Friday, November 17, 2017
Jeremiah the Wright Message for America
By Yussuf Simmonds (Managing Editor)
Published March 20, 2008
Rev. Jeremiah A. Wright

He is a Community Icon, a Committed Leader an American Hero and the Latest Weapon Against Barack Obama

Because of some of his sermons and particularly because he was the pastor of the leading Democratic contender for the presidency of the United States, Rev. Jeremiah A. Wright has been the focus of a barrage of criticism that has attempted to derail Senator Barack Obama’s political campaign—a momentum that seems to be unstoppable. But who is Rev. Wright and why are his comments being used in the current political drama that is being played out daily in the national media. Did he just begin speaking out forcefully about issues that some believe are off-limits to Black preachers or is he a firebrand preacher who dares to say what others only contemplate? Why is he characterized as the “rebellious” son of a Baptist minister?

Rev. Wright is the senior pastor emeritus of Trinity United Church of Christ (TUCC) in Chicago and has been at the helm of the church for the past 36 years until he recently retired. During that time he has preached a social gospel on behalf of oppressed men, women and children, and have been responsible for the development of a series of ministries including assisted living facilities for senior citizens, pastoral care and counseling, HIV/AIDS hospice and training, domestic violence programs, scholarships to HBCUs and the seminary, tutorial and computer programs, and a host of other services that impact the quality of life of the community and which also has a global outreach.

Rev. Wright spent six years in the military before settling on his lifelong role as the pastor of men. When he became the pastor of TUCC, it had less than a hundred congregants and the church’s motto was “Unashamedly Black and unapologetically Christian.” Under his stewardship, the current church membership exceeded 8,000 and the membership included hip-hop artist, Common, and of course, Senator Obama. The pastoral experience of leading a Black church is unlike any other leadership experience. The Black church can trace its origins back to slavery where it served as a source of comfort to its members, and as the only place where freedom was unfettered. As a consequence, the Black church (pastors) has always played a major role in the development of the Black community. They share the joys and partake in the sorrows; they are the real interpreters of Black life rather than experts and academicians trained in the specious rhetoric of deception.


Speak Out!   Has the media largely distorted the facts related to Rev.  Wright's  statements during service which appear to be unpatriotic?



Many people in the community have refused to accept the media onslaught of Rev. Wright cloaked in the confines of a one-minute sound bite. Instead they reach back into his past searching for answers to what generations of theologians, priests, rabbis and imams have been grappling with: the race problem. And many have responded. Rev. Otis Moss III, who has succeeded Rev. Wright as pastor of TUCC said, “It is an indictment on Dr. Wright’s legacy to present his global ministry within a 15 or 30-second sound bite.”

Bishop Charles Blake of West Angeles Church of God in Church who is also the Presiding Bishop of the Church of God in Christ said, “I truly believe that the quotes that were used by the media are not typical of statements by Jeremiah Wright nor of his overall philosophy about race or his level of love and commitment to his country. I think there are moments and there are times when we all speak, and we become so emotionally and intensely involved in what we are discussing that we say things that in calmer moments we would not say, and I truly believe what has occurred with these statements by Rev. Wright. And were he to be asked regarding his true feelings towards this nation, his words would probably not be so radical and unacceptable.”

The Bishop went on to say that he knew Rev. Wright personally, so these were not just some spurious comments from a fellow member of the cloth, Bishop Blake was speaking with conviction about someone he knew personally. “He’s a man of high character, a man of high Christian moral standing and conviction. He’s a person who is very intense in his emotions and the intensity is also communicated in his articulation and in his words. All of us have to distance ourselves from statements we have heard over and over again in the media. They are really not productive and they are really not constructive; they are destructive,” said Bishop Blake. “I think that Jeremiah Wright, in a thoughtful and contemplative moment, if asked about his vision for America, he would not have spoken as he did, in what I consider to be a family moment with his own congregation articulating the anger and the intensity some Blacks feel regarding the Black experience in America.”

Bishop Noel Jones of the City of Refuge said, “Barack Obama should never be punished or held responsible for what his pastor said behind the pulpit. He should never have to defend the disposition of his pastor. Preachers do not always think through, and articulate properly, what happens in the world because too often, they are caught up in what’s celestial and forget what’s terrestrial. The next thing is, you can’t blame White people for everything that happens in your life, or every disaster that happens in the world.”

Rev. Ron Wright of New Vision Church of Jesus Christ commented, “Rev. Jeremiah Wright is one of God’s prophets in the sense of speaking truth to power and demanding justice from those in power—standing against those in power. They don’t always get their just due; sometimes they kill prophets; they malign them; they lie on them. They make the prophets look bad, that’s what the media is doing with Jeremiah. But he is a brilliant man, a courageous man, a well-read man and he is suffering because of his courageous stand, and his outspokenness. He is getting a prophet’s reward: prophets are denied, they are mocked and ridiculed. Jeremiah Wright is one who has stood up for Black people throughout his entire career, as a minister and as a pastor. He has stood well for us. So by coming against him, they are trying to silence the one who is speaking the truth—kill the messenger instead of dealing with what the message has to say.”

“It saddens me to see news stories reporting such a caricature of a congregation that has been such a blessing to the United Church of Christ’s Wider Church mission,” said Rev. John H. Thomas in a statement. It’s time for us to say ‘No’ to these attacks and declare that we will not allow anyone to undermine or destroy the ministries of any of our congregations in order to serve their own narrow political or ideological ends.”

The executive publisher of the Los Angeles Sentinel said, “Rev. Jeremiah Wright is a honorable and decent man who has been lambasted by the media for saying that are true. We must support him for all that he has done for Black people.”

There have also been a large number of people who have raised their voices in support of Rev. Wright, not only for the things that he has said but more so for his right to interpret the Black experience the way he has lived it.

In one of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr’s major speeches, he said, “I am convinced that if we are to get on the right side of the world revolution, we as a nation must undergo a radical revolution of values. We must rapidly begin the shift from a thing-oriented society to a person-oriented society. When machines and computers, profit motives and property rights, are considered more important than people, the giants triplets of racism, extreme materialism, and militarism are incapable of being conquered.”



 What mainstream media DOESN'T show…
Context, context, context!! 


Speak Out!   Has the media largely distorted the facts related to Rev.  Wright's  statements during service which appear to be unpatriotic?


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