Lately, there has been a lot of talk about the political ramifications of Jeremiah Wright’s hate-filled preaching, rightly so. He deserves all the criticism that people are dishing out. It is unconscionable that a minister would use the sacred Christian pulpit to push his politically driven agenda and use rhetorical techniques to whip up negative and destructive emotions in his congregation. Secularists, people of other faiths and most especially Christians should recoil from such blatant use of the pulpit to spew harsh and mean-spirited demagogery that promotes racial divisiveness and spreads poisonous lies and bitter distortions. Indeed, Americans have described Mr. Wright’s inflammatory comments as “outrageous” and “appalling.”
It is especially stunning that the pastor of a presidential candidate would continue to make himself the center of political controversy. In Dallas, he spoke for 45 minutes about his “public crucifixion.” During the Bill Moyers interview on the Public Broadcasting Service and in other recent appearances, he has repeated the comments that got him in trouble originally. He praised Louis Farrakhan, leader of the radical group, Nation of Islam, as one of the great leaders of the 21st century; he repeated his accusation that the U.S. spread AIDS to blacks and that U.S. “militarism” is “terrorism.” He declared that the U.S. was “capable of doing anything.” In fact, he called the U.S.A., the U.S. of K.K.K.A. He wrote an entire sermon on the thesis, “God [D--n] America.”
When Barack Obama tried to distance himself from such ranting, Mr. Wright implied that his former parishioner denounced him for political reasons. This week, Mr. Wright spoke out again –– this time creating a media circus in a major national arena –– just as the original furor over his sermons was somewhat receding from public discourse.
In his remarks at the National Press Club this week, Mr. Wright accused those who criticize him of not understanding the black church or the African American spiritual traditions. He defended his tirades –– that are solidly rooted in the Marxist Liberation Theology that focuses on class struggle and economic determinism and calls for the “destruction” of the “white enemy” –– as an essential aspect of the black religious experience.
Plainly, Mr. Wright distorts Christianity. In Christ, there is no black or white. There is only one way of salvation in the gospel and that is through Christ and Him crucified. The Scriptures are clear that “doing good” is not enough; the heart must be in “right accord” and we do the right thing because our faith requires it of us, not to earn our way into someone’s good graces.