I watched the entire address and q/a period vis-à-vis the Rev. Doctor Jeremiah Wright's performance at the National Press Club on 28 April. His shtick was that the current attacks by everyone on him and Obama actually represent an attack on the African-American church. Amazing, as well as his ready references to "white supremacy," which he was all too eager to neuter by his own superior performance in a speech probably given many times!
Reams of stuff will be aired/punditized concerning the startling things he said, but some things were made certain. He's very angry, is obsessed with slavery/apartheid, seems to be totally disconnected from reality, actually living in the cotton-fields of the South. He didn't mention – and nobody asked about – reparations, one of his main objectives and an integral part of the "black liberation theology" he espouses, but he made it plain that some of the things he obviously considered important were edited out of his Moyers interview on 25 April.
He reiterated that politicians do whatever is necessary to get elected, but that preachers like him are above that kind of behavior, naturally dishonest, apparently. It was his slap at Obama…maybe a bit of revenge for Obama's disconnect. He got in another plug for Nation of Islam head honcho Louis Farrakhan and certainly did not distance himself from the man, whom he accompanied in 1984 on a visit to Libya's President Muammar Qadaffi, a world-class terrorist. He couldn't, of course, since the magazine started by him or his church years ago and operated now by his daughters gave an award to Farrakhan in December. He allowed that Calypso Louie was one of the most important men of the 20th century. He also made sure to let everyone know that white folks did church on Sunday morning and the KLAN on Sunday evening.
He made much of reconciliation and the futility of the 11:00 a.m. most segregated hour on Sunday, but explained that black worship is simply different, the meaning being that whites should come and participate (or endure) it. I watched him preach consistently via TV when his services were syndicated and can understand why I and most white people would not participate in what appears often to be a rally or even a circus of sorts. Just his histrionics in the clips that have been aired are enough to turn off most people, the gaudy robes and the screaming/preaching and the dancing/prancing. The thing that always amazed me most, however, was his constant use of gospel-hymn texts of the white church, not done rap-style but with genuine feeling.
His claim that whites have been "miseducated" in the public schools vis-a-vis the black experience is totally without foundation, especially in the last 40 years. He apparently meant "miseducation" about the black church, too, in which case one wonders why the school would teach about the work of any church. I was taught about slavery when I was in public school many decades ago.
His position that the theology of the black church is prophetic in nature (Isaiah 61) is a smoke-screen for simply venting. His preaching is anything but prophetic…it's laced with hatred. Of course, he named a couple of terrorist criminals – Ollie North and Vice President Cheney. He hit a high spot in his address to the NAACP in Detroit on 27 April when he said that now the first black woman may inhabit the White House…legally. The applause was deafening. His salacious sexual slam at white presidents and their wives didn't speak to reconciliation, but to more divisiveness.
In the q/a period, Wright said that…yes…the U.S. government is certainly capable of visiting the black population with HIV/AIDS…indeed, that it's capable of doing anything. He had to answer that way, since he's indelibly on the record as claiming that the government has purposely plagued the black community with this terrible disease. It was a sort of imprimatur of Farrakhan's claim that the government sabotaged the levees in 2005 so Katrina could kill black folk in New Orleans. He was flippant during this period, laughing, mugging, doing a mock salute and putting down the press. He definitely enjoyed his nationwide-via-TV "telling-off" of white America.
Wright is smart and terribly charismatic. He could be a great reconciler, but he's about as divisive as it's possible to be. Obama was skewered by Wright's performance, without even being there. And, with apparent great glee, Wright skewered the white press to a fare-thee-well, even being quite rude to the white lady conducting the clambake. Some of the best entertainment I've had lately.
Wright is not to be taken seriously. He's in the mold of Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton. Being part of the United Church of Christ denomination, made up of nearly all whites, he also does not speak for black churches, though he presumes to do so. His falsehood-laced tirades hurt the black church, however, since he has become the high-profile "spiritual" figure in Barack Obama's campaign. Pity!
Wright claimed that black-liberation-theology is keyed on "liberation, transformation and reconciliation." His performances give the lie to any effort at reconciliation since he's taken every opportunity to ridicule and denigrate white America, including white Christians and their churches. In any case, blacks have long since been liberated, though Wright, at least, has not been transformed from being a racist spewing hatred.
And so it goes.