Obama claims he was completely unaware that the Reverend Wright’s trademark preaching style at the Trinity United Church of Christ targeted “white” America.
Clarification: The Obama campaign has told members of the press that Senator Obama was not in church on the day cited, July 22, because he had a speech he gave in Miami at 1:30 PM. Our writer, Jim Davis, says he attended several services at Senator Obama's church during the month of July, including July 22. The church holds services three times every Sunday at 7:30 and 11 a.m. and 6 p.m. Central time. While both the early morning and evening service allowed Sen. Obama to attend the service and still give a speech in Miami, Mr. Davis stands by his story that during one of the services he attended during the month of July, Senator Obama was present and sat through the sermon given by Rev. Wright as described in the story. Mr. Davis said Secret Service were also present in the church during Senator Obama's attendance. Mr. Davis' story was first published on Newsmax on August 9, 2007. Shortly before publication, Mr. Davis contacted the press office of Sen. Obama several times for comment about the Senator's attendance and Rev. Wright's comments during his sermon. The Senator's office declined to comment.
Contrary to Senator Barack Obama’s claim that he never heard his pastor Jeremiah A. Wright, Jr. preach hatred of America, Obama was in the pews last July 22 when the minister blamed the “white arrogance” of America’s Caucasian majority for the world’s suffering, especially the oppression of blacks.
Senator Obama has sought to separate himself from his pastor’s incendiary remarks, issuing a statement Friday rejecting them as “inflammatory and appalling” but failing to renounce Wright himself for his venomous and paranoid denunciations of America.
In his press release, Obama claimed, “The statements that Rev. Wright made that are the cause of this controversy were not statements I personally heard him preach while I sat in the pews of Trinity [United Church of Christ] or heard him utter in private conversation.”
Appearing on cable news shows this past weekend, Obama claimed when he saw recent videos that have Wright making such comments as “God damn America,” he was “shocked.” Obama implied that the reverend had not used such derogatory language in any of the church services Obama attended over the past two decades.
If Obama’s claims are true that he was completely unaware that Wright’s trademark preaching style at the Trinity United Church of Christ has targeted “white” America and Israel, he would have been one of the few people in Chicago to be so uninformed. Wright’s reputation for spewing hate is well known.
In fact, Obama was present in the South Side Chicago church on July 22 last year when Jim Davis, a freelance correspondent for Newsmax, attended services along with Obama. [See: ”Obama’s Church: Cauldron of Division.”]
In his sermon that day, Wright tore into America, referring to the “United States of White America” and lacing his sermon with expletives as Obama listened. Hearing Wright’s attacks on his own country, Obama had the opportunity to walk out, but Davis said the senator sat in his pew and nodded in agreement.
Addressing the Iraq war, Wright thundered, “Young African-American men” were “dying for nothing.” The “illegal war,” he shouted, was “based on Bush’s lies” and is being “fought for oil money.”
Obama’s most famous celebrity backer, Oprah Winfrey began attending Wright’s church in 1984. Last year, Newsmax magazine reported that Winfrey abruptly stopped attending years ago, and suggested that she did so to distance herself from Wright’s inflammatory rhetoric. She soon found herself a target of Wright, who excoriated her for having broken with “traditional faith.”
The Reverend Wright’s anti-white theology that Senator Obama expressed surprise over is evident on the church’s website. The site says the congregation subscribes to what it calls the Black Value System, which is described as a disavowal of “our racist competitive society” and the pursuit of “middle-classness.” That is defined as a way for American society to “snare” blacks rather than “killing them off directly” or “placing them in concentration camps,” just as the country structures “an economic environment that induces captive youth to fill the jails and prisons.”
“In the 21st century, white America got a wake-up call after 9/11/01,” Wright wrote in the church-affiliated magazine Trumpet four years after the attacks. “White America and the western world came to realize that people of color had not gone away, faded into the woodwork or just ‘disappeared’ as the Great White West kept on its merry way of ignoring black concerns.”
The Relationship Unravels
Senator Obama now is attempting to minimize his long and close relationship with the controversial minister.
On Friday, John McCain’s campaign distributed a Wall Street Journal op-ed “Obama and the Minister” written under my byline based on my reporting for Newsmax going back to early January of this year.
The op-ed included details of a sermon Wright gave at Howard University blaming America for starting the AIDS virus, training professional killers, importing drugs, shamelessly supporting Israel, and creating a racist society that would never elect a black man as president. [See: “Obama’s Minister’s Hatred of America.”]
Obama’s campaign quickly responded to the Wall Street Journal op-ed, posting a statement on the Huffington Post. In his statement, Obama acknowledged that some of Wright’s statements have been “inflammatory and appalling.”
Saying he strongly condemns Wright’s comments, Obama continued, “I categorically denounce any statement that disparages our great country or serves to divide us from our allies. I also believe that words that degrade individuals have no place in our public dialogue, whether it’s on the campaign stump or in the pulpit. In sum, I reject outright the statements by Rev. Wright that are at issue.” [emphasis added]
Again, Obama moved to narrowly distance himself from specific comments Wright had made, while still praising his minister in recent interviews for leading him to Jesus and preaching a “social gospel.”
Obama went on to claim that he first learned about Wright’s controversial statements when he began his presidential campaign. But this assertion conflicts with the fact that just before Obama’s nationally televised campaign kickoff rally on Feb. 10, 2007, the candidate disinvited Wright from giving the public invocation.
At the time, Wright explained: “When [Obama’s] enemies find out that in 1984 I went to Tripoli” to visit Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi with Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan, “a lot of his Jewish support will dry up quicker than a snowball in hell.”
According to Wright, Obama then told him, “'You can get kind of rough in the sermons, so what we’ve decided is that it’s best for you not to be out there in public.'” Still, Obama and his family prayed privately with Wright just before the presidential announcement.
Apparently Obama never foresaw Wright’s sermons making national television or becoming a sensation on YouTube. But lending graphic detail to the saga, ABC News and other networks began running a 2003 sermon in which Wright said, “The government gives them the drugs, builds bigger prisons, passes a three-strike law and then wants us to sing ‘God Bless America.’ No, no, no, God damn America, that’s in the Bible, for killing innocent people ... God damn America for treating our citizens as less than human. God damn America for as long as she acts like she is God and she is supreme.” [Click Here to see video]
Obama has described Wright as a sounding board and mentor. Wright is one of the first people Obama thanked after his election to the Senate in 2004. Obama consulted Wright before deciding to run for president. The title of Obama’s bestseller “The Audacity of Hope” comes from one of Wright’s sermons. Obama’s “Yes We Can!” slogan is one of Wright’s exhortations.
Apologists for Wright have said that what he says is normal in black churches, and many blacks claim such preaching cannot be understood by whites.
“If you’re black, it’s hard to say what you truly think and not upset white people,” the New York Times quoted James Cone as saying. Cone is a professor at Union Theological Seminary and the father of what is known as black liberation theology.
But Juan Williams, a Fox News commentator and author of “Enough: The Phony Leaders, Dead-End Movements, and Culture of Failure That Are Undermining Black America,” tells Newsmax that Wright’s sermons reflect “the victim mindset that is so self-defeating in the black community and one that is played on by weak black leadership that chooses to have black people identified as victims rather than inspiring them as people who have overcome. In posing as victims, they say the most prejudiced and vicious things, not only about whites but about America. They call it theology. In fact, it’s nothing but bigotry.”
In failing to condemn Wright himself and claiming that he was unaware of the preacher’s hate-filled speech, Obama is continuing a longstanding pattern.
Obama often refers to Wright as being "like an old uncle, who sometimes says things I don't agree with." Wright is not Obama’s “uncle” — a person born into a blood relationship — but a man he has cultivated for decades as a close friend, mentor and adviser.
After Newsmax broke the story on Jan. 14 that Wright’s church gave an award to Louis Farrakhan in December for lifetime achievement, Obama again sought to denounce his minister’s action without criticizing Wright himself.
Like Wright, Farrakhan has repeatedly made hate-filled statements targeting Jews (calling Judaism a “gutter religion”), whites, and America. He has called whites “blue-eyed devils” and the “anti-Christ.” He has described Jews as “bloodsuckers” who control the government, the media, and some black organizations.
After the Newsmax story, Obama issued a statement purportedly addressing the issue.
"I decry racism and anti-Semitism in every form and strongly condemn the anti-Semitic statements made by Minister Farrakhan," Obama said.
Again, Obama was careful not to condemn Farrakhan himself or Wright who had spoken adoringly of Farrakhan and put their church behind the award to the controversial Nation of Islam leader.
“When Minister Farrakhan speaks, black America listens,” Trumpet quoted Wright as saying. “His depth on analysis [sic] when it comes to the racial ills of this nation is astounding and eye-opening. He brings a perspective that is helpful and honest.”
Obama adroitly said, “I assume that Trumpet magazine made its own decision to honor Farrakhan based on his efforts to rehabilitate ex-offenders, but it is not a decision with which I agree.”
In fact, Trumpet is published by Wright’s church using the church’s offices. Wright’s daughters serve as publisher and executive editor.
Having gotten away with sidestepping Wright’s adoring comments about Farrakhan, Obama told Jewish leaders flatly in Cleveland on Jan. 24 that the award was because of Farrakhan’s work with ex-offenders. To date, no news outlet has pointed out that Obama’s claim is false.
Obama went on to explain away Wright’s anti-Zionist statements as being rooted in his anger over the Jewish state’s support for South Africa under its previous policy of apartheid. As with his claim that the award to Farrakhan was made because of his work with ex-offenders, Obama made that up. Wright’s statements denouncing Israel have not been qualified in any way.
On Fox News’ Hannity & Colmes on Friday, Obama said he would have quit the church if he had “repeatedly” been present when Wright made inflammatory statements. He was not asked why he did not quit the church when it gave an award to Farrakhan.
Having considered Wright a friend and mentor for two decades, Obama now often mentions that his pastor recently retired. Wright suggested to the New York Times last year that he and Obama might have to do something of a distancing act in the run up to the election.
"If Barack gets past the primary, he might have to publicly distance himself from me," Wright was quoted by The New York Times. "I said it to Barack personally, and he said, ‘Yeah, that might have to happen.'"