j. wright q&a

So in the last post I dealt with Wright’s National Press Club talk, which actually if anybody every bothered to listen is very good.

The Q&A is a different story. The working press in the US has a learning disability when it comes to religion. Of all things non-conservative/non-fundamentalist religion. You see their stupidity on display marvelously in this one.

Now a couple of things off the bat, the most controversial.

1)Wright believes in a conspiracy theory that the HIV was foisted on black people by the US gov’t. The conspiracy theory is understood (as to its pervasiveness in some quarters) because the US gov’t did in fact use biological experimentation and injection of death-dealing diseases on the Tuskegee syphilis study. i.e. Our government did at one point murder black citizens for scientific experimentation. Further certain states, for example California, sterilized those deemed “retarded” and the US was had the most “progressive” eugenics legislation prior to Nazi Germany.

So it’s a conspiracy theory and its nuts, and there is a history of such things.

2)He is asked about Louis Farrakhan. Wright discusses how he is linked to a statement from 20 years (24 to be exact) of Farrkhan’s which–according to Wright–called Zionism (not Judaism) a gutter religion. The actual quotation of Farrakhan’s is here and it’s more ambiguous (could be mean either) than I think Wright is letting on. On the other hand, Wright says that he believes in the existence of the State of Israel, the right of Israelis to live in peace, and he does not accept the occupation of the West Bank, which is by international law (he mentions the UN) an illegal act and has been for 40 years. And continues to be so.

In other words, Wright is using Zionism in the sense it has come to mean of those who support the settler movement since ’67. Religious fanatics who believe literally believe all of the land promised by God–as they interpret it–in the Bible to the Jews is actually to belong to the nation-state of Israel and that the Arabs on the land should be exterminated in a genocide. The kind of view of Israel not that different from Archbishop Desmond Tutu or Jimmy Carter–both now labeled as anti-Semitic (as has Wright though he does mention his “Jewish friends” so presumably they don’t think he’s anti-Semitic) because of their respective stances on political issues, i.e. policies of the Israeli state.

I don’t think that’s how Farrakhan was using Zionism; I think LF was using it in an anti-Semitic way.


He quotes the Apostle Paul: You reap what you sow.

Which as Wright says means that the US government–and is absolutely clear about pointing out his disagreements are policies not the people, not the citizens, but the policies/actions of governments, including US–has committed acts of terrorism. That is true. Yes Virginia, the US has committed acts of terror. The US is by no means alone in the world in this and certainly not the worst as compared to Nazi Germany, Stalinist Soviet Union, Mao’s China. But they are still there.

This t-shirt for example:

The official terror of Jim Crow and public lynchings where guys brought their dates to watch a hanging. The dogs and the police batons and the water hoses set on the Civil Rights marchers. The list is endless in the Cold War, supporting dictators (“our sons of bitches”) because they were anti-Communist.

Now that does not mean that the people who died in the attacks on 9/11 deserved death. No person does. Again you can listen to Pastor Wright’s actual sermon that day and here him offer words of sadness at the tragedy and prayers for the innocents.

Remember he is talking about governments not the civilians. If governments support terrorism then violence begets violence, what you reap you sow.

Now of course Obama can’t talk about US terrorism and get elected. Hell no. Hell no. He can talk about the “original sin” of slavery, 3/5 of a person and so forth. Even that is pushing it. But not this kinda thing. He’s a politician as Wright correctly points out. [Btw, thank God I’m studying to be a pastor and not a politician; I couldn’t live with myself, I don’t know how they do.] He has to speak like a politician.

But none of this, none of the politics of Jeremiah Wright has anything to do with the politics of Barack Obama–at least the stuff that would offensive to middle America. Obama isn’t a Boomer, doesn’t some of the same hangups and anger that Wright does–though Obama as chronicled himself in his memoirs did have plenty of his own. He has a different political vision–he believes in emphasizing more the positive side of US history as he said on Fox News. The progress that has been made.

What is more important for me than all however is the religious side. Forget Jeremiah Wright’s very left-wing politics (e.g. his stance on Qaddafi)–which I massively disagree with btw. Forget Obama’s politics, which are not Wright’s no matter how much those who try to smear by identifying the two (e.g. Sean Hannity, #1 Offender on this point).

Deeper than that is this basic truth the church of Trinity United has been unjustly demonized in the press. Elders in the community, even some who are shut-in, had their names and numbers unjustly stolen from the church records by press folk, and then had their privacy invaded to score a new story. Shameful.

This is not on. This is how the press always treats religion. The moral majority conservative Christians have been saying this forever with their wars on Christmas and such, and now when this takes place with their Christian brethren, they join right in. [See National Review comment threads by the Christians over there].

Iow, Trinity United and the Black Church is not defined by the fact that Jeremiah Wright believes a conspiracy theory about HIV and the US gov’t.

If this does destroy Obama’s chances to be president, then don’t blame me when screwups like John McCain or Hillary Clinton muck*** things up. If people vote based on this nonsense, you um, reap what you sow. Don’t blame me though. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

**I’m thinking of a different four letter word than rhymes with duck.

Published in: on April 28, 2008 at 10:51 pm  Comments (2)  
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  1. […] Barack Obama, Jeremiah Wright |   After having given some air time to my religious voice, here and here, time for my political voice to be given the […]

  2. […] Obama leaving Trinity United Church.  I wrote a great deal about that issue when it was raging, here and here as only a few […]

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