Saturday, March 15, 2008

St. John's preachers get pass while Obama's pays

Reports are coming out that Reverend Jeremiah Wright is leaving the Obama campaign. For a look back at Reverend Wright (who announced his retirement a month or so back) before all the controversy broke, stoked in part by St. John's team, I'll send you to an Emily Udell piece in In These Times. Ms. Udell wrote, "Obama counts the Reverend among his spiritual advisers." Note the "among" even back then.

I also wonder if St. John will continue on his "free ride"? Zachary Roth in the Columbia Journalism Review provides Rod Parsley’s Free Pass": Jeremiah Wright gets torched, while McCain’s “spiritual adviser” offends with impunity so at least some folks are wondering about the same or similar question.

As for Reverend Wright's remarks, I'd certainly have alternatives to pretty much everything he has supposedly said. Maybe he was trying to be provocative? Perhaps his style was influenced by the strong tones that were such a part of the 1960s? Or, it could just be that he's a nut? How much of one, if he is at all, is something that I'm not sure of.

Yet, is Pastor Williams nearly as nutty as John Hagee and Rod Parsley? That St. John is getting a pass isn't perhaps as much of a story as the way that his go to guys have been and are being handled. Hagee and Parsley are rather well thought of on the right and I've certainly seen them portrayed as regular religious figures. Reverend Williams might be known in some circles (he's got Oprah in his congregation after all) yet he's hardly found on the shelves of the Wal-Mart or appearing on the tee-vee or ... Both of St. John's buddies have found a way to get their respective foolishness into the heartland. Both Hagee and Parsley, although the Ohio mega-church pastor is known to a much lesser extent, get "play" in the mainstream media. Parsley's role in getting Ohio into the Bu$hCo column in 2004 ought to have had his combination of politics and extremism well-known but alas that doesn't get much play does it.

I, like Andrew Sullivan, think Senator Obama has handled this mess rather well. And it gives him an opportunity as well to speak on the issue of race and looking forward. John Gunn

UPDATE ~ March 15, 2008 - Scout Finch on Daily Kos rightly asks why folks didn't chase down the Huckster's actual sermons.

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