickens coming home to roost” comment to a bug fuck crazy former Ambassador who supports Hezbollah and Hamas, Malcolm X, or both.

    I’m sort of ambidextrous about it.

  122. Were you disappointed to learn that his comments during the sound bites the media often played, were merely quotes from the Ambassador? Were you expecting an uneducated lunatic to go on one of those rants?

    Ah, see. There’s the problem. I don’t think Wright’s an “uneducated lunatic”. I think he’s an educated man, using the trappings of religion to push a political message that’s largely based in bigotry (both race- and class-based).

    Toss in the idea of the next president having sat through 20 years of that man’s hate-filled ravings, and it becomes a major concern.

    BLT is the mirror image of the Christian Identity movement; if the Republicans had a presidential primary that came close to nominating someone who had spent 20 years listening to a leading Christian Identity preacher, wouldn’t that be a concern?

  123. Thank you, David Wynn, thank you. I had to scroll through a lot of rubbish to get to your thoughtful posts. Hard slogging, but your comments made it worth the while.

  124. I watched the program to find out what Wright had to say, I already knew what his critics thought. Moyers gave him a opportunity to explain his words and left it up to us to make our own judgments. To few interviewers do this, they impose their own judgments on viewers by the questions they ask. I thought Wright revealed himself to be bitter old man who was still reliving the slights he suffered 40 years ago, and who resented Obama moving beyound him.

  125. That’s kind of interesting. What did Wright say that made you think he resented Baracky?

  126. Were you disappointed to learn that his comments during the sound bites the media often played, were merely quotes from the Ambassador?

    Perhaps if he had been quoting. But he wasn’t. He was appropriating a single line, at best, with no reference to an original utterer. Funny how those who proffer the “out of context” argument also want to define the entire sermon by one line that does not exist in this other context they offer as explanation.

  127. Thank you, David Wynn, thank you. I had to scroll through a lot of rubbish to get to your thoughtful posts. Hard slogging, but your comments made it worth the while.

    Now, if you would excuse me for a second, I must say gracias to me amigoes. And to be quite honest, your feet fucking stink, so catch you later, see ya dude.

  128. Perhaps if he had been quoting.

    feh, quoting… paraphrasing… whatevs.

  129. oh, here we go:

    Even if FOX News were correct and Wright had grossly distorted Peck’s views, so what? It’s patently ridiculous to think that Wright, a guy who is being vilified for being too outspoken and controversial, had deliberately lied about Peck in order to push his own views under cover of someone else because he knew back in 2001 that his words might one day be used against Barack Obama, who wasn’t even a United States senator then.

  130. Isn’t the big question why he would choose Peck’s views anyway? It’s because he agreed with them. It isn’t as if someone did a Second City word association and said “Ambassador Peck…9/11…chickens” and made him come up with a sermon to match. It was the focus he wanted his congregation to have.

  131. Isn’t the big question why he would choose Peck’s views anyway?

    ha ha, no, silly. now you’re just taking it all out of context.

    This is the song that never ends….

  132. This is the song that never ends….

    The soundbite that never ends.

  133. Barack Obama (Peace Be Upon Him) wasn’t even a United States senator then. His Hope and Change were as yet unrevealed to us. But we can’t ignore that the Reverend Wright’s message of Truth and Love were even then being vilified as outspoken and controversial. How could Reverend Wright have known that the terrorists would attack before he even had a chance to give his sermon in which he quoted Ambassador Peck? FOX News is grossly distorting Wright’s message of Chickens. Ask yourself why they had Ambassador Peck on as a guest prior to Reverend Wright’s referring to him in a sermon? They’ve had this planned from the beginning, but America is waking up to their Lies with or without Chickens! The Chickens don’t even MATTER! It’s time to TAKE BACK THIS COUNTRY from FIX News and have HOPE again!!!

  134. According to the myth, there is a question as to which game of wiffleball is superior – fast-pitch or slow-pitch? Actually, the myth is that the question is not really a question at all.

    Why? Because so-called fast-pitch wiffleball is not really wiffleball.

    It is lineball. TAKE BACK THIS COUNTRY!!!!

    O!

  135. oh, well that’s bringing back memories. young maggie broke a window in the house next door with a golf ball. It was her best shot evar! (across the backyard and over the fence) after that she was only allowed to hit whiffleballs and it was never the same.

  136. they’re just so light weight. like HOPE!

  137. I remember those. If you hit em just right they makes this really cool noise.

  138. FOX News is grossly distorting Wright’s message of Chickens.

    Because of the quoting.

    I just goes on and on my friends. Some people started singing it not knowing what it was…

  139. Yes. But Pablo, when FOX News quotes Wright isn’t it a little suspect that they always use his SAME EXACT WORDS??? Have some more kool-aid. Jeez.

  140. Those sneaky bastards! What’s worse is using actual video of him saying those things, as though he actually said them. Ever hear of copyrights, fascists?!?

  141. Thank God lies are refundable.

    *

  142. Pingback: Why is it so quiet after the Moyers-Wright interview? - A Great Place for News, Articles & Free Web Resources

  143. Of course it was whiffleball. Moyers has a sense of noblesse oblige. He knows (or thinks he knows) his inferiors and would never take advantage of them or humiliate them.

    It must be hell being an intelligent black person and watching a “superior” white man pander to to an intellectual fraud just because he is black. It just the standard racism of lower expectations. Nothing new to see here folks. Let’s just move along now.

  144. I am white; my son is black. We are Jewish; we also attend our local UCC church. Several years ago, Jesse Jackson, then campaigning for the Office of President of the United States, referred (in what he purportedly assumed was an off the record remark in front of a reporter) to Jews from New York as “Hymies from Hymietown.” He also appeared on stage with Minister Louis Farrakhan, announcing he was proud to have his endorsement. I confronted black friends who supported Mr. Jackson’s candidacy. ‘Given these examples of anti-Semitism, I cannot understand how you still support him.’ They pointed out that, their candidate had apologized for using the derogatory word “Hymie”; and that just because he acknowledged the support of Mr. Farrakhan, an avowed anti-Semite, didn’t mean he shared his anti-Semitism. I shot back. ‘If I call blacks from Atlanta “Niggers from Niggertown”; it would be safe for you to assume, I have no fondness for blacks. And if I put my arm around Adolph Hitler and proclaim him as my friend; it would be safe to assume, I’m not too crazy about the Jews.’ But when my white friends pointed to this unflinching support from blacks for this black candidate who is anti-Semitic, as evidence that blacks, in general, are anti-Semitic, I objected. ‘No; it’s not that blacks overwhelmingly hate Jews; it’s just that they will sacrifice anything, including anti-Semitism to elect someone who looks like them.’

  145. Did you jackasses even bother watching the entire show or are you mindlessly falling for even MORE soundbitten second hand analysis?

    The readers of THIS BLOG are exactly what’s WRONG with America.

    A thorough analysis here.

    http://www.averagebro.com/2008/04/redemption-of-rebbn-wright.html

  146. This Karl person seems like a bigot and an ideologue for misrepresenting and spinning the interview. To call Bill Moyers a “hack” is indicative of a prejudiced mindset of hatred and unreason that has poisened our country for much too long. Liberation theology is “Marxist”? OMG – I always suspected Jesus was a Commie!

  147. Do your fucking homework, Howard Stevens. Black Liberation Theology is expressly Marxist. It doesn’t hide that fact. Why are you hoping to?

    As for the charge that calling someone a “hack” is “indicative of a prejudiced mindset of hatred and unreason that has poisened [sic] our country for much too long” — well, that’s just one of the overwrought things I’ve seen put into writing in quite some time.

    And Trey? Yes, we’ve watched the DVD put out by Reverend Wright’s church. Have you? What’s wrong with America is people like you shouting and beating your chests from positions of ignorance — while assuming that self-righteousness is an adequate stand-in for being informed. Sound and fury, signifying nothing.

    Oh. But for the record? Rush Limbaugh is a big fat idiot. FRANKEN IN ’08!

  148. I suppose I don’t mind being the WRONG in America if it’s about to elect any of our current three main choices for President later this year.

  149. Liberation theology is “Marxist”?

    It has a Marxist framework, though obviously embracing religion. This point is not even remotely controversial. Rosie could even Google it. Howie might not want to put that level of ignorance and bias on display at the same time he attacks a complete stranger.

  150. Trey doesn’t know what the word “context” means, yet insists others don’t know it.

    Howie doesn’t know what LT is, and lectures others on it.

    And Moyers isn’t a hack, he’s a whiffleball.

  151. Sean Hannity, the right wing propagandist mouth piece, a loathsome and evil fellow, worked hard to launch Jeremiah Wright as Obama’s version of the swift boat attack scheme.

    It’s quite clear what the overall strategy of the Jeremiah Wright plot is all about. Having observed that Barack Obama is a formidable candidate on the brink of demolishing the vaunted Clinton political machine, the right wing republican operatives have kicked off vicious personal attacks against Obama in order to weaken and destroy him.

    Guilt by association is the obvious tactics being employed by the right wing and neo-con operatives. The idea is to invoke racial hatred and incite the anger of the fragile independent white voters to turn against Obama the black candidate.

    Choosing Jeremiah Wright as the bait for the hate Obama campaign is a grievious mistake because Jeremiah Wright is a brilliant, fearless and combative preacher with a mission to remain the conscience of America that keeps on ticking.

    Intro
    You must enter an Intro for your Diary Entry between 300 and 1150 characters long.
    Sean Hannity, the right wing propagandist mouth piece, a loathsome and evil fellow, worked hard to launch Jeremiah Wright as Obama’s version of the swift boat attack scheme.

    It’s quite clear what the overall strategy of the Jeremiah Wright plot is all about. Having observed that Barack Obama is a formidable candidate on the brink of demolishing the vaunted Clinton political machine, the right wing republican operatives have kicked off vicious personal attacks against Obama in order to weaken and destroy him.

    Guilt by association is the obvious tactics being employed by the right wing and neo-con operatives. The idea is to invoke racial hatred and incite the anger of the fragile independent white voters to turn against Obama the black candidate.

    Choosing Jeremiah Wright as the bait for the hate Obama campaign is a grievious mistake because Jeremiah Wright is a brilliant, fearless and combative preacher with a mission to remain the conscience of America that keeps on ticking.

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