Even though Barack Obama has "moved on" from the messy association that he has recently been forced to explain to man who had been his pastor for 20 years, it is clear - the voters haven't. There are legitimate questions being raised about a relationship that spans a generation and the beliefs of a man who has on multiple dozens of occasions issued some of the most vitriolic, bigoted, racism imaginable in America today.
No doubt one of the most infamous video moments recently unearthed was Jeremiah Wright's use of what he cleverly believed to be a cute play on words. His congregation certainly thought it was hoot.
We know they thought it was a hoot - because the volume at which Dr. Wright was forced to scream out the invective literally had to be done over an auditorium of hooting, hollering, clapping, dancing, and patting each other on the back. Had one been so inclined to mute the volume while the clip plays, watching the video might lead one to believe it to be moment of great celebration.
This clip, I believe, is what has stabbed the heart of every decent American, of every color, of every background, and from every corner of the globe. This clip should give all God fearing people pause to understand the language being used in it, and the rowdy ruckus of the circumstances in which it was recorded onto video.
And you would think a theologian would be the most somber of all at issuing the message Rev. Wright was attempting to get across (if we are to believe his motives at all.)
Dr. Jeremiah Wright, who is famous for dropping f-bombs from the pulpit, in the clip in question invokes God's damnation on our nation, his nation, and his grandchildren's nation. In the now famous footage he calls down the God who created him to level the Almighty's ultimate judgment and wrath upon everyone here - both his friends and his enemies. As Dr. Wright soaks in the rowdy agreement that echoes from every pew of the Trinity United Church of Christ, a sly grin hits the corner his mouth. And everyone in attendance seconds Dr. Wright's plea before our maker.
Dr. Wright could not be more mistaken, in his theology, in his understanding of his nation, nor in seeking resolutions for the problems that face the community that he seeks to serve.
For if God's DAMNATION is what Dr. Wright seeks, then it will level the same judgment against the poor homeless man on the southside of Chicago who attends Dr. Wright's worship services, just like it would impact Bill Gates, far removed from any of the day to day financial struggles many Americans face.
If Dr. Wright was seeking a microwavable answer from the Almighty to quickly and efficiently level justice, then it is my opinion that he was not truly aware of what he was asking for.
All of Dr. Wright's other silly assertions aside (Jesus was black, America invented AIDS, wealth is evil, etc. etc.) for him to presume that seeking God's damnation would not bring about the judgment we all deserve show's just how far he has subjected his knowledge of truth to the showcase of a standing ovation during an enraged not so cleverly disguised monologue of political commentary.
What Dr. Wright fundamentally misunderstands is that according to the New Testament book of Romans we are ALL in need of salvation, because we have ALL sinned and missed God's standard. Ushering God's damnation (ultimate punishment for missing God's mark) is an act that should be only pursued with soberness of mind.
For many of these reasons, my hunch is that Dr. Wright was not truly seeking God's punishment, but rather exploiting an opportunity to make a point - and as was evident by his pleasurable glee - at the expense of the current administration, and the history of America as a nation.
Please don't misunderstand, America has had some considerable sins - but asking for ultimate punishment from deity is usually not recommended. And while Dr. Wright may hate and wish for the death even the assassination of President Bush - if they have both submitted their lives to the Lordship of the Risen Christ then they will spend eternity together.
If Dr. Wright's heart is burdened by injustice, sin, racial discrimination, or other evidences of wrong doing - which need to be based on substance - then he's praying the wrong prayer.
America has taken a path in recent years that is systematically destroying God's influence on how we as a culture make decisions, establish laws, and enforce justice in our nation. And while they have promised "leaders" like Wright "the world" in exchange for loyalty - the politicians that Wright has supported for the duration of his time in the pulpit - have led the dismantling of the black family. They have single-handedly fought to keep black girls poor, uneducated and pregnant. They have fought and are fighting to redefine sexual morality and the very definition of a family to include whatever purient influences can raise money, organize, and activate.
In large measure the politicians that Dr. Wright has advocated for are increasingly responsible for the fact that seven out of ten African American pregnancies are to unwed girls, and that nearly fifty percent of those end in abortion.
No Dr. Wright, what America is in desperate need of is God's mercy. We need His grace. We need His forgiveness for the elimination of an entire people group that dwarfs the number dead of all American casualties in all of our wars, the era of slavery, and civil rights violence combined.
So during my show on Friday, I had this idea...
What if we responded to cruelty with kindness. What if Americans from all over the nation - instead of repeating the phrase three times asking God to "damn America" - what if we asked for God's forgiveness, blessing, and mercy. And what if we extended it to the man who DID seek God's annihilation? So I put the idea out there on Friday and the phones started ringing.
With only kindness in your heart and voice we're asking any like-minded folks to do the same - call Dr. Jeremiah Wright's office at Trinity United Church of Christ. The number is 773.962.5650. Ask to be connected to Dr. Wright's assistants and ask for "Pastor Wright." If the very nice assistant tells you he's unavailable ask for his voice mail and in some creative (but only appropriate) way relay to Pastor Wright that you will be asking God three times for His blessing, for your family, for your nation, and that even includes Dr. Wright. 773.962.5650.
It is appropriate that the weekend we remember Jesus Christ's victory over sin and death, our ultimate and only path of reconciliation to God, that we in soberness of mind seek God's best for our nation in the days to come. "Justice for all" included!
It would be a true testament to America's goodness if Dr. Wright's office was so overflowing with kindness from our phone calls, that he might alter his view of the nation that has given him the chance to do what he does with his life. So let's flood him with kindness - because an ounce of that will be a heavier load than ten tons of guilt.
Trinity United Church of Christ - 773.962.5650 (ask for Dr. Wright's office)
And by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
"God BLESS America, God BLESS America, God BLESS America!" Yes Dr. Wright, "God Bless America!"