Still more on "God damn America"

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!

0 thoughts on “Still more on "God damn America"

  1. I think that I understand (at least somewhat) the point that Mr. Wright was trying to get across, but I still don’t necessarily agree with the WAY that he tried to get his point across.

    I think that a lot of times, we don’t so much have a problem with WHAT someone is saying (or a point that someone is trying to convey) as much as we have a problem with HOW that person says it.

  2. Rhea, I think the problem is that the black community (and I have checked from your blog that you don’t appear to be one of them) has a different way of doing some things to what we white westerners are happy with. That is, they say things a different way. We shouldn’t expect them always to do things our way, as long as what they are actually doing is not objectively wrong.

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  4. Peter,
    I understand exactly what you’re saying. In America, there is clearly a Black sub-culture, with its own norms.
    BUT…for me personally, I think that the way Mr. Wright presents his position is just not the best way to present it, regardless of the sub-culture that he might belong to.

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  6. I think that the way Mr. Wright presents his position is just not the best way to present it, regardless of the sub-culture that he might belong to.

    Rhea, as one who has spent a good amount of time within that subculture when I lived in Chicago, I can tell you from experience that Wright’s words are a very effective medium in it and its exactly what I would have expected from South Side Chicago.

  7. This is quite unbelievable. Rev. Jeremiah Wright is an absolute nutcase. Did you see his press conference??? It’s so clear that your politics color your theology and I’m beginning to pick up that as soon as their is criticism of America your ears perk up and get a gut reflex amen, that’s too bad.

    Rev. Wright is a racist nut job with an incredibly shallow, shaky, wacked theology, it’s unbelievable. It’s truly unbelievable that you would go out of your way to try and excuse what he says. But I think/hope you made this post before his press conference whereby he completely made a clown of himself and even Obama had to say enough is enough. He completely debunked this post of yours, re-affirmed multiple times his completely insane positions, like the white man introduced aids to kill black people. How can you possibly agree that’s not racist? Not only is it racist it’s complete lunacy.

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