The Least, First

Monte Asbury's blog

A better look at Rev. Jeremiah Wright and Trinity Church

with 26 comments

So OK: let’s really look at Barack Obama’s pastor and church

Here are excerpts from people in a position to offer an informed view. The emphases are mine.

First, Prof. Martin E. Marty of the University of Chicago, one of America’s most distinguished professors of religion, quoted at the urban legends debunker Snopes.com:

Martin E. MartyTrinity is the largest congregation in the whole United Church of Christ, the ex-Congregational (think Jonathan Edwards) and Reformed (think Reinhold Niebuhr) mainline church body. Trinity’s rubric is “Unashamedly Black and Unapologetically Christian.” So far as I can tell Trinity shapes a kind of ellipse around these two “centers,” neither of which makes sense without the other.

This you would never know from the slanders of its enemies or the incomprehension and naiveté of some reporters who lack background in the civil rights and African-American movements of several decades ago, a background out of which Trinity’s stirrings first rose and on which it transformatively trades. So Trinity is “Africentric,” and deals internationally and ecumenically with the heritage of “black is beautiful.”

Despite what one sometimes hears, Wright and his parishioners, an 8,000-member mingling of everyone from the disadvantaged to the middle class, and not a few shakers and movers in Chicago, are “keepin’ the faith.” To those in range of Chicago TV I’d recommend a watching of Trinity’s Sunday services, and challenge you to find anything “cultic” or “sectarian” about them.

More important, for Trinity, being “unashamedly black” does not mean being “anti-white.” My wife and I on occasion attend, and, like all other non-blacks, are enthusiastically welcomed.

Second, Dean Snyder, the current senior minister of the Foundry United Methodist Churchthe church the Clintons attended while living in the White House:

Dean Snyder“The Reverend Jeremiah Wright is an outstanding church leader whom I have heard speak a number of times,” Snyder wrote. “He has served for decades as a profound voice for justice and inclusion in our society. To evaluate his dynamic ministry on the basis of two or three sound bites does a grave injustice to Dr. Wright, the members of his
congregation, and the African-American church which has been the spiritual refuge of a people that has suffered from discrimination, disadvantage, and violence.

Dr. Wright, a member of an integrated denomination, has been an agent of racial reconciliation while proclaiming perceptions and truths uncomfortable for some white people to hear. Those of us who are white Americans would do well to listen carefully to Dr. Wright rather than to use a few of his quotes to polarize.”

A few entertainer/commenter types (not to mention Candidate Clinton) have distorted the record of this church and pastor in an effort to smear Mr. Obama. Their criticism doesn’t stand up under more careful – and less partisan – examination.

Thanks for reading!


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Written by Monte

March 26, 2008 at 7:19 pm

26 Responses

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  1. Monte Says: Is it? Or could it be awfully close to these examples:

    Numbers 23:6 [The Message] … Then Balaam spoke his message-oracle… “Go, curse Jacob for me; go, damn Israel.”
    Jeremiah 8:14 [The Message] We’ve gotten God’s ultimatum: We’re … damned because of our sin against him.
    Isaiah 10 [NIV]

    Woe to those who make unjust laws,
    to those who issue oppressive decrees,
    to deprive the poor of their rights
    and withhold justice from the oppressed of my people,
    making widows their prey
    and robbing the fatherless.

    Isaiah 31:1 [NIV] Woe to those … who rely on horses, who trust in the multitude of their chariots and in the great strength of their horsemen

    Doesn’t the Old Testament prophet recognize that the only hope for his nation is for God to judge it until it returns to just behavior? Is calling for judgment on a nation possibly a plea for God to awaken it and bring it to an awareness of its own heartlessness? One could disagree that that message is appropriate for our times (I think I would); but I wonder if your prayer and Rev. Wright’s statement are really all that far apart. One could certainly use the word “damn” without meaning eternal condemnation – exactly like the O.T. prophets sometimes used such words.

    Might it just be possible that we have a faithful brother here trying to bring repentance to the nation he loves?

    Joel says: There’s a big difference between saying “G*d D**n American”, and “God is judging America, let us repent”. Jeremiah, the “weeping prophet”, sure knew the difference. One is asking God for a curse, as Balak desired a curse on Israel. The other is a sorrowful declaration of an apostasy and it’s attending righteous judgment. So is Mr. Wright a Balak or a Jeremiah? His words sound more like Balak’s to me.

    I don’t know why you or anyone else is interested in defending the kind of hateful rhetoric that Mr. Wright has uttered. I don’t know much about this blog but I’m assuming there’s a political motive. Or it might just be an out of control temper. If authoritarian demagoguery is Mr. Wright’s game, he would find an ally in a certain Fred Phelps who happens to hate America for many of the same reasons Mr. Wright hates it.

    I just hope that Senator Obama is not infected with his former pastor’s poison. Hate is not the cure for past injustices.

    Monte Says: Because, friend, no one in the congregation who heard Rev. Wright that day – white or black – would have regarded his sermon as hateful. I wonder if the fact that you judge it to be hateful rhetoric really is sufficient evidence to so strongly condemn a brother who has lived a lifetime of exemplary, faithful, Biblical discipling of so many. Is there no possibility that you might be wrong? Is it holy living to take a statement out of context, read your own meaning into it, and so severely judge a pastor and a church? When you write “His words sound more like Balak’s to me,” isn’t there a chance that the intent, and the perception of the original hearers – especially given the black church’s familiarity with the preaching tool called the “jeremiad” – isn’t there a chance that to them it sounds more like Jeremiah?

    I believe Hillary has so aggressively pushed this snippet to the forefront of the campaign because she knows it will make some middle-class whites mad, though she knows full well that Wright did not intend the meaning many read into his words. Looks like it’s working. I wonder if you’ve been had, friend, manipulated into Obama-related anger by America’s most devious politician.

    Joel

    April 5, 2008 at 9:01 am

  2. You are, as always, thoroughly interesting, my political polar opposite, and the coolest pastor I’ve ever talked to. Ha! You should read my entry in my blog regarding my parents’ current Naz pastor. He’s just a boob. No other way to put it.
    http://dgsworldbybigd.blogspot.com/2008/02/ive-got-powah.html

    Hee. Talk to you later.

    DGs World By Big D

    April 1, 2008 at 1:54 pm

  3. Ah, Big D, old girl, who has led you down this primrose path? Have you been Hannitized? Rushed? These guys are bad habits, you know – they give people warts on their brains. You asked “Where did these guys pick up syphilis in the first place?” (Not Hannity and Limbaugh, but the Tuskeegee syphilis patients). So …

    a. It’s not from a Japanese toilet [inside joke to Big D]. Here it is, Sweet Pea: there’s something that grownups like to do, mostly without clothing … They got it the same place that everyone who was treated for it got it. Same place you or I could have gotten it, and …

    b. Syphilis was probably much more common in the 1930s than today (and totally unmentionable, so people knew almost nothing about it.) Syphilis Then and Now says there were 19,000 cases in Chicago alone in the late ’30s, compared with 7,000 in the whole nation in one year of the 1990s. Penicillin wasn’t seriously in use till 1949.

    c. But many of the syphilis cases related to this study weren’t even in the original 400. Since they weren’t told they had it, their beloved husbands or wives probably got it, and their precious babies could well have contracted it at birth. Listen to the CDC’s description of late-stage:

    In the late stages of syphilis, the disease may subsequently damage the internal organs, including the brain, nerves, eyes, heart, blood vessels, liver, bones, and joints. Signs and symptoms of the late stage of syphilis include difficulty coordinating muscle movements, paralysis, numbness, gradual blindness, and dementia. This damage may be serious enough to cause death.

    Many of the men on Lewis and Clarke’s expedition are thought to have had it; it may be the cause of Clarke’s mental illness and suicide.
    How’d you like to have an illness by which you unknowingly killed your spouse and children, only to discover that your doctor knew you had it and didn’t treat it so science could use you and them as dead lab rats? Public Health docs, IMHO, should have been tried for murder. Perhaps they would have been, had their victims been white. Most of this happened in places and times when juries simply didn’t convict whites for killing blacks.

    d. The point of bringing this up at all, is that there have been times during my lifetime – and certainly in Wright’s – when the spread of a fatal disease among black people was driven by US government policy because scientists wanted their dead bodies. It’s very much like the Nazis’ “experiments” on Jews. And it doesn’t stand alone.

    Perhaps you’ve heard the stories of how the U.S. Calvary generously donated blankets to native Americans in the late 19th c. – blankets of people who’d died of plagues. And perhaps you’ve read of the predecessor of Planned Parenthood. Margaret Sanger, its founder, was influenced by eugenics, a pseudo-science that taught that “undesirables” should die off and not “breed.” Black people were flattered with invitations to join with their white brethren in camp meetings across the South – then the blacks were invited into tents for mass sterilization. Now PP provides contraception to poor people; then, the Birth Control League felt whites would be better off if they could reduce the number of non-whites by sterilization.

    e. We who are white didn’t grow up with these stories, but I’ll guess many black people did, as surely as Jewish children learn of the death camps. And a rumor that AIDS was created or spread by the U.S. Gov’t would be pretty easy to believe, once you understood how US policy had done similar things before. So, while I doubt that he’s right on this one, I sure can see why it would seem crazy to us but believable to him. I don’t see any reason to assume he was lying; I have no evidence to prove him wrong or right. My cultural disposition is to trust the government – my people have never been in its crosshairs; his is not to trust the government, for his people have.

    f. the Tuskeegee patients/families split $9M in 1972-75.

    g. Africentric is a cultural viewpoint. Every Christian church works through a cultural viewpoint, though many do so unconsciously. Among the intentionals, I know of churches in the US today that especially focus on the needs of Poles, Czechs, native Americans, displaced Iraqi Christians, Greeks, Hmong, Armenians, Chinese, Koreans, Ukrainians, college students, prostitutes, addicts, boomers, etc. I grew up in a German Baptist Church in Iowa, that may have preached in German till WW2. Africentric is not one bit different.

    h. Do take a moment to listen to Wright preach on the newer post. I think you’ll be surprised how taking his words out of context has distorted them. He’s no racist; he doesn’t preach hate; he’s not “bat sh!t crazy” (he’s not even cuddly puppy-sh!t crazy); we’d never have heard of him if people didn’t want to throw whatever they could make look like bat sh!t at Obama. But it does provide a moment to learn that much of America sees life through dramatically different lenses than white people do, and with good reason.

    See ya, friend – glad you stopped by, glad you asked!
    Monte

    Monte

    March 31, 2008 at 5:59 pm

  4. I can understand why people find this offensive. But reducing Wright and by extension Obama to this one statement is a bit to much. It is time we explore these theologies, all of them, lay them out in public. Religion should not be beyond the scope of our inspection or understanding. I would also caution against following those who condemn the man or the body of theology he is part of for mere political gain.

    ralfast

    March 27, 2008 at 10:26 pm

  5. I know of no reason that God should bless America, except for a faithful remnant (as the Bible says, “for the elect’s sake”). But my prayer is that He will yet grant repentance and bring revival. But for someone to ask God to damn a whole nation is inexcusable.

    Monte Says: Is it? Or could it be awfully close to these examples:

    Numbers 23:6 [The Message] … Then Balaam spoke his message-oracle… “Go, curse Jacob for me; go, damn Israel.”
    Jeremiah 8:14 [The Message] We’ve gotten God’s ultimatum: We’re … damned because of our sin against him.
    Isaiah 10 [NIV]

    Woe to those who make unjust laws,
    to those who issue oppressive decrees,
    to deprive the poor of their rights
    and withhold justice from the oppressed of my people,
    making widows their prey
    and robbing the fatherless.

    Isaiah 31:1 [NIV] Woe to those … who rely on horses, who trust in the multitude of their chariots and in the great strength of their horsemen

    Doesn’t the Old Testament prophet recognize that the only hope for his nation is for God to judge it until it returns to just behavior? Is calling for judgment on a nation possibly a plea for God to awaken it and bring it to an awareness of its own heartlessness? One could disagree that that message is appropriate for our times (I think I would); but I wonder if your prayer and Rev. Wright’s statement are really all that far apart. One could certainly use the word “damn” without meaning eternal condemnation – exactly like the O.T. prophets sometimes used such words.

    Might it just be possible that we have a faithful brother here trying to bring repentance to the nation he loves?

    Joel

    March 27, 2008 at 8:50 pm

  6. And one more thing, when Bill Donahue, himself not less of a firebrand (and as a Catholic, somebody who I believe hurts the church) says:

    “Senator Obama has repudiated the endorsement of Louis Farrakhan, another bigot. McCain should follow suit and retract his embrace of Hagee,” Donohue said.

    ralfast

    March 27, 2008 at 5:09 pm

  7. I would not call it a blatant lie, more like an exaggeration, one he should have a chance to explain himself on. Funny thing is that the one thing that Rev. Wright did wrong (and potentially illegal) was to campaign from the pulpit, mentioning Obama by name (as well as Hillary). And why is that not mentioned? Because its done in to many places, especially in the right-wing dominionist churches.

    As for who these Reverends that I mention. Here is a short list:

    Reverend Moon

    On March 23 (2004), the Dirksen Senate Office Building was the scene of a coronation ceremony for Rev. Sun Myung Moon, owner of the conservative Washington Times newspaper and UPI wire service, who was given a bejeweled crown by Rep. Danny K. Davis, D-Ill. Afterward, Moon told his bipartisan audience of Washington power players he would save everyone on Earth as he had saved the souls of Hitler and Stalin — the murderous dictators had been born again through him, he said. In a vision, Moon said the reformed Hitler and Stalin vouched for him, calling him “none other than humanity’s Savior, Messiah, Returning Lord and True Parent.”

    When we are in our battle against the whole nation of the U.S. — if you are truly in love with this nation, and if you love this nation more than anyone else, this nation will come into God’s possession, and Satan will have nothing to do with it. … With that as the bullet, we can smash the whole world.

    Individualism is what God hates most, and Satan likes best.

    God likes the idea of a monarchy, because it removes the cycles of election after election which can obscure the focus and direction of the nation.

    Rev. Jerry Falwell

    JERRY FALWELL: And I agree totally with you that the Lord has protected us so wonderfully these 225 years. And since 1812, this is the first time that we’ve been attacked on our soil and by far the worst results. And I fear, as Donald Rumsfeld, the Secretary of Defense, said yesterday, that this is only the beginning. And with biological warfare available to these monsters — the Husseins, the Bin Ladens, the Arafats — what we saw on Tuesday, as terrible as it is, could be miniscule if, in fact — if, in fact — God continues to lift the curtain and allow the enemies of America to give us probably what we deserve.

    In other words, God is damning America….

    I could go on, but I think I taken enough space from Monte’s blog.

    Monte Says: You’re doing great! Don’t let up!

    ralfast

    March 27, 2008 at 5:07 pm

  8. Great comments! I’m eager to respond to many, but for now, let me start here:

    Is rouse blind to all the human rights violations committed by the Palestinians?

    @ Marianne: I hope you’ll skim a recent post – Fear, the other Palm Sunday emotion. Here’s a sample:

    According to The Nation magazine, the great Israeli human rights organization B’Tselem, reports that the primitive rockets from Gaza have taken thirteen Israeli lives in the past four years, while Israeli forces have killed more than one thousand Palestinians in the occupied territories in the past two years alone. Almost half of them were civilians, including some 200 children.

    Most of the world hears very different news than we hear. Israel is in violation of dozens of UN mandates; Palestinian elderly and children are dying for lack of medication; Israel bombed Lebanon with illegal cluster bombs, and even though the war is over, will not tell the UN where the remaining mines and unexploded bomblets lay among civilians. Meanwhile, Zionist radicals continue to expand settlement-building in lands declared to be Palestinian by the UN.

    Terrorism is a horrible thing – and Israel has slain many-fold more Palestinian babies than vice versa; there will never be any way to tell if the families they blew up had any terrorists among them. Mere suspicion brings annihilation – of the suspect, his wife and children, his parents, his neighbors -without judge or jury. Every nation in the world finds this in violation of international law except Israel and the USA.

    And many of the Jews of Israel are far more outraged at their government’s slow genocide of Palestinians than Americans are. The Muslim world cannot fathom why America lets Israel murder Palestinians in such numbers, and can only read some kind of anti-Muslim hatred into American motives. In despair of ever finding fair treatment, a few Palestinians blow themselves and some Israelis up from time to time, trying desperately to get the world’s attention, but merely reinforcing the US’s pro-Israel bias.

    It’s a sad thing, and unjust, and we who love God before country need to say that abuse is wrong no matter who does it, and insist that it not be done with our tax dollars.

    Monte

    March 27, 2008 at 3:55 pm

  9. Who the crap is Rev. Moon, Hagee or Robertson? If they’re supposed Christians and they’re saying “God D@mn America” it seems to me that they SHOULD be called on it.

    As far as the Syphilis study – were these men INJECTED with Syphilis, or did they show up with Syphilis and not receive treatment? Clearly, not diagnosing and not treating the condition is absolutely sick and disgusting, not to mention immoral and counter-intuitive to the Hippocratic Oath. That said, where the hell did these guys pick up Syphilis in the first place?

    Glad you recognize Rev. Wrong’s stance on AIDS is wrong. Do you feel his blantant lies are justified given the evil behind the Tuskegee Study? One wrong deserves another, etc…? Eye for an eye?

    I’m all for retribution and revenge. I don’t think he needs to lie to enact it, though. Seems to me the remaining family members of the Tuskegee “patients” should simply sue the hell out of the government and receive a boatload of cash.

    DGs World By Big D

    March 27, 2008 at 3:10 pm

  10. But, come on! What type of person makes the claim that AIDS was invented by the US government to hurt the black man? Ooooh – and Karl Rove covered it up? I’ll tell you what type. The bat sh!t crazy type.

    He was wrong on AIDS, but the truth is just as sinister:

    July 25, 2002 –Thirty years ago today, the Washington Evening Star newspaper ran this headline on its front page: “Syphilis Patients Died Untreated.” With those words, one of America’s most notorious medical studies, the Tuskegee Syphilis Study, became public.

    “For 40 years, the U.S. Public Health Service has conducted a study in which human guinea pigs, not given proper treatment, have died of syphilis and its side effects,” Associated Press reporter Jean Heller wrote on July 25, 1972. “The study was conducted to determine from autopsies what the disease does to the human body.”

    The next morning, every major U.S. newspaper was running Heller’s story. For Morning Edition, NPR’s Alex Chadwick reports on how the Tuskegee experiment was discovered after 40 years of silence.

    The Public Health Service, working with the Tuskegee Institute, began the study in 1932. Nearly 400 poor black men with syphilis from Macon County, Ala., were enrolled in the study. They were never told they had syphilis, nor were they ever treated for it. According to the Centers for Disease Control, the men were told they were being treated for “bad blood,” a local term used to describe several illnesses, including syphilis, anemia and fatigue.

    For participating in the study, the men were given free medical exams, free meals and free burial insurance.

    At the start of the study, there was no proven treatment for syphilis. But even after penicillin became a standard cure for the disease in 1947, the medicine was withheld from the men. The Tuskegee scientists wanted to continue to study how the disease spreads and kills. The experiment lasted four decades, until public health workers leaked the story to the media.

    By then, dozens of the men had died, and many wives and children had been infected. In 1973, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) filed a class-action lawsuit. A $9 million settlement was divided among the study’s participants. Free health care was given to the men who were still living, and to infected wives, widows and children.

    But it wasn’t until 1997 that the government formally apologized for the unethical study. President Clinton delivered the apology, saying what the government had done was deeply, profoundly and morally wrong:

    “To the survivors, to the wives and family members, the children and the grandchildren, I say what you know: No power on Earth can give you back the lives lost, the pain suffered, the years of internal torment and anguish.

    “What was done cannot be undone. But we can end the silence. We can stop turning our heads away. We can look at you in the eye and finally say, on behalf of the American people: what the United States government did was shameful.

    “And I am sorry.”

    http://www.npr.org/programs/morning/features/2002/jul/tuskegee/

    As for damming America, the Rev. Moons, Hagees and Robertsons of the world do it every day, and nobody bats an eye (and nobody distances themselves from it). No white Republican candidate is asked to apologize for them (Huckabee where are you?). If one invokes God judgment on ones nation, it better be for a damn good reason. The truth should be involved in that reason.

    ralfast

    March 27, 2008 at 2:38 pm

  11. I wish they did not even exist…I can see why they got kicked out of other arab countries….

    Is this not hateful in itself?

    Yes. To blame all Palestians for the use of terrorism is absurd. People seem to forget what happened during the first Intifada, and its success (without a single car bomb or destruction of cities from the air). Extremist on both sides carry out these destructive attacks to fuel the hatred between them. The real victims are the civilians, on both sides of the divide. In fact their is a vibrant peace movement that unites both Palestinians and Israelis, but that gets little or no coverage in the West.

    Does it convey the reality of the region?

    No, for the reasons given above. Violence begets violence, injustice begets war. Their can be no peace without justice or freedom.

    ralfast

    March 27, 2008 at 2:31 pm

  12. Monte, Monte, Monte –

    You know I like you in spite of the fact that we disagree on every political viewpoint. But, come on! What type of person makes the claim that AIDS was invented by the US government to hurt the black man? Ooooh – and Karl Rove covered it up? I’ll tell you what type. The bat sh!t crazy type.

    Obviously Rev. Wright is Rev. Wrong. Do blatant lies undo all of the good he has done in his community? Probably not, but it sure doesn’t help. I don’t want to hear about his Africentric religion. Africentric is a movement, not a religion. At least, not a Christian religion. It is a social viewpoint.

    If he really desires to be religious, perhaps he should consider starting a new religion, a mixture of beliefs in which it is OK to make outlandish claims and lie, and OK to be a hater of whites, Jews, and Italians (his latest gaffe), while becoming a champion for the black man in America. He should embrace Wicca, I think. Wicca worships nature. There is certainly nothing wrong with loving nature, and I’m not aware of any “truth is necessary” rules in Wicca so he can spew his venom all day long and no one will bat an eye.

    I once watched a witch ceremony in Salem, MA, at Halloween. It was interesting. If one of those gothic witches had shouted “God-d@mn-America” I don’t think I would have been shocked. See? But a self-proclaimed Christian screaming that is a tad odd, don’t you think? He should definitely become a Wiccan or a witch and use that as his starting point for his Afri-centric-white-people-suck-the-government-will-get-you religion.

    Ooooooh. Or he could make it easy and just become a Scientologist. All they want is your paycheck. And they believe that we’re all aliens inside, so the sky’s the limit on Wright’s options within that religion. Added bonus? He’d probably get to meet Tom Cruise.

    DGs World By Big D

    March 27, 2008 at 2:27 pm

  13. I am not blind to Palestinian terrorism, nor do I think Rev. Wright is necessarily justified in all of his rantings against Israel, a point strongly made by Sen. Obama last week. Still, I think we need to understand the whole story, especially concerning the role played by European imperialism in Palestine in the late 19th and 20th centuries, as well as the violent birth of the nation of Israel that refugeed hundreds of thousands of Palestinians. This process created the Palestinian crisis, and it is the ongoing bitterness of being kicked off of land they had occupied for many generations that fuels Palestinian hatred. Finally, and I will leave Monte’s blog with this note, I think we need to look inward and evaluate the roots of our own prejudices, bitterness, and hatred, lest it consume us. Let us have the audacity to hope, and the willingness to pray, for peace and healing in our nation and world.

    lemuelcrouse

    March 27, 2008 at 1:40 pm

  14. Is rouse blind to all the human rights violations committed by the Palestinians?

    …or is it ok to blow innocent Israelis up – including women and children….even blowing up their own children…..and then scream that THEY are the victims? What a lie…..all the hatred…..I wish they did not even exist…I can see why they got kicked out of other arab countries….

    Marianne

    March 27, 2008 at 1:08 pm

  15. I think lemuelcrouse broke down Wright’s message correctly. I think the difference lies on those who want to see the U.S. for what it is the Great, the Good, The Bad, and the Ugly and those who do not. Those who accept the fact that racism is alive and well, it is endemic and systemic and those who want to ignore said facts and submerge themselves in a flawed American myth.

    The only way to fix a problem is to confront it. Wright’s words shock our consciousness, as they should do, the question is, do we see the truth and deal with it, or do we remain in denial.

    One way lies hope, the other madness. Your choice.

    ralfast

    March 27, 2008 at 10:55 am

  16. Sorry, “notunderstanding,” but actually it was Ben Franklin who said something to the effect of “The Lord helps them who help themselves.” That is a purely Enlightenment concept, not a biblical one.

    Joel, I simply must disagree with your assessment of Wright’s use of the “G-D America!” phrase. Yes, it jarred me when I saw it on tv, and, yes, I would have had pause had my pastor used that exact phrase, but in the context of his larger sermon, you could see where he was going with it. If it is hateful rhetoric, then it is hateful of the failures of America as Wright sees them, not of America itself. He was condemning the self-righteous America that has not lived up to its promises concerning liberty and justice for all and, in another sermon, the self-righteous America that has reveled in the killing of innocents in retribution for acts of terror committed against us (he cites using the A-Bomb on Japan as well as civilian casualties of our current “war on terror”). And he is warning America not to bask in self-righteousness by continuing to sing “God Bless America” rather than calling on God to bless all people of the world. In short, he is saying something very biblical: judge not lest you be judged; love those who persecute you; love your neighbor as yourself! It is in this last category that Trinity Church under the leadership of Rev. Wright has made its greatest contribution, despite the supposed “hate” being spewed from the pulpit. Ask the tens upon tens of thousands of people helped by Trinity Church if they feel the hate! A final note on the G-D phrase: as a nation, have we not committed sins that a just and righteous God may find worthy of condemnation? Yes we have, whether or not we choose to confess them, and that is the power of Wright’s indictment against America. We must confess our sins and stop our national wrong-doing, or we cannot long escape the judgment of God. The Rev. Billy Graham and numerous others have often called on God to judge America and America to repent for its collective sins. Yes, the language is shocking, but the message is very biblical.

    lemuelcrouse

    March 27, 2008 at 10:31 am

  17. Monte, I do not believe that the opinions of the men you cited are unbiased. Some people are so eager to carry the torch of a cause that they blind themselves to the abuses around them. That’s exactly what took place among decent white people in Jim Crow South where I grew up. But it seems that the swinging of the pendulum brigs retribution. Is this what Dr. King envisioned?

    There is no neutral ground with a man that says “G*d D**m America”. Obama attended that church for twenty years, and he tells us that he was not aware of the hateful rhetoric. Sure, and I’m the Pope.

    Monte Says: Well, Joel, why? Why should I believe this scholar and this esteemed pastor are biased? I know no evidence of that. They are widely respected among a broad array of Christian traditions. If you want me to see them as biased, show me the goods.

    And I’ll be writing about the “G*d D**m America” statement – and why I don’t believe it is what it’s been made out to be – soon.

    Joel

    March 27, 2008 at 9:53 am

  18. Obama, do you think he is going to be your messaih ? Well he wont ! All this change he talks about, it can not be done, he knows it an every educated person if they look at what he is saying knows it can not be done. All these promise he makes, IF some were reachable, it will mean more taxes for EVERYONE.
    Each time the man speaks he reminds me of a side show barker, they sell you a show, but when you go through the curtian, it is never what you bought. I wonder also this man who claims to have come from humble beginnings, how the PREP school and the HARVARD Education was paid for, you are looking at hundreds of thousands of dollars in education ?
    He will not be what you expect, and he will not be the benifactor you hope for. He can’t ! And he won’t bring home the troops , nor will Hillary, that can’t be done either, as the threat of terrorism is to great. So, what you are getting is YOUR wish list from their mouths that will never be delivered.

    Look at his past voting record……..pitiful ! And the only reason he as a Jr. Senator did not vote for this war, he was not a Senator when the vote came to be…….. he does not tell you that. He has voted poorly on every vote to help the American people while he has sat in the Senate seat. Look it up !
    Here is a man groomed for this run….but by whom ? That is the scary part……. where is his start up money coming from ? He is a salesman, but not a person you really should hope for in the White Hosue……… the price you and I would pay, we could not afford.

    Read his history, look at the facts, don’t take my word for it. Then maybe you will realize you have watched a really good pitch man, selling you a bill of good, but they can’t be delivered.

    notunderstanding

    March 27, 2008 at 9:39 am

  19. We must not follow false teachings, or words of hate to raise our children by. We must at some point realize yesterday is gone, we can not change history nor should we allow it to make us bitter and full of hate. All race issues do not need wood on the fire, but cool water.

    Dr. King gave us the water, it was not and has not been used well. He said to forgive and move on, that what we do with our lives are the roots that should now grow. We have been allowing weeds in that growth, weeds such as Wright who wants us to continue to build a fire of hate, until the flames consume our ability to do better.

    Parenting, education, refusing to allow our selves to wallow in self pity and being the best we can be should be our goals. Hate breeds more hate, hate will consume the person hating and all those around them.

    Jesus is of no color, but he loves us all. He will forgive us all and there are no color lines in Heaven.

    The words coming from Wrights mouth are venom, and deadly. They will continue to suppress the black race, as they will fuel the fire of hate as an excuse to blame a white person for everything wrong in your life.

    YOU are the one responsibilie for the good or the bad in your life, how you meet your GOD is your choice as you will be carrying your sins with you, when you do.

    It is time to start empting the bag you will carry, look at life as an adventure to do better everyday and seek out those that will encourage and help you rather then beat you down with vile, hateful words. Please !

    notunderstanding

    March 27, 2008 at 9:29 am

  20. I wish that Wright was not compared to the Great M.L. King, he does not compare. Dr. King realized that todays and generations before were not nor should be held accountable for past deeds that were out of their control.
    He taught raising above, education, parenting and accepting responsibility for one’s actions and words.
    The Black Community needs leaders, but leaders that will encourage education, less violence and more parents willing to give of themselves to raise decent and productive heman beings.
    When you allow any race to use their color as a crutch, use it for being less than they can be, then you encourage them to remain bigots, and a disgrace to themselves and their race.
    There are good and bad amoung all races, there are those that will not stand on their own two feet and be able to work to be a better person, but that is where the Church and tit’s leaders are needed.
    Preaching hate, preaching that the whites must carry the burden for all of the blacks failings is wrong. And as for the color of JESUS, well JESUS loves us all, will forgive us all and there is no color line in HEAVEN !
    I thing it is time for Black leaders to really grasp the responsibility and the line Dr. King drew, none so far have met it, or come close. That line was to stop the hate, move on and raise “yourself” up above that hate and be as good a person as you can be. This is the type of leadership that will change the black and white line.
    Black or White each person knows right from wrong, will all change ? No ! But, the place to start is the Church and the Home, it is time for the past, the long past to be buried and put to rest, today is all we can control and hope for a better tomorrow. And we will never have that better tomorrow with the words coming from men like Wright, they want to keep the black people full of hate, blaming all the short comings on them, well, it is just not true.
    The LORD said, I WILL HELP THOSE THAT HELP THEMSELVES ! It is time to listen to those words.

    notunderstanding

    March 27, 2008 at 9:20 am

  21. Monte:

    Thanks for this level-headed and very informative post. Unfortunately, very few journalists are willing to do their homework, and neither are most media consumers. But I’m afraid the main purpose of the Reve. Wright blow-up was not to have a reasoned discussion about difficult issues, but to knock down Sen. Obama’s campaign, as well to fan the flames for various agendas. It’s interesting that when racial issues do penetrate the presidential campaign, it’s the black candidate who suffers for it. I suspect Obama understands this, and that’s why he tried to steer clear of direct references to racial issues. The key to avoiding such situations in the future for is for all Americans to talk MORE about race, but outside the political arena — in the kitchen, the living room, the back yard, the schools, in churches, mosques and synagogues.

    2xvoice

    March 27, 2008 at 9:13 am

  22. Okay, now that we’ve looked at Obama’s pastor, are we willing to do the same for Hillary?

    Oh wait, Hillary doesn’t have a pastor; she’s part of an elite cult-like religious group on Capitol Hill called “the Family.”

    stushie

    March 27, 2008 at 8:15 am

  23. My family has lived in North America since colonial times, and I love this country deeply and passionately. That noted, I have to say that I grow weary of the blatant lack of historical knowledge evidenced by those who continue to attack Rev. Wright. What about the very real state-sanctioned terrorism of the Israelis themselves, directed against innocent Palestinians for decades? What about the state-sanctioned terrorism of the United States against Native Americans? What about U.S. support of slavery for nearly eight decades? What about U.S. support of Jim Crow laws for another eight decades? What about proven past instances of medical experimentation on people of color? We have done all these things and more, including waging an unjust war against Mexico in the 1840s in which we took half their country from them! How is it “defaming America” to call us out when we fail to live up to our founding principles? Come on! If you are going to attack Jeremiah Wright, attack him on his wrong-headed comments about HIV/AIDS or his association with known black separatists, or, if you must, about the Marxism that is interwoven in liberation theology or his unabashed electioneering from the pulpit. But spare us the unrelenting, uninformed jingoism! He makes legitimate criticisms of the US, the past and present failures of our domestic and foreign policies, our past failings regarding civil and human rights, and our blind devotion to an Israel with a less than stellar human rights record, all while openly proclaiming that God’s love transcends all the woes and disappointments of this world, as well as wrong-headed nationalism.

    lemuelcrouse

    March 27, 2008 at 8:02 am

  24. Being unashamedly black is still no excuse for defaming America with unsubstantiated accusations, preaching hatred, and supporting the terrorist group HAMAS against innocent Israelis.

    marianne
    http://heavenawaits.wordpress.com/

    Marianne

    March 27, 2008 at 1:37 am

  25. I like to know why everybody keeps accusing Wright of being racist?

    ralfast

    March 27, 2008 at 12:11 am

  26. So having white supporters justifies Rev Write’s hatred of them? Intersting.

    Monte Says: Joel, I’m afraid you’ll have to help me on that one. I didn’t quote these fellows (nor did Snopes.com) because they were supporters, but because they’re experts with reputations that would be credible to people on both sides (one being, arguably, America’s most respected professor of religion, the other the senior pastor of a church formerly attended by the Clintons themselves). Just as when I want to know if I’ve got skin cancer, I seek out the opinion of a dermatologist – someone with a lifetime of experience in the field.

    What I’m not following is what it is that suggests Rev. Wright would hate them. Both these guys have implied the opposite. Can you show me where he says he hates them, or something like that?

    Joel

    March 26, 2008 at 8:42 pm


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