Watching Rev. Jeremiah Wright's interview with Bill Moyers on PBS (click here to watch the whole interview or read the transcript), it's easy to see what Barack Obama saw in him -- a literary, charismatic man who was ministering to the poor and the oppressed, lifting up a benighted neighborhood and building a dynamic church, growing it from an average attendance of 80 to 8,000. Anybody who wishes to understand and delve deeply into the controversy around Rev. Wright, rather than reject him out of hand based on sound bites -- must watch that interview or read it.
To folks who wonder what Obama saw in Rev. Wright in the first place, the interview was revealing. Obama was attracted to Wright because he was well-educated, well-read, cerebral and inclusive and able to talk about spiritual and theological issues with depth, using words like "hermeneutics," according to Chicago Tribune reporter David Mendall's biography of Obama, quoted in a New Republic blog. Wright also served as something of a father figure to the essentially fatherless Obama as he sought to solidify his black identity. (Hat tips to Andrewsullivan.com)
Rev. Wright's presentation before the National Press Club, "The African American Religious Experience: Theology and Practice," was thoughtful. And he made the good point that as a result of the controversy surrounding him, perhaps "the reality of the African-American church will no longer be invisible" to the larger American culture.