Hillary at the Plate

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Dean Snyder2.jpgOK, 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?

  • Asinus Gravis

    Dean Snyder’s statement was perceptive and Christian.
    Hillary Clinton’s statement was political and uninformed.
    She struck out!

  • LJD

    Well, she’s a member of this, I don’t know if it counts as a church though.

  • lou

    Her current church? I read that it’s more of a “family.”
    Whatever it is, it isn’t getting near the attention of retired Rev. Wright who served his country as a marine and served his country as a spiritual leader. I listened to/watched several of his sermons on youtube and he was wonderful, and VERY well educated. If he hadn’t been so well thought of, he wouldn’t have been invited to the White House. The 2 clips out of 20 years that FOX found are just that – 2 clips out of 20+ years of being a wonderful church leader. Good for Mr. Snyder for recognizing and seeing the good. Isn’t THAT what we are all supposed to be doing?
    I also appreciate that Senator Obama shows no interest in bringing up Senator Clinton’s church/family. He is walking his own walk of being the change he and others want to see in American politics.

  • As for which “church” Hillary is attending, for the past 15 years, it has been the secretive, conservative “The Fellowship” (aka “The Family”), as per the Mother Jones article from September, 2007: http://www.motherjones.com/news/feature/2007/09/hillarys-prayer.html
    The Fellowship has as members Senator Sam Brownback (R-Kan.), former Senator Rick Santorum (R-Pa.), former Attorney General John Ashcroft, Reaganite Edwin Meese III, ultraconservative Rep. Joe Pitts (R-Pa.), former Nixon counsel Chuck Colson, James Inhofe and Tom Coburn of OK, and, until recently, former Senator George Allen (R-Va.), as per Mother Jones.
    From the Mother Jones article: “The Fellowship’s long-term goal is ‘a leadership led by God—leaders of all levels of society who direct projects as they are led by the spirit.’ According to the Fellowship’s archives, the spirit has in the past led its members in Congress to increase U.S. support for the Duvalier regime in Haiti and the Park dictatorship in South Korea. The Fellowship’s God-led men have also included General Suharto of Indonesia; Honduran general and death squad organizer Gustavo Alvarez Martinez; a Deutsche Bank official disgraced by financial ties to Hitler; and dictator Siad Barre of Somalia, plus a list of other generals and dictators. Clinton, says Schenck, has become a regular visitor to Coe’s Arlington, Virginia, headquarters, a former convent where Coe provides members of Congress with sex-segregated housing and spiritual guidance.”
    Again, from the article: “Unlikely partnerships have become a Clinton trademark. Some are symbolic, such as her support for a ban on flag burning with Senator Bob Bennett (R-Utah) and funding for research on the dangers of video games with Brownback and Santorum. But Clinton has also joined the GOP on legislation that redefines social justice issues in terms of conservative morality, such as an anti-human-trafficking law that withheld funding from groups working on the sex trade if they didn’t condemn prostitution in the proper terms. With Santorum, Clinton co-sponsored the Workplace Religious Freedom Act; she didn’t back off even after Republican senators such as Pennsylvania’s Arlen Specter pulled their names from the bill, citing concerns that the measure would protect those refusing to perform key aspects of their jobs—say, pharmacists who won’t fill birth control prescriptions, or police officers who won’t guard abortion clinics.
    “Clinton has championed federal funding of faith-based social services, which she embraced years before George W. Bush did; Marci Hamilton, author of God vs. the Gavel, says that the Clintons’ approach to faith-based initiatives “set the stage for Bush.” Clinton has also long supported the Defense of Marriage Act, a measure that has become a purity test for any candidate wishing to avoid war with the Christian right.”
    Scott Gannaway

  • David

    Dean Snyder was not the pastor at the church the Clintons attended when they attended this church.
    Since 1993, Mrs. Clinton is a member of the same church John Ashcroft, Sen. Santorum, and Sen. Brownbeck attend: The Fellowship. After her election to NY Senate, she was brought into the ‘elite circle’.
    Please read this article: http://www.motherjones.com/news/feature/2007/09/hillarys-prayer.html

  • on2them

    Interesting that Clinton is trying to deviate from her lies by throwing Rev Wright back out into the spotlight.
    This membership into ‘the family’ needs further exploration.
    Hillary is right, you can’t pick your family and she should know from marrying a known philanderer that she has had a choice to divorce for the past 25 years and chose to stay with him for political positioning.

  • “Diverse Group of Prominent Religious Leaders Condemn Personal Attacks”
    Open Letter To Senator Clinton From Diverse Group of Prominent Religious Leaders
    Dear Senator Clinton:
    We write to you as people of faith from many backgrounds who love our great country and are concerned with the present tenor of your campaign.
    Today, you took a new and disquieting step when you decided that it would be to your political benefit to wade into the waters of the issues surrounding Senator Barack Obama and his former pastor. This crosses the line and brings us full force into the zone of the politics of personal destruction.
    There are those among us who support Rev. Wright and believe his comments were deeply misconstrued. There are others among us who reject his words outright, even in context.
    But across these lines, we stand together, White and Black, Protestant and Catholic, Christian and Jew.
    No candidate should use religion as a tool to divide the American people, as you have done today. By engaging in the politics of personal destruction your campaign runs the risk of turning people off from participating in the democratic process – and that hurts us all. We need this race to be about the values that are important to the American people.
    more at the link

  • Jackie

    The Family? Sounds cultish. I believe this needs much further investigating.

  • Jackie

    The Fellowship, headquartered in Washington D.C., is a humanitarian religious-right Christian organization about which very little is known. Their signature event is the annual National Prayer Breakfast but that is only a small part of their activities. They are heavily involved in the political culture of Washington, counting at least a dozen Senators and Congressman as known members. The group has also gone by the names Family, Foundation, C Street Center, and International Christian Leadership. An article published in the March 2003 issue of Harper’s entitled “Jesus Plus Nothing” by Jeffrey Sharlet provides an excellent exposition; however, Sharlet infiltrated only at the lowest level and so his article is woefully short of details concerning the organization, its mission, or who runs it.
    In a June 12, 2003, followup interview by Anthony Lappé for Guerrilla News Network, Jeffrey Sharlet declares that the group’s goal and aspiration are “an ‘invisible’ world organization led by Christ”; and that in his view, their “core issue is capitalism and power.”
    In 1972, The Fellowship was reorganized to be even more clandestine, shedding the overhead of a typical high-profile nonprofit so that it was essentially little more than a holding company disbursing cash to dozens of ministries beneath it. By 1985, The Fellowship had 150 individual ministries beneath it. This model continues to this day with countless ministries coming into and going out of existence depending upon the current needs of the organization and the initiatives it wishes to fund. As Sharlet writes in his Harper’s piece, The Foundation believes that its mobile “cell” structure, which it likens to those organized by Lenin, Bin Laden, and Hitler, makes it far more efficient than a hierarchical organization. And just like Enron’s many shell corporations, their cell structure has the additional advantage of being able to move money around very quickly and in a way that makes it difficult to track or audit.
    In an AP wire story published on April 20, 2003, journalist Lara Jakes Jordan analyzed tax records and discovered that six Congressional representatives lived in Fellowship housing on C Street, paying highly-subsidized rent. [1]
    On 9/27/2002, the Los Angeles Times ran a story entitled “Showing Faith in Discretion” that traces the organization back to a Seattle-based Methodist evangelist in the mid-1930s.
    Those in the Fellowship who are asked about their role either deny its existence or politely refuse to answer questions about it. All have taken a vow of silence not to speak about The Fellowship. Wheaton Seminary does maintain an archive of the Fellowship’s early historical incarnations, the description of which is online at http://www.wheaton.edu/bgc/archives/GUIDES/459.htm#1. In 1995, Fellowship House in Washington, D.C. was sold and the organization relocated to Arlington, Virgina, where it continues to thrive and involve itself in public policy.
    Hillary Rodham Clinton is reportedly a member of The Fellowship.[2]

  • Pastor of Clinton’s former church tells Senator Clinton not to polarize with Rev Wright

    Pastor Of Clinton’s Former Church: Don’t Use Wright To Polarize
    On Tuesday, Sen. Hillary Clinton re-stoked the flames of the controversy surrounding Sen. Barack Obama’s former pastor, saying she would have long ago distanced herself from Rev….

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