This Jeremiah Wright business (first & last time I give my two cents)

1 May

wright.jpgYou masochists out there will note that the hot news on the political front concerns the recent comments made from Rev. Jeremiah Wright, former pastor of Barack Obama’s church. Wright has some undeniably divisive outlooks, mostly of the boo-the-American-government variety. His craziest excerpts from past speeches have been looped ad nauseum on every damn political channel.

Now, clearly, Wright is nuts. That I concede. He is so jaded toward the U.S. government that he is probably doing more harm than good at this point by dwelling on our past mistakes. I do not like this man being given a forum to speak publicly. But … is he more nuts than, say, divisive religious figure Billy Graham, who has served as the spiritual advisor for numerous presidents, including Truman, Eisenhower, LBJ, Reagan and both Bushes?

If you recall, there are recordings from 1972 in which Graham says to President Nixon, about Jewish people controlling the media, “This stranglehold has got to be broken or the country’s going down the drain.” He later speaks of his supposed Jewish friends, who supposedly “swarm” to him, but “They don’t know how I really feel about what they’re doing to this country.” When the tapes were released, Graham weaseled his way out by saying, “I deeply regret the comments I apparently made … If I wasn’t on tape, I would not have believed it. I guess I was trying to please.” Way to be a man about it, Billy.

Graham also said, in 1993, “Is AIDS a judgment of God? I could not say for sure, but I think so.”

Are Wright’s comments any more offensive than Graham’s? Not to me. Wright’s main wrongdoing seems to be uttering the words “God damn America,” taken in the context that, in the bible, God actually damns entities that kill innocent people, as he believes America has done by providing drugs to black people. Related, he also perpetuated the conspiracy theory that the U.S. government invented the HIV virus as a means of killing black people. He cites the Tuskegee Experiments as one real-life example to support his case.

So, what remarks are most offensive? Tough to make an argument either way.

For all of the inspirational work each man has done (which can’t be denied), both Graham and Wright have said some extremely offensive things (also undeniable). These things happen. Considering that, here is my point: if the first man can serve as the spiritual counsel for like 10 of the past presidents, can’t we just chill out if the second man serves as spiritual counsel for quite possibly the next?

Wait, what’s that? Obama actually cut off all ties with the preacher, denouncing his views as “presenting a world view that contradicts who I am and what I stand for”? Oh. That’s great news. Then, why is everyone still talking about this?

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