Warning: Constant ABSPATH already defined in /home/public/wp-config.php on line 27
What Hath Wright Wrought? — Why Now?
On-line Opinion Magazine…OK, it's a blog
Random header image... Refresh for more!

What Hath Wright Wrought?

“In every age the common interpretation of the world of things is by some scheme of unchallenged and unsuspected presuppositions; and the mind of every individual, however little he may think himself in sympathy with his contemporaries, is not an insulated compartment, but more like a pool in a continuous medium — the circumambient atmosphere of his time and place.”

F. M. Cornford Foreword of Thucydides Mythistoricus

The Reverend Doctor Jeremiah A. Wright, Jr. [BA, MA – Howard University, MA – University of Chicago Divinity School, Doctor of Ministry – United Theological Seminar] was born just before World War II and I was born just after, so we have shared a lot of American history, we have moved through very similar circumambient atmospheres. I can understand him in a way people from younger generations cannot.

People have said he was crazy, a conspiracy theorist, but those people didn’t live in a segregated America, or under the eye of J. Edgar Hoover’s FBI.

When you were alive to read about the Tuskegee Study in your newspaper, rather than a history book, you tend not to trust your government. When the struggle for equality did not end with Supreme Court decisions or new laws, any more than it ended with Constitutional amendments, you tend not to trust your government. When you discover that those who were leading the struggle for equality were under government surveillance as if they were enemy spies, you tend not to trust your government. When so many of those leaders are murdered, you tend not to trust your government. When you lived through the Vietnam War, and then see how the Iraq War was launched, you tend not to trust your government.

The problem for Reverend Wright and me is that we have seen too many examples of the government treating the people as the enemy, rather than as its employer.

I don’t agree with all of his conclusions on many of these issues, but I can damn sure understand why he feels as he does. If you didn’t live it, you wouldn’t understand. [The Boomers were screaming about the Hedgemony sooner than others, because we had already been down this road, but no one paid attention.]

Another claim about his recent appearances is that he craves the media spotlight and is riding on Obama’s mantle. That’s the wrong way around.

Here’s another another biography with even more of his accomplishments.

The man was featured on PBS Frontline in 1987. He has received seven honorary doctorates, including from Colgate University [Baptist], Valparaiso University [Lutheran], United Theological Seminary [Methodist], and Chicago Theological Seminary [Baptist]. He took the Trinity United Church of Christ from a congregation of 87 to 10,000, making it the largest UCC congregation. He has accomplished things. He is somebody. He will be written about and remembered with or without Obama. He is one of the most influential churchmen in the country, but the media don’t know that, because he isn’t in their rolodex. If he craved attention, he would have been on television like Falwell and DonoWho.

When Obama made his first dismissive remarks about Reverend Wright, the Reverend realized that Obama wasn’t the leader he hoped for, but just another politician, who took up space in his congregation as a stepping stone to power. Obama used the black political machine in Chicago to advance his career, not to advance the machine’s causes.

If Obama loses the primary or the election, his place in history will be much less important than that of Jeremiah Wright. It is also likely that he will have a problem retaining his Senate seat after showing his disrespect for Reverend Wright. Chicago politics is like that.


1 hipparchia { 05.02.08 at 9:25 pm }

also, if you’ve lived down here in the south, you’ve heard that style of preaching in both black and white churches. always assuming, of course, that you’ve been open-minded enough to visit your friends’ houses of worship occasionally, even if your own is of a more sedate nature. this is a tall assumption in some cases, i admit.

all these good white folks who are horrified at wright’s speechifyin’ should take an afternoon out of their lives and go listen to a nation of islam speaker, maybe read a little of their literature.

the only statement of his [wright’s] that i’ve gt a problem with is the “government deliberately created the aids virus” one, but anybody who’s been paying attention knows about the tuskegee study and can see where that idea comes from. in fact, in his ‘god damn america’ sermon [which is some fine preaching, btw] he mentions aids and tuskegee in practically the same breath.

2 Bryan { 05.02.08 at 9:55 pm }

The trust was really broken by that study, and people who aren’t aware of it, don’t understand that. What whites view as isolated incidents, blacks view as a pattern. Even if I don’t think there is a pattern, I understand why they do.

As you say, people should stop by for a sermon at most all-white evangelical churches down here, and it isn’t long before you realize that the New Testament is almost forgotten [except for Revelation] and the fire and brimstone pour forth at the enemy of week. It has always amazed me that people who can’t remember who their representative is down here, know Barney Frank is the “Sodomite from Massachusetts”.

The black churches have better music than the pseudo-rock trash the white evangelicals are promoting. If I have to put up with the brimstone, I want decent musical interludes.

3 Michael { 05.02.08 at 9:56 pm }

When he did the impersonations, I think that was all for his credibility at the moment.

4 Bryan { 05.02.08 at 10:20 pm }

You’ll have to give me more information, Michael, I’m not sure what you are referring to.

5 Kryten42 { 05.02.08 at 10:24 pm }

I hadn’t known much at all about Wright bar his name and he was a pastor. Then I was was reading C&L a couple days ago, and they posted about the Daily Show comparing Graham with Wright. I had to rad back a bit to find out what all the kerfuffle was! I still don’t get it. LOL

Thanks for the good update and context Bryan! And thanks hipparchia for yours too. 🙂

I still don’t get it! LOL But… what the heck is new about that these days? *sigh* I begin to suspect reading the above and C&L again… that the rightwingmorons are annoyed because he was a Dem preacher or something? If he were *one-o-them* he’d be OK? Is that it?

C&L Daily Show post is here:

Daily Show: Billy Graham vs. Jeremiah Wright

BTW… I have heard the ‘USA created Aids’ *theory* from a few sources over many years. Having spent a terrible year dealing with the drug companies (Glaxo primarily, now Glaxo-Smith-Welcome or something like that!) And seeing what they do and the things that sometimes *escape* (oops!) I would be more prepared to believe it was one of the drug companies botched experiments gone wrong. It would not be the first time, believe me!

What a World!

6 Bryan { 05.02.08 at 11:27 pm }

At the National Press Club the Rev expanded on his remarks and brought in the bio stuff the US sold to Saddam in addition to the Tuskegee Study. He’s very much against bio weapons of any kind and makes the point that if you sell them to someone like Saddam, why is anything out of the realm of possibility. People keep trying to forget that Saddam bought his WMDs from the Reagan administration.

You must have some evangelicals in Oz because we’ve had a few locals go to school in Australia and they were definitely part of the fundamentalist strain of Christianity. If you have ever seen an all out, full bore Baptist preacher in his prime delivering a sermon, you would understand about references to fire and brimstone, Bible thumping, and the rest. It’s a great show for a good price if you have a Sunday morning free.

7 Kryten42 { 05.03.08 at 12:07 am }

Oh yes! We have our own evangelicals! Some seem sane… I have been invited to a few sermons by “well-meaning people”(tm) (you know… the ones that never heard that “The road to Hell is paved with good intentions!” LOL We have the Baptist Union and other branches here. We generally get a lot of the crooks that start in the USA and when the *fleeced flock* begins to suspect all is not as it should be, they come here and start over.

I generally get asked not to go back after a visit. 🙂 *sigh* Apparently, sniggering, chuckling and occasional outbursts of hysterical laughter are highly frowned upon! Some people really have no sense of humor you know, especially those that have never actually understood the Bible or who like to pass over the bit’s they feel uncomfortable with, like all the bits about brotherly love (I guess because they prefer to equate lust and debauchery with love), and that parts that expound upon the fact that the Word of God shall be *freely* given. Can’t make any money that way! LOL Amazing how many people around the World turn a completely blind eye to the fact that most *Religion* these days is at best an extreme example of capitalism (to pay a lot of money and get nothing of any real value in return, and the Religious Organisations make massive profits. Truly, they make the Mafia drool with envy!) At worst, it’s bare faced extortion and evil in every way. It seems that many of these *Pastors* have a form of dyslexia when they read the word *reap* in the bible, it reads as *rape* to them, and that the idea of having a *flock* is that as a good Shepherd, they are duty bound to fleece them. 🙂

Of course, the World is full of lost, lonely, gullible, and stupid people. So these Pastors will be in caviar, champaign and children for a long time.


8 Kryten42 { 05.03.08 at 12:12 am }

PS. I am not saying that the Reverend Wright was one of the above mentioned, but I sure as Hell and Taxes believe Graham is one example of the worst kind of Neo-Christan con artist! Wonder if he has shares in FOX?

IMNSHO… of course! LOL

Cheers. 😉

9 Bryan { 05.03.08 at 12:41 am }

Considering the kind of money the kids parents were paying, I don’t doubt that everything wasn’t what it seemed. Most seemed interested in music, and you can get a really good music education in the South, especially if you are interested in genres other than classical, not that classical music isn’t available, but if you want to get paid for it, you are almost forced to try for a select group of schools in the Northeast.

The Rev is part of the liberation movement in black churches, and they are very much involved in community action and outreach. They tell you all about hell, and then explain how to avoid it. Religion, to be sure, but social services as well. The goal is to instill community and then raise the standards of the community.

If you would like a taste of the Rev unfiltered, there are a series of videos over at Wampum on my blogroll of his appearance at the National Press Club, and you can see for yourself “what a terrible person” he is.

10 Kryten42 { 05.03.08 at 2:22 am }

Hmmm. I may just do that! 😀

A pastor with a social conscience you say? Wow! No wonder the rightnutters can’t stand him! LOL Religion being used to help people! What a novel concept! It’s a travesty! If people found out, they might expect all the Churches to actually help them! Shock, horror! 😉 LOL

Oh… wait… It’s not novel at all! Hmmm… If I remember my history, someone, somewhere about… oh… 2020 years ago (give or take) said that was what good Christians are supposed to do! Wow… how did that get forgotten? Or, is it simple being ignored, like much of Christs teachings? Hmmm… Isn’t he the ‘Christ’ in Christianity? I do believe he is! Oops! I better stay out of the USA now! I’d be lynched for heresy! LMAO

Yes, I am enjoying myself. Thanks for asking. 😉

I will check out Wumpum. 🙂

And BTW, I *DO* know that not ALL Pastor’s or Religious people are bad or even evil. It seems strange doesn’t it though? The really bad bastards get all the attention and huge congregations (which is what they seek of course), while the really good ones are known to few, generally of their own small congregation. IMHO, anyone that craves and seeks attention (and I am generalising here necessarily) would, in my opinion, be someone to run far away from! And I am not just speaking about Pastor’s! 😉 🙂

11 Bryan { 05.03.08 at 12:26 pm }

“Birds of a feather” sort of thing – the media enjoy talking to hypocrites like themselves, rather than real representatives of any group. The honorary degrees that Reverend Wright received are from established Christian institutions, not fly-by-night operations.

I would love to see a debate between Reverend Wright and the Republican “preachers” who support McCain. That would definitely be worth the price of admission.

12 Michael { 05.03.08 at 7:15 pm }

Bryan, the impressions I was referring to were of various white people including former presidents, clowning sorts of things that make him somewhat more politically toxic than he was before. I think it was a good and necessary thing he did perhaps to give Barack Obama a reason to distance himself.

I would not like to see much more attention paid to Wright as a political story, because I don’t think he has anything more to do with the candidate.

13 Bryan { 05.03.08 at 7:31 pm }

Obama made a political decision, Obama was one of 10,000 in the Reverend Wright’s congregation, and Wright owes him nothing more than Obama has already received.

Obama may have seriously damaged himself among some blacks for the way he did what he did. This was Obama’s problem, and I think he blew it. Look at the Reverend Wright’s Q&A after his appearance at the National Press Club at Wampum. Obama should have reviewed what Reverend Wright said in context and responded to the entire sermon, not a sound bite.

14 hipparchia { 05.03.08 at 7:35 pm }

decent musical interludes, indeed.

the white evangelical and charismatic and pentecostal churches [no, i can’t keep them all straight] have not been of the ‘prosperity gospel’ type, so i’ve heard some very decent gospel singing in most of the hellfire-and-brimstone churches i’ve been to, whatever the colors of the congregants.

15 hipparchia { 05.03.08 at 7:39 pm }

Obama should have reviewed what Reverend Wright said in context and responded to the entire sermon, not a sound bite.

of course he should have. except that most of the voters in this country are white and probably only 5 of us, or maybe 500 of us, are going to listen to more than the sound bites. no percentage in courting that small a number.

16 Bryan { 05.03.08 at 7:42 pm }

Don’t bother with any white churches over here; they have all converted to electric guitars and drum sets – it’s pathetic. I have to check, but I think I owe you a link on something I was working on.

17 Bryan { 05.03.08 at 7:50 pm }

I did owe you a link and updated, Hipparchia. He is supposed to be a spellbinding speaker, he should have been able to explain what Black Liberation Theology was about and compared what was said to what Falwell, Robertson, Hagee, et al. have said. He could have defended the statement, but chose not to. That is his problem, not the Reverend’s.

18 Kryten42 { 05.03.08 at 9:02 pm }

I went to a Charismatic church once. They got upset because after the preacher did his spiel, and went among his flock and slapped them on the forehead and they fell screaming (supposedly in pleasure) and came to me and he put his palm against my head, I felt nothing other than annoyed. I looked up and said “Hello? Anybody home?” then sighed and said loudly, “God! Give me strength!” Apparently, I wasn’t suitable. I left before the obligatory *donation*. 🙂

Please don’t misunderstand me, I was once a part of a good Baptist congregation. When I first arrived with a friend, I was skeptical because the majority I’d been to before, simply did not feel *right* for several reasons. This particular preacher was a pleasant surprise. He preached the parts of the Bible most either ignored or skimmed over rapidly. I could see he was a shock to the congregation! (He was a newly arrived Pastor). 😀 And the singing and hymns were not bad either. 😉 I returned the following week, and after mass asked if I could speak with him if he had a moment, and he invited me back to the rectory and we had a cup of tea. I think he could see I was troubled. And I spoke about my past problems with *churches* and Pastors, and we had a long discussion that was quite refreshing. 🙂 In fact, mindful that I had just used an hour of his busy schedule (he was visiting Hospitals, and homes of the Elderly! Imagine that!) I asked if there was anything I could do for him and told him what I could do. Turned out he had some problems with his notebook, so I offered to fix it for him while he went about his own work. It took me almost two hours, but felt good. 🙂 I thanked him and he thanked me and said “This is Christianity. It’s simple.” and I responded “It is. But it seems far from simple for many.” I spent the next few months going there and helping the members of the congregation (that hadn’t left in disgust because they now had a Preacher who wasn’t always telling them they were going to Hell next Friday). And they in turn helped me when I needed it. We started a serious youth center (we had a big problem with bored teens .) LOL And it grew! 🙂 And I finally felt I lived in a *community*. 🙂 And of course, because he was doing well and we all liked him, they transferred him somewhere else. Oh well. At least I got to have a taste of what a *REAL* Man of God can be like.

“Always seeking, never finding.” 😉

One of the sermons that stuck in my mind the most was about Saul of Tarsus who became Paul the Apostle. Tarsus was what is now Turkey Saul was originally a strict Jew (an Israelite of the tribe of Benjamin, circumcised on the eighth day, Phil3:5) and was a leader of the Persecution (arrests and murder of Christians) when he had a visions and was left blind until he met a Christan disciple called Ananias and he was baptized (reborn or born again) as a Christian. The part that stuck the most was that Paul would go out of his way to win men for Christ and God, but he would NEVER break any of God’s laws or sin against God in any way. Today, the word “accommodation” is equated with “compromise”, which it isn’t. Paul essentially said that a Christian can and must accommodate others to win them for Christ, but must never compromise the law of God, and that to compromise is to break the Law. Most of this is found in 1 Corinthians which I spent a lot of time reading. It makes sense to me. And may explain why I am so hard on the rightwing neo-Christians (the false Christians) and others. Some are simply ignorant, true. But I believe many do what they do knowing full well they are sinners and will not change. Some quote Paul as saying “Be all things to all men so that you might win them for the Lord Jesus”. But he didn’t actually say that, but the essence is almost right. So long as the Laws of God are never compromised, then yes. Neither Christ nor any of the Apostles or disciples ever advocated invading Nations or torturing people to make them good Christians! Only someone insane or evil would think that would ever work!

Erm… end of sermon! 😉 LOL

BTW… Paul’s nickname was “The fisher of men”… any guess why? 😉

And yes, I do enjoy a good Gospel sing-along! I lived for 4 years with the Lady that created ‘Gospel Theater Australia’ and had the voice of an angel (She had been a member of the Australian Opera Company for may years). She taught me much.

Cheers. 🙂

19 Kryten42 { 05.03.08 at 9:05 pm }

Ermm… I should probably also mention that I was raised as a child as a normal screwed-up Catholic. Even did the whole Sunday School, Bible studies, and was an Altar boy. Until I met a *real* Christian and relised it was all wrong. (in a very tiny nutshell!) LOL

20 hipparchia { 05.03.08 at 9:06 pm }

i’m still in the ‘compiling stuff’ stage, and just recently edited one of my posts and deleted another, so linking may be hazardous at the moment. i can do linear thinking, but one of the charms of blogs is that i don’t have to. 😀

21 Bryan { 05.03.08 at 9:57 pm }

I have rather loose standards on Biblical interpretation by pastors, and I don’t get upset when they wander out of the “ballpark” with their concepts, but they have to stay in the state. If the Bible says black, I can deal with dark gray, but I’m not accepting off white, and that’s what happens with a lot of the evangelicals. It’s not that they are taking liberties with meanings, they are trying to reverse them.

The other thing is “speaking in tongues”. Don’t pull that in a trained linguist and analyst. We can take phonetic notes and view structure. We can tell the difference between language and babbling. I had a relative who attended Oral Roberts University. She dropped out because she couldn’t master speaking in tongues. The problem was she was actually expecting to be able to speak in tongues, rather than understanding it was a con and making up her own vocabulary. She really believed and quit, feeling she had failed and was unacceptable to G-d. She would have been a good pastor, but hasn’t done too badly in her current profession.

It’s the con men [and women] that are annoying. They are messing with peoples’ faith and no one wants to do anything about it. They want to construct a one-way wall between church and state, i.e. they can muck about with the government, but the government shouldn’t be allowed to check up on them.

22 Kryten42 { 05.03.08 at 9:58 pm }

Bryan, I came across this curious post in my research by an ‘African-American’ Pastor who is currently serving in the Cayman Islands, on his blog. Seems he’s not happy with Wright. It’s long, but he makes some salient points. 🙂

Irreverent Wrongs


23 Bryan { 05.03.08 at 9:59 pm }

If the link is broken, it’s you fault which is a good as it gets for me, Hipparchia. No worries.

24 Bryan { 05.03.08 at 10:13 pm }

Wright feels that Black Liberation Theology is the best course for the black church and makes no bones about it. James Cone is the “creator” of the concept and Wright is well aware that not all churches adhere to it, nor was it the way things were always done. In your link James Cone was mentioned, so this fact should not have escaped the writer if he had read Cone. I have a link to an interview with Cone in my “It’s the Theology, Stupid” post.

The frequent opinion expressed that Wright “owes” Obama something is absurd. Should Wright deny who he is and what he believes to accommodate politics? Wright is a pastor not a politician. What kind of a pastor would he be to set aside 30 years of belief for the political convenience of an individual in his “flock”?

If Obama didn’t agree with Wright, why did he stay in Wright’s church for two decades? Who is being dishonest? You already talked about the reaction many had to the new message of a new pastor – they left.