OK, gang. Hillary Clinton is now prepared to call Barack Obama to account for what his pastor says. As in the following quotes from today’s Pittsburgh Tribune-Review:
“He would not have been my pastor,” Clinton said. “You don’t choose your family, but you choose what church you want to attend…”You know, I spoke out against Don Imus (who was fired from his radio and television shows after making racially insensitive remarks), saying that hate speech was unacceptable in any setting, and I believe that,” Clinton said. “I just think you have to speak out against that. You certainly have to do that, if not explicitly, then implicitly by getting up and moving.”
So it’s now fair game to look at what her own pastor says. Here, for starters, is what that pastor, Dean J. Snyder, senior minister of Washington’s Foundry United Methodist Church, said March 19 about Jeremiah Wright (as posted on the church’s website):
The Reverend Jeremiah Wright is an outstanding church leader whom I have heard speak a number of times. He has served for decades as a profound voice for justice and inclusion in our society. He has been a vocal critic of the racism, sexism and homophobia which still tarnish the American dream. To evaluate his dynamic ministry on the basis of two or three sound bites does a grave injustice to Dr. Wright, the members of his congregation, and the African-American church which has been the spiritual refuge of a people that has suffered from discrimination, disadvantage, and violence. Dr. Wright, a member of an integrated denomination, has been an agent of racial reconciliation while proclaiming perceptions and truths uncomfortable for some white people to hear. Those of us who are white Americans would do well to listen carefully to Dr. Wright rather than to use a few of his quotes to polarize. This is a critical time in America’s history as we seek to repent of our racism. No matter which candidates prevail, let us use this time to listen again to one another and not to distort one another’s truth.
Is Clinton aware of this statement? Does she agree or disagree? If she disagrees, should she change churches? Do we really want to go down this path?
Update: In the interest of fair play, it was probably a mistake to call Dean Snyder Hillary Clinton’s pastor. Foundry was the church the Clintons attended during Bill Clinton’s presidency, and at that time the senior minister was Philip Wogaman. Snyder took over the position in 2002. It is not clear to what extent, if any, Hillary Clinton considers herself still associated with the church. According to reports, she spent Easter at home in New York with her family (when, be it said, Snyder included similar sentiments about Wright in his sermon). So no gotcha. But it would still be interesting to hear Clinton’s response to Snyder’s statement. By the way, does anyone know what church she’s attending now?