Monday, March 31, 2008

Jeremiah Wright and the American Dilemma: He is not America's Problem

By Fahim A. Knight

This writer is appalled at all the negative attention and criticism Reverend Jeremiah Wright has received from the mass media both electronic and print due to his relationship with Senator Barack Obama who is running for the office of president of the United States of America. This writer must admit right off the back to his readers that he admires Reverend Wright; although he has never met the man and has never attended his Chicago based church. I guess the premises of this statement would suggest to the readers that this article will be subjective and lack objectivity and scholarly balance; just too the contrary this author went to great lengths to offer an empirical argument. However Reverend Wright would be the type of pastor and shepherd that this writer could embrace and follow, thus, I am far beyond being led by black charismatic leaders and cult type religions and organizations that are steeped in ministries of exploitation and of no substance to its followers.

Thus, this writer is equally appalled at how some Christian clergy and fellow church goers have gone too great lengths to distance themselves publicly from Reverend Wright. Wright's sermons are directly rooted in the black experience and it is within that socio-political and culture context his ideological analysis and theological interpretations has been formulated. The evaluation of America’s system of oppression and racism can perhaps be heard in most black churches pulpits subtly and/or radically on any giving Sunday. The historical experience of 310 years of subjugation from time to time created voices of rebellion and protest that evolved simultaneously alongside a system of injustice and oppression.

Kwame Ture Stated in his book titled, Black Power: The Politics of Liberation” stated,
"One of the strategies of racism is to confuse the victims into believing all their victories should be awarded to the oppressor. In the U.S.A., when Africans verbally attack capitalism they are told that they must be thankful to the U.S. capitalist system, which gives them the right to free speech. In this one sentence, Centuries of African struggle are obliterated. When Africans came To the U.S.A. speaking only African languages, their tongues would be cut out and held as an example to others. Did the system Change on its own or did Africans force the change, thru consistent, uncompromising struggle?"

America’s media has always had an uncanny way of blaming and demonizing the victim and those that perpetuated these historical criminal acts go unchallenged. Blacks in 1555 arrived to the shores of America in the holes of slave ships deemed as chattel slaves. Moreover, kidnapped from Africa by Portugal, Spain, Great Britain, France, Germany, the Dutch, etc. It would be race and class that have served as a historical and present antagonistic contradiction laying at the base of race relations in America.

Black people have always listened to and benefited from religious leaders of the likes of Jeremiah Wright from the slave plantation to the present because they share a common history and a common experience and can relate to the struggles of the biblical peoples and prophets being referenced and articulated in their religious worldview. Black preachers have the flexibility to use cultural and nationalism, as part of their hermeneutics to demonstrate theological relevance to the daily struggles of black folk. The black preacher has always used biblical allegory, metaphors, symbolism, similes, etc., which to paint a picture, but more importantly draw direct and indirect parallel to the prophets and people of old, which to redeem the spiritual struggles impacting their followers’ lives.

Senator Obama for over 20 years found that type of ministerial instructions fitting and in no way contradictory to his American patriotism because fire and brimstone sermons delivered by black ministers has always giving blacks a collective voice of criticism and a subconscious spiritual victory over earthly matters that they couldn’t change or alter. Many of Reverend Wright sermons heard by Senator Obama were viewed as reflecting honesty, forthrightness, and religious tolerance compatible to his worldview because it exemplified the black experience in America. This writer has no respect for the waffling and backsliding Senator Obama has done because it shows a lack of integrity and a willingness to play a dangerous political game. Reverend Wright is not a racist or a bigot nor is his preaching style obsolete and Senator Obama knows this; he is a keen intellectual that has worked diligently to give his followers a perspective and used the text as a tool of liberation and mentally freeing the captives. The media has an agenda to misinform, mischaracterize, and manipulate the truth in order to keep the masses of people confused and politically disorientated.

They knew long before Senator Obama declared his presidency that Reverend Wright’s fiery speeches could pose a political liability to the candidate of change and they forced Senator Obama to react to his pastor’s discourse on race and understand nothing he could say or offer would desensitize this deep seated American dilemma . You would have thought for minute that Reverend Wright was running for the office of president, as opposed to Senator Obama with the kind of scrutiny and interest he was gathering. Yet, the controversial Reverend John Hagee of Cornerstone Church in San Antonio, Texas endorsed Senator John McCain and Hagee has voiced some mean and hate filled things in the pulpit and on national broadcast about the religion of Islam and Muslims. Hagee’s remarks has consistently been racist toward Arab Muslims and discriminatory in intent, as well as being anti-Islam. He receives huge sums of money from various Zionist organizations, including from the State of Israel and is pimping Christianity in the name of white Christian patriotism. Senator McCain received little criticism for his association with Reverend Hagee; this is the type of double standard that Obama will continue to face.

The United States Government has always used dirty tricks to manipulate the ignorant masses and is crafty enough to create infighting amongst its intended victims (progressive whites and blacks) as one of its goals, but the ultimate objectives is polarization—divide and conquer. The true manipulators are hidden behind many covert layers of artful deception and they have enough power to hide their dirty hands. What did Reverend Wright say to make him this evil pariah?

This writer from time-to-time has been very critical of Christianity for negating and refusing to delve into the social, political, and economic struggles that impact black lives on a daily basis. Many of our Black church leaders are fearful of the political reprisals that they may have to endure, if they tell the truth and I have heard many of them say their congregations are not ready. This is a lame excuse that a coward would use to justify their cowardice and anxiety about being in opposition to oppression and tyranny. Thus, the people are ready to be led beyond feel-good sermons that oftentimes are of no consequence other than luring the parishers to sleep and rewarding the minister with a bourgeoisie life style.

Jesus the Christ was a revolutionary and was confronted with a wicked government; Jesus was defiant and controversial, this is why it is easy for me to embrace Reverend Jeremiah Wright because this writer understands the true teachings of Jesus. Jesus would be siding with the oppressed and the downtrodden or the least of these. Senator Obama tried to place Reverend Wright’s ideology and philosophical outlook into a time capsule, as to suggest to America that his perspective had no relevance because his worldview was steeped in an outdated culture experience of the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970’s, which was shaped by racism, discrimination, segregation, etc., and suggested this experience somehow has tainted Reverend Wright’s ability to be objective and analytical when evaluating American style imperialism historically and presently.

James H. Cone professor emeritus and of one of the premier scholars of Black Liberation Theology in his book titled, “Black Theology and Black Power” stated, “The revolutionary attitude of Black Theology stems not only from the need of black people to defend themselves in the presences of white oppression, but also from its identity with biblical theology. Like biblical theology, it affirms the absolute sovereignty of God over his creation. This means that ultimate allegiance belongs to God. Therefore, black people must be taught not to be disturbed about revolution or civil disobedience if the law violates God’s purpose for man. The Christian man is obligated by a freedom grounded in the Creator to break all laws which contradicts human dignity. Through disobedience the state, he affirms his allegiance to God as Creator and his willingness to behave as if he believes it. Civil disobedience is a duty in a racist society. This is why Camilo Torres said, ‘Revolutionary action is a Christian, a priestly struggle.’ ‘’

This era (Civil Rights) in African American history in particular and American history in general, represented the ugly past of America because of the blatant Jim Crow Laws, black lynching, injustices and institutionalize racism, but the laws of physics has an axiom that says for every action there is opposite and equal direct reaction.

Theologian Howard Thurman who authored the book titled, “The Luminous of Darkness” stated, “If being Christian does not demand that all Christians love each other and thereby become deeply engaged in experiencing themselves as human beings, it would seem futile to expect that Christians as Christians would be concerned about the secular community in its gross practices of prejudice and discrimination. If a black Christian and a white Christian, in counter, cannot reach out to each other in mutual realization because of that which they are experiencing in common, then there should be no surprise that the Christian institution has been powerless in the presence of the color bar in society. Rather it has reflected the presences of the color bar within its own institutional life.”

This era produced some of African Americans most formidable freedom fighters and organizations such as the Deacons of Defense and its leader Robert Williams who turned Concord and Gastonia, North Carolina up-sided down and had to eventually seek political asylum in Cuba and China; Black Panther Party for Self-Defense and its two founders Huey P. Newton and Bobby Seale; Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee producing Kwame Ture (Stokley Carmichael), and Jamil Abdullah Al-Amin (H. Rapp Brown), Elijah Muhammad leader of the Nation of Islam, Dr. Martin Luther King leader of Southern Christian Leadership Conference, Fannie Lou Hamer of the Mississippi Democratic Freedom Party, Imari Obadele the Republic of New Africa, etc.

Reverend Wright like any sane person can not forget the collective history and collective suffering of African American people, no more than the Jews being asked to forget Auschwitz and death camps. If anyone even thought to suggest this they would be categorically labeled anti-Semitic and condemned by the forces of Zionism. Reverend Wright was very clear, but it is Senator Obama who has selective amnesia and is speaking as an apologist for a system of injustice.

Wyatt Tee Walker in his book titled, “Spirits That Dwell In Deep Woods: The Prayer and Praise Hymns of the Black Religious Experience” stated, “Afro-centric theology proceeds from a different center than does Euro-centric theology. Theology of African-Americans issues from our pain predicament (which was pervasive) and thereby, more experiential than reflective ours is a learned and lived theology. This is not to suggest that religious faith of African-Americans is impoverished to Continental theological musings but only that Afro-centricity is dominant.”

Patrick Henry stated “ give me liberty or give me death”. Reverend Wright is a good patriot because he will not stand idly and be silent in the face of injustice, but offers America a mirror in order to draw attention to her arrogance and to expose this nation’s social and political contradictions. This writer happens to agree with Reverend Wright’s criticism of United States Foreign Policy in Iraq, Cuba, Africa, Iran, North Korea, Venezuela, Afghanistan, etc. And how they have used terrorism to isolate foreign governments that would not go along with President George W. Bush one World Government initiatives, which was set in motion with the September 11, 2001 hoax that led to so many reactionary executive orders and turned the United States Constitution into a worthless piece of paper.

We did not need Reverend Wright to tell us that something was sinister about 9-11 most people to date know that Osama Bin Laden and Al-Qaeda had absolutely nothing to do with the bombing of the World Trade Center Towers in New York; what Reverend Wright was allege to have said does not rate on the radar scale with the level of deception and dishonesty of the United States Government. A shrewd enemy decided to use Reverend Wright as a fall guy and a patsy to derail Senator Obama’s bid to become President of the United States. Wright did not invent the racial dilemma in America and any speech he gives must be viewed as mere hot air because he does not have any weapons to confront institutionalize racism with all its arsenal.

This entire Obama and Wright fiasco is a diversionary tactic perhaps created by Bill and Hillary Clinton, two old allies of the Council on Foreign Relations, Trilateral Commission and Bilderberger appealing to the deep seated fears and guilt of Americans and more importantly America’s failure to rectify a 453 year old issue that racism created and have been in denial. Moreover, Reverend Wright’s critique of America was no different than Minister Malcolm X in the 1960s; why not evaluate the truth or falsity of Wright’s words? As opposed to formulating an irrational assessment from an out of context sound bite.

Reverend Jeremiah Wright stated, “God as seen by those who are the underside of society is not the same God as seen by those who are ‘on top’. The religion of the slave and the religion of the slave holder are by definition two different religions; and the gods that they serve are by extension two different gods. The God of Africans in disapora is consistent with the God of the Bible who enters into history on the side of the oppressed, in the corner of those ‘on the underside’, and fighting the cause of the slaves and the descendants of slaves. . .God was known by Africans long before the first Muslim slave ship carried them across the Indian Ocean in the East African Slave Trade; and this same God who ‘sits high and looks low’ is a God of justice, love and mercy. He is a God who is ‘writing all the time’ and there is nothing that escapes His attention.”

They then force African Americans to choose between Obama and Reverend Wright, the old divide and conquer scheme. Obama is a political animal and he will say and do anything to elevate himself to the next political level even if it means repudiating and disavowing his longtime friend and confidante. The media has painted Reverend Wright as anti-American, but President Bush and Dick Chaney in my opinion are more anti-American than Reverend Wright could ever be because their oppressive legacy and their policy of “dumbing” down America will impact us for generations to come.

It became convenient to blame the so-called radical Islamic fundamentalist for a crime they did not commit and the real criminals were receiving no bid contracts and running Halliburton behind enemy lines with hired mercenaries such as Blackwater USA serving as their private military force and have now stolen trillions of dollars in oil revenue from Iraq. These criminals have no legal boundaries, they have committed high crimes and low misdemeanors from the White House that is worthy of impeachment and imprisonment. The Iraqi war has wrecked the United States economy, which has cost American taxpayers over 600 billion dollars and to the detriment over 4000 United States Servicemen lives. The United States occupation of Iraq is an out-law act with a criminal intent--stealing oil.

U.S. military aggression in the so-called Middle East has fueled anti-American sentiments throughout the region and is the impetus that drives international terrorism. Bush has created enemies throughout the Islamic world and this formidable enemy will not back down. Senator John McCain, the Republican Party presidential nominee said he would commit U. S. soldiers for another 100 years to war in Iraq; either he is an idiot or he himself has a vested interest in continuing Bush's foreign policy of stealing oil in name of combating terrorism.

Reverend Jeremiah Wright is not the first American to take issue with United States Foreign Policy and he will not be the last. If the American people had any sense they too would demand more integrity and accountability from our policy makers. The United States Congress, which a majority are Democrats have been equal culprits in their continued efforts to finance Bush's war while its own citizens do have adequate health care and the sub-prime crisis have left many good Americans homeless. Nevertheless, we witness the Federal Reserve and its Chairman Ben Bernanke bailout a private investment firm Bear Stearns, but has not bailout the suffering American people; this move was unprecedented since the 1913 establishment of the Federal Reserve System, which the United States Government and citizens turned its monetary system over to the twelve Central Banks. Bernanke and Federal Reserve give George Bush and the U.S. Congress orders.

This writer does not think the focus should be on Reverend Jeremiah Wright's words in this 2008 campaign unless we are willing to analyze and assess his words in order to help lead this nation toward a new national and international direction. America is in trouble and she does not need leaders who are placating and desiring to continue business as usual. Senator Obama's speech on race was well written and well crafted, but it only serves as a temporary band aid to a complex issue. He failed to mention reparations and although Florida, Virginia, Pennsylvania, New Jersey have all passed state legislation issuing African Americans official state apologies for slavery.

But here is the problem, why has not the United States Government issued African Americans an official governmental apology, as well put their money next to their mouths? Congressman John Conyers; House of Representative Chairman of the United States Judiciary Committee has had a Bill in Congress for over 20 years just to study the possibility of reparations and it has been met with deceitful filibustering . Senator Obama is no authority on race relations and he does not speak for the masses of black people. The real teacher on race was Reverend Jeremiah Wright and not his student Senator Obama and America could have benefited from an open and candid discussion; if only Jeremiah Wright would have delivered a national address on race.

Michael Eric Dyson in his book titled, “Race Rules: Navigating the Color Line” stated, “Christianity insisted there was a need to save the savages from their own cultural deficits. White Christians sought to rescue slaves from perdition by making sure what little soul they had was made suitable for the Kingdom of God. Christianity gave theological legitimacy, and racial justification, to widely held beliefs about black inferiority. It also sanctified the brutal methods deemed necessary to tame the beastly urges of black Africans. White society exploited black labor. White Christianity made it appear that God was behind the whole scheme. Some argued that God used slavery as a tool to bring backward Africans to America. They believed God used white slavers to save black souls by subjugating their bodies. Christian theology shook hands with slavery and sailed off into the sunset of white supremacy.”

The media has painted and portrayed Wright's comments as being militant and that of Black Nationalism and out of political motives has found Senator Obama guilty by association. Also it did not help that Trinity United Church of Christ and Reverend Wright’s image by giving Minister Louis Farrakhan, the leader of the Nation of Islam, a life time achievement award that he so rightly deserved for his over fifty (50) years of work in the black community . They, the media initially were going to use Minister Farrakhan against Senator Obama, but they found a more suitable candidate in Reverend Wright. Minister Farrakhan failed short of endorsing Senator Obama, but at his annual February Saviours Day Convention held in honor of the birthday (February 26, 1877) of Nation of Islam founder Master Fard Muhammad. He described Obama as the last hope for America.

Minister Farrakhan stated, “I ask that we pray for our brother. I’m not asking for votes. I’m asking a nation, the Nation of Islam and people of goodwill, pray for this young man {Senator Obama} and his family. . .the enemy is working right now. He wants to find a way to get at Farrakhan. What is wrong with Farrakhan that you have to make Farrakhan a litmus test for any Black person who strives for betterment, for elevation in society? Let’s give them the Farrakhan test. I’ve taking tests. I’ve never been in a classroom where a test is only applied to one student in the class. If you’re going to give someone the litmus test give it to all the presidential candidates. Don’t single out one man and say let’s give him the Farrakhan test. Why not give it to (Sen.) Hillary (Clinton)? What are you trying to do to our brother? Why do you hate him so, that you want to make me a stumbling block? That’s why you have never heard me make any comment. I love that brother, and I want to see that brother successful. I don’t want to say anything that would hurt that brother, and I don’t want them to use me or the Nation of Islam.”

Farrakhan in the past has been at the center of controversy when in 1984 Reverend Jesse Jackson was running for the office of president and had numerous death threats against his life; moreover, the United States Secret Service initially did not give Jackson security and Minister Farrakhan ordered his Fruit of Islam (the Nation of Islam security force) to protect Jackson. This was the beginning of a political race that was derailed by race, class and religion, which led to accusations of anti-Semitism and eventually Reverend Jackson was force to repudiate his friend Minister Farrakhan just as Senator Obama is being forced to repudiate his friend and mentor Reverend Wright; perhaps the same enemy was behind both of these incidents.

Black ministers and preachers must continue to use their pulpits, which to educate and socially agitate because anything short of that would be a compromise to the teachings of Jesus the Christ. Reverend Wright should be a standard barrier, he was just not interested in saving souls, but he preached a social gospel that was defiant, confrontational, constructive and yes, at times critical of modern day Pharaoh (United States Government). We do not need anymore inside the box teachings because only honesty has the power to save our nation from internal destruction and we must be willing to call a spade a spade. Reverend Wright did not enact the United States Patriot Act, Military Commission Act, Forfeiture Seizure Act, Anti Terrorism Bill, invent the lie that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction, rearranged the Geneva Convention Laws, etc. These chess board moves are much more dangerous than anything Farrakhan or Wright could ever say or do.

We just should not hold these controversial black leaders to a higher standard and not hold our elected officials to an even higher standard because they are the ones with the power and leverage, which to alter the political course of America. This writer does not think offering critical analysis of our government should be viewed as being less patriotic or anti-American than someone expressing political optimism. The First Amendment Right protects the likes of Jeremiah Wright, a voice of dissent, as well as those flag waving patriots; however, anytime one takes opposition to the popular view, you will automatically be ridiculed or ostracized for daring to challenge the political and social norms of the status quo.

Jeremiah Wright is a true Christian, the Roman Government called Jesus controversial and radical, we need someone today that can perform miracles--give sight to the blind, restore the hearing of the deaf, and make the lame walk. So many of our leaders and preachers say what is political expedient and turn a blind eye to what is morally and ethically right--my pursuit is not politics nor do I put much credence in organized religion---my quest is Freedom, Justice, and Equality.

Fahim A. Knight Chief Researcher for KEEPING IT REAL THINK TANK located in Durham, NC; our mission is to inform African Americans and all people of good will of the pending dangers that lie ahead; as well as decode the symbolisms and reinterpret the hidden meanings behind those who operate as invisible forces, but covertly rules the world. We are of the belief that an enlighten world will be better prepared to throw off the shackles of ignorance and not be willing participants for the slaughter. Our MOTTO is speaking truth to power. Fahim A. Knight can be reached at
Stay Awake Until We Meet Again,
Fahim A. Knight

fahimknight's blog

No comments:

Post a Comment