Obama’s Former Pastor: I Helped Obama Accept Xtianity Without Having to Renounce Islam
The Rev. Jeremiah Wright Jr. was like a second father to Barack Obama and helped shape his political philosophy, author Ed Klein explains based on his interview with Wright.
In his book “The Amateur: Barack Obama in the White House,”, Klein interviewed Wright for three and a half hours. Wright told him of Obama’s secret efforts to keep him quiet during the presidential campaign. But the more significant material spotlights how important Wright was to Obama’s thinking even before the future president began going to Wright’s church in 1988.
“It’s one thing for Obama to sit in the church and listen to the Rev. Wright spew his hatred against whites, Jews, and America,” Klein says. “But in my view, having spoken to the Rev. Wright, that paled by comparison with the personal relationship that Obama had that went way beyond his simply being a member of the church listening to all this stuff.”
Obama began his relationship with Wright, whom he has called a mentor and sounding board, three years before he began attending Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago.
“Obama went to the Rev. Wright at every stage of his career whenever things went wrong,” says Klein, a contributing editor of Vanity Fair and a former editor-in-chief of the New York Times Magazine.
“For instance, when he lost the 2000 congressional election for the seat that Bobby Rush, the former Black Panther, holds from the South Side of Chicago,” Klein says. “He was in a state of terrible depression, and he owed a great deal of money, and his marriage was on the rocks. Who did he go to? He went to the Rev. Wright for marriage counselling. He went to the Rev. Wright about what shall I do next, Rev? Every step of his career, every step of his development as a political figure was made in conjunction with conversations that he had with the Rev. Wright personally.”
As revealed in the book “In the President’s Secret Service: Behind the Scenes with Agents in the Line of Fire and the Presidents They Protect,” just before Wright spoke at the National Press Club, Obama secretly met on April 4, 2008 with Wright at Trinity’s parsonage where Wright then lived.
So that they would not be noticed, agents made a point of driving Obama in a mini-van instead of the usual Suburban. They parked their other vehicles a block away. Obama spent an hour with Wright and then left.
“At this secret meeting with him, Obama practically begged him not to go on and speak any further,” Klein says. “This was after one of Obama’s best friends had sent an email to a member of the church saying that he was prepared to give the Rev. Wright $150,000 if he would shut up. The Rev. Wright told me that he has saved that email.”
In the recorded interview, Wright says he basically could not afford to shut up for $150,000, Klein says.
“Wright explained he had expenses that he had to pay,” Klein says. “He had a child and a couple of grandkids in college that he was paying for. And so he goes around the United States giving sermons and making speeches, and he gets paid for that.”
Klein says Obama originally sought out Wright to discuss community activism.
“Quickly the conversations turned from picking up garbage on the street and getting streetlights put up on street corners to political matters and religious matters,” Klein says. “And the Rev. Wright turned into really a substitute father figure, who guided Obama
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