Manya Brachear of the Chicago Tribune has a blog hosted by the paper called The Seeker. In it yesterday, she covered some very interesting interactions between the press and Barack Obama's spiritual mentor, Rev. Jeremiah Wright, Jr., whose Trinity United Church of Christ and
follows a particularly Afro-centric view of Christianity, emphasizing a Black Work Ethic, commitment to a Black Value System, and an allegiance to all Black Leadership that follows the Black Value System. A brief review of its philosophy shows that this is not your everyday Christian parish and perhaps accounts for his campaign's dropping of the name "Trinity" when discussing his church membership,
The Obama campaign disinvited his spiritual mentor from delivering the benediction when Obama declared his candidacy in February. Since then, Rev. Wright has minimized his availability to the press, refusing requests for interviews regarding Obama, and demanding reporters sign an agreement Brachear describes as
"policies and procedures for use with outside media sources." Any breach of the rules will lead to the reporter's immediate ouster from the church and the confiscation of all interview notes and photos. The Obama campaign said it did not advise Wright to adopt the unusual media policy, which many media organizations including the Tribune would never sign.
One reporter who did sign the agreement was from the New York Times, Ms. Jodi Kantor. But the agreement did not seem to assure the sort of coverage Rev. Wright wanted. So after her article appeared, he fired a letter off to Ms. Kantor that may reveal more than he intended, with its mentioning of her (presumed) Jewish faith. Here is an excerpt, via The Seeker [our emphasis added]
When I told you, using one of your own Jewish stories from the Hebrew Bible as to how God asked Moses, "What is that in your hand?," that Barack was like that when I met him. Barack had it "in his hand." Barack had in his grasp a uniqueness in terms of his spiritual development that one is hard put to find in the 21st century, and you did not print that. [....]
The president of our denomination, the Reverend John Thomas, has offered to try to help you clarify in your confused head what Trinity Church is even though you spent the entire weekend with us setting me up to interview me for what turned out to be a smear of the Senator; and yet The New York Times continues to roll on making the truth what it wants to be the truth. I do not remember reading in your article that Barack had apologized for listening to that bad information and bad advice. Did I miss it? Or did your editor cut it out? Either way, you do not have to worry about hearing anything else from me for you to edit or "spin" because you are more interested in journalism than in truth.
Forgive me for having a momentary lapse. I forgot that The New York Times was leading the bandwagon in trumpeting why it is we should have gone into an illegal war. The New York Times became George Bush and the Republican Party's national "blog." The New York Times played a role in the outing of Valerie Plame. I do not know why I thought The New York Times had actually repented and was going to exhibit a different kind of behavior.
Maybe it was my faith in the Jewish Holy Day of Roshashana. Maybe it was my being caught up in the euphoria of the Season of Lent; but whatever it is or was, I was sadly mistaken. There is no repentance on the part of The New York Times. There is no integrity when it comes to The Times. You should do well with that paper, Jodi. You looked me straight in my face and told me a lie!
Does Barack's spiritual mentor have a "Jewish problem"?
Hat tip: Ed Lasky