Dr. Jeremiah Wright Was Right about Racism

I have searched for weeks to find this famous sermon of Dr. Jeremiah Wright, which the “attack” media, I feel certain, have hidden from the public. They only want soundbites drawn from white supremacist websites (where Wright has been attacked this way for months) that have excerpted the sermon to echo across the media and for the public not to see the soundbites in their reasonable context. Score one for the biased white media again.

This is the last part of the famous sermon by Dr. Jeremiah Wright, the United Church of Christ former pastor of Senator Obama. It is called, “Confusing God and Government,” and was given near five years ago in 2003! (Why is an old sermon of such interest? Bias again?)

Here is the last part of the sermon as transcribed on this website. The part the white-controlled media repeated hundreds of times, out of context, comes at the end of the 40-minute long sermon, a main theme of which is that governments lie, fail, and change. A theme like that is very hard to disagree with, indeed. Only a white-controlled media would take sermon comments so out of context as they have done here, in order clearly to smear a mainstream African American minister–who almost everyone agrees has a fine record of serving his church and the people of Chicago, and America.

Toward the end of the sermon Dr. Wright asserts this:

Where Governments lie, God does not lie. Where Governments change, God does not change. . . .Governments fail. The government in this text comprised of Caesar, Cornelius, Pontus Pilot – Pontius Pilate – the Roman government failed. The British government used to rule from east to west. The British government had a Union Jack. She colonised Kenya, Guana, Nigeria, Jamaica, Barbados, Trinidad and Hong Kong. Her navies ruled the seven seas all the way down to the tip of Argentina in the Falklands, but the British failed. The Russian government failed. The Japanese government failed. The German government failed. And the United States of America government, when it came to treating her citizens of Indian decent fairly, she failed. She put them on reservations. When it came to treating her citizens of Japanese decent fairly, she failed. She put them in internment prison camps. When it came to treating her citizens of African decent fairly, America failed. She put them in chains. The government put them in slave quarters, put them on auction blocks, put them in cotton fields, put them in inferior schools, put them in substandard housing, put them in scientific experiments, put them in the lowest paying jobs, put them outside the equal protection of the law, kept them out of their racist bastions of higher education and locked them into position of hopelessness and helplessness. The government gives them the drugs, builds bigger prisons, passes a three-strike law, and then wants us to sing “God Bless America.” No, no, no. Not “God Bless America”; God Damn America! That’s in the Bible, for killing innocent people. God Damn America for treating her citizen as less than human. God Damn America as long as she keeps trying to act like she is God and she is supreme!

The United States government has failed the vast majority of her citizens of African decent. Think about this, think about this. For every 1 Oprah, a billionaire, you got five million Blacks who are out of work. For every 1 Colin Powell, a millionaire, you got ten million Blacks who cannot read. For every 1 “Condeskeeza” Rice, you got one million in prison. For every 1 Tiger Woods, who needs to get beat at the Masters with his cat-blazing hips, playing on a course that discriminates against women; God has this way of bringing you short when you get too big for your cat-blazing britches. For every 1 Tiger Woods, we got ten thousand Black kids who will never see a golf course. The United States government has failed the vast majority of her citizens of African decent. But I’m fitting to help you one last time – turn to your neighbour and say “he’s fitting to help us one last time.” Turn back and say “Forgive him for the ‘God Damn’, that’s in the Bible Lord.” Blessings and cursing is in the Bible, it’s in the Bible. But I’m fitting to help you one last time. Let me tell you something.

Where governments fail, God never fails.

When God says it, it’s done. God never fails. When God wills it, you better get out the way. ‘Cause God never fails. When God fixes it, oh believe me, it’s fixed. God never fails. . . . he’ll reside in you, and he’ll preside over your problems if you take them to Him and leave them with Him. Don’t take them back – turn to your neighbour and say “stop taking your problems back.” Should we always bring our problems to the altar and then do we just them right on back to our seats? Turn and say “Stop taking them back!” God never fails. Turn and tell them “God never fails!” God never fails! God never fails.

The data generally support his arguments about the United States enslaving and interning Americans of color, and failing them terribly today. Dr. Wright is using typical ministerial rhetoric to accent the point that by its deeds America and its government are often condeming themselves. The prophets in the Bible curse and condemn states that fail their citizens so extensively. In context, whether you agree or not with all Dr. Wright says, there is nothing especially unusual about this type of ministerial exhortation and rhetoric. And most of his main points have much social science data to back them.

This sermon reminds me once again of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., who often spoke the truth to an America unwilling to hear it. We need to hear such prophetic words often, especially about continuing racial oppression.

The Dream Reborn: Van Jones & Green for All

I’ve talked about Van Jones here before and his ideas about connecting the civil rights goal of equal opportunity with the green economy. Jones’ organization Green for All is one he started, along with Majora Carter of Sustainable South Bronx, with the goal of promoting a green economy strong enough to lift people out of poverty. And, this week, Jones and his group are sponsoring a conference on the green economy called “The Dream Reborn” in Memphis this week. It’s too late to register (registration is closed at one thousand attendees), but you can still donate. And, you can also watch this promo video for the conference (4:05) which is a nicely done: