The NY Times front pages (above the fold!) a story that can be easily read as an Obama-basher or, for those so inclined, an Obama-booster, yet the blogosphere has scarcely registered a response, if Memeorandum and Technorati can be my guides. Weird.
Let me race through the Barack-bashing version of his spiritual development - he was raised by non-practicing Methodist/Baptist grandparents, a non-practicing Muslim father, and a cultural anthropologist mother who exposed the kids to a number of religions for the "the inspirational power of the common narratives and heroes."
However, as a community organizer in Chicago, Obama was inspired by a racist, inflammatory minister who preaches "black liberation theology" and warns his congregation "against 'middleclassness', its term for selfish individualism". By the way, in context seems to mean white middleclassedness.
About this inspirational minister, Mr. Wright - in 1984 he traveled "to Libya to visit Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi, along with the Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan. Mr. Wright said his visits implied no endorsement of their views."
And Obama, who met Mr. Wright in the late 80's, took his message to heart:
Services at Trinity were a weekly master class in how to move an audience. When Mr. Obama arrived at Harvard Law School later that year, where he fortified himself with recordings of Mr. Wright’s sermons, he was delivering stirring speeches as a student leader in the classic oratorical style of the black church.
Whoa - if this were written about a Republican, the secular libs would be rending their garments or laughing out loud.
Whatever. Here is the careful separation of church and state:
As a presidential candidate, Mr. Obama is reaching out to both liberal skeptics and committed Christians. In many speeches or discussions, he never mentions religion. When Mr. Obama, a former constitutional law professor, does speak of faith, he tends to add a footnote about keeping church and state separate.
But he also talks of building a consensus among secular liberal and conservative Christian voters. Mr. Wallis, the antipoverty advocate who calls himself a “progressive evangelical,” first met Mr. Obama 10 years ago when both participated in traveling seminars on American civic life. On bus rides, Mr. Wallis and Mr. Obama would huddle, away from company like George Stephanopoulos and Ralph Reed, to plot building a coalition of progressive and religious voters.
“The problems of poverty and racism, the uninsured and the unemployed, are not simply technical problems in search of the perfect 10 point plan,” Mr. Obama says in one of his standard campaign lines. “They are rooted in both societal indifference and individual callousness — in the imperfections of man.”
Ahh! If a Democratic politician has a view on abortion informed by his religion, that is out of bounds. But if his view on tax policy, welfare, health care, social services, or the environment is shaped by his religious values, its all good. I sort of see why lefties are ducking this article.
In any case, the Times advises us that the minister is prepared to be tossed under the bus:
Few of those at Mr. Wright’s tribute in March knew of the pressures that Mr. Obama’s presidential run was placing on the relationship between the pastor and his star congregant. Mr. Wright’s assertions of widespread white racism and his scorching remarks about American government have drawn criticism, and prompted the senator to cancel [Mr, Wright's] delivery of the invocation when he formally announced his candidacy in February.
Mr. Wright, who has long prided himself on criticizing the establishment, said he knew that he may not play well in Mr. Obama’s audition for the ultimate establishment job.
“If Barack gets past the primary, he might have to publicly distance himself from me,” Mr. Wright said with a shrug. “I said it to Barack personally, and he said yeah, that might have to happen.”
How will Barack distance himself from his minister of twenty years? What should we expect, a Minister Souljah moment? Mr. Wright, you're wrong?
Quite a Times story, although no one seems to think so.
MORE: Some background on Obama's church and "middleclassedness" in this Freeper post.