Thursday, May 17, 2012

The Reverend Wright Reappears


What with the moronic Republicans trying to bring back Jeremiah Wright's erstwhile association with Barack Obama (an association that the president cravenly and callously renounced in 2008), I'd like to throw in my two cents about the Reverend Wright. The sermon of April 13, 2003 is well known by now—or at least its money paragraph is:
And the United States of America government, when it came to treating her citizens of Indian descent fairly, she failed. She put them on reservations. When it came to treating her citizens of Japanese descent fairly, she failed. She put them in internment prison camps. When it came to treating her citizens of African descent fairly, America failed. She put them in chains. The government put them in slave quarters, put them on auction blocks, put them in cotton fields, put them in inferior schools, put them in substandard housing, put them in scientific experiments, put them in the lowest paying jobs, put them outside the equal protection of the law, kept them out of their racist bastions of higher education and locked them into position of hopelessness and helplessness. The government gives them the drugs, builds bigger prisons, passes a three-strike law, and then wants us to sing “God Bless America.” No, no, no. Not “God Bless America”; God Damn America! That’s in the Bible, for killing innocent people. God Damn America for treating her citizens as less than human. God Damn America as long as she keeps trying to act like she is God and she is supreme!
The form of this is about as prophetic as you can get and is no different from what can be found in Isaiah's or Amos's complaints about Israel. Yet, Republicans, whose knowledge of the Old Testament seems to begin and end with Leviticus 18:22, derogate this prophetic tradition (and its modern-day prophet) for the purposes of political gain and promoting American exceptionalism. Carrying this derogation to its logical conclusion, I can only infer that Republicans (and our president, unfortunately) actually sanction the treatment the country gave to the Japanese, Native Americans, and African-Americans in its midst. God knows I'm not an active evangelical, but this is certainly not what Jesus of Nazareth had in mind when he visited the temple in his home town and articulated what his purpose on the planet was. The "Christians" among us have other agendas. Wright was right, but the power grabbers and the surfeit of morons among us will never understand.