Christopher Hitchens Obama is no Dr.King
….” On the same weekend as I was reading Nicholson Baker, I also absorbed a news item about the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, the recently retired pastor of Barack Obama’s church in Chicago. Here is the form that the reverend’s “retirement” will take: a $1.6 million home, purchased in the name of his church and consisting of more than 10,000 square feet, in a gated community in Tinley Park, a prosperous white section of the city. There used to be a secularist line about fat shepherds and thin sheep, but the joke here is not just at the expense of a man who never pretended to be much more than a hustler. The joke is on those of the “flock” who tithed themselves to achieve this level of comfort for a man who must be pinching himself when he wakes up every day. But, then, so must the Rev. Al Sharpton, routinely described by the New York Times as “the civil rights activist,” be pinching himself each morning. By evening, after all, several limos will have arrived to transport him to several studios where he will be flattered and taken seriously. And this enviable existence is watched with avaricious jealousy by more junior practitioners, like the raving Rev. James Meeks of Chicago’s Salem Baptist Church, who may not yet be quite ready for prime time, and by the members of Louis Farrakhan’s racist and sectarian crew, who affect to think that Christianity is a slave religion and that white people are the products of a laboratory experiment gone wrong. The thing that this gaggle of cranks and parasites has in common is the extreme deference with which it is treated by the junior senator from Illinois. In April 2004, Barack told a reporter from the Chicago Sun -Times that he had three spiritual mentors or counselors: Jeremiah Wright, James Meeks, and Father Michael Pfleger—for a change of pace, a white Catholic preacher who has a close personal feeling for the man he calls (as does Obama) Minister Farrakhan. This crossover stuff is not as “inclusive” as it might be made to seem: Meeks’ main political connections in the white community are with the hysterically anti-homosexual wing of the Christian right. If Obama were to be read a list of the positions that his clerical supporters take on everything from Judaism to sodomy, he would be in the smooth and silky business of “distancing” from now until November. And that is why he hopes that his Philadelphia speech, which dissociated him from everything and nothing, will be enough. He seems, indeed, to have a real gift for remaining adequately uninformed about the real beliefs of his “mentors.”….