So. This fine day finds the official website of the United Church of Christ headlining “The American Spectator Gets It Wrong.”
In the aftermath of the UCC’s Reverend Jeremiah Wright’s much-noted statement that “them Jews” around President Obama (this would presumably be White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel and advisor David Axelrod) were keeping Wright, the President’s controversial former pastor, from speaking to the President, the UCC’s Blogger-in-Chief the Reverend Chuck Currie quickly put up a statement. As you can see, Currie pointedly and quite correctly condemned Wright.
Alas, the denomination president, the Rev. John Thomas, shimmied. Instead of saying a word about Wright he issued a mushy statement, quoted in full in Currie’s post, about the UCC and the Jewish people. Clearly, as any reader of both statements can see, the difference is quite vivid. I congratulated Currie for speaking up forcefully on behalf of our common denomination, observing that Thomas as church president should have said the same.
This morning Currie denies there is any split between him and Thomas on this — yet, curiously, Thomas is still quieter than the proverbial church mouse on the subject of Wright. It should be noted that when l’affaire Wright surfaced last year, Thomas hesitated not at all in showing up in Wright’s Chicago pulpit to defend Wright. Indeed, the UCC website headlined it this way “Church leaders defend Jeremiah Wright against ‘character assassination.’”
Interestingly, Thomas was quickly out of the box with a statement condemning the Holocaust Museum shooting. He rightly pulled no punches: “This attack on the Holocaust Museum will only heighten fears of increased anti-Semitic violence against Jews in our country. This is why we must stand with people of the Jewish faith in denouncing this brutal act.” The UCC statement also repeated support for hate crimes legislation, which, of course, is predicated on the notion that a bigoted thought (hatred for a group) should be prosecuted.
Wright expressed identically the kind of bigoted thought shared by the Holocaust shooter, which spurs the felt-need for hate crime legislation. And from the president of the UCC on such an obvious moral issue inside his own denomination? Deafening silence. No wonder Chuck Currie is antsy over there. The American Spectator got Jeremiah Wright and John Thomas exactly right.