I think that much of the controversy over Jeremiah Wright's comments is based upon a lack of exposure to and ignorance about the black religious tradition.
Black ministers in the this tradition more often than not use a rhetorical method that include cadence, call and response, and climax. The sermons begin quietly and slowly, usually with a reference to particular biblical passages, then build up gradually - the preachers weave throughout their talks references to the bible, biblical figures, current events and social issues. About 3/4 of the way through, the sermon reaches a crescendo. Often at this point, the preachers speak in a near-roar, with dramatic gestures and much movement. (One of my dear minister friends once strutted down the aisle to make his point and then walked back up the pulpit - across the backs of the pews. He made his point).
I have not seen the entire text or video of Rev. Wright's sermons that are so controversial (and, I'll bet, neither have most of the people criticizing them, which calls into question their standing to attack him), but I will bet you that the comments that have folks so up in arms came about 3/4 of the way through, the point at which the speaker is at his most animated and most dramatic. I have worshipped in Rev. Wright's church and have seen in him in many other venues. He does not walk around yelling and gesturing. He's actually a very quiet, soft-spoken man of great eloquence, dignity, compassion and brilliance. But his preaching style is very traditional and he builds to the crescendo just as many other preachers do.
My own minister, a brilliant, wonderful, loving and decent man is about to preach his Sunday sermon. I will bet you that if I took a camera into the church and videotaped 30 seconds of the crescendo of his sermon and put it on YouTube, people would think that he was a crazy man. Taking a sermon out of context does a great disservice to us all.
I strongly urge those who are so upset about Rev. Wright to take some time to learn a little more about black churches and the black church tradition. And I also urge them to actually listen to Rev. Wright's ENTIRE sermon that we are discussing before judging the man and his comments. You might learn something very important - and you might even enjoy the experience. No matter what your religious views, there is NOTHING like watching and listening to good preaching!
6. i think the tradition of politics in black churches go back to times when they were segregated
when churches were the one place where they had full membership and were empowered.
none of this stuff happened in a vacuum. black churches developed during times of slavery, debt bondage of their members after slavery, massive segregation, denial of the vote, denial of public accomodations.
meanwhile as long as Pat Robertson can do what he does, and all those other churches can do what they do for Republicans, I see some hypocrisy in expecting black churches to remove it faster than everyone else especially considering they have a historical reason for having politics in their churches.
I think one of the problems here is that the only black preacher many white people have ever seen in action was Dr. King and they compare every other black preacher to him. Dr. King, in fact, used the same preaching style as Rev. Wright, but he was not as animated in his movements and his voice did not have the gravelly quality that Rev. Wright's does. But Dr. King often spoke loudly, forcefully and dramatically, using the cadence and call and response technique that Rev. Wright uses.
And people seem to forget, in our "Dr. King was a saint" revisionist history period, that Dr. King was seen as just as frightening and dangerous and controversial as Rev. Wright is now. People RAILED against his "histrionics," his rhetoric, his "racist" comments, his "hate speech," etc. These attacks on Rev. Wright are nothing new - they always follow any black person public figure who says what the white power structure doesn't want to hear.
You obviously don't even know enough about this topic to lecture me . . .
I know EXACTLY what I'm talking about and I'm not talking about MLK III.
I'm talking about Martin Luther King, Jr.'s father the REVEREND Martin Luther King SENIOR, a Republican, who in 1960 endorsed John F. Kennedy after Kennedy reached out to help Dr. King SENIOR's SON, Martin Luther King, JUNIOR, who had been thrown into jail in Georgia. This endorsement is seen by many historians as one of the primary reasons for JFK's victory.
38. You can repeate it all you want. But saying good things about Obama from the pulpit
is NOT an endorsement under the law, the only measurement that matters.
You're just flat out wrong. You don't have to like what he said. You don't have to feel good about it. But it is NOT an endorsement under the law and is NOT illegal, regardless how many times you claim it is.
Did you kick up this much fuss when Rev. Calvin Butts stood in the pulpit of Abyssinian Baptist Church in Harlem and raved about Hillary Clinton - right before introducing her and allowing her to speak from that pulpit - and then went out a few days later to publicly endorse her candidacy?
Or do you only think it's an illegal endorsement when a minister says something good about Barack Obama?
21. People keep saying that, but have not pointed to a single thing he said that is "hate speech"
"Comes across as hatred" means that it made YOU uncomfortable. Unless you can point to something specific that he said that constitutes hate or racism, you are talking about a personal reaction that you are having, not about anything that he said or did.
Maybe instead of attacking Rev. Wright, you should step back and take a look at why he makes you so uncomfortable?
If you go to the TUCC website and click "about us", it says:
"We are a congregation which is Unashamedly Black and Unapologetically Christian... Our roots in the Black religious experience and tradition are deep, lasting and permanent. We are an African people, and remain "true to our native land," the mother continent, the cradle of civilization. God has superintended our pilgrimage through the days of slavery, the days of segregation, and the long night of racism. It is God who gives us the strength and courage to continuously address injustice as a people, and as a congregation. We constantly affirm our trust in God through cultural expression of a Black worship service and ministries which address the Black Community."
Now, what if there was a church that John Edwards or Hillary Cliton had attended with a mission ststement that read:
We are a congregation which is Unashamedly White and Unapologetically Christian... Our roots in the White religious experience and tradition are deep, lasting and permanent. We are a European people, and remain "true to our native land," the mother continent, the cradle of civilization. God has superintended our pilgrimage through the Civil War, the days of Reconstruction, and the long night of Affirmative Action. It is God who gives us the strength and courage to continuously address injustice as a people, and as a congregation. We constantly affirm our trust in God through cultural expression of a White worship service and ministries which address the White Community.
The bottom paragraph is inherently racist and hate speech, so why wouldn't the top paragraph be?
If white people had been subjugated and excluded and thrown out of churches and had its religious and cultural traditions denied and spat upon for centuries and, in response formed its own churches to help uplift themselves and their communities, it would make perfect sense to substitute "white for black" as you have done. But unless you go back and substitute white for black in every aspect of our history, your simplistic approach to analysing this issue makes absolutely no sense.
It's funny how, on the one hand, white folks love to lecture blacks about "pulling ourselves up by our bootstraps," improving our own communities, doing something for ourselves, etc., yet when we do, many of these same folks accuse US of racism.
I call bullshit on this. There is absolutely NOTHING racist about the church's approach - as evidenced in part by the number of white people who BELONG TO THE CHURCH! Instead of trying to convince ME that the church is racist, why don't you go talk to them about what the church is all about?
45. You can wrap racism in the cloak of religion, and it's still racism.
I don't "lecture blacks" about anything, because as another poster said, I haven't walked a mile in their moccasins, but Rev Wright doesn't seem to advocate anything more than blaming the white man for everything that is wrong in the black community today. But that's not racist?
with racism? You are indeed misguided. Soooo misguided. You are a victim of white superiority think, my dear. Learn more about what affirmative action is and why it came to be. Removing barriers that would work to discriminate against people of color and women is not discrimination. White men do not have a history of being discriminated against in this country. In fact, it was white men who instituted slavery, made it apart of the constitution, removed federal presence during Reconstruction that paved the way for Jim Crow, ordered the national guard to stand in front of schools to prevent children from entering, denied women and black people the right to vote, regularly discriminated against WOMEN and people of color in all avenues of life, sent Japanese Americans to camps based on illogical fear, took over a land that belonged to Native Americans and put them on reservations, and now you want to say removing these barriers, prohibiting people from discriminating against these groups, making sure that the barriers that have kept these groups out of educational institutions and certain professions due to race or gender are removed and that these groups are fairly represented is not discrimination. It is simply ensuring racism and sexism plays no part in the decisions of institutions that have historically denied access to these people. I hope there is a day when we would not have to force people not to be racist or sexist, but I gather from reading some of these responses on DU and hearing Ferraro imply that the only way a black could be successful is due to his race, this will not come anytime soon if left up to the same old people.
Being "unashamedly black" is NOT racist. Being "unashamedly Irish" is NOT racist. Being "unashamedly Italian" is NOT racist. Being "unashamedly Jewish" is NOT racist. Being "unashamedly European" is NOT racist. Not being ASHAMED of who you are does not make you racist. It makes you a mentally stable person. It does not also mean that you believe you are superior to any other race. It means that you don't accept that you are inferior. Some people have a problem with that.
I can't believe the ignorance of some people sometimes. Now, since our history in this country has seen how white supremacy, if somewhere were to say to say "white power" or some variation, that has more to do with our history in this country and how that rhetoric was used to dominate and oppress people. It was also the basis for centuries of terrorism against black people right here on American soil.
It was a figure of speech that was meant to show how Rev Wright's positions are racist.
If a white man were to belong to a church with those sentiments, he'd be decried as a racist. But Rev Wright can espouse things like the government (white man) infecting the black community with HIV on purpose, but he's just "unashamedly black"?
55. No I don't think you have anything more to say.
Fact is you did equate affirmative action with racism when you replaced the word "racism" with "affirmative action" just as you did "white" with "black".
If your people had once been used as guinea pigs in a syphlis experiment by the government in the recent past and you look at stats which suggest a disproportionate infection rate among African Americans, and the fact that some scientist believe that the virus jumped from a green monkey into humans, then perhaps you would have some doubt and use history to justify it. Not saying Wright is right or wrong, because it is his opinion and really, how does anyone know for certain about anything that happens.
I'm not trying to convince anyone to like this style of preaching or to fall in love with Rev. Wright. I'm trying to help people to learn a little something about an area which it is woefully clear they know little about, notwithstanding all of their lecturing and analysis about this topic.
and let black people do church their way. Just because white people have church a certain way does not make it the de facto "way" to have church. The superiority complexes of some people are astounding.
And when we're given a snippet of something we know little about, that's what people base their judgements on. It's narrow-minded, and frankly lazy not to examine the context. And for those who didn't like Obama to begin with, the narrow lack of understanding is done on purpose.
23. Yes, I basically agree. But it took you five paragraphs of carefully-fashioned
>>I strongly urge those who are so upset about Rev. Wright to take some time to learn a little more about black churches and the black church tradition. And I also urge them to actually listen to Rev. Wright's ENTIRE sermon that we are discussing before judging the man and his comments. You might learn something very important - and you might even enjoy the experience. No matter what your religious views, there is NOTHING like watching and listening to good preaching!>>
prose for you to lay out this argument.
This is not something we... i.e. the DEM party... is going to be able to do effectively in the middle of a general election camapign.
Like it or not, a substantial portion of the electorate will make its choice based on *feeling* or intuition. This portion does not have the time/energy/interest/capability to devote to the kind of careful, analytically-based consideration that you are recommending.
This is just reality. The election will hinge on image and impressions... just as it always does. As such, Rev. Wright is made to order for the GOP.
I will vote for and support Obama no matter *who* else is for him... as will almost everyone else on this board if he is the nominee. It's not people here that I'm worried about; it's people who were swayed by the swiftboat ads in 04 to believe that a decorated war hero was coward and a spoiled brat- draft evader was a hero.
We need to persuade these people to vote for Obama if we are going to win and the association with Wright is going to make that enormously complicated.
"Black women are being raped daily in Darfur, Sudan, in the Congo and in Sub-Saharan Africa. That doesn't make news. One 18-year-old white girl from Alabama gets drunk on a graduation trip to Aruba, goes off and 'gives it up' while in a foreign country, and that stays in the news for months! Maybe I am missing something!"
While I wouldn't have put it the way that Rev. Wright put it, I and many other people have frequently criticized the media for their obsession over the "missing white women," while consistently ignoring missing, raped, and murdered black women and children, treating our women as if they are invaluable and dispensible while falling all over themselves wringing their hands about the whereabouts of blond white women.
But Wright did NOT say that "white girls ask for it." These kinds of mischaracterizations are, in my view, much more damaging and reprehensible than anything that Wright may have said.
42. I grew up with "preacher speech", so it wasn't hard for me to get past
the visual and pay attention to the words. Unfortunately, many people refuse to get past the "scary black man" and won't listen to the real message. Too bad, because those are the very people that need to.
No matter what your religious views, there is NOTHING like watching and listening to good preaching!
I've been a practicing Buddhist for nearly 30 years. We don't even HAVE preachers. But if we did have preachers, I'd want them to be able to preach like Wright and the rest of the black preachers I've heard. Damn, that's good talking!!!
54. I agree, and people should listen to one of MLK JR's sermons in particular
Edited on Sun Mar-16-08 11:46 AM by checks-n-balances
to hear some "fiery" oratory! It's called "The Drum Major Instinct," perhaps the greatest sermon I've ever heard (and being a preacher's kid, I've heard plenty!). He preached it 4 months before his death.
In it, he was VERY critical U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War and, true to the church tradition in which he grew up, his voice got very loud!
I dare say that if you only listened to a few snippets including those particular comments (probably 1 minute out of 20 or 30), it would be a little startling, to say the least. But his comments were included to make a point - a point supporting the SCRIPTURE upon which he had was delivering his message. I think his citation was from a story in the book of Mark, and interestingly enough his voice got very quiet when he was making his climactic point.
Google the sermon and listen to it and, in the words of Jesus, "Those who have ears, may they hear!"
(Edited to make ancient biblical language more inclusive)
I'm very well familiar with the call-response, the cadence, the crescendo. It can bring out the BEST in the preacher, or the worst. It's not the TONE, it's the CONTENT that is troubling in Wright's message.
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