From a JTA News Alert today:

Obama listed falsehoods that appeared in an e-mail campaign aimed at Jewish voters.

“I never practiced Islam. I was raised by my secular mother. I have been a member of the Christian religion and an active member of a church,” he said. “I was sworn in with my hand on my family Bible and have said the Pledge of Allegiance since I was 3 years old.”

Obama, who also answered questions about his Iran and Israel-Palestinian policies, as well as noting that he had rebuked his church’s past association with Louis Farrakhan, concluded: “My strong and deep commitment and connection to the Jewish community should not be questioned.”

You can read more from the JTA and listen to the conference call here. This Washington Post column by Richard Cohen does a good job of detailing Obama’s church’s recent identification with Louis Farrakhan, whom the church said, “epitomized greatness” and why it feels problematic to some people.

As I’ve been trying to choose between the Democratic primary choices, I’ve spent more time looking at their statements and positions on Jews, Israel and the Middle East. Here’s Obama in today’s call on his church’s connection to Farrakhan:

Asked why it was sufficient for him to denounce his church’s recent praise for Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan but not resign from the church itself, Obama repeated his condemnation of Farrakhan’s “reprehensible” anti-Semitic views. Then he added what sounds like a promise: “My church has never issued anti-Semitic statements, nor have I heard my pastor utter anything anti-Semitic. If I have, I would have left the church.”

Are we okay with this stance? Would not resigning from a group led by individuals who laud someone like Farrakhan be good enough for other politicians or civic leaders, or have we, in the past, demanded that such people more firmly condemn a person who is considered by some to be homophobic, anti-Semitic and racist? Is there more Obama should be doing vis a vis ensuring his church’s “clean hands” or should we just not impute any uncleanliness to Obama?

I ask, because I’m not sure. What do you expect?

JILL MILLER ZIMON
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Copyright 2008 The Moderate Voice
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Holly_in_Cincinnati
Guest

I’ve read Pastor Wright’s utterances, so this is not acceptable.

T-STEEL, Site Administrator
Admin

Well I had associations with Louis Farrakhan. Met him in Chicago back in 2003. Shook his hand. Asked a few questions. Socialized some. Laughed at a joke about the Chicago Cubs. So I’ve been closer to Minister Farrakhan than Barack Obama. And I disagree with much of what Farrakhan says and believes. So should I get on TMV and denounce him with the harshest of language possible? I guess I could. But I haven’t had my oatmeal yet.

So since I’ve been technically closer to Farrakhan and I don’t have an anti-Semetic bone, fiber, or tendon in my body, Obama’s stance is good enough for me. Unless you feel he harbors anti-Semetic views and can show that he has said as much. I don’t see it.

I submit that former Senator John Edwards and Senators Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama ARE NOT anti-Semetic. Can we move on now? Puh-leeze?? With a dollop of Edy’s Apple Pie ice cream on top???

shika_one
Guest

And you were just positively chummy with the Ol’ Demagogue too, T-Steel (T-Steel and I have known each other for 10 years and I was there at his Farrakhan chance encounter).

I don’t like these type of “associate of an associate associations so they better dis-associate strongly” games. A person is a racist, bigot, anti-Semite by their words and deeds. And somehow, this issue seems to try to associate Obama with anti-Semtism albeit lightly. Add the whole stupid “HE’S A MUSLIM INFILTRATOR” nonsense and you get ugliness. Icky!

PaulSilver
Guest

Everything I have heard from Obama indicates that he is as blind to color, creed, race, gender, and class as anyone I have ever known. Perhaps his example will inspire his church to act likewise.

T-STEEL, Site Administrator
Admin

And you gave me the cold shoulder for two days because of my “chumminess”. Sheesh! Forgot you were commenting here now. I better watch myself!

What, then, is the appropriate response from Obama? Should he be leaned on for a further repudiation? Why isn’t that happening, if it should?

As my good friend Shika says “a person is a racist, bigot, anti-Semite by their words and deeds”. So I don’t think he should be leaned on for a further repudiation. I don’t think anyone should be subject to that be it Democrat, Republican, or Independent. These type of issues can grow into the type of nastiness where a candidate will spend all of his/her time repudiating and less on the issues/campaign at hand.

Slamfu
Member

How many Catholics use birth control? People can’t be held responsible for what their religous leaders say and do, and often live their lives in spite of the more foolish proclamations of their faith.

cosmoetica
Guest

Jill:

Was there any real purpose to your post, save for demagoguing in the fashion you disdain Farrakhan for?

cosmoetica
Guest

So, Jill, in answer to my query; that would be a ‘yes.’

G_Hendricks
Guest

Please. Farrakhan is an unpleasant fart at worst. He does not pose the threat of a Hitler or an Osama bin Laden.

And why is it so hard to recognize that re: this issue, Farrakhan is just Willie Horton. If Hillary were opposing Dukakis, she’d be calling him a rapist and convicted murderer.

Idiosyncrat
Guest

Jill, you look at these things on a case-by-case basis, based on the person and the circumstances. Bottom line — do you think that Obama is an anti-Semite? I don’t. This guy has seemingly done everything possible to keep the race-baiting Sharptons and Jacksons out of this world… I can’t imagine he’s a Farrakhan fan. When he condemns the guy, I believe he means it.

Obama’s gift is “soft power”… We shouldn’t confuse it with lack of conviction and make him jump through more hoops.

Idiosyncrat
Guest

oops — a bit of a typo. Meant “out of HIS world” and not “this” world. Y’all have a field day with Freudian analysis on that… :-)

cosmoetica
Guest

Jill:

When one uses a tactic of guilt by association, twice removed- i.e.- Farrakhan’s a bigoted nut who has a follower who’s not all there, and this guy knows and/or preaches to Obama’s congregation, therefore. is Obama as bad as the first guy, that’s classic demagoguery, going back to the 18th C. in this nation.

There are real issues in this campaign: healthcare, the war, immigration, the economy, etc. Things like is Obama a Moslem, is he a bigot because he knows bigots, etc., are silly, and you should be a) smart enough to know it’s a silly issue, and b) ethical enough to ignore such claims and those who curry in them.

G. Hendricks made a good point, that you are engaging in Willie Hortonism.

‘I don’t think that’s a very fair question, to be honest. It’s kind of insulting, really. ‘

Au contraire, it’s a very fair q when the questioned is currying in demagoguery, and the sort of demagoguery that insults your readers; as if we are not smart enough to be able to separate individuals from each other.

In my mother’s extended family, many of them died in the Nazi death camps and many of them fled to S. America after WW2. So, wd it be fair for one to claim she’s tarred by 1/2 her clan’s sins?

That’s the sort of logic you are purveying, and when you ask, ‘”You know – you say you stand for one thing, but the religious leader you follow espouses another – how do you square that and why don’t you find a different religious leader who is more in line with what you think?”‘ well, that’s the very reason it is religion. Religion , by its nature, is illogical. How many Catholics are virgins on their wedding days or have abortions. Most religious leaders are figureheads.

I’d guess Obama doesn’t give a rat’s ass who heads his church. It’s simply not that high on his, or most folks’ lists. Recall, he’s just a politician. Do you really think Hillary prays as much as she claims?

So, again, with all the real issues in need of in depth analysis and dialectic, why are you currying in Oprah level puffery?

Polimom
Guest

Jill (and everybody) — perhaps I’m missing something. You said:

“…detailing Obama’s church’s recent identification with Louis Farrakhan, whom the church said, “epitomized greatness”…”

But it was not “his church”, was it? My impression is this entire issue stemmed from an award given via a magazine published and edited by Rev. Wright and his daughters.

Is the concern here that Rev. Wright, as a spiritual leader, is bringing his approbation of Farrakhan into the pulpit? That he’s exhorting his flock to follow his lead on this? Because I haven’t read that anyplace at all.

AARON ASTOR
Member

Good God, this is such a ridiculous exercise. I am a Jew. I hate Louis Farrakhan for the obvious reasons. And Barack Obama owes NO more genuflection over his pastor’s remarks on Farrakhan. My guess is that the people who raise these sorts of “questions” about Obama are the same ones who used to complain about all the “schwaaaartzes” in the neighborhood (and there were plenty in my distant family).

cosmoetica
Guest

Jill: It does not matter to me whether you were seriously demagoguing or slipped into it. The Internet does not convey inflection, etc.

However, the very post, and asking, as you do within it, ‘Are we okay with this stance?’ is political style rhetoric. I didn’t say it (in so many words) although y’all were smart enough to know what I meant.

But, style aside, and again, this is simply a bullshit ‘issue.’

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