by Whet Moser
I'm with my friend Ben, who's an intern pastor at a south-side church and knows whereof he speaks, and who I hope doesn't mind me quoting at great length:
What Wright has been doing for his whole career is speaking in a prophetic voice. This voice is as old as the Bible and as hallowed in our tradition as Abraham Lincoln. It calls the nation to account, reminds us of our sins, and offers hope borne of correction and new life. Jeremiah Wright seems to have the crazy notion that our national sins involve economic and racial injustice rather than, say, too many gay people in New Orleans or too many lesbians and ACLU members in New York, but it's all a matter of emphasis. Any preacher who will not call her country to account for its sins is no preacher of God's Word at all but a huckster and a fraud.
Or: if your pastor has never said anything you don't agree with, you probably go to a boring church. Obama has handled this with a great deal of class, noting that a church is like a family, a multifaceted institution that you don't disown for saying stuff you don't agree with or using language you wouldn't use.
In other news, Barack Obama subscribes to the Sun-Times! He must think the Illini are poseurs! Senator Obama, Big Ten fans demand you renounce Jay Mariotti!1
Another important side point Ben makes: "The other thing that the Wright flap has concealed rather than exposed is that Obama has run the most patriotic presidential campaign of my lifetime, certainly." I think it's at least true that Obama's campaign has been extremely patriotic. This is not what Tribune Company Star Columnist Jonah Goldberg thinks, who says that Obama dodges the word "patriotism." He is (dodge this word, dude) lying, or too lazy to do research (as, it would seem, are his editors, who should hang their heads in shame for publishing the column2).
Is "lying by ignorance" a term? If not, it should be.
1. I don't know whether he actually does, but, you know.
2. Then again, Goldberg says he "dodges" the word, not that "Obama uses it less than McCain" or "he's only used it 10 times in the 2008 campaign for a patriotism-to-speech ratio (PTSR) of 0.17, threatening to break Walter Mondale's all-time modern-era, Vietnam-adjusted low." No, he "dodges" it. Which is an opinion, not a statement of fact. Which means they don't have to correct it, because who actually knows what that means? It's just his opinion, man.
This has been a PSA from The Committee to Tell You Why Op-Ed Pages are Journalistically Inferior to the Home and Garden Section.