Thursday, March 11, 2010

Rev Wright and Bill O'Reilly

My favorite uncle, Jim Kneller, died a few years ago. I loved almost everything about Uncle Jim. He lived in Arizona so visits were always exciting, mysterious and special. They did not happen nearly enough. I could fill pages (books, maybe) with memories of Uncle Jim. He was great. But he had one problem. He loved the Fox News Network and especially Bill O'Reilly. I never understood this loyalty that Uncle Jim had. After all, there is nothing fair and balanced about the "fair and balanced" reporting of Fox News. In fact, although they proclaim that, "We report, you decide." Their reporting is such that we decide what they report we should.

But I decided that there must be something good about Fox since Uncle Jim loved it so much. That is when I noticed that there is a weekly column by Bill O'Reilly (Uncle Jim's favorite) in my local newspaper every Saturday. I decided that I would read this column every week in honor of Uncle Jim. Most weeks I end up scratching my head. Sometimes I am surprised at how much I am not upset or offended about what he has to say. At other times I get a little angry. Last week I finished the column and thought, "What the heck was that?"

I can only assume that it is because he has nothing else to write about that O'Reilly is being critical of Rev Jeremiah Wright, former pastor to then Senator Barack Obama. You might remember that in the summer of 2008, almost two years ago, Wright proved to be an embarrassment to the Obama presidential campaign when videos of apparently racist sermons came to light.

At that time I was not very concerned about the issue. I am sure that a part of my attitude toward Wright and his words had to do with my support of Obama. I was (and am) a supporter and someone who is unrelated to his campaign was not going to sway my opinion.

A second reason for my cavalier attitude, however, was that I am a pastor. I have an idea that although people in my churches generally agree with comments I make in my sermons, 1) I am not fool enough to believe that everyone agrees with everything I have to say all the time. 2) Even if they agree with me, there is very little change in people because of what I say. And 3) If everyone who has ever disagreed with me left my church (as the Obamas ultimately did), my church would be empty this week.

I thought then, and I still believe, that the pastor of a candidate should be a non-issue in a campaign. Even though we try to be, we are just not that important to most people.

So now, when I had all but forgotten about Rev Wright and his shenanigans, O'Reilly offers the Chicago clergyman some free publicity. Throughout the article he belittles Wright and his beliefs, but ultimately, he has played right into the wishes of Rev Wright and his ilk. I had no idea about the "Living Legends Tribute" that Wright has planned. I am sure that I would have never known about it. It would have completely escaped me that Wright was honoring himself, Louis Farrakhan and Father Michael Pfleger. And although I have no desire to attend the event and I would never support it, it is completely possible that someone will attend this fund-raiser thanks to the free publicity that Bill O'Reilly gave it.

Good job, Bill. What were you thinking?

1 comment:

Paula said...

I can't help but wonder what it is about Obama you support and O'Reilly you are offended at. I watch Fox news because I believe it is less slanted than other major networks. It is most definitely pro-conservative, but that is fine with me. While I appreciate your willingness to be honest about your opinions, I respectfully disagree with them.