Is Reverend Jeremiah Wright a Lunatic?

Barack Obama is distancing himself from his pastor of twenty years. Glenn Beck is warning that "Wright should not be so eager to encourage folks to listen to his message". Others are saying he's on a self-promotion crusade. Well, I watched him on Bill Moyers Journal the other day, and I agreed with a lot of the stuff Jeremiah Wright said. Not everything, by any means, but a lot more than I thought I would.

Is Jeremiah Wright really a lunatic? What do you think?

I thought Wright's statement about Louis Farrakhan being a great American was a bit weird, but then what do I know, except for what the media tell me about Farrakhan?

What about the AIDS claim of Wright, that the US government inflicted the black community with AIDS? Here are some things the US government has done...

(Except I think Malcolm X didn't think he was very great.)

What about the AIDS claim of Wright, that the US government inflicted the black community with AIDS? I haven't seen any evidence given by Wright, but I wouldn't completely rule out the possibility. Here's a couple of things that your government has done:
  • For forty years, the government did experiments on several black men with syphilis, not telling them what disease they had and not helping them to get better.
  • The government conducted open-air testing of nuclear weapons in Nevada in the 1950's.
It looks like there really may be a US Patent for an AIDS cure, by the way.

Eugene Robinson of the Washington Post agrees with a lot of things Wright has had to say, but he draws the line when it becomes 'all about Jeremiah'.
It's understandable, given how Wright has been treated, that he would want to attempt to set the record straight.

Given Wright's long silence, I thought he had taken to heart Jesus's admonition to turn the other cheek. Obviously, I was wrong.

I'm through with Wright not because he responded -- in similar circumstances, I certainly couldn't have kept silent -- but because his response was so egocentric. We get it, Rev. Wright: You're ready for your close-up.

Nonetheless, here are some observations Wright made on Bill Moyers' Journal the other day with which I agree.
  • Most religions don't require anything anymore. Wright said,
    "Unfortunately, most churches now are "status quo." And so that, to the extent that they're not trying to feed the poor, they're not trying to hook up jobs and people, they're not concerned about the lowest, the least, the left out. They're not concerned about the youth, they're concerned about 'Let me come here on a Sunday, hear something that tells me I'm ok, and I'm going to back to where I've been going.'"
  • Wright's church attempts to help troubled youth--mostly black, but not all--become who they want to be, whether it be a doctor, a lawyer, or something else.

  • God does not bless everything we think he does.
    God does not bless gang-bangers. God does not bless dope dealers. God does not bless young thugs that hit old women upside the head and snatch their purse. God does not bless that. God does not bless the killing of babies. God does not bless the killing of enemies.
  • Black liberation theology is probably as misunderstood as "Jewish liberation theology".
    I think that the terms "liberation theology" or "black liberation theology" cause more problems and red flags for people who don't understand it.

    These [the Jews] are people who wrote the word of God that we honor and love under Egyptian oppression, Syrian oppression, Babylonian oppression, Persian oppression, Greek oppression, Roman oppression. So that their understanding of what God is saying is very different from the Greeks, the Romans, the Egyptians. And that's what prophetic theology of the African-American church is.
  • Trust God, but don't always trust government.
    Where governments lie, God does not lie. Where governments change, God does not change. And I'm through now. But let me leave you with one more thing. Governments fail.

    And the United States of America government, when it came to treating her citizens of Indian descent fairly, she failed. She put them on reservations. When it came to treating her citizens of Japanese descent fairly, she failed. She put them in internment prison camps. When it came to treating citizens of African descent fairly, America failed. She put them in chains.
  • Enough with the "BARAK HUSSEIN OBAMA" crap! When asked by Moyers why so many Americans still think Obama is a Muslim, he replied:
    What does the media do? "Barack Hussein Obama! Barack Hussein Obama! Barack Hussein. It sounds like Osama, Obama. That Arabic is a language. So that's why many people still think he's a Muslim. He went to a madrasah. What's a madrasah? I don't know, but I know it was one of those Muslim schools that teaches terrorism. The kind of I don't want to think, just tell me what to think mentality is why so many Americans still think that.
One thing I vehemently disagreed with was Wright's interpretation of the "Three-Fifths Clause" of the US Constitution, in that it was a racist denigration of blacks--it was no such thing, but rather an attempt to prevent southern slaveholders to have undeserved representation in Congress.

I think Jeremiah Wright is an impassioned man--not a lunatic. He has some strange beliefs, but who am I to know for sure that he's wrong about them?

I think, though, that Obama is showing his true colors by throwing Wright under the bus. If it didn't translate into votes lost, Obama would stick with his pastor.




Comments

  1. If Jeremiah Wright was actually a lunatic, I suspect we both would have seen him at the meetings.

    I actually agree with Wright on many things. His rhetoric is highly charged and a bit hyperbolic, but I don't know that I expect Obama to disavow Wright anymore than I would expect a Mormon to disavow Brigham Young for many of the things he said from the pulpit.

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  2. The Three-Fifths Clause very clearly gave the southern slaveholding states undeserved representation in Congress (and, by virtue of the Electoral College, undeserved representation or influence in the election of the President), though less of an advantage than the Southern States wanted (they preferred a system in which slaves counted as full people for representation). It may have been a necessary compromise, but it nonetheless did give the Southern states such an advantage. It is unclear from how you worded that sentence whether this is what you were saying.

    Yes, I am very disappointed with Obama's effort to distance himself. And the efforts of the Right and of Clinton partisans to paint Wright as un-patriotic is pathetic.

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  3. While some of Wright's points may be watered down to valid points, I detect a very palpable hostility in his tone toward this country and non-blacks.

    Unpatriotic? I don't know. I guess it depends on your definition of the word.

    Racist? Definitely.

    I know the Left has changed the definition of racism by adding the "power" condition (basically, because they don't have the political power to back up or collectively act on racial prejudice on a national scale, they cannot be racist)

    No, I'm talking about simple racism as Websters defines it: Discrimination or prejudice based on race.

    I've listened to half-hour chunks of Wright's sermons, and I can come to no other conclusions than that Black Liberation Theology is a racist philosophy and the Rev. Wright is a racist man.

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  4. Obi Wan,

    I haven't seen you at the LA (Lunatics Anonymous) meetings for the past couple of weeks.

    ;-)

    Derek,

    When I refer to "3/5" not being a denigration of blacks, it's my opinion that in the long run it was not. It was a compromise that in the short run benefited the Southern slaveholders, but it help pave the way for abolition of the slave trade.

    DS,

    I will admit that about the longest sermon snippet I have heard from Wright is the 3-4 minutes a couple of times on the Bill Moyers episode. I definitely need to inform myself more on Liberation Theology, because it seems that (regardless of what Wright says--or thinks--it is) most people apparently use it as a victimology and black power theology.

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  5. I'm with d. sirmize. Check out Wright's writings. Listen to long chunks of his sermons. He is pushing the same old tripe that America's imperfections are either morally equivalent to — or even morally inferior to — the evils perpetrated by terrorist thugs.

    Many of Wright's teachings are blatantly and intolerably racist. There is no soft peddling this stuff.

    Brigham Young lived a long time ago during a time of severe persecution. It's easy to criticize his less tame teachings from the safe distance of more than a century. I wonder what B.Y. would be saying if he were alive today. But he's not. Wright is. The hatred he is spewing is not helpful to his adherents, but is rather designed to get them to buy into the self-limiting gospel of victimology.

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  6. I'm with you on this one Frank.

    I've watched quite a bit of video and read quite a few transcripts of Wright's sermons, and while much of it seems merely inflammatory for the sake of inflammation, I get the impression that he is conveying a basic message that I don't entirely disagree with.

    I think it is much too easy for us, these days, to fall into this paranoid trap of "anti-American!" and "Racism!" Whether we "white folk" want to admit it or not, black people have suffered, and many continue to suffer, at the hands of bigotry, subtle/passive racist attitudes (and unfortunately even blatant/aggressive racist attitudes), and yes, surprise, surprise, many people are pissed off about it, and Wright just happens to be a person with a microphone.

    Some of his ideas are "out there," but the basic "gist" of his words seems to be one of frustration, not an anti-American sentiment.

    I can't say I agree with much that he asserts, but I will not jump on the bandwagon and vilify him, not when there are so many out there who deserve vilification and marginalization it much more, but that fly under the radar because they are rich, entrenched in our politics, and, of course, white.

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  7. Jason,

    I listened to a full hour of the Glenn Beck program where he "gave the microphone" to Rev. Wright.

    There were several long segments of his sermons that I wished I could ask Mr. Beck, "So tell me what is NOT TRUE about what he just said."

    Some things were a bit weird, but many of the things he said ARE true and DO NOT make him a racist for saying them.

    Thanks.

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