POLITICS/RELIGION

Hush Up Reverend Wright!

Can someone tell the Reverend Jeremiah Wright Jr. to please sit down, stay away from the news cameras, and shut up? Wright, whose racially incendiary remarks at one point threatened to derail the presidential candidacy of Senator Barack Obama, appeared as a guest on Friday with PBS host Bill Moyers. It was his first television interview since the scandal erupted, and it is clearly an effort to clear his name.

Excerpts of Wright’s sermons at the Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago have been played endlessly on television and on the internet since early March. Wright’s comments include saying the United States had brought the September 11th attacks on itself, and shouting ‘Goddamn America’ over the country’s historic poor treatment of African-Americans.

Obama has attended the Chicago church for 20 years. He described Wright as his spiritual advisor. Wright married Obama and his wife Michelle, and baptized their two children. Today, Rev. Wright appeared at the National Press Club. It seems his purpose is to personally destroy the candidacy of Obama and the hopes and dreams of millions across the globe.

Wright should realize by now that the majority of the media is not his friend. They are going to continue to use him to hurt Obama. There are many who may argue that Wright should be able to clear his name and set the record straight, but there is a time and place for everything. The white folks at the National Press club in D.C can’t and won’t help you.

If Wright couldn’t be quiet, he could have given interviews to the black media outlets. At least the results would be balanced. He could have gone on a major black media public relations campaign ranging from BET, Jet, Urban Thought Collective, Essence, Michael Baisden, or Tavis Smiley … oh wait, never mind that one.

I personally feel that Wright’s comments were taken out of context, and he was unfairly victimized and demonized by the media. At this point in the campaign, Wright, not Hillary, John McCain or Tavis, has become Obama’s biggest headache.

Wright’s interview angered me. My impression is that he dismisses Obama as a mere politician and states that Obama’s speech on race in Philadelphia was just politics. Wright then went on to proclaim that, “Obama is a politician, I’m a pastor. We speak to different audiences. He (Obama) says what he has to say as a politician.”

Wright should realize that any comments he makes are only going to hurt Obama. If he was ever truly a friend, he would keep quiet and keep Obama out the line of fire.

What’s troubling is that Obama was forced to make the speech on race due to Wright and the controversy his comments had created; it had caused severe damage to Obama’s campaign.

In Obama’s speech, which many pundits and scholars have praised as one of the greatest political speeches in history, he condemned Wright’s comments but he defended his decision to remain a parishioner. He said: “as imperfect as he may be, he has been like family to me. He strengthened my faith, officiated my wedding and baptized my children. I can no more disown him than I can disown the black community. I can no more disown him than I can disown my white grandmother.”

In his speech, Obama had the opportunity and motive to not only back away, but to denounce Rev. Wright as a person and throw him under the bus. Instead, Obama laid down the gauntlet to white and black America. He chose to man up and defended his pastor and the church.

Rev. Wright has made a major contribution to black America with 35 years of service in the ministry. I suppose many of his parishioners will say that Wright has done more to help black America in his career than Obama has at this point. Yet, Wright needs to realize that if Obama can win the nomination and presidency, he has the ability to give hope to change and improve the whole world. This is why I hope someone can make the call and tell Rev. Wright to sit down and shut up!

Najee Ali is Executive Director of Los Angeles based activist organization Project Islamic H.O.P.E, a national civil rights organization that advocates for the human rights of oppressed people regardless of race, gender or religion. He was selected by Wave Newspapers and Our Weekly Newspaper as one of the 25 most influential black leaders in Los Angeles. More information is available at: www.islamichope.org.


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Comments

April 28th, 2008 at 1:49 am Carly White says:

I am in complete agreement. Reverend Wright is doing us all a disservice by opening his mouth.

April 28th, 2008 at 2:07 am MissReina says:

Absolutely, Najee! This man is ruining everything!

April 28th, 2008 at 2:14 am chica22 says:

All this time I thought Wright was taking the high road. Now this.

April 28