The Rev. Jeremiah Wright
Pastor's views worthy of consideration
If people get beyond the harshly critical sound bites from Dr. Jeremiah Wright and look at least at the PBS interview with Bill Moyers, the clergyman's address to the NAACP and speech at the National Press Club, they will find:
A highly educated African-American who knows more history than most folks, white or black or anything in between.
A minister with an extensive knowledge of theology and the talent to communicate effectively.
A pastor who has grown a congregation from fewer than 100 members to some 8,000 who are involved in a long list of social as well as spiritual ministries to the community where they are located.
A preacher whose social and world outlook is pretty mainstream in the predominantly white denomination — United Church of Christ — of which he is a part.
A black pastor, many of whose views of the church, American society and global situations are, in my experience, not shared by a majority of black clergy and their flocks but which are congruent with those of many white liberals within and outside the church.
Whether or not you agree with his version of history, his explanation of current events or his interpretation of the Bible and its message, Dr. Wright and his comments should prompt all of us to think about who we are and the basis of our beliefs and world view.
Adon Taft, Brooksville
We don't need more hate
I want to know what Bible and God does the Rev. Jeremiah Wright worship and read. My God teaches love and forgiveness, not hate and racism. I am not sure what his problem is.
Slavery has been over for many years. I did not have slaves, neither did my parents nor my grandparents. I don't believe the Rev. Wright or his parents were ever slaves. He seems to have done rather well in this country that he speaks out against.
His speeches are causing more racism, and I beg him to stop preaching hatred. There is enough in this world without trying to cause more.
Pauline Micklos, New Port Richey
Pastor's timing rotten for Obama | April 29, analysis
Inflaming and defaming
Analysis? The front page of a newspaper is usually reserved for news; analysis belongs on the editorial pages.
This article by Alessandra Stanley of the New York Times was neither news nor analysis. Instead, the writer chose to repeatedly portray the Rev. Jeremiah Wright in negative terms.
I listened twice to Bill Moyers' interview of Wright and heard most of Wright's National Press Club speech. I wonder if Ms. Stanley heard the same man I did? Did she listen to what he was saying or had the sound bites so frequently aired recently so affected her that she could not write a balanced and fair analysis of what Wright said?
She mentions that Wright went "deep into context" but does not help readers understand that context. Instead she disparages a man who has been repeatedly attacked by the media for having the audacity to try to defend what he has said.
It is not Wright who is "inflammatory." It is those who used sentences yanked out of their context to inflame the public and to defame a prophet.
Ms. Stanley notes that the Rev. Wright spoke "admiringly" of Louis Farrakhan. She seems more intent on trying to create guilt by association than helping readers understand that Wright seeks to work with those with whom he differs. An admirable trait, I think, in this day of rising animosity and anger toward anyone who isn't like us.
Perhaps if Ms. Stanley had a better appreciation of the academic world, she wouldn't have resorted to calling Wright's speech "high-falutin" and referred to him as "something of an egghead." Pejorative words do not a writer make — nor do they contribute to "analysis."
James S. Clinefelter, Sun City Center
Pastor's timing rotten for Obama | April 29
The front-page article, written by New York Times reporter Alessandra Stanley, claims the Rev. Jeremiah Wright to be a vain person.
It seems to be one more case of an intellectual black man speaking his mind. Frederick Douglass and Marcus Garvey would be on his side today with George Washington Carver agreeing with the New York Times.
Eugene Genovese, in his comprehensive study of slavery Roll, Jordan, Roll, noted that the black ministers of the time had to speak a language defiant enough to hold the high-spirited among their flock but neither so inflammatory as to rouse them to battles they could not win nor so ominous as to arouse the ire of the ruling powers.
The Rev. Wright crossed that line, so now the "liberal media" like the New York Times will vilify this man, trying to swiftboat Barack Obama out of the election. This is the same paper that brought you (through the propaganda the neocons provided to it) the war In Iraq. The so-called right wing will only sit back in glee.
Daniel Lee Davis, St. Petersburg
A threat to the powerful
Corporate America and the special interests of the few who have controlled politics with their lobbyists know that Barack Obama is the only presidential nominee who has proved he can get sufficient campaign funds without their money! They can expect they will lose their political influence with Obama in the White House.
Obama has encouraged more young people and previously disillusioned voters to participate in the political process than any other nominee. This will be the first time these voters can expect that Obama will change the way politics have been controlled in the Washington for years.
Russell Lee Johnson, St. Petersburg
Obama is paying the price
Barack Obama first attempted to explain away the Rev. Jeremiah Wright by telling us that his comments were taken out of context. He then told us that it was America that needed to understand where Wright was coming from when he denounced his own country. Obama also went before the country and made his speech on race that was designed to blind us with his intellectual powers.
Well the chickens have come home to roost for sure. Wright has proved that nothing was taken out of context or misinterpreted. Obama has proved that he's just another liberal politician with no experience, horrible judgment and a penchant for seeking guidance from the worst possible places.
He had his chance to throw the reverend under the bus weeks ago and chose to toss his grandmother instead.
Jay Johnson, St. Petersburg
Toxic pastor drags down campaign | April 30, editorial
Blame belongs to Obama
Sen. Barack Obama needs to take full responsibility for his falling campaign. He has stayed side-by-side with his now "former" pastor until it got a little too hot in the kitchen. Now he comes out condemning him and saying that he doesn't share his views.
How are we to believe that when the Rev. Jeremiah Wright has been such a big part of Obama's life for more than 20 years. Sorry, Barack, this is all on you!
Jim Main, Seminole
I believe the Rev. Jeremiah Wright wants to punish Barack Obama as a heretic because he strayed from an orthodoxy where all people and all events are viewed and interpreted through a racial lens.
By contrast, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. dreamed of a world where race is irrelevant and character counts.
Wm. L. Bassett, Clearwater
The enemies of honesty | April 29
Look who's talking
Arianna Huffington's op-ed column was nothing more than an attack on free speech. It appears Huffington thinks the news media should only employ people who parrot her extreme left-wing views. Does she actually think that the liberals in the media are not "unabashed propagandists" and the American people should not be allowed to hear right-wing views? It's obvious that she is the one fighting against the public's right to know.
Calling Tony Snow, Karl Rove and William Kristol the enemies of honesty, truth, facts and reality is the height of hypocrisy coming from her. Apparently she has never read her own Huffington Post, which easily qualifies as one of the most hateful and dishonest sites on the Internet.
I suggest Huffington needs to do a great deal of cleanup on her own work before she criticizes anyone else.
Louis Ciardulli, Safety Harbor