…it’s obviously time to take a look at Sen. Obama’s worldview and how much it is influenced by his spiritual adviser and “sounding board”, Rev. Jeremiah Wright.

Further down in the article linked there, this connection was raised:

The candidate already has heeded his church’s
“nonnegotiable commitment to Africa,” spending an inordinate amount of
his campaign time on the Kenyan crisis, for one. Obama has close family
ties to Kenya, and even founded a school in his ancestral village — the
Senator Obama School.

In the bloody conflict there, which already has claimed some 700
lives, Obama appears to have sided with opposition leader Raila Odinga,
head of the same Luo tribe to which Obama’s late Muslim father belonged.

Obama’s older brother still lives there. Abongo “Roy” Obama is a Luo
activist and a militant Muslim who argues that the black man must
“liberate himself from the poisoning influences of European culture.”
He urges his younger brother to embrace his African heritage.

Beyond family politics, these ties have potential foreign policy, even national security, implications.

Odinga is a Marxist who reportedly has made a pact with a hard-line
Islamic group in Kenya to establish Shariah courts throughout the
country. He has also vowed to ban booze and pork and impose Muslim
dress codes on women — moves favored by Obama’s brother.

Furthermore…

Obama interrupted his New Hampshire campaigning to speak
by phone with Odinga, who claims to be his cousin. He did not speak
with Kenyan President Mwai Kibaki.

Would Obama put African tribal or family interests ahead of U.S. interests?

It’s a valid question, and one voters deserve to have debated
regardless of the racial and religious sensitivities. Thanks to a media
blackout of these issues, the electorate has yet to benefit from a
thorough vetting of Obama.

That was then. This is now.

The Democratic presidential hopeful has compared his
longtime pastor, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, to an “old uncle” with whom
he doesn’t always agree. But with the controversial preacher’s racially
inflammatory remarks and sermons burning up the Internet over the past
24 hours or so, the Obama campaign had to respond with some tough love.

In a posting on Huffington Post late Friday afternoon, Obama called
Wright’s statements “inflammatory and appalling” and said, “Let me say
at the outset that I vehemently disagree and strongly condemn the
statements that have been the subject of this controversy. I
categorically denounce any statement that disparages our great country
or serves to divide us from our allies. I also believe that words that
degrade individuals have no place in our public dialogue, whether it’s
on the campaign stump or in the pulpit. In sum, I reject outright the
statements by Rev. Wright that are at issue.”

Read them for yourself. They’re pretty awful.

Then there’s this:

In one, Wright told his congregation the reason why “so
many folks are hating on Barack Obama” is because he doesn’t “fit the
model: He ain’t white, he ain’t rich and he ain’t privileged.”

“Hillary [Clinton] fits the mold,” Wright said, delivering a fiery
tirade on how “Hillary never had a cab whiz past her and not pick her
up because her skin was the wrong color,” and how “Hillary never had to
worry about being pulled over as a black man driving” and how “Hillary
was not a black boy raised in a single parent home.”

Obama needs to do more than rebuke these statements. He needs to
explain the influence of the man who made them, considering his
personal closeness to Wright. This is more than ‘he shouldn’t have said
those things.’

ABC News reviewed dozens of Rev. Wright’s sermons and
found “repeated denunciations of the U.S. based on what he described as
his reading of the Gospels and the treatment of black Americans.”

Here’s part of the statement put out by Obama’s campaign:

“Senator Obama does not think of the pastor of his
church in political terms. Like a member of his family, there are
things he says with which Senator Obama deeply disagrees.”

Well the pastor sure thinks and speaks in political terms. Obama can
wish them away, and he’s having an increasingly hard time explaining
them with any credibility.

Look at the comments below that WaPo Sleuth post, especially the
very thoughtful Obama supporter who wrestles with how to reconcile
these disturbing revelations with the candidate’s own words. It’s some
of the best, most fair and intellectually honest scrutiny we’ve seen
yet on Barack Obama.

I may be wrong – do persuade me that I am. It is very
hard for me to vote for Hillary but now I am thinking about the general
election andfinding it really hard to figure out how Obama can keep his
constituencies, his image of being a uniter. How can he? I am
seeingthose Republican ads running day and night showing a montage of
all thedifferent ways this Pastor has denounced America and Europeans
and Israel, punctuated by Obama in his own words “I don’t think
actually that my church is particularly controversial”. I mean,
Judgment, Moderation, Sincerity – can they be Obama’s defining pillars
anymore?

This is so disheartening. Where do we go from here?

Sheila Liaugminas

Sheila Liaugminas is an Emmy award-winning Chicago-based journalist in print and broadcast media. Her writing and broadcasting covers matters of faith, culture, politics and the media....