Pastor of Barack Obama's Church Preaches a Controversial Gospel

Now some fresh pickings from the Political Grapevine:

Divine Calling

Barack Obama's appeal to church members in South Carolina Sunday to help him become an "instrument of God" and create "a kingdom right here on earth" is leading to renewed examination of his controversial pastor.

Obama is a member of the Reverend Jeremiah Wright's Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago. Wright's sermons often address themes of white supremacy and black repression.

Among Wright's statements — that there are more black men in prison than in college — a claim that government figures indicate is false. Wright also says — Racism is how this country was founded and how this country is still run." And he has said — "We are deeply involved in the importing of drugs, the exporting of guns and the training of professional killers. We believe in white supremacy and black inferiority... We care nothing about human life if the ends justify the means."

Obama has said he does not agree with Wright on every issue, religious or political.

Educational Mission

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad says he wanted to visit Ground Zero during his recent trip to New York in order to keep it from becoming — "a false idol like the Holocaust." MEMRI TV has released a clip of an interview with Ahmadinejad that aired on Iranian television two weeks ago: "We don't want them to turn this incident, in 20 years' time, into another false idol like the Holocaust, which they would use as a pretext to kill peoples, and prevent anybody from opening this [Pandora's] Box and examining what really happened in this incident. They might turn 9/11 into something sacred, and whoever does not accept it would be considered an infidel."

Breaking Point

That noted liberal haven San Francisco is said to be undergoing a transformation on the subject of homeless people. The San Francisco Chronicle reports residents are fed up with aggressive panhandlers, street squatters and drug users.

Local market researcher David Latterman says — "People have realized they can hate George Bush but still not want people crapping in their doorway... For the first time, even the left is saying they've had enough."

San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom has instituted a program of issuing citations to vagrants on sidewalks and streets that has led to an economic boom in the city's South of Market area — and 90 percent support for his program in one poll.

The executive director of the city's human services agency says it's a quality of life issue — not a conservative or liberal thing. Trent Rhorer says — "Maybe you just need a guy with a badge standing over them and saying, 'You can't stay there anymore.'"

Project Pushback

University anthropologists who are helping the U.S. military learn more about tribal customs in Iraq and Afghanistan — in order to save both American lives and those of the natives — are under attack from fellow academics.

The Boston Globe reports the members of what are called "human terrain teams" are being accused in blogs and academic journal articles of "prostituting science" and presiding over "the militarization of anthropology". A professor at the University of Kansas says colleagues have called him a "killer for hire."

But one anthropologist says critics need to get beyond the stereotypes and take a close look at the program. Canadian researcher Brian Selmeski says — "I don't want to help them kill people. What I want to do is help them avoid conflict."

FOX News Channel's Martin Hill contributed to this report.