02 Jun 2008

“The Backbone of a Chocolate Eclair”

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Jeffrey Lord comments on Obama’s resignation under fire from his long-term spiritual home, Chicago’s and the Reverend Jeremiah Wright’s Trinity Church.

He ran.

After twenty years of sitting with apparent acquiescence in the pews of Trinity United Church of Christ, after doing a slow-motion backslide from the Reverend Jeremiah Wright when the campaign spotlight flickered on, a backslide that eventually ended in an open break, Senator Barack Obama has now officially cut his ties with Trinity UCC altogether. Faced with a choice between bringing change to his own congregation, or simply turning his back, Obama chose the latter.

As he would do in Iraq, so he has now done with Trinity. …

As both the Reverend Thomas and Senator Obama are all too well aware, even if the media is not, the very heart of UCC doctrine is that the members run the church. At any time in the last twenty years Barack Obama had the complete authority to say to Reverend Wright and his fellow parishioners at Trinity: “I don’t think this is a good idea. I think we have to stop wallowing in black victimology. The things I am hearing from our pulpit sound racist, divisive, hateful.” And then he could have begun an effort to remove Wright from the pulpit, something every UCC member has the ability to do.

He did not do it.

Obama froze. Or he chose — to do nothing. To give Wright his “old uncle” a pass. Was it because he was afraid to damage his political base? Was it because he was afraid he would anger Wright? Or most interestingly of all — was it because he actually agreed with what Wright was preaching? For that matter, since we now know Obama was such a great friend to not only Wright but Father Pfleger as well, is there any record of Obama objecting to Pfleger’s activities in Chicago? Whatever the reason, the harsh and very plain fact is that when it came to having the courage to bring change to Trinity, to exercise good judgment, Barack Obama displayed, as Theodore Roosevelt once said of William McKinley, “the backbone of a chocolate eclair.”

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