“Present” Will not Do: Obama’s Minister Honors Farrakhan

Richard Cohen, who is not one of my favorite news analysts, had an important article at the Washington Post last week on Obama’s minister and spiritual advisor.

Obama’s Farrakhan Test
washingtonpost.com readers have posted 823 comments about this item.
WHO’S BLOGGING

By Richard Cohen
Tuesday, January 15, 2008; Page A13

Barack Obama is a member of Chicago’s Trinity United Church of Christ. Its minister, and Obama’s spiritual adviser, is the Rev. Jeremiah A. Wright Jr. In 1982, the church launched Trumpet Newsmagazine; Wright’s daughters serve as publisher and executive editor. Every year, the magazine makes awards in various categories. Last year, it gave the Dr. Jeremiah A. Wright Jr. Trumpeter Award to a man it said “truly epitomized greatness.” That man is Louis Farrakhan.

Maybe for Wright and some others, Farrakhan “epitomized greatness.” For most Americans, though, Farrakhan epitomizes racism, particularly in the form of anti-Semitism. Over the years, he has compiled an awesome record of offensive statements, even denigrating the Holocaust by falsely attributing it to Jewish cooperation with Hitler — “They helped him get the Third Reich on the road.” His history is a rancid stew of lies.

It’s important to state right off that nothing in Obama’s record suggests he harbors anti-Semitic views or agrees with Wright when it comes to Farrakhan. Instead, as Obama’s top campaign aide, David Axelrod, points out, Obama often has said that he and his minister sometimes disagree. Farrakhan, Axelrod told me, is one of those instances.

Fine. But where I differ with Axelrod and, I assume, Obama is that praise for an anti-Semitic demagogue is not a minor difference or an intrachurch issue. The Obama camp takes the view that its candidate, now that he has been told about the award, is under no obligation to speak out on the Farrakhan matter. It was not Obama’s church that made the award but a magazine. This is a distinction without much of a difference. And given who the parishioner is, the obligation to speak out is all the greater. He could be the next American president. Where is his sense of outrage?

Any praise of Farrakhan heightens the prestige of the leader of the Nation of Islam. For good reasons and bad, he is already admired in portions of the black community, sometimes for his efforts to rehabilitate criminals. His anti-Semitism is either not considered relevant or is shared, particularly his false insistence that Jews have played an inordinate role in victimizing African Americans.

In this, Farrakhan stands history on its head. It was Jews who disproportionately marched for civil rights and, in Mississippi, died for that cause. Farrakhan and, in effect, Wright, despoil the graves of Michael Schwerner, Andrew Goodman and, of course, their black colleague James Chaney.

I can even see how someone, maybe even Obama, could dismiss Farrakhan as a pest, a silly man pushing a silly cause that poses no real threat to the Jewish community. Still, history tells us that anti-Semitism is not to be trifled with. It is a botulism of the mind.

The Obama and Clinton campaigns are involved in a tasteless tussle over the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. What is clear from rereading King’s celebrated “I Have a Dream” speech of Aug. 28, 1963, is how inclusive that dream was — “all of God’s children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual, ‘Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last!’ ”

This, though, is not Farrakhan’s dream. He has vilified whites and singled out Jews to blame for crimes large and small, either committed by others as well or not at all. (A dominant role in the slave trade, for instance.) He has talked of Jewish conspiracies to set a media line for the whole nation. He has reviled Jews in a manner that brings Hitler to mind.

And yet Wright heaped praise on Farrakhan. According to Trumpet, he applauded his “depth of analysis when it comes to the racial ills of this nation.” He praised “his integrity and honesty.” He called him “an unforgettable force, a catalyst for change and a religious leader who is sincere about his faith and his purpose.” These are the words of a man who prayed with Obama just before the Illinois senator announced his run for the presidency. Will he pray with him just before his inaugural?

I don’t for a moment think that Obama shares Wright’s views on Farrakhan. But the rap on Obama is that he is a fog of a man. We know little about him, and, for all my admiration of him, I wonder about his mettle. The New York Times recently reported on Obama’s penchant while serving in the Illinois legislature for merely voting “present” when faced with some tough issues. Farrakhan, in a strictly political sense, may be a tough issue for him. This time, though, “present” will not do.

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Barack Obama came out almost immediately issued a statement:

    “I decry racism and anti-Semitism in every form and strongly condemn the anti-Semitic statements made by Minister Farrakhan. I assume that Trumpet Magazine made its own decision to honor Farrakhan based on his efforts to rehabilitate ex-offenders, but it is not a decision with which I agree.”

Captain’s Quarters thinks this is guilt by association and a tempest in a teapot. Many of his readers disagree. I do too. According to a NYT’s article on Obama’s Church:

    On the Sunday after the terrorist attacks of 9/11, Mr. Wright said the attacks were a consequence of violent American policies. Four years later he wrote that the attacks had proved that “people of color had not gone away, faded into the woodwork or just ‘disappeared’ as the Great White West went on its merry way of ignoring Black concerns.”

The apparent “Afrocentrism of Reverend Wright would seems worrisome to say the least. As for Israel, apparently the good Reverend thinks it belongs in the same category as genocidal Sudan.

This political “catechism” is certainly not reassuring, as are his “10 Facts“. On the contrary, it suggests someone for whom “Black Liberation Theology” and third-worldism, and anti-Americanism blend so effortlessly together that honoring a Black Muslim makes “ecumenical” sense. If the thought of Theresa Heinz in the White House, inviting all her PCP2 guests, made me nervous, the thought of someone who has attended this man’s church for 20 years as president makes me even more nervous.

The relationship of Minister Wright — Obama’s minister for 20 years, his acknowledged spiritual mentor — is much to close to Trumpet Magazine both personally (his daughter is the editor, he writes for it constantly) and ideologically (anti-Western, anti-Zionist, anti-globalization) for him to disassociate himself from this without saying something about Rev. Dr. Jeremiah A. Wright Jr. whose name graces the award given to Farrakhan.

14 Responses to “Present” Will not Do: Obama’s Minister Honors Farrakhan

  1. [...] unknown wrote an interesting post today onHere’s a quick excerptBarack Obama is a member of Chicago’s Trinity United Church of Christ. Its minister, and Obama’s spiritual adviser, is the Rev. Jeremiah A. Wright Jr. In 1982, the church launched Trumpet Newsmagazine; Wright’s daughters serve as … Read the rest of this great post here Posted by [...]

  2. [...] “Present” Will not Do”: Obama’s Minister Honors Farrakhan …that he has been told about the award, is under no obligation to speak … and a religious leader who is sincere about his faith and his… [...]

  3. [...] Augean Stables wrote an interesting post today on âPresentâ Will not Doâ: Obamaâs Minister Honors FarrakhanHere’s a quick excerpt Richard Cohen, who is not one of my favorite news analysts, has an important article at the Washington Post on Obama’s minister and spiritual advisor. What are we to think? Obama’s Farrakhan Test washingtonpost.com readers have posted 823 comments about this item. WHO’S BLOGGING By Richard Cohen Tuesday, January 15, 2008; Page A13 Barack Obama is a member of Chicago’s Trinity United Church of Christ. Its minister, and Obama’s spiritual adviser, is the Rev. Jeremiah A. Wright Jr. In 1982 [...]

  4. [...] Augean Stables wrote an interesting post today on âPresentâ Will not Do: Obamaâs Minister Honors FarrakhanHere’s a quick excerpt Richard Cohen, who is not one of my favorite news analysts, has an important article at the Washington Post on Obama’s minister and spiritual advisor. What are we to think? And what does this tell us about the currents running through the Afrcan-American community? As my colleague said when asked about his belief in the conspiracy theory that AIDS was a US-government weapon to commit genocide in the African-American community: “I don’t want to answer that because if I say I do believe, I’ll lo [...]

  5. [...] Augean Stables wrote an interesting post today on âPresentâ Will not Do: Obamaâs Minister Honors FarrakhanHere’s a quick excerpt Richard Cohen, who is not one of my favorite news analysts, has an important article at the Washington Post on Obama’s minister and spiritual advisor. What are we to think? And what does this tell us about the currents running through the Afrcan-American community? As my colleague said when asked about his belief in the conspiracy theory that AIDS was a US-government weapon to commit genocide in the African-American community: “I don’t want to answer that because if I say I do believe, I’ll lo [...]

  6. [...] Augean Stables wrote an interesting post today on âPresentâ Will not Do: Obamaâs Minister Honors FarrakhanHere’s a quick excerpt Richard Cohen, who is not one of my favorite news analysts, has an important article at the Washington Post on Obama’s minister and spiritual advisor. What are we to think? And what does this tell us about the currents running through the Afrcan-American community? As my colleague said when asked about his belief in the conspiracy theory that AIDS was a US-government weapon to commit genocide in the African-American community: “I don’t want to answer that because if I say I do believe, I’ll lo [...]

  7. fp says:

    my impression of obama is of an empty suit. he will tell everybody what they want to hear, motherhood and apple pie. his only conviction: he wants to be president.

    I hope he has not succeeded in fooling me and others and has an agenda, because based on his background, it does not inspire confidence. but even if not, he may be dangerous: empty suits can be filled by clever actors when they get power.

    fp
    http://fallofknowledgeandreason.blogspot.com/

  8. [...] “Present” Will not Do”: Obama’s Minister Honors Farrakhan [...]

  9. N00Man says:

    Apparently Obama makes the other side nervous too, since he submitted to the all-powerful Israel Lobby.

    http://www.electronicintifada.net/v2/article6619.shtml

  10. fp says:

    nooman,

    yeah, right, submitted. he just tried to fool them too, like he does everybody.

    looks like not as empty a suit as i thought:

    Obama’s ME expert
    http://www.americanthinker.com/2008/01/barack_obamas_middle_east_expe.html

    Martin Kramer says: be very afraid.

  11. Eliyahu says:

    fp, read lasky’s article in amer thinker.
    Amazing background for robert malley. Now the $64 question is: How does the son of a prominent anti-American propagandist get to a high post in the State Department???

  12. fp says:

    eliyahu,

    didn’t you notice that i beat you to lasky?

    i thought that was a pre-requisite for a SD job.

  13. Eliyahu says:

    fp, yes, you did get there first. I got there through your link– for which I thank you תודה רבה

  14. fp says:

    oh, i thought you were telling me to read it and you meant you read it. ambiguous language.

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