Friday, March 14, 2008

Bigots, Old Uncles and Guilt By Association

Vivian Paige, who has been one of the most loyal and committed Hillary Clinton supporters, weighs in with a beautiful and heartfelt post on why the Geraldine Ferraro statements have disheartened her despite her continuing support for Hillary.

Although I am a woman and have a natural sympathy to those who have claimed sexism, I have never experienced what a black woman does. I've worked with many black men and women in Washington, DC, all of whom have walked tough roads. I've been to the funerals of their children, cried with them when my husband had cancer and they formed prayer groups for me, fought beside them to get a union in our workplace, and generally have a profound respect for all of them as they do for me. But I can't really walk in their shoes.

So, I rely on talented writers like Vivian to give much needed perspective to this.

Also of note is Lowell's post on Barack Obama's statement on his controversial pastor, Jeremiah Wright. It takes courage and integrity for such a loyal Obama supporter to stand up and admit that the statements of Barack's pastor are indeed appalling.

But, in truth, Barack Obama, as a parishoner, is no more responsible for his pastor's inflammatory remarks than Chap Petersen is for Truro Church's decision to leave the U.S. Episcopal Church because of the consecration of a gay bishop in New Hampshire, or Nancy Pelosi is for Archbishop Raymond Burke, of St. Louis, who refused to give communion to John Kerry in 2004 and seeks to similarly embarrass pro-choice candidates today.

The truth is there are many religious leaders who don't live up to the ideals of their churches and don't completely represent the views of their parishoners. There are priests, ministers, rabbis and imans who are excellent at ministering to the religious needs of their communities but whose political views don't represent where their flocks are at.

People stay in parishes and congregations for all kinds of sentimental reasons. They do it because they were married there. Their children were bar mitzvahed there. Or they were baptized there and their families had attended that particular church for generations.

What is important is how an elected official votes on secular matters. It's important what he or she stands for on secular policy. If we start indulging in guilt by association, an awful lot of us are going to be embarrassed by the old uncles in our churches, synagogues and mosques.


Anonymous said...


You inspired us yesterday.

Hope this isn't trolling. I think it fits in nicely with the tenor of this Vivian Page piece.

Democrats '08

Terry Carter said...

AIAW, great post as always.

There is a difference between "family" and someone who is actively involved with a campaign, though. I am an Obama supporter but I was appalled at the statements I've heard from Rev Wright over the past few days and weeks (even though I've known for months that the man was a bigot because when I interned at the Human Rights Campaign last semester they were already pressuring the Obama campaign to cut ties with the man) and I'm glad Obama chose to cut ties with him just as I'm glad Hillary cut her ties with Ferraro.