Jerry Moore: Rev. Wright owes allegiance to Gospel, not nation
When he took control of the Continental Army in 1775, George Washington prohibited black soldiers from being recruited. Thomas Jefferson wrote that white woman who bore the children of black men should be forced to leave Virginia within a year. Abraham Lincoln declared that he was never “in favor of bringing about in any way the social and political equality of the white and black races.” Theodore Roosevelt said the main cause of black people being lynched was “the hideous crime of rape.”
What reasonable person today would subscribe to one of these odious thoughts? Shouldn’t we feel compelled to immediately disown the men who advanced such ideas?
Most Americans, however, embrace these men as heroes — they all grace Mount Rushmore. While rejecting the repugnant thoughts they espoused, we honor the great things these men achieved.
But some have called on U.S. Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., to disown his longtime pastor for comments he made with which they disagree. Obama, who is seeking the presidency, distanced himself from some of the Rev. Jeremiah Wright’s controversial statements while reaffirming his admiration for him.
Wright appeared on “Bill Moyers’ Journal” last week. It was his first interview since furor erupted over some of his sermons at Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago.
Wright came across as a highly intelligent and thoughtful person, not at all the anti-American black separatist he’s portrayed as being by some in the media. It’s easy to see how he helped build the South Side congregation from less than 90 members in the early 1970s to several thousand today.
It’s also easy to see why Obama chose to become a member of Trinity and remain there for the past 20 years. I listened to Wright’s hourlong interview with Moyers and was captivated by what he said.
Wright impressed me as someone who takes his role as pastor very seriously. I’d love to spend time picking his brain on a range of issues.
To criticize U.S. domestic and foreign policy, even as forcefully as Wright did, is not to be un-American. In fact, self-criticism is what makes Western-style democracy so dynamic.
Wright told Moyers that the “my country, right or wrong” mentality goes against Christianity, particularly the prophetic tradition so prevalent in black churches. Wright’s words still trouble me — some because I disagree with them, but others because they force me to confront the truth. If this isn’t a sign of a Christian minister who’s doing his job, what is?
Jerry Moore is a news editor with Suburban Life Publications. He can be contacted at email@example.com.