Skip to content

Rev. Jeremiah Wright

Regarding the current foofaraw being raised over remarks by Obama’s former pastor, Xy made the following observation:

If I could hear preaching like that, I’d go to church more often.

Amen. Indeed, it’s our feeling that the real shame here is not the remarks Wright made. The shame is that Obama feels the need to repudiate them.

Published inLife with XyPolitixTheology


  1. I totally feel the same. He made me feel like I need to stand up and make some real life changes.

    It totally sucks that Obama has to repudiate this stuff, but he’s trying to calm all the paranoid conservative white voters that Satan isn’t taking over the White House.

  2. I was thinking about this when Dodd was on Fox News trying to defend Obama.

    Someone should ask the morally outraged media and punditry exactly what this guy said that was so terrible. And then ask how those statements compare to those made by Falwell and others on the religious right who blame 9/11 and Katrina on gays, feminists, the ACLU, liberals and premarital sex.

  3. Civitch Civitch

    Yes, the crazy right wingers are absurd to blame 9/11 (and Katrina, for that matter) on gays, etc., but the left loses credibility when it defends nutjobs. This man said “God damn America!” How can, and why should, a presidential candidate not repudiate that kind of remark?

  4. Civitch Civitch

    And another thing – an awful lot of the language being used to defend this guy’s comments sound suspiciously like the crap that David Duke-ites throw around. You know, the “It may be offensive, but it’s true!” line of b.s. Racist, hateful, fear-mongering speech is wrong, no matter who’s doing the squawking.

  5. See, Civitch, that’s a fundamental disconnect for me. I don’t find the statement “God damn America” offensive, especially not in this context. It’s not that I hate America, it’s that I reject mindless patriotism. I haven’t studied this man’s teachings, I’m just reacting to the clips on the evening news, but they don’t strike me as hateful or racist. I see a man questioning our national values. That’s a lesson I’d like us all to consider, especially our presidential candidates.

  6. Civitch Civitch

    I also reject mindless patriotism and blind allegiance, but to me that reasoned opinion is a far cry from exhorting people to hate this country by saying that God himself should damn it. And I disagree that he’s questioning values – he’s just plain attacking them.

    The man has a right to say what he said, but that doesn’t mean that reasonable people cannot take offense. And I do.

  7. I’m not a theist, so I can’t get down with the “God damn America” tag 100% myself. But if there was a God, I imagine He would indeed damn us for our sins. I realize many of my fellow Americans don’t share this critical view and would rather just feel good and proud of our apparent supremacy on all fronts. I realize any presidential candidate has to distance himself from such perspectives. But I think that’s the real shame.

  8. David David

    Civtich’s comments reminds me of one of the fundamental flaws of American culture: we are absolutely unwilling to criticize our nation in any kind of rigorous way. We certainly are unwilling to criticize our nation in any way like our nation–its politicians and its media–criticize other countries. That is to say, typical American patriotism has an enormous component of gross hypocrisy. We often claim to be the greatest nation on Earth, but when it comes time to look in the mirror, we behave like insecure cowards.

  9. Civitch Civitch

    I don’t think that condemnation is the equivalent of rigorous criticism. And blindly following anything, whether your government or your religion, is just as narrow-minded as blind hatred of those institutions.

    I’d welcome an actual debate on the merits and flaws of this country, but that is clearly not what Rev. Wright was engaging in.

  10. If Reverend Wright had a secular job I would object less to what he said. But as a preacher he understands the meaning of the word “damn.” It may have lost its meaning for most people, but we expect people like him to know.

    He asked that the whole nation be condemned forever, to painful constant destruction, because it can’t ever be saved or redeemed.

    I’m glad Obama rejected that sermon. Whatever my feelings on patriotism, I want elected officials who think they can use the job to make things better. If they think America is irredeemable, don’t run for the office. The biggest fault in the Bush administration is that they don’t think government can fix things, so they just use positions for political leverage and patronage jobs.

    With their actions the conservatives said “God damn New Orleans.” That’s wrong. Go ahead and criticize the US and NO, but only for the sake of making them better.

  11. PJ PJ

    Andrea and I were just discussing last night following the FOX News spin (I don’t know why I even bother to see what they have to say about it), well we discussed a lot of things, but the one I want to point out is:

    A discussion on race means something very different based on geography. An Indiana discussion would be much different that the New Orleans discussion. A Chicago discussion would be much different than a Southern California discussion.

    I guess it seems obvious when we think about it but I don’t hear many people saying that. You might be tempted to think that with today’s mobile population that we would be more nationalized with our issues of trust and understanding, but media and politics keep these local discussions framed in very static ways

    It needs to happen across the country. My support of Obama has been solidified by his willingness to just put it all right out there on the table.

    That’s also why I love the First Amendment, now there is no ambiguity that there is a large section of the population so disenfranchised that they feel like there are two Americas. Also that there is a big segment of the media and political establishment that likes it that way.

  12. Frank Schiavo Frank Schiavo

    Two things–Not to storm the walls or anything, but with all due respect why when someone says the words “informed opinion” do they usually mean “agrees with mine”?

    Secondly, the only things I would want to know about Wright is if his sermons are now getting more fired-up BECAUSE he is getting a national forum or was he that fired-up before? I mean if he sees this as a nationa platform to get people talking about race, class & poverty in a serious manner as part of the 2008 run to the White House—okay, great, but be aware it can take a turn off the rails at any minute thanks to the new playing field of the news corps/nets and the army of talking heads/spin masters ready to move it behind the latest celebirty scandal/foolishness and just become shouting heads and/or yesterdays news.

    If, to also be fair, he instead sees his chance at a national radio show, the kind of coverage/news/attention that people like Al Sharpton are getting or even the kind of US Saint-hood applied to confidents of President’s past…like say a Mega-Rev. Billy Garham. Well, not that I want to impede on anyone’s career in the entertainment industry, but if that is his goal, I’d just as soon he be repudiated now like the sex worker he really is and we move on– before he derails a valuable argument of this election year, as mentioned before, or becomes another Presidental family in-joke…like Billy Carter and Roger Clinton before him and/or an albatroos around a candiates neck.

  13. Garvey Garvey

    Wright’s sermons are poisoned with hate. He is the anti-MLK. I think why this is a story at all (and IMO, it is a non-story) is because BHO has run a post-racial campaign, which is at odds with his guru.

    But hey, a half-white, Harvard-educated Hawaiian needed some street cred when he came to the South Side. That’s cool. Unfortunately, he can’t just come out and say that. So he has to hem and haw for now.

  14. John John

    Rev. Wright believes that the federal government created the AIDS virus to kill black people. Is that the kind of preaching that would get you to church more often?

    This guy has nutty ideas. How is he different from Pat Robertson and the late Jerry Farwell?

    Politicians pay lip service to the extreme wings of their parties. Don’t believe that Obama believes all that rubish any more than Bush believed in the philosphy of Bob Jones University.

  15. The fundamental difference between Wright’s comments and Falwell & Robertson’s comments are this: One was damning American foreign policy, the others were damning Americans.

    When Wright said “God damn America,” he was criticizing American foreign policy. A foreign policy that has torn apart another nation based on lies and greed, a foreign policy that has resulted in the death of hundreds of thousands of innocent people, a foreign policy that has the US participating in rendition, a foreign policy that has the US torturing people… etc.

    Now, admittedly, I am far from an expert on the teachings of Jesus Christ. I was Christened a Methodist and have since become an atheist. But from what I remember, torture, murder, etc – not big with Jesus. I don’t see how a follower of Christ could come up with any other conclusion than God damning America for its international behavior.

    However, what Falwell and Robertson did was blame the deaths of thousands on American citizens.

    I find a criticism of American foreign policy far more palatable than accusing innocent Americans of murder.

    And really, if anyone owes the American public any explanations or apologies, I think it’s John McCain, who has embraced Catholic-hater John Hagee’s endorsement (as well as praising Falwell and Roberts).

    Look, it’s nuanced. And people who tend to vote Republican tend not to understand nuance. And frankly, the people who are complaining about this the most are not people who would vote for a black man or a Democrat to be president anyway. And everyone knows it. The reason they are complaining is to give pause to white suburban Americans who might be somewhat uneasy about voting for a black. They are simply trying to give frightened whites yet another reason to not vote for him. In that regard, this very much serves the same purpose as the the constant references to Obama’s middle name and the lie about him being a Muslim educated in a madrassa. Even though most people know better, these all create little doubts that help people justify not doing what they know is the right thing (voting for Barack).

  16. Civitch Civitch

    So anyone who objects to the divisiveness and anger in the reverend’s speech is somehow engaged in a plot to subtly frighten white, suburban America into not voting for Obama? Can’t reasonable people just be offended without being part of a conspiracy? Heck, I like the guy, and a lot more than Hilary.

  17. They couldn’t find much in the Obama campaign to slow him down, so they had to find it elsewhere. God forbid we should cast our vote based on the actual issues facing this country. It’s better to base our decision on the latest sound-bite on You-tube. In my opinion, Wright isn’t nearly as crazy or dangerous as Bush and Chaney who had the whole world in their hands after 9/11 and flushed it all down the toilet.
    I don’t agree with the Rev. Wright’s often quoted comments any more that I agree with Pat Robertson’s or Jerry Faldwell’s. I simply don’t think it is relevent to my decision-making process when it comes to my vote. I want to hear from all of the major candidates about how they will attempt to make this country a better place to live.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *