The Rev. Jeremiah Wright is no doubt (and regrettably) a big issue in the presidential campaign. But what we’ve seen over the past week is major media overkill — Jeremiah Wright all day and all night. It’s like watching the clips of a car wreck again and again.
Clinton’s prayer group, the Fellowship, Prays To Jesus For The Elite To Rule The World. Aka “the Family”, it is a network dedicated to “spiritual war” on behalf of Christ, many of them are recruited at the annual National Prayer Breakfast. The Fellowship believes that the elite win power by the will of God, who uses them for his purposes.
Through all of her years in Washington, Clinton has been an active participant in conservative Bible study and prayer circles that are part of a secretive Capitol Hill group known as the Fellowship. Her collaborations with right-wingers such as Senator Sam Brownback (R-Kan.) and former Senator Rick Santorum (R-Pa.) grow in part from that connection.
The Fellowship’s long-term goal is “a leadership led by God–leaders of all levels of society who direct projects as they are led by the spirit.” According to the Fellowship’s archives, the spirit has in the past led its members in Congress to increase U.S. support for the Duvalier regime in Haiti and the Park dictatorship in South Korea. The Fellowship’s God-led men have also included General Suharto of Indonesia; Honduran general and death squad organizer Gustavo Alvarez Martinez; a Deutsche Bank official disgraced by financial ties to Hitler; and dictator Siad Barre of Somalia, plus a list of other generals and dictators.
More on the Fellowship’s leader, Doug Coe, from Harper’s via DKos.
His name is Ambassador Edward Peck. And he is a retired, white, career U.S. diplomat who served 32-years in the U.S. Foreign Service and was chief of the U.S. mission to Iraq under Jimmy Carter — hardly the black-rage image with which Wright has been stigmatized.
In fact, when Wright took the pulpit to give his post-9/11 address — which has since become boiled down to a five second sound bite about “America’s chickens coming home to roost” — he prefaced his remarks as a “faith footnote,” an indication that he was deviating from his sermon.
“I heard Ambassador Peck on an interview yesterday,” Wright declared. “He was on Fox News. This is a white man and he was upsetting the Fox News commentators to no end. He pointed out, a white man, an ambassador, that what Malcolm X said when he got silenced by Elijah Muhammad was in fact true: America’s chickens are coming home to roost.”
The recent coverage of Rev. Jeremiah Wright has often cast him as a marginal, almost fringe figure, but Trinity Church is a major Chicago institution, and Wright has long been a prominent pastor on the American scene.
“The big thing for Wright is hope,” said Martin Marty, one of America’s foremost theologians, who has known the Rev. Wright for 35 years and attended many of his services. “You hear ‘hope, hope, hope.’ Lots of ordinary people are there, and they’re there not to blast the whites. They’re there to get hope.”
…Rev. Jeremiah Wright of Chicago’s Trinity United Church of Christ, Sen. Barack Obama’s minister, was much quoted over the weekend as having said: “God damn America.” But the quotation comes not from Wright, but from the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.’s first address to the Montgomery Improvement Association on December 5, 1955. Both African-American preachers have understood prophetic biblical preaching far better than those who feign shock at and condemn Wright’s words.
We can play Reverend Wright’s sermons on every channel, every day and talk about them from now until the election, and make the only question in this campaign whether or not the American people think that I somehow believe or sympathize with his most offensive words. We can pounce on some gaffe by a Hillary supporter as evidence that she’s playing the race card, or we can speculate on whether white men will all flock to John McCain in the general election regardless of his policies.
We can do that.
But if we do, I can tell you that in the next election, we’ll be talking about some other distraction. And then another one. And then another one. And nothing will change.
That is one option. Or, at this moment, in this election, we can come together and say, “Not this time.”
Author Steven Waldman attempts to answer this and other questions related to America’s religious history in his new book, Founding Faith: Providence, Politics, and the Birth of Religious Freedom in America.
Waldman sets the record straight on several issues that have been debated fiercely by those engaged in what he calls the “custody battle” over the American founding. Seventeenth-century America, he rightly argues, was not founded as a bastion of religious freedom, but as a place where religious establishments prevailed. Scholars will already know this, but it is still nice to see such a clean and direct hit on the Whiggish interpretations of the British colonies promoted by many of the so-called Christian America writers. Waldman also makes it clear that most of the Founders were not deists, especially if we define a “deist” as a person who rejects the idea that God acts in human history. Nearly all the Founders believed in providence. I am sure that Susan Jacoby and others and still others may have something to say about this, but Waldman is correct here.
It is now common for those on the right and the left to try to prove that America is or isn’t a Christian nation based on the religious beliefs of the Founders. Waldman reminds us of the logical problems with this argument. Just because one of the Founders was a Christian—or even an evangelical Christian—doesn’t mean that he was an opponent of the separation of church and state. The opposite is also true. Just because one of the Founders did not believe all the tenets of orthodox Christianity does not always mean that he rejected the idea that Christianity was good for the republic. This argument seems obvious, but it is often missing from the popular religious histories of the founding era.
By David Rieff
At first glance, it seems difficult to imagine how Cardinal Roger M. Mahony can survive the pedophile scandal. Far from putting the matter to rest, the $660-million settlement that the Archdiocese of Los Angeles has agreed to pay the victims of the abuse — child rape, alas, is often the more accurate term — can only lead to further wonder, and worry, about the cardinal’s conduct throughout the course of the scandal.
On Tuesday night, Chris Hedges and Sam Harris debated “Religion, Politics and the End of the World.” The following is Hedges’ opening statement, in which he argues that Harris and other critics of faith have mistakenly blamed religion for the ills of the world, when the true danger lies in the human heart and its capacity for evil.
Imagine it’s Paris in the spring of 1789 and you have just announced that you are an inveterate foe of tyrants and kings. Obviously, your message is not going to fall on deaf ears. But now that you’ve made it clear what you’re against, what are you for?
The glorious paradox at the center of Christianity, which presents a God incarnate in an individual who identified with the marginalized and despised, and was tortured to death as a political subversive, ensures that diversity and critical reconstruction are integral aspects of the Christian tradition.
After generations of bloodshed, followed by nearly a decade of angry political haggling between Protestants and Catholics, local, democratic rule has been restored in Northern Ireland
May 13, 2007
By MICHAEL KINSLEY
Observers of the Christopher Hitchens phenomenon have been expecting a book about religion from him around now. But this impressive and enjoyable attack on everything so many people hold dear is not the book we were expecting.
By DENNIS PALUMBO
Published: December 10, 2006
”I see dead people,” Haley Joel Osment famously said in the film ”The Sixth Sense.” If the current crop of similarly themed television series is any indication, so do a lot of folks.
In ”Medium,” ”The Ghost Whisperer” and ”The Dead Zone” ”gifted” characters routinely aid the restless spirits of the deceased. And more shows are on the way: BBC America just introduced ”Afterlife.” Glenn Gordon Caron, executive producer of ”Medium,” is developing a romantic drama about a dead young woman who returns to life to help people. And for midseason NBC is bringing ”Raines,” starring Jeff Goldblum as a cop who talks to the ghosts of murder victims. (more…)