Presidential hopefulÂ Barack Obama has come under increasing fire for contents of sermons given by his former pastor,Â Jeremiah Wright, in his former Chicago church. The firestorm has generated such heat that the presidentialÂ hopeful was forced to schedule a speech for today to address the issue.
Obama immediately called the minister’s remarks “profoundly distorted view of this country – a view that sees white racism as endemic and that elevates what is wrong with America above all that we know is right about America.”
In his speech delivered with eloquence and passionate grace, Obama went on to call for national healing. The U.S., as a whole, needs to “move beyond some of our old racial wounds” and come together around the issues that are crippling our country.
Video of Wright’s speech has been circulating through the Internet and now on mainstream media front pages. In a few of his sermons, he utters the phrase, “God Bless America? God Damn America!” Wright and his supporters are insisting that his words have been taken out of context.
At the heart of this issue is that there is much that goes on in churches and synagogues across the country that never see the light of day as this issue has for Obama. Analysts have all agreed that it is not unusual for these sermons to be uttered in black churches. This example, after the suffering of a race at the hands of violent and institutional racism, merely provide insights into the emotions surrounding what it means to be an African AmericanÂ in America 2008.
Jack Cafferty, CNN political expert, stated on yesterday’s “The Situation Room” that he would not dream of being held accountable for every aspect of his minister’s weekly sermons. “That would be ridiculous,” he said.
Obama, although he said he never attended any of the sermons in question, has been forced to answer to his former minister’s statements. As evidenced by his speech Tuesday, Obama is further distancing himself fromÂ his former minister. Immediate reaction from Obama often used the word ‘denounced’ in his viewÂ of Wright’s comments. That statement ignited rage in the black community that felt ObamaÂ had not handled the entire situation well. It is, as they insist, an opportunity to address these issues that haunt America when it comes to race.
Enter today’s speech in a Philadelphia locale that lends itself to patriotism. Standing in front of eight U.S. flags, Obama said of his former church leader:
“The man I met more than 20 years ago is a man who helped introduce me to my Christian faith, a man who spoke to me about our obligations to love one another, to care for the sick and lift up the poor,” Obama said.
Obama then spoke of his own racial experiences growing up the son of a white woman and a black man from Kenya. He spoke of his wife Michelle possessing the blood of slaves and that the couple would not beÂ where they are today, running for President of the United States, if it was not for the opportunities provided by this country. “For as long as I live, I will never forget that in no other country on Earth is my story even possible.”