Jeremiah Wright is damn right

[UPDATE: If you haven’t seen Rev. Jeremiah Wright’s comments in their original context, follow this link.]

Rev. Dr. Jeremiah Wright, former senior pastor at Trinity United Church of Christ, has taken a lot of flak for a handful of statements he has made in a few sermons. The reason we’re supposed to care is because Rev. Wright is the pastor of Barack Obama’s home church. I suppose the thinking goes that if Barack Obama can’t be beaten on issues, perhaps he’ll go down by association if enough dirt can be heaped upon his pastor. Time will tell.

Most famously, he has uttered the words you’re not supposed to say after 9/11: “God damn America.” Here is the “full” quote (and by “full” I mean “a pathetic, 10 second snippet of what was probably a 45 minute sermon”):

27479198.jpg“The government gives them the drugs, builds bigger prisons, passes a three-strike law and then wants us to sing ‘God Bless America.’ No, no, no, God damn America, that’s in the Bible for killing innocent people. God damn America for treating our citizens as less than human. God damn America for as long as she acts like she is God and she is supreme.”

Troubling words. But Rev. Jeremiah Wright is prophetic – and right.

It is an utter perversion of Christianity to think that God sanctions everything that America is or does – yet how many Christian leaders behave as if America is God’s Special Favorite? I’m sorry to say it, but we aren’t God’s favorites, just because we fly the Stars and Stripes. America is simply our nation, both great and flawed, with both a proud history of dissent and protecting minority voices, and a shameful history of abuse and oppression from the majority.

To whatever extent God damns anything, you can be damn sure that the God of Jesus Christ would damn slavery.

You can be damn sure that God would damn the government for selling crack in inner cities in order to finance the Contras.

You can be damn sure that God damns the American slaughter of innocent people, whether in Hiroshima or Baghdad.

If our God is a God of justice and mercy at all, it is clear that there are damnable aspects about America throughout her history. It is shocking to hear “God damn America!” But that’s nowhere near as shocking as the notion that God categorically blesses everything America does.

(For more on this, please see Devilstower’s excellent diary on DailyKos.)

Congress Assaults Christianity

Apparently having nothing more important to do, Congress decided to pass a dubious resolution that was intended by its main proponent to “honor Christmas and the Christian faith”.

Borrowing on rhetoric from Bill O’Reilly and his allegations of a left-wing “War on Christmas”, due to folks saying “Happy Holidays” in public places instead of “Merry Christmas–seriously–the bill’s sponsor, Rep. Steve King from Iowa, had this to say:

I recognized that we’re a Christian nation founded on Christian principles, and we’re coming up to Christmastime. … It’s time we stood up and said so, and said to the rest of America, Be who you are and be confident. And let’s worship Christ and let’s celebrate Christmas for the right reasons. (source)

picture-3.pngBut if this shameless pandering to the religious right isn’t bad enough, Rep. King has the nerve to go on TV and wag his finger at those who had the courage to stand up to this nonsense.

Well, two can play that game. Now, I’m on TV too (and by “TV,” I mean Youtube). Check it out! (For those of you who can’t get the link to work, or are interested in a synopsis of what I had to say, see below.)

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Why did Pat Robertson really endorse Rudy Giuliani?

Far right Christian extremist Pat Robertson has endorsed Rudy Giuliani, despite ideological differences such as Giuliani’s support for gay rights and abortion. Robertson certainly deserves credit for being willing to break rank from other prominent conservatives who threatened to form a 3rd party if a pro-choice Republican (read: Giuliani) gets the nod. But why Giuliani? Here’s what Robertson had to say:

Rudy Giuliani took a city that was in decline and considered ungovernable and reduced its violent crime, revitalized its core, dramatically lowered its taxes, cut through a welter of bureaucratic regulations, and did so in the spirit of bipartisanship which is so urgently needed in Washington today.

Maybe. However, Robertson gets it wrong so much of the time that I’m having a hard time swallowing this. (Also, it’s a little hilarious to hear Pat Freakin’ Robertson call for bipartisanship in Washington…) So I find myself questioning the motives of one who is so virulently anti-gay, anti-woman, and anti-democracy.

You see, Pat Robertson has already stated that he believes that only Christians and Jews are fit to govern America. Consider this in light of the fact that Robertson views Mormonism as an un-Christian cult, and maybe the simplest answer is also the best one: Robertson doesn’t believe that Romney, a Mormon, is as fit to govern as Giuliani, a Catholic.

What if Mitt Romney happened to be an evangelical Christian, remaining identical in every other respect of his life and political career? Who would Robertson support then? Does anybody actually believe that anti-gay and anti-abortion Pat F. Robertson would’ve endorsed Giuliani over Romney? Yeah…me neither.

I should hasten to add that as Republicans go, I’ve got no particular problem with Giuliani or Romney, in and of themselves. However, I do have a big problem with religious discrimination, especially in light of Galatians 3.28: There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male and female; for all of you are one in Christ Jesus. I hope Pat Robertson has had a legitimate change of heart and is simply supporting Giuliani for reasons of policy, despite all evidence to the contrary.