The Reverend Jeremiah A. Wright is wrong, although God knows not in any way that The Obnoxious American alleges in his recent Blogcritics article. Wright is wrong—perhaps misguided is better—to intercede in the Democratic political battle (all those speeches and press conferences) at a time when his comments are hurting one of the candidates, his (one presumes) now former parishioner.
In that regard, the Reverend Wright should cease and desist—at least for the time being, only because his comments may very well upend Senator Obama's Presidential quest. But not because, as The Obnoxious American (hereafter, TOA) seems to argue that he's an apologist for Louis Farrakhan; or that he blames 9/11 on US foreign policy; or that, bizarrely, former President Carter's "recent trip to the Middle East to meet with various terrorist leaders confirms for many a long history of anti-Jewish sentiment." (Huh?); or that Wright doesn't even like being black.
TOA quotes, accurately, Wright as saying that 'Louis Farrakhan is not my enemy, he did not put me in chains, he did not put me in slavery and he didn't make me this color'. And in the next sentence says: "I guess that means that Wright doesn't like the color of his skin? I'm not going to touch that one, but the audience seemed to love it." If TOA is being sarcastic, then I am wrong.
But for what Jeremiah Wright is saying or trying to say, he needs to speak even louder. Because, while several of his propositions may be slightly overheated (he is a preacher, after all), he's telling the truth. That's right: he's telling the truth, speaking the gospel, as it were.
It's easy to take issue with what Rev. Wright said in the Q and A session after his appearance, but that overlooks his opening remarks, which were centered on theological issues, not directly political ones. To understand the totality of what Wright said on April 28 at the National Press Club, you also need to look at his comments leading to the question and answer session.
What Wright discussed initially was the historical marginalization of the black church in this country. His historical references were essentially accurate. The post-Civil War Black Codes were an effort still to control African Americans in this country, including how they worshipped. But these codes didn't work. African Americans, says Wright, have insisted on their right to worship in this country; they've always done so. But they've done so, essentially, separately.
And that's partly because we see God in the image that suits us—which is to say, ours. If you're white and a Christian (and one who spends any time at all thinking about these things—perhaps not a large number, actually) you think about Jesus, imagine him, as the Jesus we've all seen in pictures since we were kids in Sunday school: kindly looking, sad, bearded, handsome even. But not black. If you're African American in this country you likely see Jesus as black, or at least not white.