Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Politics as Unusual

Most people are familiar with the comments made by Barack Obama's former pastor Reverend Wright at Trinity UCC in Chicago. Those comments were harsh, uncalled for, ignorant, and completely inappropriate for the pulpit. This gospel of Christ is meant to be uniting not dividing and this is exactly what Rev. Wright was doing in those particular sermons. There are times to preach prophecy from the pulpit and there are times to speak truth to power, but not by using tactics and rhetoric antithetical to the gospel of Christ. These words have come back to not only haunt Rev. Wright, but also his former parishioner Barack Obama.

So today March 18th Obama stood at the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia, the city of "Brotherly Love", and gave what is arguably the most power and honest speech on race relations since MLK. He took what could have been a time for embarrassment and back-tracking and made a (in the words of Vanderbilt Divinity School) teaching moment. Some will argue that his words were disingenuous and political at best. I believe that these words come from the heart of not only a man, but from the heart of the country. He words held whites and blacks accountable while proclaiming the truth of a broken system. The truth of the situation, that Obama artfully communicated, is that we are not a union of individuals, but a community. What happens to the least of us affects the greatest of us. As MLK masterfully put it, "Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." It was the first time I have ever seen a politician be truly open and genuine, either that or Obama is the greatest BS artist in history. I don't think that is the case.

I hope people take this as a moment to examine race and racism in their own lives and in their own hearts. It starts within the heart of each person, but it can only change and come into fruition when those hearts are united in community.

No comments: