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Thursday, March 20, 2008

At Least Pastor Wright is Consistent

Obama has tried to distance himself from Reverend Jeremiah Wright given the Reverend's controversial sermons damning America for its foreign policy (past and present) and accusing the government of spreading AIDS in the black community among other things. However, Obama's political platform is entirely consistent with Pastor Wright's philosophy. Second, for Obama to say that he looks to his church for expressions of "faith, values, and community service" and attempt to distinguish that from his political views is an absurd contradiction.

Pastor Wright appears to espouse liberation theology which is essentially Christian socialism. It is the idea that the church's mission is to bring "social justice" to the "poor and oppressed" through political activism. Logically, Christianity is entirely consistent with the principles of socialism. Both uphold the moral theory of altruism, i.e, both hold that the purpose of life is to serve the poor and "oppressed." Capitalism rests on the egoist theory that the purpose of life is self-fulfillment or happiness not service to the meek. (A better way to see this is to ask whether Jesus would vote for Obama or me.)

Obama would not couch his views in the rhetoric used by the more strident and outspoken Pastor Wright and Obama certainly would not agree with everything Wright believes. There are moderate socialists, moderate environmentalists, moderate Nazis, etc. The "moderate" is usually one who implicitly accepts the fundamental premises of an ideology without being willing to act upon or even understand its extreme logical consequences (sort of like: I just believe in the superiority of the Aryan race - I didn't think it would lead to killing the Jews" or "I just believe in not polluting the air and gas taxes - I didn't think it would lead to the abolishment of private property and living back in a cave"). In this sense, Obama is a moderate liberation theologist whose political platform is a watered down version of Pastor Wright's philosophy. Obama's political platform http://www.barackobama.com is typical liberal stuff: the government should steal money from people who earn it and give it to those who don't. The core premise of this ideology is egalitarianism or the idea that everyone should be economically equal regardless of their ability or work ethic which again is based on the altruist idea that sacrifice is a virtue.

For Obama to say that this church's ideology is not his own is ridiculous. The concept of faith and value is necessarily related to one's political views. Questions such as what is the nature of man, what is the purpose of life, what is the role of the government, etc. are interrelated and the answers depend on one's fundamental philosophy. Either Obama is being dishonest or he does not understand the relationship of ideas to politics. Pastor Wright is consistent albeit wrong. Obama is inconsistent and wrong.

At least, for the first time in this campaign, they are talking about ideas. That's a start.

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