January 16, 2008


Obama's spiritual mentor: Powerhouse Chicago preacher draws attention, and plenty of controversy (Michael Hill, January 16, 2008 , Baltimore Sun)

As in the past, Obama did not completely denounce Wright. The candidate's 1995 book Dreams From My Father depicts Obama's decision to join Trinity United as a fundamental step in affirming his identity as an African-American. Obama's mother was white, he was raised in large part by her parents and he spent much of his youth in Indonesia with his mother's second husband. He only met his father, a Kenyan, once.

Obama took the title of his more recent book, The Audacity of Hope, from the first sermon he heard preached by Wright, whom Obama met while working in Chicago as a community organizer.

In Dreams from My Father, Obama wrote of his reaction on hearing that sermon in 1988: "In that single note - hope! - I heard something else: At the foot of that cross, inside the thousands of churches across the city, I imagined the stories of ordinary black people merging with the stories of David and Goliath, Moses and the Pharaoh, the Christians in the Lion's Den, Ezekiel's field of dry bones. Those stories became our story, my story; the blood that had spilled was our blood, the tears our tears; until this black church on this bright day seemed once more a vessel carrying the story of a people into future generations and into a larger world."

Dwight Hopkins, a professor in the divinity school at the University of Chicago who is a member of Trinity United, was not surprised by Wright's comments about the Clinton administration on Sunday.

Bill Clinton, he said, may have been from the South and appointed blacks to his Cabinet and opened an office later in Harlem, "but if you really look at the policies he backed, many were worse for blacks than those of the pre-civil rights days."

Hopkins pointed to Clinton's welfare reform policies and the criticism of activist Randall Robinson of Clinton policies toward black Caribbean countries such as Haiti.

If black nationalism were a winning platform Bill would have run on it. He ran against it and won twice.

Posted by Orrin Judd at January 16, 2008 9:53 PM
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