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”.