I’m only partway into Roland Martin’s long appearance on the Tom Joyner show this morning, but so far it’s been near unanimous, among the hosts and callers, that Jeremiah Wright needs to go away for awhile and enjoy his retirement (Martin sums up his opinion here). As far as cold strategy, I’m not sure I agree–Rev. Wright’s inflamatory appearance at the National Press Club (video) gives Obama a pure out to repudiate him, which might help in the long term. Might–just speculating here.

Anyway–Eugene Robinson thinks Rev. Wright’s ego is running away with him, and that his attempt to represent the black church is presumptuous. Pam Spaulding called his “playing the dozens” at the NPC “a public unraveling of the id.” Bob Herbert called it “a narcissist’s dream.”

I’m trying to figure out how all this fits into the “established liberal media script.”  

That’s all strategy, though; you have to look far and wide to find anyone addressing Rev. Wright’s infamous sermons and speeches on their merits. For that, you can look to James Forbes Jr. (Senior Minister Emeritus at New York’s Riverside Church) and Gustav Niebuhr (grand-nephew of Reinhold). They’re good correctives to, say, Neil Steinberg, who totally misrepresents Rev. Wright’s “chickens coming home to roost” comments–Wright never said that 9/11 was divine retribution. You can listen to it here; Wright was talking geopolitics, as inspired by a former ambassador.

Whatever–Steinberg has a shtick just as strong as Wright’s and similar reasons to stick to it, although I have to admit that calling his words “near-treason” is pretty appalling even by Steinberg standards. Right or wrong–and there are Christian arguments for and against the “war on terror”–I fail to see the treason, or even the lack of patriotism. Some of us patriots are right sick of the idiocy and immorality done in the name of an uncritical belief in national greatness and innocence.

Wright does need to be called out on his suggestions that HIV was created by the government (background here), and Niebuhr and Forbes ignore that, to their discredit. Wright’s critics bring it up, but mostly in passing, which is unfortunate–he’s way, way wrong in extremely damaging ways. It’s not just that it’s untrue; it’s not just that the origins of HIV are well-known. It’s that discovering the origins of the disease, and its spread, has been one of the most remarkable achievements in the history of science. People have spent their lives tracing its history (which is fascinating), and Wright’s blithe rumor-mongering denigrates their service to humanity, not to mention science generally, which is in a bad way in this country. That’s offensive. That’s a terrible disservice to America, and it needs to be echoed.

Update: More on Rev. Wright’s bad science. I wouldn’t say he’s defending “underclass behavior” in his NAACP speech, whatever that means, but his ideas on “miseducation” (the whole speech is here) are weird and regressive; that seems to have mostly gone under the radar.