"God damn America" in context

I may have upset some people with my post “God damn America”?, despite the quotes and the question mark in the post title. After all, the soundbite quotes in the video of Rev Jeremiah Wright are indeed rather shocking. But JR Woodward, in a thoughtful post (thanks to Pam BG for the link), has shown how the quotes from Wright’s sermons were taken completely out of context.

The example given in the Youtube video embedded by Woodward shows how Wright’s supposedly offensive words in the aftermath of 9/11:

America’s chickens are coming home to roost

are in fact a quotation of the words of a white ambassador. The video is well worth watching for the insight it gives into the real Jeremiah Wright, who is not at all the monster depicted by the original compilation of soundbites.

A search of Youtube found me this video giving the actual context of the words “God damn America”. Here is a transcription of a small part of this, from the very end of the video – of course I can’t imitate Wright’s style of preaching:

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 citizens as less than human. God damn America as long as she tries to act like she is God and she is supreme. The United States government has failed the vast majority of her citizens of African descent.

Watch more of this, and decide for yourselves whether in fact Wright’s sentiments were (in Jeremy Pierce’s words) “I want you to be damned, and I don’t want you to repent”, or “repent, America, or you will be judged”.

9 thoughts on “"God damn America" in context

  1. Peter,
    I appreciate your encouraging us to decide for ourselves. Too many of us are listening to too many of us deciding for us.

    In my neck of the woods, Rev. Wright was to be honored by the divinity school of my university, but the event was moved off campus because of “security” reasons. Also an awful lot of donors were questioning the award. Now it seems none of us will get to see or hear the pastor for ourselves:

    http://religionblog.dallasnews.com/archives/2008/03/jeremiah-wright-might-skip-n-t.html

  2. My friend said tonight, “You know what’s dumb? Patriotism.” And I think he’s absolutely right. Why should we elevate our country on any level? It is an institution that is answerable to God, just as any human being is answerable to God. So if a nation is doing sinful things, then it is not unpatriotic to speak out against it. I hope Rev. Wright’s heart is in the camp seeking America’s repentance, and I think it is.

  3. My friend said tonight, “You know what’s dumb? Patriotism.” And I think he’s absolutely right. Why should we elevate our country on any level? It is an institution that is answerable to God, just as any human being is answerable to God (well not exactly, it doesn’t have a soul, but you know what I mean). So if a nation is doing sinful things, then it is not unpatriotic to speak out against it. I hope Rev. Wright’s heart is in the camp seeking America’s repentance, and I think it is.

  4. Rhea, thanks for the link. The comments are clearly libellous. I would not trust a site which allows such defamatory material to be posted not to post audio clips entirely out of context. How did Obama finish the sentences “I don’t think they are any less children of God …” and “I’m sure she’s in heaven …”? If it is impossible for those who are not explicitly believers in Christ to be saved, how come Abraham was saved? Or the repentant thief of Luke 23:40-43 whose Christian confession would not be considered adequate in most of our churches? Of course Abraham and the thief were saved through Christ, because he is the one way of salvation, but neither of them was “a believer in the way that [Obama] was”.

  5. That raises an interesting point Peter as to what is the ‘bottom line’ for people to become saved?

    Clearly the repentant thief did not pray the standard evangelical ‘prayer of faith’ and he hadn’t been to Bible College or given his heart to Matt Redman.

    Perhaps its easier to enter the Kingdom of God than we think…

  6. Indeed, Iconoclast. Your point is similar to mine. We don’t know much about Obama’s mother (at least I don’t). We don’t even know the end of what her son said about her. So who are we to judge her as not being in heaven, and her son as wrong to claim that she is? Matthew 7:1.

  7. Pingback: Gentle Wisdom » Still more on “God damn America”

  8. Pingback: Didn't Obama's preacher say God Damn America? - US Message Board - Political Discussion Forum

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