BW: Had the Reverend not retired, were he still there, would you then have left the church, or said 'I just can't have anything to do with him?'Two weeks ago, in his highly praised speech on race, Obama said
BO: Had the Reverend not retired, and had he not acknowledged that what he had said had deeply offended people and were inappropriate and mischaracterized what I beleive is the greatness of this country, for all its flaws, then I wouldn't have felt comfortable staying there at the church.
I have already condemned, in unequivocal terms, the statements of Reverend Wright that have caused such controversy. For some, nagging questions remain. Did I know him to be an occasionally fierce critic of American domestic and foreign policy? Of course. Did I ever hear him make remarks that could be considered controversial while I sat in church? Yes. Did I strongly disagree with many of his political views? Absolutely – just as I’m sure many of you have heard remarks from your pastors, priests, or rabbis with which you strongly disagreed.Maybe its just me, but if Obama has heard him say controversial remarks, and knew of his criticisms of US policy, then doesn't his statement this morning imply that he should, in fact, have left the church?
I'm not sure how to reconcile these statements. If Wright's publicly expressed views were so out of bounds that they would have caused Obama to leave the church if Wright were not retiring, then why didn't Obama leave the church? The retirement answer explains why he is not now leaving the church, but Wright's retirement is recent. This leaves wide open the question of, if Obama was aware of Wright's views, why was he there for the past 20 years?
To me, the two possible answers that would have made sense are a) his views aren't too extreme, there's some justification to them, and I don't find them so deplorable that they merit my leaving the church; or b) I didn't know how nutty Reverend Wright was, but had I known about all of this, I would have left the church. I think it seems he's trying to play it both ways, but they seem mutually exclusive, no?