(CNN) — Sen. Barack Obama said he is “outraged” by comments his former minister, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, made Monday at the National Press Club and is “saddened by the spectacle.”
“I have been a member of Trinity Church since 1992. I have known Rev. Wright for almost 20 years,” he said at a news conference in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. “The person I saw yesterday is not the person I met 20 years ago.”
Obama said he is outraged by Wright’s remarks that seemed to suggest the U.S. government might be responsible for the spread of AIDS in the black community and his equation of some American wartime efforts with terrorism. . .
I just finished reading Reverend Wright’s message (at NYTimes: Reverend Wright at the National Press Club – transcript) and I must say that, Rev. Wright is right on in my book.
The only thing I could possibly question was his belief that AIDS was intentionally created to destroy the black community. I think it is more accurate to say that the powers that be don’t give a damn about poor people, gay people, and black people, and that’s why AIDS was ignored for so long in America and is still being pretty much ignored in Africa. But I don’t think there’s proof that AIDS was intentionally created.
But with that aside, the rest of Wright’s remarks were DEAD ON THE MONEY.
Read it for yourself. I double-dog dare you too. As far as I’m concerned, if Obama is ashamed of this message, then I don’t think Obama is someone that I can vote for. In fact if I had to vote today, I would write in Jeremiah Wright.
Here’s one excerpt from the speech that I want to leave you with, which I think is particularly profound…
. . . That is my hope, as I open up this two-day symposium. And I open it as a pastor and a professor who comes from a long tradition of what I call the prophetic theology of the black church.
Now, in the 1960s, the term “liberation theology” began to gain currency with the writings and the teachings of preachers, pastors, priests, and professors from Latin America. Their theology was done from the underside.
Their viewpoint was not from the top down or from a set of teachings which undergirded imperialism. Their viewpoints, rather, were from the bottom up, the thoughts and understandings of God, the faith, religion and the Bible from those whose lives were ground, under, mangled and destroyed by the ruling classes or the oppressors.
Liberation theology started in and started from a different place. It started from the vantage point of the oppressed.
In the late 1960s, when Dr. James Cone’s powerful books burst onto the scene, the term “black liberation theology” began to be used. I do not in any way disagree with Dr. Cone, nor do I in any way diminish the inimitable and incomparable contributions that he has made and that he continues to make to the field of theology. Jim, incidentally, is a personal friend of mine.
I call our faith tradition, however, the prophetic tradition of the black church, because I take its origins back past Jim Cone, past the sermons and songs of Africans in bondage in the transatlantic slave trade. I take it back past the problem of Western ideology and notions of white supremacy.
I take and trace the theology of the black church back to the prophets in the Hebrew Bible and to its last prophet, in my tradition, the one we call Jesus of Nazareth.
The prophetic tradition of the black church has its roots in Isaiah, the 61st chapter, where God says the prophet is to preach the gospel to the poor and to set at liberty those who are held captive. Liberating the captives also liberates who are holding them captive.
It frees the captives and it frees the captors. It frees the oppressed and it frees the oppressors.
Read that last sentence again. I wish Obama had the moral courage to say Amen to Rev. Wright instead of to condemn him.
Here are two more excerpts that I thought were pretty profound…
Dr. Jones, in his book, God in the ghetto, argues quite accurately that one’s theology, how I see God, determines one’s anthropology, how I see humans, and one’s anthropology then determines one’s sociology, how I order my society.
Now, the implications from the outside are obvious. If I see God as male, if I see God as white male, if I see God as superior, as God over us and not Immanuel, which means “God with us,” if I see God as mean, vengeful, authoritarian, sexist, or misogynist, then I see humans through that lens.
. . . to quote the Bible, “Be not deceived. God is not mocked. For whatsoever you sow, that you also shall reap.” Jesus said, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”
You cannot do terrorism on other people and expect it never to come back on you. Those are biblical principles, not Jeremiah Wright bombastic, divisive principles.