Jeremiah Wright at the National Press Club

The most un-rev Jeremiah Wright elaborated today on his various statements during an appearance at the National Press Club. What he had to say was most enlightening since, when he wasn’t prevaricating or deflecting a point with self-deprecating humor, he sounded pretty ugly. Here are a few things that caught my attention:

MODERATOR: What is your relationship with Louis Farrakhan? Do you agree with and respect his views, including his most racially divisive views?

WRIGHT: As I said on the Bill Moyers’ show, one of our news channels keeps playing a news clip from 20 years ago when Louis said 20 years ago that Zionism, not Judaism, was a gutter religion. [I don’t really know if the Right Rev. is capable of understanding this, but Zionism is not a religion, it’s a political movement. If Farrakhan referred to something as a “gutter religion” he was making an antisemitic statement about Jews. And since I doubt that Wright is enough of a fool to be this confused, Wright is too, and he’s hoping that in this bizarre cascade of words, no one will notice.]

And he was talking about the same thing United Nations resolutions say, the same thing now that President Carter is being vilified for, and Bishop Tutu is being vilified for. [Poor Wright. He just doesn’t understand why people should be vilified if they keep standing up and saying that Persians, Arabs and Muslims (separate but overlapping groups) are within their rights to (a) state their intention to destroy Israel entirely and (b) take whatever steps they can, from killing one child at a time to building nuclear weapons, to bring that goal to fruition. Whether those sentiments come from Carter, the rabidly anti-Israeli UN, Farrakhan or Wright, they’re utterly reprehensible and completely antisemitic.] And everybody wants to paint me as if I’m anti-Semitic because of what Louis Farrakhan said 20 years ago.

I believe that people of all faiths have to work together in this country if we’re going to build a future for our children, whether those people are — just as Michelle and Barack don’t agree on everything, Raymond (ph) and I don’t agree on everything, Louis and I don’t agree on everything, most of you all don’t agree — you get two people in the same room, you’ve got three opinions.

So what I think about him, as I’ve said on Bill Moyers and it got edited out, how many other African-Americans or European-Americans do you know that can get one million people together on the mall? [So could Hitler, Mao, and Stalin. It doesn’t make them admirable. I’m not actually saying Farrakhan is as bad as those guys, although he definitely espouses their beliefs. I’m just saying that the mere fact that someone can be a demagogue doesn’t make him virtuous.] He is one of the most important voices in the 20th and 21st century. That’s what I think about him.

I’ve said, as I said on Bill Moyers, when Louis Farrakhan speaks, it’s like E.F. Hutton speaks, all black America listens. Whether they agree with him or not, they listen. [Same demagoguery point I made above.]

Now, I am not going to put down Louis Farrakhan anymore than Mandela would put down Fidel Castro. Do you remember that Ted Koppel show, where Ted wanted Mandela to put down Castro because Castro was our enemy? And he said, “You don’t tell me who my enemies are. You don’t tell me who my friends are.” [In other words, Castro is another one whom Wright admires. He has no moral center. Whoops. Strike that. He does have a moral center: The enemy of my enemy is my friend seems to be his view. Since he hates America, despite his six years of military service, anyone who hates America too is a good guy.]

Louis Farrakhan is not my enemy. He did not put me in chains. He did not put me in slavery. And he didn’t make me this color. [This whole string is peculiar. Last I looked, since the Civil War, no one in America, regardless of color, has been putting blacks in the chains of slavery. Even more interestingly, is Wright actually saying here that being black is a bad thing, akin with slavery? Certainly the parallel structure he employs indicates that he believes being black is bad, and that ones enemies visit that curse upon one.]

Also fascinating was Wright’s explanation of what he meant about the difference between him — as Pastor — and Obama — a politician. Considering how well Obama professes to know Wright, given their 20 year long pastoral association, Wright’s allusions to Obama’s honest (or lack thereof) are worth noting:

MODERATOR: What is your motivation for characterizing Senator Obama’s response to you as, quote, “what a politician had to say”? What do you mean by that?

WRIGHT: What I mean is what several of my white friends and several of my white, Jewish friends have written me and said to me. They’ve said, “You’re a Christian. You understand forgiveness. We both know that, if Senator Obama did not say what he said, he would never get elected.” [In other words, says Wright, on the Left we all understand that you have to lie to the American people and hide your real viewpoints in other to get elected.]

Politicians say what they say and do what they do based on electability, based on sound bites, based on polls, Huffington, whoever’s doing the polls. [Again, he’s saying that Obama is lying because that’s the only way he’ll get elected.] Preachers say what they say because they’re pastors. They have a different person to whom they’re accountable.

As I said, whether he gets elected or not, I’m still going to have to be answerable to God November 5th and January 21st. That’s what I mean. I do what pastors do. He does what politicians do. [Obama lies.]

I am not running for office. I am hoping to be vice president. [If you listen to the live broadcast, the very receptive audience screams with laughter at this point.]

I’m not going to dissect any more. It was rather sickening to listen to him. The bile, illogic and dishonesty that flows from him made me feel really bad.

Apropos the fact that Wright’s mental perambulations are really horrible for Obama, some are wondering whether Wright, either out of spite because Obama shunned him or out of avarice because there’s money somewhere, is trying to line himself up with the Clinton faction. If that’s the case, Shakespeare couldn’t have done any better with a plot of ego, avarice, and treachery.

The wildly funny thing about all this is that, because the “non-racial” Obama has managed to back himself into a corner where he is clearly the black candidate, the Democratic party pooh-bahs are supporting him in trickles and floods, despite his falling numbers, because they can’t afford to alienate their single most reliable voting block: African-Americans.

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  • Ymarsakar

    Read Danny’s frontpage link about Alinski, it should explain some things that helen has said here.

  • Helen Losse
  • Deana

    Helen –

    Prosperity Gospel churches – these huge megachurches that preach the idea that if you just believe enough or just give enough that God will reward you 10-fold or whatever – are shams!!! They do not preach the Bible and the central message of Jesus. But the idea that they are associated only with Republicans as this article implies is incorrect and you know it. It has affected congretions across the Christian spectrum and is something to be shunned.

    What amazes me, though, is that you willingly posted an article that finds fault in preachers who, by taking money from the desperate and hopeful:

    “(net themselves) millions of dollars a year: successful Word of Faith ministers own numerous homes, private jets and expensive cars. And these preachers’ followers support their imperial lifestyles wholeheartedly. Jesus said, “By their fruits you shall know them.” According to this theology, you can tell the Elect, because they’re the ones with the biggest bowl of fruit.”

    And yet, you willfully refuse to acknowledge that Jeremiah Wright is exactly like these preachers. Again, HE is moving into a $1.6 million home in an almost all-white suburb after HE spent all his time demanding that his congregrants eschew “middleclassness” and support black families. And yet you refuse to acknowledge that his behavior is, at the very least, awkward and inconsistent with his stated beliefs.

    I said it before, Helen, and I’ll say it again. You are unwilling to see black people as anything other than black. You refuse to see them as men, women, husbands, fathers, mothers, preachers, businessmen, lawyers, mechanics, doctors, secretaries or whatever they choose to be. You refuse to see them as free people who possess the answers to their own problems and the tools to their own success. You simply see them as black and then you chain them to what YOU think being black is.


  • Helen Losse


    Of course, Jeremiah Wright is exactly like these preachers in some respects. In others, he’s quite different; Wright preaches prophetically. He gives a “social gospel” message, not a “prosperity gospel” message. In that, he is different theologically from the others (mentioned in this article).

    Of course, blacks are “men, women, husbands, fathers, mothers, preachers, businessmen, lawyers, mechanics, doctors, secretaries or whatever they choose to be,” limited only by innate talent (as we all are) and systemic racism (that affects blacks only, and is, therefore, unfair). None of this has anything to do with “what [I] think being black is.” Who cares? It has to do with how black people see and define themselves.

    Is Bill Cosby’s view valid? Of course, it is. Does it contain truth? Yes. But does it tell the whole story of the African American experience? I don’t think so. I’m interested in the collective opinion of blacks, of finding the sociological pattern. And what’s more I actually think you are, too. But then maybe not. Maybe you just like appearing to be in a snit every time you “speak” to me. I say, enough.

    No one has all of the truth. But if we look at different points of view, we have a better chance of finding a larger piece. Does truth matter to you? Or just being conservative?

  • spiff580


    I get it; the so-called “Prosperity Gospel” is at odds with “Liberation Theology”. And, of course, the “Prosperity Gospel” endorses the “conservative” world view, which, by extension, is all about greed, racism and taking old people’s medicine.

    Yep, it’s all clear now. Obama’s problems regarding Wright has nothing to do with his judgment (or lack thereof) with being involved with an outspoken racist who dislikes America but, is part of a larger and epic battle between two differing Evangelical philosophies.

    Alls that we need is a Sith lord or something pulling strings behind the scenes.

    It was good for a laugh watching how the author went through mental contortions to blame all of Obama’s (and by extension Wrights) issues on conservatives and the GOP.

    I love it; it’s all the GOP’s fault. Can you be a cliché anymore than that? 😉

    Helen, your knowledge of what it means to be a conservative is about as uninformed and ignorant as you claim our knowledge and understanding of blacks is; no it’s worse, at least we keep reading the links you send and try to understand your point of view even when you support it poorly.


  • Deana

    Hi Helen –

    Truth does matter to me. Remember – I was the one who found it troubling that Wright was getting in the pulpit and spreading lies about the origin and spread of AIDS. I don’t recall that bothering you.

    It’s interesting. In one post in the same thread, you said there was nothing wrong with Wright living in a big, expensive house because black people like nice things too.

    Now you are at least admitting in the most circumspect way possible that Wright is “exactly like” these prosperity preachers in some respects, preachers who, according to the article you posted, are not very interested in any sort of “social gospel” that you are convinced Wright is preaching.

    I suspect that down deep, you know that Wright is not living up to the ideas he demanded of others but you can’t admit it. But who knows? Maybe you don’t see the contradiction and are perfectly comfortable with those in power demanding one thing of others but less out of themselves.


  • suek

    >>I’m interested in the collective opinion of blacks, of finding the sociological pattern.>>

    Interesting comment. My mother in law “loved” the poor. Volunteered for charitable committees on a regular basis, donated to charity. In retirement, she and my father in law traveled on freighters to less traveled corners of the world, coming back with tales of how wonderful the places were, and how wonderful the people were. But she wouldn’t go anywhere there were crowds. Wouldn’t stay in anything less than 5 star hotels, wouldn’t eat in places that were likely to have food service standards less than US standards. To me, it was as if she considered the people in the places she went more like zoo animals – something to look at, wonder and walk away from. Coming into really direct contact with the hoi polloi was something she found totally unacceptable.
    She “loved” them – but she didn’t “like” them.

  • Ymarsakar

    Rich people tend to condescend to the poor and justify it as either their inherent superiority or because they are able to condescend and treat the poor as if they were equal to the rich, when in fact they know very well that they consider themselves, if not their class, superior to the poor.

    After all, not many human beings can look at the poor, help them out with handouts, and then say with a straight face “the poor are just as good as us”. Not even a master of double think could claim such without a twinge in the face.

    We here think about Iraq in ostensibly egalitarian views. While we recognize that Americans have many things that Iraqis do not, we also recognize that Iraqis have many things we do not. We also recognize the fact that neither Iraq’s nor America’s status was because of an inborn, genetic, or geographic trait. They were all the results of actions, the actions of men and women. And if action and merit can make an America, then it sure as heck can make an Iraq just as good as America. That is the difference helping somebody and condescending to them by treating them as your equals when you are doing everything you can to ensure that they stay your social and economic inferiors.