Maybe Obama's real "Pastor Problem" is that Pastor Wright is being unfairly smeared by the right-wing media, which is trying to turn Wright into the Willie Horton of this election cycle -- as today's "scary black preacher".
Yesterday's prayer vigil on behalf of Reverend Wright by the members of his congregation certainly indicates that his listeners don't consider Wright to be out of the mainstream. They say that Wright was addressing "the sins of the nation" -- a legitimate topic for any preacher. He should not be judged by the media, using a few sound bites from his sermons taken completely out of context.
Wright has never attacked a minority group. He and his congregation have never been named as a hate group by either the Anti-Defamation League or the Southern Poverty Law Conference.
Wright has not been guilty of anti-Semitism. His criticisms of some Israeli policies towards the Palestinians are no greater than criticisms voices by many Israelis themselves. I don't agree with Reverend Wright's comments. But, right or wrong, his criticisms of Israeli government policy do not constitute anti-Semitism.
The award to Louis Farrakhan was given by Wright's daughter's magazine. Wright himself was not involved in it. The award was given in recognition of Farrakhan's work with the local black community of Chicago. It had nothing to do with Farrakhan's anti-Semitism. Chances are that the people at the church who gave Farrakhan the award were either oblivious to, or unaware of, Farrakhan's anti-Semitism. Aside from this award to Farrakhan, there is no indication that there was any kind of anti-Semitism at Wright's church during his 38 year ministry.
He may be wrong in criticizing the U.S. for dropping two atomic bombs on Japan to end World War II more quickly, but Martin Luther King said exactly the same thing. That didn't make King a demon.
Wright is certainly wrong in saying that the U.S. is now deliberately infecting blacks or gays with the AIDS virus. But Wright didn't even mention the Tuskeegee Syphilis experiments which the U. S. Health Department conducted from 1932 through 1972, deliberately withholding syphylis treatment and cure from the black men who were the subjects of the study, even though penicillin was known to be an effective cure by 1947. Most black people know about the Tuskeegee experiments and, therefore, many are willing to accept false statements that our government is doing the same kind of thing again today with the AIDS virus.
Most of Reverend Wright's ministry has been devoted to helping the underprivileged, achieving social justice, creating AIDS hospices and facilities for old and poor people, combating anti-gay bias in the black community, etc.
Wright is a highly respected and acclaimed minister, who has been unfairly maligned by the media. He is not anti-American. He wants America to do a better job of living up to its ideals.
If he says that "God will damn America" for the injustices it has committed, how is that different from many mainstream preachers telling their congregants that they will be damned for their sins if they don't change their ways? It's the sort of thing many ministers say to encourage their followers to live better lives. At least, unlike Ministers Falwell and Robertson, Wright never told his followers that 9/11 was God's punishment on America for its toleration of gays.
Yes, in his 38 years, Wright has made some statements that were strong, and some that were wrong. But, as the film clips show, these statements were made in an excess of enthusiasm as he tried to rouse the members of his congregation to live better, more just lives. He is doing what an activist religious minister is supposed to do.
There is no reason for Obama to leave Wright's church -- whether Wright is retiring or not. Obama would be hard-pressed to find a minister more dedicated than Wright to the pursuit of social justice.