The Left Parses Pastor Wright
So: Here is Andrew Sullivan's defense of Obama's pastor, Jeremiah Wright:
The utter craziness of the Frederick Douglass comparison (Pastor Wright's speechifying is apparently to be regarded as an updated version, and therefore equally valid) astounds me.
To "damn" something or someone has a very specific meaning in Christianity. "God damn X" means: May X be utterly destroyed in the fires of hell. It is the type of thing that one says about sin, about institutionalized evil. You can't, in fact, wish anything worse on anyone or anything.
It is never the type of thing that one says about a sinner -- who ought to be loved, and for whose redemption we hope, despite the damnation of his sin.
"America" is a word also having meaning. America is her ideals -- including some that are only honored in the breach -- and her people -- even those who don't espouse her ideals.
Frederick Douglass would, I am certain, be aware of the distinction. He would likely call "damnation" on slavery, on segregation, on racism. All that is appropriate. But to call "damnation" on her people, generally? On her ideals, generally? On, in short, America?
This, if we are to take his words as meaningful, is what Wright has said: Freedom of Speech: Send it to hell! A Congress instead of a King: Send it to hell! Defense of the Liberty of Europe: Send it to hell! George Washington: Send him to hell! Thomas Jefferson: Send him to hell! Abraham Lincoln: Send him to hell! Thurgood Marhsall: Send him to hell! Rosa Parks: Send her to hell!
Frederick Douglass was a class act. Frederick Douglass would have been deeply ashamed of himself to say, would have considered it psychopathic to say, even in the era of slavery, let alone segregation, the particular curse against America that Wright has said, today, when those things are long gone.
"No, no, no," says the left: "You're parsing Wright's words as if you thought they all, individually, had meanings you could look up in the Oxford English Dictionary. That's not the way that black preachers talk. They're more emotional. They aren't a bunch of over-parsed Anglican bishops. When you listen to a black preacher you're supposed to absorb emotion, not meaning."
Oh, I see. So the reason some leftists are okay with this statement is not because they believe or agree with its actual content, but because they think it has no actual content.
In short, the attitude of the elite left toward the blacks who slavishly elect them is, as it has always been: "Aw, let 'em rail. Blacks haven't got the sophistication to actually mean anything by it, and their ardor is entertaining, as long as it favors us in the next election."
The elite and "softly bigoted" left views Wright the way they always viewed Sharpton and Jackson: That it's just a black preacher getting uppity, and whaddaya expect?