Monday, March 17, 2008

JFK felt obliged to make a major speech during his 1960 presidential campaign when critics predicted that the Catholic Church would dominate the U.S. government under the Catholic Kennedy. He promised that no clergyman would influence his decisions in the White House, and most Americans found that convincing. As it turns out, there is some evidence that Francis Cardinal Spellman was unusually influential as to U.S. foreign policy, but this was no less true during the Eisenhower administration.

Obama has had the opposite errand until recently. Last year he was pledging his devotion to 20-year spiritual adviser Jeremiah Wright. This was in part to deflect accusations that he is a secret Muslim. Now he may wish he had identified himself as a Muslim, because his ties to Wright are proving controversial and embarrassing. Now Obama has to make a speech accounting for his devotion to a racist, divisive pastor and congregation.

If you missed the "Black Values" on Barack Obama's church's About Us page, it's too late.

The 160-word section has since been deleted from the About Us page, replaced by videotaped testimonials from church members vouching for Pastor Jeremiah Wright, including a white official from the parent denomination, United Church of Christ, who said she feels welcome at predominantly black Trinity.

“These black ethics must be taught and exemplified in homes, churches, nurseries and schools, wherever blacks are gathered,” the original page said. But it was taken down, and Wright has gone into seclusion, unavailable for comment.

Obama is expected to deliver a speech today to clarify his views on the racially inflammatory, anti-American sermons that Wright has delivered at Trinity United Church of Christ during the two decades Obama has been a member.

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