My church has a humourist who does an "Inflatable Campmeeting" routine, where he features a blow-up campmeeting with an inflatable campground, organ, pulpit, etc. But no campmeeting is complete without general and state church officials, so they’re inflatable too. For good measure, he throws in an additional remark about the officials: "egos inflatable to any size."
Evidently Jeremiah Wright falls into this category, as Bob Herbert notes:
Faster than anyone could have imagined, the young Mr. Obama became Senator Obama and then the leading candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination. Then came the videotaped sermons and the roof caved in on Rev. Wright’s reputation. Senator Obama had no choice but to distance himself, and he did it as gently as he felt he could.
My guess is that Mr. Wright felt he’d been thrown under a bus by an ungrateful congregant who had benefited mightily from his association with the church and who should have rallied to his former pastor’s defense. What we’re witnessing now is Rev. Wright’s “I’ll show you!” tour.
For Senator Obama, the re-emergence of Rev. Wright has been devastating. The senator has been trying desperately to bolster his standing with skeptical and even hostile white working-class voters. When the story line of the campaign shifts almost entirely to the race-in-your-face antics of someone like Mr. Wright, Mr. Obama’s chances can only suffer.
I’ve commented on Jeremiah Wright’s defective Liberation Theology and the fact that Barack Obama could have avoided all of this. I’m sure now that Obama wishes he had in fact avoided Wright and his church. One pastor told his congregation that his church members "have my back." Jeremiah Wright, retired or not, needs to quit stabbing his flock’s most illustrious member in his if he wants to see the first African-American president this year.
This is a drama that only someone with a lifetime in a Protestant church can fully understand. Hopefully all Christians will learn from it.