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The Company Obama Keeps Print E-mail

By Lynda Goldman

Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., with the Rev. Jeremiah Wright of Trinity United Church of Christ
Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., with the Rev. Jeremiah Wright of Trinity United Church of Christ

It seems that everywhere I go these days, where many are American Jews or former Israelis or both, I am asked the same question: "Who are you voting for in this year's presidential election?"

The uncertainty in this year's contest felt by many ex-patriot Israelis and to a lesser degree American Jews, is stark, especially when Barack Obama's name is mentioned - and it always is.

Many of us have received countless emails branding Mr. Obama a dangerous former Muslim - his biological father, Barack Obama Sr. was a Muslim from Kenya, and his step-father, Lolo Soetoro, a Muslim from Indonesia. But neither of these facts should be of great trepidation - especially in today's America where ethnic diversity has become a stalwart principle of national pride. But Mr. Obama converted to Christianity and it is Mr. Obama's choice of churches when he converted to Christianity and its church leader that has many considerably worried.

A theme of Obama's riveting 2004 Democratic National Convention keynote address, and the title of his 2006 book, The Audacity of Hope, was inspired by his pastor, Rev. Jeremiah Wright: "...In the end, that is God's greatest gift to us, the bedrock of this nation, a belief in things not seen".

"Things not seen..."? What "things"?

In America's daunting post 9/11 era, the most important issue to Americans is or should be our foreign policy. That said, our relationship, or lack thereof, with radical Islamic regimes in the Middle East has taken center stage.   
 
Rev. Jeremiah Wright of the Trinity United Church of Christ, Barack Obama's church and religious icon, is so entangled with Louis Farrakhan, former head of the Nation of Islam, it is unsettling. In his own words, Minister Farrakhan most recently called whites "blue-eyed devils" and Jews "bloodsuckers" that "controlled the slave trade, the government, the media and various Black individuals and organizations".

In a speech last November, Farrakhan said: "Everything that we built, they (the Jews) have. The mind of Satan now is running the record industry, movie industry and television". And in 2006, he blamed Jews and Israel for the war in Iraq, for controlling Hollywood and for promoting what he considers immorality.

In the 1980's, Wright travelled to Libya with Farrakhan and last year Wright addressed this by saying "When [Obama's] enemies find out that in 1984 I went to Tripoli to visit Colonel Gadaffi with Farrakhan, a lot of his Jewish support will dry up quicker than a snowball in hell.'

Last year Trumpet Magazine, published and edited by Wright's daughter, presented the Dr. Jeremiah  Wright Jr. Trumpeter Award to Minister Farrakhan who it said 'truly epitomized greatness". Wright praised Farrakhan "as one of the 20th and 21st century giants and a man of integrity and honesty".

In response, Barack  Obama's  campaign said: "now that he has been told about the award, he (Mr. Obama) is under no obligation to speak out on the Farrakhan matter. It was not Obama's church that made the award but a magazine."

Is there a difference?

When pressed further, Obama declared his strong opposition to Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan,

"I decry racism and anti-Semitism in every form and strongly condemn the anti-Semitic statements made by Minister Farrakhan". Mr. Obama also went on to condemn his Church's award to Farrakhan and his minister's steadfast relationship with him.

But in a recent interview on ABC's Nightline, Louis Farrakhan said: "If avoiding me would help him to become president, I'd be glad to stay in the background...".

Perhaps the more pertinent question is: Why would a Christian church magazine exalt a racist radical Muslim in the first place?

And if Barack Obama is one of the church's more palpable members, does he not have an obligation to take a more indignant stance? If Rev. Wright serves as Mr. Obama's spiritual leader, what does that say about his ability to make moral decisions based on his convictions? After all, he could become the next president of the United States.

I asked one of my three sons what he would do if his spiritual leader would directly or indirectly support a racist leader. His answer to me was quite clear.

 "I would emphatically denounce this man or woman". 

And, I asked him, would you return to his synagogue, continue listening to the sermons?

His answer was more succinct: "No, I would not!"

 

Comments (1) >> feed
...
written by Rose Smith, March 04, 2008

I have to agree with your son. It is troubling that Sen. Obama is not more troubled by what his minister has said publicly. It is divisive and inconsistent with what Obama says he stands for. He should denounce what his minister has said and explain why he continues to turn to him as his "moral" compass.

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