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Given all the patriotic hew and cry over Rev. Jeremiah Wright’s prophetic call for God to damn America; Given all the conservatives who have gotten their knickers in a twist over Barack Obama’s refusal to repudiate his pastor; I’m just a little bit curious why no one ever asked George W. Bush to repudiate the man who led him to Jesus. The man who, on more than one occasion stated that if God did not judge America, He would owe Sodom and Gomorrah an apology. Not exactly a 4th of July flag-waving sentiment. I mean, Rev. Graham and Rev. Wright seem to be swimming in the same baptismal fount on this topic. Aren’t they? So where was the outrage then? Why did Presidents from Nixon to Bush get to pal around with this old hell-fire prophet with impunity? Why was Graham not banned from every presidential inaugural? Every White House prayer breakfast? Could it be that those of us in the majority culture have less of a problem with a white evangelist enumerating our nation’s sins than with a black preacher casting stones? Could it be that the racism that Rev. Wright finds so endemic in our nation is the very thing that makes us smile when Billy likens us to the sinners of Sodom and makes us spit when a black man makes the same observation? Could it be that Rev. Wright has struck a nerve? Could it be that our sins have found us out?

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One Comment

  1. This all reminds me of another Jeremiah:

    “Then all the men who knew that their wives had made offerings to other gods, and all the women who stood by, a great assembly, all the people who lived in Pathros in the land of Egypt, answered Jeremiah: “As for the word that you have spoken to us in the name of the LORD, we will not listen to you. But we will do everything that we have vowed, make offerings to the queen of heaven and pour out drink offerings to her, as we did, both we and our fathers, our kings and our officials, in the cities of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem. For then we had plenty of food, and prospered, and saw no disaster. But since we left off making offerings to the queen of heaven and pouring out drink offerings to her, we have lacked everything and have been consumed by the sword and by famine.”

    Black and white, right and left we are like the whiners at the end of the book of Jeremiah who acknowledged that Jerusalem deserved to fall, but who maintained that the city went down because they had not worshipped the queen of heaven enough. “Our problem was not enough idolatry.” Wright says that America should be damned for not giving to the poor- which is true. But his reason is that we have not given our drink offerings to the queen of state, and she will give us plenty of food. The indignation of Wright is well deserved but misplaced.

    The same is true of the typical conservative as well. We are fine saying America should be damned for a littany of reasons, but when it comes to our banks and real estate the queen of state needs to continue providing plenty of food. The indignations may again be deserved but misplaced.

    The real Jeremiah delivered a grim sentence condemning a city that he deeply loved. Jeremiah was accused of a lack of patriotism, but he was actually one of the few patriots in the city. He was calling them away from the idolatrous temple in which they served- which in my book is true patriotism. This Jeremiah was actually Wright!


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