The Campaign Spot

What Is a ‘Pillar of the Community’ to Barack Obama?

Ben Smith thinks the takeaway comment from Obama’s talk with Philadelphia talk radio host Michael Smerconish is that his declaration that Trinity United Church of Christ is not a “crackpot church.”

I’m more surprised by Obama’s declaration that, after all this, he sees either Wright or the church as “a pillar of the community.”

Understand this, something else that has not been reported on enough is despite these very offensive views, this guy has built one of the finest churches in Chicago. This is not a crackpot church. Witness the fact that Bill Clinton invited him to the White House when he was having his personal crises. This is a pillar of the community and if you go there on Easter on this Easter Sunday and you sat down there in the pew you would think this is just like any other church.

Keep in mind that while Wright is getting publicly criticized for his statements, what should we think of the congregation, jumping, applauding, cheering and approving of every word Wright says? Can these assembled crowds, in their reactions, be considered a collective “pillar of the community”?
Another thought, in the vein of the “why did he take his daughters there”… Obama said that he heard offensive comments, and comments he disagreed with, but that he couldn’t turn away from Wright because he “has been like family to me. He strengthened my faith, officiated my wedding, and baptized my children.”
What would it take to get him to leave that church? What would Wright have to say from the pulpit before Obama said, “that’s it, this church is not for me, I can find another house of worship”?
Is it that Obama has a line that can’t be crossed, and Wright never crossed it? Or is it that he feels so close to this man, such mentor-student love and appreciation, that Obama could never turn his back to Wright, no matter what he said?


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