Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Crucified to be resurrected: the Rev. Dr. Jeremiah Wright, Jr.

By Dr. Denice Miles
People's Weekly World

Online special

The experience of Dr. King encourages us to develop some appreciation for the role of the preaching of the social gospel and the Black church in the spirit of resistance within the African American community. The cultural traditions of the African American people are deeply rooted in the protective collective tradition of resistance emanating from the Black church, going all the way back to slavery. "Don't let them destroy your spirit; don't let them take away your joy" are just two of the pillars of internal resistance cultivated in the progressive Black
church to encourage parishioners to hold on and keep moving forward against all odds.

Witness the truth in context of what the much-maligned Rev. Wright said. Go to essence.typepad.

com/news/2008/03/listen-to-rev-1.html and essence.typepad.com/news/2008/03/listen-to-rev-j.html to listen to the sermons from which the remarks characterized as being most incendiary were extracted. I believe that, in an attempt to upset the Obama campaign, a wrong has been done to the people of the USA by the spread of a big lie about Wright, who so passionately preaches the social gospel. Share these web links far and wide so that all can hear for themselves.

These sermons prove that the Rev. Wright is not a man of hate; he is a man of passion. He is a man who loves his God and his people "the downtrodden of the world, not just African Americans" and his country, the USA, with all his heart and soul, based on the concept that to dissent is patriotic. He is a highly educated man fluent in liberation theology, the preaching of the social gospel, psychology, musicology, history, political science, sociology and more. He uses his education and intellectual capacity to provide his congregation each week with relief and a way to understand the society in which we live, from a revolutionary Black nationalist point of view, coaching them in how to continue on through the pain and suffering of lives lived under multifaceted forms of oppression, discrimination and exploitation.

When you listen to these sermons yourself, you will see that a big lie was constructed to bring down the Obama campaign. Wright was painted to be a hate mongerer. Nothing could be further from the truth, but you have to listen and hear for yourself.

Just days after 9/11, Wright was quoting someone else " in fact a former Reagan ambassador" as having said the "chickens were coming home to roost," and he was letting his congregation know that a white man in a prominent position had said those words. You have to listen to the sermon to hear for yourself his compassion for all of us as victims of the 9/11 horror.

In what has come to be known as the "God damn America" sermon, Wright described a dichotomy between the America of the tormenters, those who will do anything to satisfy their greed including steal the presidential election and wage unnecessary war, and the America of the tormented. His point was simply that when we are called upon to sing "God Bless America," more appropriate would be God damn the America of the tormenters who walk around Earth as if they were God and supreme. But again, you have to listen for yourself to hear the distinction as preached by Wright.

What is hard to believe is that the media would promote such a big lie, and anyone who does not gain access to the full context of the sermons will never know the truth. You may still not agree with what Wright said, but in context you will know that his comments were not what they are being made out to be.

Resurrecting the truth is important because masses of people in this country now have the impression that the preaching of the social gospel is akin to the cult preaching of hate. This is yet another attempt to diminish part of the great contribution of the African American people to the culture of our country. It is yet another attempt to distort our history and our very being.

The point is not that those who preach the social gospel are right on every question. Many are wrong on the role of women, wrong on the issue of homosexuality, imbalanced in their view on the Middle East, and the list could go on and on. Yet, Wright is among the most advanced thinkers and has fought for the rejection of backwardness on many questions.

The vilification of Wright is wrong. You have to listen for yourself to develop a righteous anger against the big lie. It can embolden you to contribute even more to the movement for change which deserves to reach fruition.

Denice Miles is a Chicago educator and social activist.

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