Honoring Reverend Wright
By absentee Posted in Culture | Obama | wright — Comments (12) / Email this page » / Leave a comment »
"If the church is silent, the rocks will cry out. If the church is silent, democracy will not become a reality in America. If the church is silent, then the United States cannot be united," Rev. Otis Moss III, Trinity United Church of Christ, in a ceremony honoring Reverend Jeremiah Wright.
On Monday, thousands honored Reverend Jeremiah Wright, the man and the message. Barack Obama was not there. The celebration was held by the Reverend's congregation, and was attended and joined by visiting speakers and guests. When the Wright Reverend arrived, he was greeted with a powerful standing ovation.
During the ceremony the Reverend did not speak, but was lavished with speeches and praise. As before at Trinity, Wright was compared to Jesus by several of the speakers. Among the congregants and guests, a consensus view was clear: Wright is right, everyone else doesn't get it.
The remark by Rev. Moss above is a telling comment. Democracy, he says, will not become a reality; the country cannot be united. These things will not come to pass if the Reverend Wright is vilified. Evoking imagery of jackboots and batons, he declared, "If they silence our voice in the morning, they will be coming to your church in the evening."
America is a Republic, of course. No accident of fate, our Founding Fathers arrived at our system of government through deliberation and inspiration. This is no meaningless distinction. To trivialize the difference is to trivialize the work of the Founders themselves, something I trust the Reverends Moss and Wright have no quarrel with.
And what is a direct democracy, if not mob rule? Is it not the tyranny of sentiment? The reign of the many over the pain of the few? Maybe it is just this that Reverend Moss seeks. Who can doubt that a pulpit of lies would wield its influence tyrannically? We see the echo of such tyranny in the machinations of the race baiters and tension peddlers already. Those PC police who would exert their popularly derived authority over not merely your speech, but your thoughts.
Of course, it is the common understanding that when we speak of democracy in popular culture, we refer to the concept of "representative democracy". In other words, a Republic. We may presume that Reverend Moss means democracy generally, or even that he refers to a republic. Reverend Moss, then, is suggesting that the will of the people is being thwarted, that they are disenfranchised, that they are not free. What is clear is that whichever form of the word he is using, he is certain we do not possess it.
Reverend Wright taught and preached that the United States is actively engaged in genocide. Wright was rightly vilified for his odious pulpiteering. Yet thousands have gathered to say that it is he who has been transgressed against; he who has been wronged. The most instructive fact at hand is that they do not dispute the merits of the case against him.
These gathered celebrants were there because of Wright's message, just as that message inspired Barack Obama. The Trinity United Church of Christ was filled to the rafters with praise for this message. That Wright was wronged is taken for granted, but not that he was taken out of context. Some interviewed outside the event suggested that excerpting gave the wrong picture of the Wright Reverend, that's true. However, like Barack Obama in his race speech, they did not suggest that such excerpting mischaracterized his intent, only that it failed to provide examples of his kindness, or his love of God, or his admonitions of service.
Reverend Moss fears that failing to honor the message of Reverend Wright will prevent the United States from becoming united and free. Like his predecessor, the man preaching from the pulpit of the influential Trinity United Church of Christ doesn't believe we are free, and he doesn't believe we are united. I find myself swayed by his words.
When thousands can come together to cheer the message that America the Beautiful is false, that America the Genocidal Terrorist-state is true ... how can we say we are united?
Barack Obama says he wants to unite this nation, heal her wounds, and close the great and terrible racial divide. The spiritual guide on the path to his vision of unity is a man who's vision of America is bleak, bloody, and broken. These two leaders do not speak to deaf ears or prattle in vain on street corners. No, they stand before crowds who cheer their words and chant their names.
On Monday, thousands honored Reverend Jeremiah Wright, the man and the message. Barack Obama was not there, but twenty years of guidance suggest those cheers echoed where he was. I can only pray they never echo among the walls and passageways of the White House.