Since I posted about “God damn America” in context, I chanced upon a blog, with the possibly presumptuous name The Church of Jesus Christ, on which the anonymous blogger “Polycarp” has posted a transcription of much of Rev Jeremiah Wright’s controversial “God damn America” sermon. In fact the transcription was taken from another blog, The Roland Report.
Here are some of Wright’s words following on, not quite immediately, from the words “God damn America”:
The United States government has failed the vast majority of her citizens of African descent.
Tell your neighbor he’s (going to) help us one last time. Turn back and say forgive him for the God Damn, that’s in the Bible though. Blessings and curses is in the Bible. It’s in the Bible.
Where government fail, God never fails. When God says it, it’s done. God never fails. When God wills it, you better get out the way, ‘cause God never fails. When God fixes it, oh believe me it’s fixed. God never fails. Somebody right now, you think you can’t make it, but I want you to know that you are more than a conqueror through Christ. You can do all things through Christ who strengthens you.
I take Wright’s words “he’s (going to) help us one last time … forgive him for the God Damn”, although confusing without more verbal and visual clues, to indicate that Wright is partly retracting his earlier words and instead asking God to turn and help America “one last time”. So “God damn America” can be understood as a rhetorical flourish to get his listeners’ attention to what follows, and was never intended as a serious imprecation. It certainly succeeded in getting attention, but unfortunately the following words were cut off, even in the rather longer video to which I previously posted a link.
I largely agree with Polycarp’s appraisal:
First, what Rev. Wright said was not that far off. …
Why is what he said so offensive? He told the absolute truth and pointed out that in the end governments fail, but God does not. Anything wrong with that? Did he not point out the list of offenses that the government has made? God did the same thing to Israel. The problem that I think that many people have, is that they view what he said as racist. He is not. He said that Egypt has done the same thing. But why focus on another country where the people could not have connected to? Why speak about the horrors of Czarist Russia? No one would have connected. So, like most speakers trying to get a point across, he did his best to connect the audience to the topic.
Another thing, is that he ‘attacked’ the U.S. I hate to tell you this, but everything he said was correct. And another thing, this country is not divine, so stop saying that it is. Stop pretending that Christ died that the Declaration of Independence might be written!