Busted Halo
feature: politics & culture
May 7th, 2008

BustedHalo’s Pulpit and Politics Poll

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“I believe Pastor Wright’s ideas are somewhat bizarre and inappropriate. The press is often unfair to religion/clergy, but in this case they were mostly fair.”
-Fr. John, RC Newark NJ

“The press has spent too much time on it. And a lot of it is cultural misunderstanding–Blacks and whites live in different worlds.”
-Fr. Brett, RC, IN

“Watching him speak, I get the sense of an ego at work here. However, I think the press has been unfair: his sermons come from a larger tradition. Moreover, there are white preachers out there who have been just as negative, albeit about other things.”
-Margot, RC, Rochester, NY, USA

“No. The Rev. Wright is in my opinion using the biblical values for his own advantage and maybe someone should preach about that. It is not politics or religion, in our society politics and religion must be part of the discourse and to have discourse there must be much more than an either or take it or leave it focus.”
- Fr. Patrick B Fox, RC, Rochester, NY

“Humility would be a good thing here.”
- Gary, Catholic, USA

“He seems to have his own agenda, and much more political than pastoral.”
-Fr. BC, RC, Grand Rapids, MI

“The press hasn’t been unfair. I feel that his preaching is divisive and not helpful to bringing about mutual understanding of the issues and appreciations for various viewpoints.”
-Fr. Daniel, RC, San Francisco, CA

“Pastor Wright chose to step beyond the appropriate role of clergy in my view. The press has not been fair.”
- Fr. James McCauley, RC, Toronto, Canada

“The press does not know of the prophetic mandate of Scripture. However, Pastor Wright has been a let down.”
-Fr. Phil, RC, California

“Wright is an egotist, behaving very badly.”
- George, RC, San Francisco, CA

“I listened to Rev. Wright as he addressed the Detroit Chapter of the NAACP, as well as in Washington. I think the press black balled him for political reasons, and did so unfairly. Although controversial, to say the least, he did make some salient points that ought not be taken lightly by the government and religious folks as well. He was, in my opinion, effective in drawing a clear line between what a politician has to say and do and what a preacher has to say and do.”
-Peter Petroske, RC, Dearborn, MI

“The press had not been fair except when it came to Wright’s comments about aids. That was just paranoia.”
-Pr. Philip Van Dam, ELCA, Martins Ferry, OH

“Yes, [the press] doesn’t understand African-American churches.”
-Fr. Timothy, RC, Indiana

“I think any preacher that teaches division and hatred deserves the criticism he/she gets.”
-Tom, RC, Park City, UT

“I think the press needs to understand the Black American Church.”
- Michael, RC, Redding, CA

“Sensationalist.”
- Fr. Philip, RC, Philadelphia, PA

“I have not really analyzed the situation, but have the suspicion that his hurt may have led him to use his considerable talents to use the pulpit to defend and justify himself than to proclaim the gospel.”
-Fr. Joe Currie, RC, Bronx, NY

“Somewhat. Some of his preaching was gospel truth, though a bit exaggerated. But I believe the press stretched the exaggeration further.”
-Fr. Joe RC Madison, NJ

“I think he is way off base…seeking revenge against Obama.”
-Fr. Dan, RC, Chicago, IL

“The press sound bit Pastor Wright. It took so long to get the context for his remarks, and thus dissect what statements he made that were inappropriate and which were appropriate. It was a good lesson on preaching, politics, and the media. May we all recognize our faults and failings and go deeper than the surface.”
-Fr. Thomas, RC, Los Angeles, CA

“I think the press HAS been unfair to him. He merely told the truth of his experience. It IS hard to hear. I wouldn’t want a weekly dose of it, either, but I’ve not had those experiences. I gather his words are affirming for those who’ve been on the receiving end of bitter racism.”
-Fr. William Axe, RC, Los Angeles, CA

“He’s wrong, un-American.”
-Fr. Phil, RC, Scottsbluff, NE

“The press has been unfair out of eagerness for sound bites and out of cultural ignorance of the black experience and black preaching. On the other hand, Rev. Wright is responsible for his choice of being more prophetic than pastoral.”
-Fr. Stephen J. Umhoefer, RC, Janesville, WI

“As I understand Pastor Wright, he has preached faithfully the gospel within the context of black liberation. I do not have a wide familiarity with his texts. As I would not want the press to report on my preaching for fear of distortion, I believe Pastor Wright was treated unfairly. He is a preacher evaluated for political expedience.”
-Fr. James, RC, Youngstown, OH

“He has dealt badly with the problem, and is, to my mind, a self-important grandstander, who resents being shunned by his congregant. The press has, as usual, been somewhat ignorant of the real situation, but no more unfair than Wright has been to Mr. Obama. The implication that there are allowable different rules” for rhetoric in black churches is, patently, absurd, ridiculous and racist. So, to my mind, is Mr. Wright. Any connection to Christianity is tenuous, or completely non-existent. So much for my humble opinion. Sorry about that!”
-Fr. John F. Connor, RC, Newark, NJ

“I feel that Pastor Wright looked for and found his 15 minutes of fame–after the first round of snippets” were broadcast all over the world.”
-Fr. John E. Kane, RC, Opelika, AL

“If you bracket the incendiary and the odd comments (AIDS, etc), Pastor Wright’s sermons are not unusual. The anger-tinged rhetoric mirrors much of the Old Testament prophetic speech. The Press will be the Press; their motives are mixed, but driven to sell. Let them be! There should be no fear of truth. Their version of truth, if indeed truthful will prevail. If not, it will go away like chaff blown by the wind.”
-Fr. Joseph, RC, New York

“Comes close to crossing the line.”
-Fr. Joseph Benintende, RC, Oneonta, NY

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The Author : Bill McGarvey
Bill McGarvey is co-author of Busted Halo’s Freshman Survival Guide. Bill was editor-in-chief of Busted Halo for six year. In addition to having written extensively on the topics of culture and faith for NPR, Commonweal, America, The Tablet (in London), Factual (Spain), Time Out New York, and Book magazine, McGarvey is a singer/songwriter whose music has been critically acclaimed by the New York Times, Washington Post, the Chicago Tribune, Billboard and Performing Songwriter. You can follow him at his website billmcgarvey.com or on Facebook.com/billmcgarvey
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