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Doug Wilson has an interesting take on Obama’s pastor, Jeremiah Wright

In the dust-up following the release of video clips of the Rev. Jeremiah Wright’s rants, there has been a lot media attention, and the chattering classes have been . . . well, chattering.

As I have reflected on this, it occurred to me that I wanted to comment on several reasons why the general indignation with Wright is well-deserved, but almost uniformly misplaced. Right guy, wrong reasons.

Wright is a blasphemer in an idolatrous temple, and hence the anger and indignation directed toward him. But it is important to note that he is a servant of a rival idol, not a servant of the Lord. He serves an idol that revealed its presence in several ways.

First, the original Jeremiah did not deliver his jeremiads with a sense of bad boy glee, accented with a gaudy shirt, and with a choir dancing in the background. 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.

A story is told of a conservative Methodist congregation in the backwoods that lost their pastor, and so in their letter to the bishop they asked for him to be replaced with a “real hellfire and damnation” preacher. The bishop didn’t have many of those left, but he shrugged his shoulders and sent one. He lasted two weeks. The next one lasted for one. A third was sent (the bishop’s last one) and he settled in as the pastor of this congregation for the next thirty years. This naturally baffled the bishop, and one day when he was visiting with one of the old-timers from that church, he asked about it. “Why did you all reject the first two hell-preachers, and keep the third?” The old guy scratched his chin and said, “Well, the last one sounded like he didn’t want us to go.”

Second, the most damaging clip was the one in which Jeremiah Wright was railing against the United States, saying, “God damn America for . . . God damn America for . . .” followed by a litany of of die-hard leftist complaints. But what is the real problem here? I recall Billy Graham’s wife once saying, “If God doesn’t judge America, He will have to apologize to Sodom and Gomorrah.” The real reason for the indignation directed at Wright was because he simply said God damn America, not for the screwed-up reasons he had for saying it. Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson got a similar reaction when they said something similar after 911.

Suppose Wright had said, “God damn America for the abortion carnage. God damn America for sodomite marriages.” Now what? Wright is being condemned, not for having the list of sins wrong (which he did), but for being un-American with a camera running.

This is foundationally a religious issue. I commented a few days ago that on paper Sean Hannity believes that America is far worse than Wright believes, and deserving of far greater judgment. I believe we are deserving of a far greater judgment than Wright believes, and not just on paper. And yet Wright pours out his vitriol outside the church and Hannity still dutifully performs the liturgical responses inside.

An insightful fellow on a listserve discussion group I belong to put it something like this. Just as we say, “The Lord be with you,” followed by, “And also with you,” so we are accustomed to hear Hannity say, “You’re a great American, my friend,” with the response of “And you’re a great American too.”

Wright is 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 because of our treatment of the poor, which is true enough. But the poor he has in mind is a group that we have given billions of dollars to, a generation of entitlement, and the outrage is that the checks are not bigger. He could care less about the 40 million defenseless poor that we have salted to death, chopped up into little pieces, or scraped from the womb to dump into buckets.

No, it is not accurate to say he could care less — if Obama’s position on abortion is anything to go by, he actively supports this genocidal treatment of the poorest among us. Wisdom is vindicated by her children, which in this case are all dead. 



  1. Watch Rev. Jeremiah Wright’s 9-11 sermon in context

  2. Great article. I especially like this part

    “Wright is a blasphemer in an idolatrous temple, and hence the anger and indignation directed toward him. But it is important to note that he is a servant of a rival idol, not a servant of the Lord.”

    I made a similar type of comment in a discussion and people seem to think I was being “judgmental”. I was like “um, did you hear what this guy said? In a pulpit? Does this line up with what you read of the God in the Bible?”

  3. You people really don’t like to hear the truth. There was much more to the God damn America sermon, including an analysis of the word “damn” that changed the entire context. Conservative America typically works to find something in a message that, if used without context, meets your desire to discredit or to do harm. If you want credibility, present the entire sermon, with context, and allow individuals to form their own opinions. But you won’t do that because you want to provide the opinion YOU want them to have, and conservative America follows along like Lemmings.

  4. For those who are interested in having the context for this article

  5. lol

  6. Sam, I’m curious. What exactly did you find interesting in Doug Wilson’s piece?

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