Part of the duplicitous game the Rev. Jeremiah Wright is playing goes like this: "I'm a pastor, not a politician."
This is a one-size-fits-all defense for embarrassing statements that can't be denied or are spoken with such vehemence they cannot be taken back. When Wright pops off about an issue clearly more political than divine, he often springs the pastor defense on political critics. When cornered he wiggles away with a jaunty insistence he is only accounting himself to God, not making statements that would get him or for that matter Barack Obama, elected.
So at the Washington Press Club Reverend Wright made an overtly political and partisan statement: "…those who call me unpatriotic have used their positions of privilege to avoid military service while sending over 4,000 American boys and girls to die over a lie."
No doubt the left accepts Wright's bland assertion it is a fact that the war was based on a lie, but in reality it is a highly contested political issue and an extremely partisan statement.
But don't attack Rev. Wright. He's just a pastor.
And if you do have the gall to launch an objection: "It is not an attack on Jeremiah Wright — it's an attack on the black church," he warns. The not-so-veiled threat is a charge of racism and that threat enforces silence because nobody likes being branded a racist.
Reporting from the Washington Press Club, Dana Milbank of The Washington Post picked out a few famous faces in the crowd, people you could hear in the background of Wright's remarks shouting and whistling: author Cornel West, former D.C. Mayor Marion Barry, New Black Panther Party official Malik Zulu Shabazz and Jamil Muhammad of the Nation of Islam.
Without any aspersions cast on the Black Church, Rev. Wright's performance and his coterie of boisterous big name supporters had all the earmarks of a political rally.
If he's just a simple churchman, he's clearly a pastor with a taste for intrigue and conspiracy theories. He has promoted the notion that the U.S. government invented HIV/AIDS in order to kill black people. "Based on this Tuskegee experiment and based on what has happened to Africans in this country, I believe our government is capable of doing anything," he said at the Washington Press Club.
But please don't regard that as a fiery political attack because, according to Wright, he is not a politician, just a pastor.
Except on blogs of the far, far left wing, it didn't play. Amy Sullivan of Time magazine wrote that Wright "put on the kind of performance … that can only be described as a political disaster."
Wright is playing dumb and Barack Obama is paying the price. Whatever is thrown at Wright passes right through him and sticks to Obama, and there is nothing the Senator can do to shut him up.
Wright doesn't care about politics in many ways. As a politician Rev. Wright would probably not be able to accept the $1.6 million house his congregation is building for him in a swanky Chicago neighborhood (mostly white, by the way). However, as he is just a pastor, it's no problem.
That's My Word.
Send your comments to: email@example.com