Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Obama's Pastor, Obama's Past, and why "The past isn't dead; it isn't even past."

The speech on Race this morning by Barack Obama will, according to a wide variety of sources, go down as the most important speech on America's racial relations since the days of Martin Luther King.

I have much to say about the speech, but for now will let the speech, uh, speak for itself.

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@bdul muHib said...

Okay, I've read the whole speech, and watched good portions of it (it's long!), and it was well done, more in terms of the words than the presentation itself.

The one problem I have is how he addressed Islam. He spoke of pastors, priests, and rabbis- but not Imams, despite there being more Muslims now in American than Jews. And then he spoke disparangingly of Pastor Wright's references to the problems in the Middle East being from Israel. Obama countered that it was from extreme Islamists.

This disturbs me. In the past Obama was more equitable. And Pastor Wright actually agrees with most Christian theologians in America on this issue. Obama does not.

Jon Trott said...

Re Islam, I cannot speak for Obama, but do suspect he left it out of his list because others keep trying to link him to it. In fact, in spit of *overwhelming evidence* to the contrary, THIRTEEN PERCENT of Americans were reported by MSNBC to believe Obama was MUSLIM. That is an astonishing finding, and I think goes far in explaining Obama's unwillingness to even mention Islam in any positive light.

Splitting your comment into two issues rather than one, I'd say ONE is Islam, TWO is Israel/Palestine. I, too, am uncomfortable, though not with the above. I wish he wouldn't be so blanket affirmative to Israel. Affirming her right to existence, fine. But arguing she is "sacrosanct" (his words) is a bit much. Yet again, I note he said that while under the gun re Louis Farrakhan and the latter's anti-semitic comments; it was an exceedlingly awkward moment to try and tease out the difference between being anti-Jewish and anti-Israeli-oppression. American voters tend to think (no pun intended) in black and white.

I hope he would be more interested in positive involvement re Israel and Palestine than such comments indicate, and I think honestly he would be. As you say, even evangelical theologians are unhappy with Israel's dealings with Palestine. But Barack Obama, a man with faith principles, is perhaps being "as wise as a serpent" as well as gentle as a dove.

Politics in America is one rough game -- esp. this year.