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Obama's acquaintances

April 22, 2008

Re "The influence test," editorial, April 18

This editorial stated that a casual and unimportant relationship between Barack Obama and William Ayers "proves that Obama was a Chicago liberal." The only thing that sentence proves is that your editorial writers are intellectually and semantically challenged, as well as politically biased. Proof requires much more than mere association, and your editors should know that.

Thomas Clayton

Santa Clarita

As a Caucasian, retired member of the clergy and a longtime friend of the Rev. Jeremiah Wright Jr., former pastor of Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago, I am appalled by the guilt-by-association "Swift boating" that your editorial seems to support.

If the members of the congregations I served had decided to drop their membership every time I said something from the pulpit that disturbed them, I would have preached to empty pews. Freedom of the pulpit is a cherished concept, as is freedom of the press.

The idea that Wright may have been "injudicious" in his use of words on occasion belies the fact that he is a superb prophet, preacher and communicator of the faith who has walked the walk, not just talked the talk.

To suggest that Obama should have known better than to associate with a church that had a truth-telling preacher shows a lack of understanding on your part.

The fact that it is even an issue in this campaign shows the depth of racism, xenophobia and classism that exists among us. Shame on you for your part in this.

The Rev. Larold

K. Schulz


While putting candidate Obama through your "influence test," you state, "there is no evidence that Obama was spiritually or politically influenced by the Weatherman-turned-education professor William Ayers." And this leads your editorial to conclude, "That's not news."

Fine. But if it's not news, why does The Times have a long story in the same section of the newspaper called "Obama and the former radicals"? Is it because, as the story's headline states, "a YouTube video is making noise"? As in your editorial, by your reporters' lights, the evidence linking Obama to former militants "remained thin." So I guess by Times logic, noise makes news?

Hank Rosenfeld

Santa Monica

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