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What to do about Rev Wright

Thursday, April 24, 2008 by Dave Winer.

A picture named nurse.jpgRev Wright was interviewed by Bill Moyers, an interview that will air tomorrow and will certainly restart the pundit-mania over all things Wright and what it supposedly means. Permalink to this paragraph

I've watched some of the sermons that are excerpted, in their entirety, and in every case the soundbites do not express his meaning. In every case I found the Wright sermons not only fair and American but compelling. As much as any Christian sermon I've heard, more so than most.  Permalink to this paragraph

I also understand that black churches are different from white churches. I don't go to either, never have, doubt I ever will. Churches are a totally foreign experience to me. If you made me choose candidates based on the sermons their preachers give I couldn't, and I find it insulting that some people think I should. I think they have lost their way, they have lost their American-ness. At least as I understand it. Permalink to this paragraph

This country was founded without a national religion. You aren't entitled to impose your religious values on anyone else. It's right there up front in the beginning of the First Amendment: "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof."  Permalink to this paragraph

If the pundits make a difference, then we have to do something about this. I think the only remedy that's going to work is to take this out of the realm of partisanship and outside the realm of punditry. Ask a couple of widely respected Americans, one from each party, to view all the tapes of the Wright sermons, and to talk privately with members of his church and the reverend himself. Listen to both sides. Take testimony from people who object. Get a lawyer to represent the p.o.v that Wright disqualifies Obama to be President and hear him or her out. Depose witnesses. Get someone to take the other side, whatever that is. Let's have a trial. Let's get this out of the realm of sensationalism. We have to create our own venue because the existing ones aren't fair.  Permalink to this paragraph

My guess is that it won't take ten minutes to see that this is all about race. That the supposed strangeness of the black church is the only issue. I believe this because at first I found the Wright soundbites very offensive, but over time, as they became familiar, I couldn't remember what the fuss was about. I think the whole thing loses its power as it becomes less strange. And the best remedy is to make a huge deal about it, but outside the realm of the idiots on cable news. Dignify the whole thing and the issue evaporates. Permalink to this paragraph

The press likes to position itself as the referees, which implies a standard of fairness and impartiality and adherence to well-understood rules. They are only referees in a world gone mad. Let's now create a venue for public discourse that is fair.  Permalink to this paragraph

Fred Wilson: "At least Barack is not running away from who he is. Hillary is pretending to be a Republican man." Permalink to this paragraph


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A picture named dave.jpgDave Winer, 53, pioneered the development of weblogs, syndication (RSS), podcasting, outlining, and web content management software; former contributing editor at Wired Magazine, research fellow at Harvard Law School, entrepreneur, and investor in web media companies. A native New Yorker, he received a Master's in Computer Science from the University of Wisconsin, a Bachelor's in Mathematics from Tulane University and currently lives in Berkeley, California.

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