Wright and Obama
There's been a lot of media exposure concerning Obama's pastor Jeremiah Wright. Some of his politically charged sermons have been played on the networks. Few candidates have gotten this much exposure on religion.
I'd recommend Bob Cornwall's comments on this controversy. like him, it's hard to accept every claim of Wright's at face value. I couldn't affirm everything said. But the general critique of our society is thoroughly gospel from opposition to war to racial injustice.
Wright says things which should make us uncomfortable. He pronounces divine judgment. Some of us may wish there was more evidence of God's redemptive possibilities in these judgments, but it's natural to want to skip over judgment as quickly as possible.
Wright is quoted as saying "God damn America" which as Bob Cornwall notes "reminds us why religion and politics often relate to each other like oil and water." Promise and hope is the bread of American politics, not judgment. That's the basis of Obama's campaign.
And it's why Obama's campaign cannot be a source of religious redemption. All it can be, is what any good campaign is about in our society, a chance to make things better. The task of prophetic religion cannot readily be translated to the needs of politics.
Obama will distance himself from Wright, as he must. Maybe we'll be more sober about what role the church can and cannot play in politics. And a franker discussion about race in America could happen from this? That'd be a good thing in the end of such a controversy.