"God damn America"?

Rev Jeremiah Wright (presumably no relation to Bishop NT), pastor of Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago, has hit the news because Senator Barack Obama, one of the main contenders for US president, is a member of his church. Kevin Sam has given a link to this compilation of extracts from his sermons, described by the commentator as “anti-American and very offensive” – not surprisingly since Wright’s words include “God damn America”:

Kevin reports, as the main point of his post, that Obama

is distancing himself from Rev. Wright’s political rhetoric.

Here is what I commented in response:

Well said Rev Wright! If speaking a few home truths like this, about present and past misdeeds of American governments, is called anti-American, then what hope is there for America? I understand why “God damn America” is considered offensive, but he will, and the process has started, if it doesn’t repent of its ungodly policies.

I don’t blame Obama for distancing himself from these remarks and the way they are presented. But I hope he has actually taken on board Wright’s criticisms and, if elected, will do something about putting them right.

In this hope I share Kevin’s outsider’s perspective that Obama is the best of the three candidates with a realistic chance of winning.

PS: My own country, the UK, is almost as much deserving of God’s judgment as the USA, for its complicity in Iraq and elsewhere. So please don’t think that I am biased against another country. The only real difference is that those of us who say so are not called anti-British, indeed I don’t think I have ever heard anything called anti-British.

0 thoughts on “"God damn America"?

  1. Rev Wright fails to mention Amercia is one of the only countries that grant scum like him religous freedom and for that it should be blessed not dammed, Rev Wright also seems to forget the 500,000 union soldiers that fought to free his peple and the thousands of abolitionists that risked theri life to free slaves..their are many things to beproud of in our history, focusing ont he negative breeds divisiviness and contempt.

  2. It is my hope that the American people wake up. Obama should not be their President, if he selected this man to be his minister for 20 years. It is a representation of the values that he embraces or he would have quit the church. He can not back away from this. His church has a web site it was very clear when I visited it months ago that there were many questions that were not being asked or answered. Michelle’s comments voice the ministry. Obama has been cleverly covering them up. Thankfully, before the end of the contest this at least has hit the fan. Who knows what else is yet to be found?

  3. Is this preacher really “free” to say what he is saying? I don’t think the press/media will give his words a fair hearing at all. America may be a “free” country by some narrow definition of the word, but in reality its far less “free” than many of the countries it invades and meddles with. America is not “evil”, per se, but it has more than its fair share of corrupt leaders at the helm of its various power centres (banks, multi-national businesses, military, FBI/CBI, etc).

    America is a free country until you start asking the wrong questions, then I think you find its freedom dries up very quickly.

    But yes, us in Britain should not be casting stones at America but looking at own country and holding our media and businesses and politicians to account.

  4. Thanks, Alastair. I agree with you.

    I don’t want to cast stones at America, only to applaud a preacher who is prepared to say things like that in the face of racism, being called “scum” etc, being expected to show gratitude that only some, not all, white people apparently enslaved his ancestors. I wish church leaders here would be prepared to say similar things to Jeremiah Wright about British government policies. Well, perhaps they do, but no one listens.

  5. Peter, being “anti-American” or “anti-British” is really a subjective term. If we make prophetic statements as conservatives or liberals clergy or even as Muslim Imams–either way, we will be seen as unpatriotic by people on both ends of the political spectrum. Prophets have a tough time being prophetic.

  6. Indeed, Kevin. Jeremiah, the biblical one, had the same problem. But there really isn’t a concept of being anti-British. Here one can oppose the government, oppose the monarchy, even oppose British sports teams, without being accused of such things. Perhaps that’s because no one is really pro-British and our nationalism is more focussed on England, Wales, Scotland or Ireland.

  7. i’d heard a lot of bad things about this before i watched it, but it wasn’t as off base as i had expected it to be. some gross imagery with the clinton thing could have been omitted; that’s sort of the kind of thing i hope to avoid at church or in life.

    BUT, i totally agree with how rediculous it is that we reacted so sensitively to 9-11, losing tens of thousands of lives in response to the loss of three thousand. What ever happened to turning the other cheek?

  8. I don’t know. I have a very hard time hearing “God damn America!” as “repent, America, or you will be judged”. It sounds more like, “I want you to be damned, and I don’t want you to repent”. Given the hateful rhetoric this man has uttered with regard to race and especially about black people who politically disagree with him, I don’t think it’s an exaggeration to call him a hateful man.

    Obama is also right to point out that his mentor’s extreme negativity doesn’t recognize the good amidst the bad, something Obama is also calling those who are critical of Wright to do with him as well. This is a fallen world, and there’s a lot of bad stuff, but acting as if everyone and everything is pure evil is inconsistent with Christian love of neighbor. Wright and his critics are both guilty of that.

  9. Thank you, Jeremy. I think we can agree here. Whatever Wright may think, I certainly don’t endorse “I want you to be damned, and I don’t want you to repent”. Indeed we all need to recognise the good as well as the bad. The problem is that some people don’t want to recognise the bad, and overreact when someone points it out to them.

  10. Pingback: Gentle Wisdom » “God damn America” in context

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  12. God cannot bless America as He cannot become the patron of sin. It is USA, not Israel which is the problem in the Middle East as the USA seems to run by Zionists. Many Christians will forfeit their lives throughout the world because of America’s lust for blood.
    Time to end the sponsorship of the the rogue Israel state and give Palestinians justice

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