Mar 17, 2008

'G-d Damn America'?

By Hal Lindsey

First, I am quoting this title, not agreeing with it.

If your pastor's sermons dripped hatred for black people as a race and equated black people with devils, would that be grounds to question your views on racism? Suppose your pastor said from the pulpit that black people are responsible for all America's problems?

Suppose you attended that church, under that teaching, for 20 years or more? Would that make you a racist? If not, shouldn't the issue of racism at least be called into question?

That is the question facing presidential candidate Barack Obama because of his long association with his pastor, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright. But Obama says his campaign "transcends race." I am sorry, Mr. Obama, that is an impossible position in the context of this election, given your unique background – which can be both a blessing and/or a curse. It all depends on whether you condemn of agree with certain radical beliefs of your close associates. You can't dismiss some of these doctrines with glib one-liners. The American people deserve more than that.

Obama dismisses criticisms by saying he doesn't always agree with his pastor. On the other hand, he said at a campaign appearance that, "I don't think my church is actually particularly controversial." Wow!

He said that his pastor is "like an old uncle who says things I don't always agree with." We need to know specifically what Obama agrees with and what he doesn't agree with. Some beliefs espoused by his pastor could radically impact what he does as president.

ABC News reviewed a number of Wright's sermons and posted snippets on its website.

If these snippets are accurate, then one wonders where the two men could possibly have enough common ground to sustain a church relationship of 20 year's standing.

"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," said Wright in a 2003 sermon as quoted by ABC.

"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."

Is this one of those things Obama doesn't "always" agree with?

A week after the 9/11 attacks, Rev. Wright appeared to justify them, listing the reasons for his congregation. "We bombed Hiroshima, we bombed Nagasaki, and we nuked far more than the thousands in New York and the Pentagon, and we never batted an eye. …"

Note especially Wright's assessment of the attacks on New York, Washington and the skies over Pennsylvania: "We have supported state terrorism against the Palestinians and black South Africans, and now we are indignant because the stuff we have done overseas is now brought right back to our own front yards. America's chickens are coming home to roost."

Is this one of those comments Obama's "old uncle" says that he doesn't "always" agree with – or one of those he doesn't find "particularly controversial"?

Not really, says Obama. "It sounds like he was trying to be provocative," he told a New York Times reporter.

Obama lumps questions about his pastor into the "personal attacks" category, as if the views of the man who has been his spiritual mentor and good friend for 20 years were irrelevant.

A statement released to by the campaign sniffed, "Sen. Obama has said repeatedly that personal attacks such as this have no place in this campaign or our politics, whether they're offered from a platform at a rally or the pulpit of a church. Sen. Obama does not think of the pastor of his church in political terms. Like a member of his family, there are things he says with which Sen. Obama deeply disagrees. But now that he is retired, that doesn't detract from Sen. Obama's affection for Rev. Wright or his appreciation for the good works he has done."
One of the reasons there are as many denominations within Christianity as there are is because people tend to congregate with like-minded believers under the teaching of a like-minded pastor.

That isn't to say all members agree on all things, but they agree with more things than they disagree, or else they move on to another church.

Jeremiah Wright married Barack Obama and his wife. Rev. Wright baptized both of his daughters. Obama credits Wright with leading him to Jesus. He has sat under Wright's teaching on morality, religion, race and politics for 20 years, but claims it is irrelevant to his campaign for the highest office in the land.

One thing is for sure. Rev. Wright's many public statements reflect a different Jesus than the orthodox Jesus I have studied for over 52 years. And no wonder, since Wright claims his "black value system" is based on what he calls Black Liberation Theology, which he says he got from the "Liberation Theology" developed in Nicaragua during the 1970s.

This Liberation Theology was condemned as a false doctrine by Pope John Paul II after then-Cardinal Ratzinger (now Pope Benedict XVI) investigated it. All orthodox Christian leaders also condemned it. It is a Marxist-based revolutionary movement, disguised as "Christian," that uses violence when needed to overthrow governments and populations.

I believe that no one can sit under the teaching of these kinds of core beliefs for 20 years and not have his worldview significantly affected.