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Who’s Afraid of Reverend Dr. Jeremiah A. Wright, Jr.?


Since Reverend Wright is not running for office or a place on the Sunday morning gab fests, he can speak truth to power in a way that is forbidden to mainstream political candidates and pundits. Speaking truth to power does not mean that one is always right. Some of his pronouncements are off-base, but he does appear to be speaking from his heart.

Of course one’s heart is not where most public political pronouncements come from. Most of these come from the word processors of fresh-faced communications graduates filtered through the mesh of endless focus groups. That way all genuine substance can carefully strained out before being released to the public.

There is a problem with speaking from one’s heart though. You can end up saying silly things like AIDS is some kind of government plot. You can even end up speaking truths such as how the Sept 11 attacks were blowback from our imperial foreign policy or that the USA spreads terrorism around the world, or that the USA is still a racist society. Curiously, though, it isn’t the falsehoods you repeat that get you into  trouble, it’s the dangerous truths.

The truth may set you free…but you may have to pay dearly for that freedom.

But back to Reverend Wright. He is in the great tradition of the Old Testament Hebrew prophets who regularly lambasted the wayward Tribes of Israel for their many and obvious shortcomings in the eyes of their impatient and irascible god. They would hold forth in the marketplaces like Cassandra on the streets of Troy, telling people what they needed to know, but didn’t want to hear.

As the shopworn cliche goes, it’s a dirty job but somebody has to to do it. A prophet is always without honor in their own country.

What’s ironic is that many of the people condemning Reverend Wright believe in their Christian fundamentalist hearts that most of America is consigned to an eternity of hellfire and damnation.

Yes, Virginia, a privileged few Americans will be in heaven while the rest of us will dwell in hell. Now this is a form of separatism that makes Reverend Wright’s mild form of Black Nationalism seem positively pallid by comparison.

Whew…talk about God Damn America! Reverend Wright is clearly speaking metaphorically. However the rightwing fundamentalists are talking about the real deal.  

For example, there is the Rev. John C. Hagee, whom John McCain courted as ardently as Romeo courted Juliet. According to Hagee, only those who have accepted his peculiar version of Jesus Christ into their hearts will escape the damnation. In short millions of Americans will suffer an eternal Holocaust with no chance of escape.

At least the Nazis would finally put their victims out of their misery.

But since the Hagees and those like him align themselves with the Republican Party and its corporate allies, their murderous theological theories are excused and rarely talked about in "polite company". They have their uses and so their eccentricities are tolerated.

And of course, Reverend Wright is Black, which makes him a dangerous man in our racist society. It is interesting that our  corporate owned media has been reluctant to allow Reverend Wright to explain himself and give a context to his remarks. I’m sure he would happy to appear in front of a audience and engage in some unscripted back and forth conversation with his foes, his friends and the puzzled and uncommitted.

Don’t hold your breath folks….you’ll pass out from anoxia long before that day dawns.

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