Wednesday, March 19, 2008

The Wright Stuff

I don't like talking politics. I don't have the mind, or the heart for it, for one thing. But there have been so many things happening in connection to the upcoming election that have been seriously disturbing me. I knew things were going downhill during the 2000 presidential election when the most unbiased and complete (and therefore helpful) coverage was not a major news program, but rather The Daily Show.

That's the first thing that's been disturbing me, and it has been for a long time now. One of these days I'm going to tell the story that led me to realize how much television editing can change the tone of something, but for now, let me say this: Maybe I'm an idealist, but I thought journalists, all journalists, including television journalists, were supposed to be fair and unbaised, "Just the facts, Ma'am." We've all seen, I hope, that television journalists especially have left that little ideal far behind.

And now we're not going to focus on the candidates themselves, but rather on their churches. And I'm not even talking about some inflamitory political talk show on FOX. I'm talking the ABC News.

Please understand, I'm not upset about this whole thing because it's a UCC church that's under fire. I'm upset because, in my opinion, the casualties of this political move of the media are too high: the impartiality of the press and freedom of the pulpit.

I think that John Thomas said it best in a recent statement responsing to the Wright controversy. He wrote:
What's really going on here? First, it may state the obvious to point out that these television and radio shows have very little interest in Trinity Church or Jeremiah Wright. Those who sifted through hours of sermons searching for a few lurid phrases and those who have aired them repeatedly have only one intention. It is to wound a presidential candidate. In the process a congregation that does exceptional ministry and a pastor who has given his life to shape those ministries is caricatured and demonized. You don't have to be an Obama supporter to be alarmed at this. Will Clinton's United Methodist Church be next? Or McCain's Episcopal Church? Wouldn't we have been just as alarmed had it been Huckabee's Southern Baptist Church, or Romney's Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints?

I simply ask you, what's at stake here?

Be good to each other,
Rev. Josh

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