Thursday, June 5, 2008

Obama and Trinity

As we all know, Barack Obama's membership in Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago and his relationship with Jeremiah Wright has been a significant issue in this campaign.

Why, many ask, would the Senator join a church that, even when the pastor doesn't carry on about "G-D America" and the like still has "black nationalist" leaning.

Writing, online, for the WSJ, Steve Waldman gives a very insightful piece.

In that sense, neither Obama-the-candidate nor his critics have fully articulated the real reason Sen. Obama stayed with the church as long as he did. It was not because he’s a secret Black Panther (he’s not), and if anything he gravitated to Trinity because of his own fears that he was too white. It’s also not because he was shocked – shocked! – to learn of the church’s radicalism (he wasn’t). It’s that Sen. Obama treasures unity above other values, and marveled at Trinity’s capacity to tie together disparate, often hostile groups into a single community.

What has changed is that Sen. Obama is now focused on a different, larger community. Whereas Mr. Wright was a unifying figure in one community, he and Trinity Church are powerfully divisive in the much larger community.

Sen. Obama’s racial journey – landing him as it did in Trinity Church — has surely caused him problems politically this year and will in the general election. But at the end of the day, Sen. Obama’s multiracial family is at the heart of his continual emphasis on unity – and his formidable skill as a politician

Read the whole thing. I'll simply say that Obama's complex racial journey is, in the end, quite moving, but, perhaps too complex for some voters to understand.

No comments: