January 14, 2008

Obama's spiritual advisor gives Farrakhan his "lifetime achievement" award

Here's the Youtube video created last November to celebrate the awarding by Sen. Barack Obama's spiritual advisor since 1987, Rev. Dr. Jeremiah A. Wright, Jr., of his

Lifetime Achievement

Rev. Dr. Jeremiah A. Wright, Jr. Trumpeter Award

to

The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan


Last March in VDARE.com, I pointed out that Rev. Wright, whose sermon "The Audacity of Hope" provided the title of Obama's bestselling book, posed a massive headache for Obama's candidacy. It's not just Wright's radicalism and racialism, but his attention-aholic personality:

Obama now realizes he has to keep the Rev. Wright covered up, which is why the day before his nationally televised campaign kickoff in Springfield, Illinois, Obama rescinded his invitation to Wright to give the invocation. Wright, however, is a loose cannon. He explained to the New York Times why he was "disinvited":

"When [Obama's] enemies find out that in 1984 I went to Tripoli [in Libya]" to visit Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi, Mr. Wright recalled, "with [Black Muslim leader Louis] Farrakhan, a lot of his Jewish support will dry up quicker than a snowball in hell." [March 6, 2007 Disinvitation by Obama Is Criticized By Jodi Kantor]

Indeed.

Obama's "spiritual mentor" just won't shut up because the man of God is also a man of wrath. The New York Times article about his disinviting had largely disappeared down the memory hole. But then the Rev. Wright released a long, angry letter denouncing the Times for, well, for quoting him correctly.

Kind of puts the Ron Paul - Marty Peretz brouhaha in perspective, doesn't it?

What a jerk Rev. Wright is to do this to Obama just two months before primary season started! Perhaps it's Rev. Wright's revenge on Obama for dumping him from Obama's campaign kickoff last year.

It's also striking that this gala, which took place at the Chicago Hyatt Regency, never surfaced in the mainstream media until today! Great job the press is doing covering Obama, huh? You might almost think they were a bit trepidatious about covering him?

Richard Cohen in the Washington Post relays Obama's excuse:

The Obama camp takes the view that its candidate, now that he has been told about the award, is under no obligation to speak out on the Farrakhan matter. It was not Obama's church that made the award but a magazine.

Trumpet Newsmagazine, "A Lifestyle Magazine for the Socially Conscious," is published by Jeri L. Wright, who happens to be the daughter of Rev. Dr. Jeremiah A. Wright, Jr.

And are we really supposed to believe that Obama didn't hear about this award until now, more than two months after his spiritual advisor handed it out at the Chicago Hyatt Regency? I thought Obama was supposed to be this great man of faith, so how come he claims he doesn't know what must have been the talk of his church for the last several months?

I wrote in "Obama's Identity Crisis" in The American Conservative (3/36/2007):

Even [Obama's] celebrated acceptance of Christianity in his mid-20s turns out to be an affirmation of African-American emotional separatism. As I was reading Dreams, I assumed that his ending would be adapted from the favorite book of his youth, The Autobiography of Malcolm X, which climaxes with Malcolm’s visit to Mecca and heartwarming conversion from the racism of the Black Muslims to the universalism of orthodox Islam. I expected that Obama would analogously forgive whites and ask forgiveness for his own racial antagonism as he accepts Jesus.

Instead, Obama falls under the spell of a leftist black nationalist preacher, Jeremiah A. Wright, who preaches African-American unity through antipathy toward whites. Reverend Wright remains a major influence on the presidential candidate. (The title of Obama’s second book, The Audacity of Hope, is borrowed from one of Wright’s sermons.) Ben Wallace-Wells notes in Rolling Stone: “This is as openly radical a background as any significant American political figure has ever emerged from, as much Malcolm X as Martin Luther King Jr.”

As I wrote in VDARE.com last March:

Why has Obama tied his fate to the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, a tactless race man who is the living opposite of the myth Obama is trying to project about himself?

It's not exactly a secret that Obama, like George W. Bush, has Daddy Issues. The great curse of our current President's life is that his father was an all-around pretty good guy whose biggest failure was not winning a second term as President. The President's awareness that he is palpably inferior to his dad has transformed the younger Bush from a mere mediocrity into a twisted mediocrity.

In contrast, Obama entitled his autobiography Dreams from My Father after the man he worshipped from afar because he had abandoned little Barack Jr. at age 2. When Obama went to Kenya to in the late 1980s to learn more about his late father, the brilliant scholar and national leader turned out to be an egomaniacal alcoholic impoverished bigamist. One might surmise that Obama's father's abandonment of him and this disappointment of his fantasies about his heritage have left a hole in his soul that he hopes to fill by becoming President of the United States.

The closest Obama has come to finding a surrogate for the father he desperately missed is his pastor, the Rev. Jeremiah T. Wright Jr., longtime leader of the Trinity United Church of Christ on 95th Street on the South Side of Chicago. The title of Obama's second book, the current bestseller The Audacity of Hope is lifted from one of Wright's sermons.

That Obama is a "devout Christian" is a big part of his political appeal. But Wright's black church, which Obama joined in the mid-1980s, turns out to be almost as racialist and political in its own way as the Boers' old Dutch Reformed Church was in apartheid South Africa.

I don't spend much time talking about individuals' religions, but, in the case of Obama, I appear to be just about the only pundit other than Shelby Steele who has read the Presidential candidate's first autobiography and made a serious effort to understand where Obama is coming from. Pages 274-295 are mostly devoted to Obama's decision to attend Wright's Trinity United Church of Christ in the winter of 1987, after several years of Chicago blacks telling the Hawaiian via New York that he needed to join a church if he wanted to be politically effective on the South Side.

Let me present the key passages from Obama's 1995 memoir. Obama writes of the first Sunday he attended Wright's church in 1987:
"The title of Reverend Wright's sermon that morning was 'The Audacity of Hope.' He began with a passage from the Book of Samuel ... As I watched and listened from my seat, I began to hear all the notes from the past three years swirl about me. The courage and fear of Ruby and Will. The race pride and anger of men like Rafiq [a Black Muslim]. The desire to let go, the desire to escape, the desire to give oneself up to a God that could somehow put a floor on despair."

That's a significant indefinite article in front of "God."
And in that single note -- hope! -- I heard something else; at the foot of that cross, inside the thousands of churches across the city, I imagined the stories of ordinary black people merging with the stories of David and Goliath, Moses and Pharaoh, the Christians in the lion's den, Ezekiel's field of dry bones. These stories -- of survival, and freedom, and hope -- became our story, my story; the blood that had spilled was our blood, the tears our tears; until this black church, on this bright day, seemed once more a vessel carrying the story of a people into future generations and into a larger world. Our trials and triumphs became at once unique and universal, black and more than black... And if a part of me continued to feel that this Sunday communion sometimes simplified our condition, that it could sometimes disguise or suppress the very real conflicts among us [Obama is referring to an earlier discussion of class conflicts among blacks within black churches here -- the "us" does not include nonblack human beings, such as, say, his mother, sister, and maternal grandparents] and would fulfill its promise only through action [i.e., politics], I also felt for the first time how that spirit carried within it, nascent, incomplete, the possibility of moving beyond our narrow dreams.

Soon, Obama breaks into tears.

To be crass about it, this strikes me not as a religious conversion but as the moment when Obama finally feels Black Enough.

Like his mentor Rev. Wright, Obama's religion appears to be essentially racial and political rather than universal or spiritual or behavioral, although they appropriate traditional Biblical vocabulary for expressing it. The Old Testament expresses a primarily racial religion as well, so it's better suited to Wright and Obama's wants than the universalist New Testament. Similarly, the Afrikaaners' Dutch Reformed Church found much inspiration in the Old Testament.

In summary, Reverend Wright went with Minister Farrakhan to visit Col. Gadaffi in 1984, three years before Obama decided to join his church out of all the churches he had visited as part of his ethnic organizing. And in November 2007, Reverend Wright gives Minister Farrakhan a lifetime achievement award named after himself. There seems to be a pattern here, one that somebody as astute as Sen. Obama would have noticed long before. The Farrakhan connection is not an anomaly, it's a window into the now-historically important question of who Obama ... well, not into who Obama is (that's a complicated question), but into who he has long wanted to be.

As I wrote last November:
"If Obama gets on the Democratic ticket, the GOP operatives will make the Rev. Wright famous, and fast. If Obama wants to be taken seriously as Presidential or Vice-Presidential timber, he needs to do a public Sister Souljah on his spiritual adviser, and soon."

18 comments:

jon said...

i didnt watch the clip - but why is a christian clergyman giving a muslim minister an award?? doesnt each believe the other will soon burn in hell?

Dennis Dale said...

I recommend the stuff on the YouTube Menu as well. There's a good five minutes of the Rev holding forth in full demagogue mode, and I'll say this, he beats the pants off of Obama in oration.
Perhaps I'm missing it but I don't see the Obama charisma coming through on TV (not that this is a necessarily bad thing, charisma is of as much value to the fool as it is to the demagogue as it is to the man of integrity; it does say something about the Obama-effect).

I find Obama dull and his attempts at projecting forcefulness to sound, well, forced. Keep in mind I've seen Al Gore speak. Live. If you can call it that. Technically speaking, perhaps.

I should note that I have no idea if the poor quality recording referenced above is even the Rev. Dr. Jeremiah A. Wright, Jr. But if it is, American Likudniks' heads will explode when they hear him mention the Palestinians.

As for me, when I recognize some of my own criticisms in the Reverend's ravings, well, I get the same feeling I get when I hear Bill O'Reilly mirror my views on immigration. You really can't worry about the company you keep when it comes to opinion.

I still feel like it's unfair to Obama to hang this guy on him. He's too smart to wholeheartedly buy into this. How's that for a back-handed defense? He's not crazy, just craven.

An ingrained sense of futility makes the last thing to come to mind the obvious double standard: would a white guy get away with the equivalent? More importantly: would the media grant a pass?
Our media really is derelict at this point.

All they should be thinking of is what the candidates, all of whom are lying to remain viable, would actually govern like. But Obama will mention Change a hundred times a week and nobody even has the curiosity to ask what this change would look like and if it's influenced by his spiritual mentor. No, can't let things get interesting, we're gauging the political calculus of Hillary's misting up.

Obama went to Chicago looking for his Black political authenticity with pathological ambition, and he may have acquired a bit too much of it.

J. said...

Very perceptive piece, very powerful piece, much ahead of the mass media, as always.

Now, I wonder about Obama's economic weltanschauung. He never worked in the private sector, and his achievements were milking State resources for social objectives. I presume that if elected, he would conduct a populist policy a la Hugo Chavez. I may be imagining, because I dont know Obama but I know well Hugo Chavez from Venezuela.

Steve Sailer said...

Populism isn't Obama's natural inclination (he hardly a Man of the People), but how that translates into economic policy, I wouldn't know.

Alex said...

"If Obama gets on the Democratic ticket, the GOP operatives will make the Rev. Wright famous, and fast."

You think they'll have it in them? I just don't see them getting far attacking Obama on anything that smacks of race. I don't see them even risking it. The world would explode and they'd back off.

Concerned said...

I don't think there's a reason other than befuddlement that this hasn't reached the mainstream media. But if Obama's the nominee, it will, but it can only benefit the Republicans. (I can't believe the Clintons are that unpracticed at campaigning that it won't, before Super Tuesday, though. Is this happening now?)

What's even more stupefying is that bloggers, such as Andrew Sullivan, pay no attention to this, and think that Obama will scarf up all the Independents. What a complete idiot. Talk about befuddlement. Or is he besotted?

wellbasically said...

I think you've gone around the bend.

Concerned Netizen said...

Check out Andrew Sullivan, for someone who's gone around the bend.

Dutch Boy said...

"Old Testamentizing" Christianity is the oldest of all heresies. It goes by the name of "Judaizing".

David said...

Ah yes. Every other sentence Hussein Obama barks: "We all want to see change - the change we hope for." With "change" left undefined.

And in response many whites think, with emotional relief:

"Yes! I will finally see the change I want and hope for: an end to all the racial stuff! Racial harmony! Blacks finally acting like-er, I mean, a positive Cosbyfuture for all, for all!"

What does Obama think?

Jerry said...

"[W]ould a white guy get away with the equivalent?"

Imagine an autobiography of a Republican candidate who visits a Christian Identity church and starts to sob during a moment of epiphany occasioned by a sermon he hears.

"I still feel like it's unfair to Obama to hang this guy on him."

There are a lot of black churches in Chicago. Will a journalist visit several of them an see which ones Obama rejected in favor of Reverand Wright's. Don't bet on it. A candidate's religion is a taboo subject in presidential campaigns don-cha-know. :-)

David said...

Steve,

You may want to look into Obama's connection to the Pritzker family:

http://tinyurl.com/yudx9e

David Mendell covers this topic (briefly) in his biography of the candidate.

Thoth Anon said...

"What kind of change?"

Oooh, that's a good point. The lamestream media never ask, do they? It would be so easy to ask:

"Senator Obama, which public policies do you want to change? Where do you want to take us? If you are elected, just what will you try to change, exactly? What will you try to change first?"

Of course, they never ask any candidates any actual questions. Just "Senator Armwaver, how do you feel about your chances in the upcoming primary?"

SFG said...

No offense, Steve, but I'm a lot more afraid of Hillary. She can do a lot more to hurt men than Obama can do to hurt whites.

But I don't think Obama can beat McCain.

Anonymous said...

Barack Obama

1.goes to a church

2.that has a pastor

3.who has a daughter

4.who publishes a magazine

5.that gave an award

to Louis Farrakhan.


Why does anyone care again?

Steve Sailer said...

Read pp. 275-295 of Obama's autobiography, which are mostly about Wright. The man is close to being Obama's surrogate father.

Excuse me, I forgot. Nobody has ever read that far in their candidate's memoirs. It would be racist, or something, to read your man's autobiography.

dogberry said...

Short review of Obama's autobiograpy: Its a cookbook and we're dessert

thank you Damon Knight and Rod Serling

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nice post