Obama’s attempts to distance himself from his pastor and congregation of 20 years based on the candidate’s “surprise” at what Pastor Wright said at the National Press Club is absurd dodge, a convenient invention that only Tim Russert and other MSM paddycake players are buying. Kurtz has dug into the pages of Wright’s magazine, and there is no way that Senator Obama was unaware of and untouched by Wright’s radical vision of the country and the world. Some key excerpts:
I obtained the 2006 run of Trumpet, from the first nationally distributed issue in March to the November/December double issue. To read it is to come away impressed by Wright’s thoroughgoing political radicalism. There are plenty of arresting sound bites, of course, but the larger context is more illuminating–and more disturbing–than any single shock-quotation. Trumpet provides a rounded picture of Wright’s views, and what it shows unmistakably is that the now-infamous YouTube snippets from Wright’s sermons are authentic reflections of his core political and theological beliefs. It leaves no doubt that his religion is political, his attitude toward America is bitterly hostile, and he has fundamental problems with capitalism, white people, and “assimilationist” blacks. Even some of Wright’s famed “good works,” and his moving “Audacity to Hope” sermon, are placed in a disturbing new light by a reading of Trumpet.
While the majority of Trumpet‘s articles weave radical politics into a religious framework, some are purely political. For example, the April 2006 issue features a column entitled “Demand Impeachment Now!” The author pointedly refuses to call Bush “president,” merely referring to him as the “resident” of the White House (and therefore as “Resident Bush”). Another piece taunts Vice President Cheney for his shooting accident and ends, “America, it’s time for regime change.” Neither piece has so much as a religious veneer.
What about patriotism? While many consider Wright’s call for God to damn America irredeemable, others might argue that “in context,” Wright’s prophetic denunciations actually prove his love of country. Unfortunately, neither Wright nor any of the other regular Trumpet columnists displays a trace of this “I’m denouncing you because I love you” stance. On the contrary, the pages of Trumpet resonate with enraged criticism of the United States. Indeed, they feature explicit repudiations of even the most basic expressions of American patriotism, supporting instead an “African-centered” perspective that treats black Americans as virtual strangers in a foreign land.
Although the expression “African American” appears in Trumpet, the magazine more typically refers to American blacks as “Africans living in the Western Diaspora.” Wright and the other columnists at Trumpet seem to think of blacks as in, but not of, America. The deeper connection is to Africans on the continent, and to the worldwide diaspora of African-originated peoples. In an image that captures the spirit of Wright’s relationship to the United States, he speaks of blacks as “songbirds” locked in “this cage called America.”
Wright views the United States as a criminal nation. Here is a typical passage: “Do you see God as a God who approves of Americans taking other people’s countries? Taking other people’s women? Raping teenage girls and calling it love (as in Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemmings)?” Anyone who does think this way, Wright suggests, should revise his notion of God. Implicitly drawing on Marxist “dependency theory,” Wright blames Africa’s troubles on capitalist exploitation by the West, and also on inadequate American aid: “Some analysts would go so far as to even call what [the United States, the G-8, and multinational corporations] are doing [in Africa] genocide!”
Read the whole thing. Obama’s home base in Chicago embraced radical politics. Obama was a member for 20 years. It is convenient now for Obama to paint the pastor who raised him up as a crank and an extremist who has only recently gone ’round the bend, but Pastor Wright is the same in 2008 and he was in 1988, and Obama was in the pews and no doubt reading the bulletin and the magazine for the past two decades.
And he stayed until the national press noticed.