Barack Obama continues to face controversy over his association with Rev. Jeremiah Wright because his comments about the provocative pastor have been contradictory, evasive, misleading and unsatisfying. The issue will begin to dissipate only when the Senator gives better answers to better questions.
Here are some of the Wright (and right) questions for Obama to address:
1. You’ve recently suggested that Pastor Wright has already acknowledged that he spoke inappropriately from the pulpit, and this acknowledgment allowed you to continue as a member of his church. On ABC’s “The View” (March 28, 2008) you commented: “Had the Reverend not retired, and had he not acknowledged that what he had said had deeply offended people, and were inappropriate, and mischaracterized what I believe is the greatness of this country, for all its flaws, then I wouldn’t have felt comfortable staying at the church.” Since Wright’s made no public statements of apology or regret concerning his controversial sermons and articles, does your comment indicate that he’s apologized privately to you? Would you urge him to make a public apology or correction or clarification? If not, is it because you believe his misstatements weren’t serious enough to demand it?
2. You’ve repeatedly spoken of Wright’s “outrageous” or “offensive” remarks, but never specified which specific comments you had in mind. Where, precisely, did Wright go wrong?
3. Do you agree with Pastor Wright (and with many other leaders in the African-American community) that black people suffer disproportionately from drugs and AIDS because of a government conspiracy? If not the government, who is responsible for the vastly higher rates of HIV and serious drug abuse in the black community? Does it help empower the Black community to blame the government for self-destructive choices and behavior?