Read your book all the way through this evening: can`t sleep tonight ...as a result. Congratulations on its completion. I hope it will be purchased and referenced. I donated again. In return, I`ll open up and rant a bit.IMHO, although you address Rev. Wright in some detail, I still think you underestimate his influence on Sen. Obama`s politics. I agree that the Senator is likely to be agnostic, wrapping the cloak of religiosity around himself only as needed to insulate himself against criticism of insincerity: he certainly doesn`t appear to have the religious gene, either phenotypically or by judging his paternal or maternal DNA. He is too bright to take Islam, especially the Black Muslim stuff, seriously. However, his personal and political philosophy appear to be compatible with the teachings of Christianity: alms for the poor (at least certain groups of them), a rejection of materialism (at least for others; he also appears to be comfortable with the belief that some animals are more equal than others), and a need for a meaning and community based on a shared value system and unspecified higher good. Unfortunately for you and me, and as you point out, the main values in his system are being black and poor.This is where the black liberation theology comes in. If you strip away the religiosity and view it as simply a political position - it is the appropriate function of the state to impose Christian virtues on the citizens of the state, whether it be alms (forcible redistribution of wealth), pacifism, a call for personal responsibility, health care as a natural right (as a physician I have somewhat different views on this), glorification of the poor and rejection of materialism (in the form of antipathy towards capitalism), all tending toward special privileges for Africans - it comes much closer to defining his political philosophy than Socialism.He doesn`t seem that interested in economics or proletariats: he is all about emotions. He wins converts like any evangelist, by first empathizing with, then amplifying, their frustrations and fears, then promising them salvation if they embrace his message, although this part could be as much from Alinsky as from Wright. The liberation theology part justifies the compulsion, by the force of the state, to serve their interests. From Trinity and Rev Wright then, and again as you and others point out, all he does is substitute more politically conventional and less inflammatory terms for the subjects and objects of the sermon: the structure of the argument, the rhetorical style, the romantic and religious promise of it all remain intact and create his Messianic image. So call it black liberation politics.My points are that belief, or at least an acceptance of, black liberation theology as taught by Wright 1) explains his political positions quite well, better than a belief in Marxism, 2) explains just why he sat in that pew all of that time, and 3) is antithetical to a belief in the American idea of limited government as expressed in the Bill of Rights (as confirmed by his recently discovered radio comments).All of the other people and needs in Sen. Obama`s life come together in Wright as well: his father`s blackness and will to power without the character flaws, his mother`s rejection of traditional American ideals, his earlier and concurrent influences, his own need to be approved, his need to express himself, and his need to prove to himself (and Michelle) his blackness. Compare the power and rhythm of his current speeches, heavily influenced by Wright, with the plodding and complex prose style that you slogged through and that he still reverts to verbally when caught off guard. He really did rip off the Rev.: I almost feel sorry for the guy.What this suggests about a President Barack Obama and his administration does not reassure me in the least. I hope your dispassionate take proves more correct than mine.Or maybe he is just another crooked Chicago politician with an odd history. That fits the data pretty well, too.
I don`t know either. But I do think it shames our Republic that a candidate can spend 20 months running for President without being seriously examined on his "deepest committments" just because they`re all tangled up in his race.