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Obama’s Pastor Rejects “Middleclassness,” All Right

A March 2007 New Republic article has surfaced in which the piece’s writer, Ryan Lizza, asserts that Jeremiah Wright was once a Muslim:

But Wright was a former Muslim and black nationalist who had studied at Howard and Chicago, and Trinity’s guiding principles–what the church calls the “Black Value System”–included a “Disavowal of the Pursuit of Middleclassness.’

I’m not terribly interested in the spiritual evolution of Rev. Wright. Muslim Americans have the same rights as Jewish Americans, Hindu Americans, and Christian Americans—including the right to worship freely and be left alone provided their worship doesn’t infringe upon anyone else’s rights. (Although the implication here is that he might have been a Nation of Islam member, and the NOI is, at best, a racialist organization.) In any case, the Democratic primary has provided enough identity fodder to last several lifetimes.

What’s far more interesting is that Trinity Church’s guiding principles include a “Disavowal of the Pursuit of Middleclassness.’ Keep that in mind. Yesterday in Slate Christopher Hitchens gave this account of the Rev. Wright’s retirement booty: “a $1.6 million home, purchased in the name of his church and consisting of more than 10,000 square feet, in a gated community in Tinley Park, a prosperous white section of the city.” This deeply spiritual man has demonstrated that rarest of qualities in modern preachers: the ability to live up to one’s professed ideals. After all, there’s nothing middle-class about a 10,000 square foot home.


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