Obama's Defense Better Than Ezra?

Matt Lewis
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Posted: Mar 19, 2008 9:46 AM

... Since Barack Obama couldn't really do it, if you're interested in hearing the liberal defense of Rev. Wright, Ezra Klein's outrageous comments, you can read Ezra Klein:

Does anyone believe a long association with Jerry Falwell's church would have done anything but help McCain in the Republican primary, and gotten Democrats tagged as anti-religion when they tried to point out Falwell's nuttiness in the general? It's fine to be a Christian extremist in America. It's fine to believe, and say publicly, that everyone who hasn't accepted Jesus Christ into their heart will roast in eternal hellfire, fine to believe that the homosexuals caused Hurricane Katrina and the feminists contributed to 9/11, fine to believe we must support Israel so the Jews can be largely annihilated in a war that will trigger the End Times, fine to believe we're in a holy battle with the barbaric hordes of Islam, fine to believe that we went to the Middle East to prove "our God is bigger than your God." What you can't believe is that blacks have suffered a long history of oppression in this country, that they're still face deep institutional discrimination, and that a country where 100 percent of the presidents have been rich white guys is actually run by rich white guys. More to the point, even if you do believe those things, you certainly can't be angry about it!

The above post illustrates an attempt to present a plausible, but misleading, argument ...

Ezra closes by saying, "... you certainly can't be angry about it!," implying that Rev. Wright is in trouble for being angry about injustice.  But nobody is arguing that Rev. Wright can't -- or shouldn't -- be "angry."  There is no doubt that Blacks have been oppressed.  Anger is not the issue -- making outrageous statements --is the issue.  And, in terms of the political importance, Obama's potential hypocrisy on being a "post-racial" candidate is the issue ...

By pointing to the "religious right," Ezra attempts to say, you guys do it, too!  Instead of defending the indefensible, he wants to change the subject.  But his analogy is false.  

Whether you or I believe in it, or not, the Christian Bible specifically endorses the idea that there is but one way to heaven.  In attacking the "religious right," Ezra invokes Jews, but Jewish-Americans are perhaps the most disturbed by Rev. Wright's statements. I might add that the Jewish faith which says, "Thou shalt have no other Gods before Me," could be construed by some as being offensive, intolerant, or exclusive.  And I won't even go into other faiths, or how they may view non-believers as "infidels."  

Most Christian Churches (African-American or otherwise), preach this doctrine -- if they are preaching the Bible.  And though some may find this overly exclusive or even politically incorrect, it is part of Christian orthodoxy. 

Liberation Theology, on the other hand, including Rev. Wright's belief that 9-11 was a just pay-back, or that AIDS was invented by the government to use on African-Americans, has no direct Biblical basis.  By morally equating the two, Mr. Klein is attempting to muddy the waters. 

In attempting to change the subject, he also cites things some controversial Evangelical pastors have said in the past (for example, homosexuals causing a hurricane, etc.), this is also a misleading argument and a false analogy.  I can't recall any Republican having had such an intimate relationship with one of the aforementioned preachers (Rev. Wright married Obama and he literally was a member of his church for decades).   In fact, if John McCain had been married by the late Pastor Falwell, and if Pastor Falwell had given him the title of his book, and if John McCain had for twenty years considered Pastor Falwell his spiritual mentor, then, I do believe it would be fair to assume that Senator McCain might, in fact, agree with the good -- or bad -- things Rev. Falwell believed in.

Barack Obama wouldn't be in trouble if Jesse Jackson said something outlandish -- he has no specific tie to him.  He's in trouble because his close spiritual adviser made utterly-irresponsible statements.

Still, Ezra Klein has done us a service in giving us the real liberal argument in favor of Rev. Wright -- something Obama wasn't really able to do ...