Thursday, March 13, 2008

Wright -- or wrong?

As much as Barack Obama has tried to minimize his impact, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright Jr. is again making unwanted waves for Obama's campaign.

Wright is the senior pastor at Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago, where the Obamas are longtime members. The church, and Wright in particular, have come under scrutiny for Trinity-specific doctrine such as, "We are a congregation which is Unashamedly Black and Unapologetically Christian ... We are an African people, and remain 'true to our native land,' the mother continent, the cradle of civilization."

Well, the IRS may be joining the pundits in scrutinizing Trinity UCC.

According to this post on the Fox News web site, Wright made statements in recent worship services that appear to violate federal tax law banning churches from participating in or intervening in a political campaign. Violations can result in the loss of a church’s tax exempt status, the story notes, although enforcement is lax.

The questionable statements, according to Fox News, include:

  • During a Christmas sermon, Wright tried to compare Obama’s upbringing to Jesus at the hands of the Romans. "Barack knows what it means living in a country and a culture that is controlled by rich white people," Wright said. "Hillary would never know that. Hillary ain’t never been called a nigger. Hillary has never had a people defined as a non-person."
  • In a sermon on Jan. 13, Wright said, “Hillary is married to Bill, and Bill has been good to us. No he ain't! Bill did us, just like he did Monica Lewinsky. He was riding dirty."

But it appears Wright has problems with a bigger authority than the Internal Revenue Service. The Fox News post, mentioned above, offers a clip of one of Wright's sermons, along with a warning that it includes offensive language.

You can check out Wright and the Trinity UCC for yourself at the church's web site, which also offers talking points on the church itself and the Black Value System and live and archived webcasts of worship services.