Home
In this issue
April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review March 20, 2008 / 13 Adar II 5768

Should people of faith empathize with Obama?

By Jeff Jacoby

Jeff Jacoby
Printer Friendly Version
Email this article


http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | I have known my rabbi for more than 20 years. The synagogue he serves as spiritual leader is one I have attended for a quarter-century. He officiated at my wedding and was present for the circumcision of each of my sons. Over the years, I have sought his advice on matters private and public, religious and secular. I have heard him speak from the pulpit more times than I can remember.


My relationship with my rabbi, in other words, is similar in many respects to Barack Obama's relationship with his longtime pastor, Rev. Jeremiah A. Wright Jr. But if my rabbi began delivering sermons as toxic, hate-filled, and anti-American as the diatribes Wright has preached at Chicago's Trinity United Church of Christ, I wouldn't hesitate to demand that he be dismissed.


Sen. Barack Obama and his pastor, Rev. Jeremiah A. Wright Jr.


Were my rabbi to gloat that America got its just desserts on 9/11, or to claim that the US government invented AIDS as an instrument of genocide, or to urge his congregants to sing "G-d Damn America" instead of "G-d Bless America," I would know about it straightaway, even if I hadn't actually been in the sanctuary when he spoke. The news would spread rapidly through the congregation, and in short order one of two things would happen: Either the rabbi would be gone, or I and scores of others would walk out, unwilling to remain in a house of worship that tolerated such poisonous teachings. I have no doubt that the same would be true for millions of worshipers in countless houses of worship nationwide.


But it wasn't true for Obama, whose long and admiring relationship with Wright, a man he describes as his "mentor," remained intact for more than 20 years, notwithstanding the incendiary and bigoted messages the minister used his pulpit to promote.


In Philadelphia, Obama gave a graceful speech on the theme of race and unity in American life. Much of what he said was eloquent and stirring, not least his opening paean to the Founders and the Constitution — a document "stained by the nation's original sin of slavery," as he said, yet also one "that had at its very core the ideal of equal citizenship under the law; a Constitution that promised its people liberty, and justice, and a union that could be and should be perfected over time." There was an echo there of Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., who in his great "I Have a Dream" speech extolled "the magnificent words of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence" as "a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir."


The problem for Obama is that Wright, the spiritual leader he has so long embraced, is a devotee not of King — who in that same speech warned against "drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred" — but of the poisonous hatemonger Louis Farrakhan, whom the church's magazine honored with a lifetime achievement award. The problem for Obama, who campaigns on a message of racial reconciliation, is that the "mentor" whose church he joined and has generously supported with tens of thousands of dollars in donations is a disciple not of King but of James Cone, the expounder of a "black liberation" theology that teaches its adherents to "accept only the love of G-d which participates in the destruction of the white enemy."


Above all, the problem for Obama is that for two decades his spiritual home has been a church in which the minister damns America to the enthusiastic approval of the congregation, and not until it threatened to scuttle his political ambitions did Obama finally find the mettle to condemn the minister's odium.


When Don Imus uttered his infamous slur on the radio last year, Obama cut him no slack. Imus should be fired, he said. "There's nobody on my staff who would still be working for me if they made a comment like that about anybody of any ethnic group."


When it came to Wright, however, he wasn't nearly so categorical. Oh, he's "like an old uncle who says things I don't always agree with," Obama indulgently explained to one interviewer. He's just "trying to be provocative," he told another. "I don't think my church is actually particularly controversial," he said. Far from severing his ties to Wright, Obama made him a member of his Religious Leadership Committee — a tie he finally cut only four days ago.


Such a clanging double standard raises doubts about Obama's character and judgment, and about his fitness for the role of race-transcending healer. Tuesday's speech was finely crafted, but it leaves some serious and troubling questions unanswered.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

Jeff Jacoby is a Boston Globe columnist. Comment by clicking here.

Jeff Jacoby Archives

© 2006, Boston Globe

Columnists

Toons

Lifestyles