"Our choices have consequences, and our behavior has consequences. I've told you for over three decades now: God will forgive you for sowing wild oats. But God's forgiveness don't stop the crop. Them oats you sowed will bring a crop. You will reap what you sow. But stop calling your crops your cross. "Well... that child is just my cross." No, that child is your crop. A cross is a sacrificial vehicle of redemption that you voluntarily pick up; a crop is the result of something you sowed. Our choices have consequences, our behaviors have consequences." — Rev. Jeremiah Wright, sermon delivered on January 27, 2008, at Trinity United Church of Christ, Chicago, Illinois
Barack Obama has been very reluctant to gather the crops that he has sown. The reverend is right, for once, that our choices and behaviors have consequences. When Obama joined Wright's congregation, he made a choice and now he is dealing with the consequences of that choice. For 15 years he sat first alone and then with his family imbibing his religion and forming his social conscience under the tutelage of his minister. Obama has called Wright his greatest teacher because he led him to Christ. Now, there are many ways to reach Christ and not all are straight; but surely Obama chose for himself one of the crookedest, and if it led him to Christ then indeed it was a miracle. Wright's teaching could well have led him in another direction as it apparently has led the minister himself.
Wright occupied in Obama's moral cosmology a central place, not the "tangential" one which he now attributes to him. Wright is correct to question the sincerity of Obamas's efforts to distance himself from him. If not political expediency, then how to explain the fact that only when the propriety of his relationship with Wright was questioned did Obama feel the compulsion to disavow Wright's more outrageous contentions while never actually disowning Wright? A coincidence? Can anyone believe that if Rev. Wright's opinions had not been publicized by the media and Obama himself placed in the position of defending the indefensible or repudiating it, that Obama would ever of his own volition have labelled Wright's beliefs "divisive and destructive?"
If he had done so on his own it would be possible to contend that moral outrage, not just political opportunism, played a part in his decision. But Obama either agreed with or disregarded the content in Wright's sermons, served to him 52 times a year for 15 years. Did he manage to miss all 780 sermons preached to the congregants of Trinity United during all that time? All of Rev. Wright's sermons contain poisonous weeds and all are alike incendiary and offensive. A little bit will certainly do you; but even the great heapfuls that Obama was fed over 15 years were not enough for him to develop a distaste for the racist mythology and visceral anti-Americanism which are its permanent themes. Did Obama dismiss it all as bombastic rhetoric? If so, then how did Wright become his mentor? Do honest men blindly follow the preaching of demagogues? Or did Obama agree with Wright's peculiar take on religion, history and politics? That would seem a logical conclusion given the influence which Obama himself acknowledged Wright had exerted over him.
Or is Obama himself Rev. Wright's "crop?" Or is he Wright's "cross?" Obviously, Obama is the best thing that could have happened to Wright. No cross to him but a most bountiful harvest. Thanks to Obama Wright has become a national figure. Don't fool yourself that notoriety is all that he has reaped. He has his legions of admirers in the black community just like Minister Farrakhan, Wright's own "mentor." Not a small minority of blacks actually believe that Obama has betrayed Wright and hence the black community to ingratiate himself to the white establishment. They'll still vote for him, of course, but they believe that in the contest between Wright and Obama it is the reverend who has the "moral" high ground. It would not be surprising if Rev. Wright got a multi-million dollar book contract to publish his execrable sermons. Not even Billy Graham did that well and he was much more popular; nor Archbishop Sheen, who was an intellectual giant compared to both of them.
Reverend Jeremiah Wright was not joking when he said that he might be picked to run as Obama's vice-president. In fact, he is already running as his "vice president." The two are now inseparable in the public consciousness; no "vice president" in history is as completely identified with the presidential contender as Wright is with Obama. Wright has certainly reaped quite a bonanza from the seeds he planted in his surrogate son. The son also got more than he bargained for. But as the reverend said, "Our choices have consequences, our behaviors have consequences."
[Yes, another post on Obama. While his ship is sinking, we insist on documenting that fact].