For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul? — Matthew 16:26
Unless you have been under a rock, you know that Rev. Jeremiah Wright is back in the news, first in an interview with Bill Moyers and then in an appearance before the National Press Club. It was the latter which prompted presidential hopeful Barack Obama to denounce his former pastor:
I’ve known Rev. Wright for almost 20 years. The person I saw yesterday was not the person that I met 20 years ago. His comments were not only divisive and destructive, but I believe that they end up giving comfort to those who prey on hate and I believe that they do not portray accurately the perspective of the black church. They certainly don’t portray accurately my values and beliefs and if Rev Wright thinks that’s political posturing, as he put it, then he doesn’t know me very well and based on his remarks yesterday, well I may not know him as well as I thought either.
Finally Obama says what I’ve been saying all along: Wright’s comments are not typical fare in black churches. From my original post:
I can say without hesitation that I’ve heard black pastors say things that would make white people uncomfortable. Heck, I’ve heard black pastors say things that make me uncomfortable. (As a matter of fact, the pastor at the church that I grew up in, the one that I was baptized in, the one that my father was ordained in, said something that has kept me away for a number of years.) But the language of Wright? Never.
Since that time, I’ve continued to question folks and no one I’ve talked to has ever heard the type of comments that Wright made. Yet the meme – put out there by Donna Brazile when this story broke in the MSM – was that his behavior was typical of black churches. (If I recall correctly, Brazile actually called Wright’s comments “tame.”)
Throughout the last six weeks, the black church has been unfairly maligned. I have cringed every time someone asked me if these comments were normal. I’ve had to reassure folks that Wright is an aberration. What I want to know is why?
Why did black folk allow the media to portray our churches this way? Why didn’t the black ministers stand up and say something? Why didn’t other black leaders stand up and say something? Was everyone so afraid that saying something would hurt Obama? Is one man worth the desecration of our churches?
Even the person who started this mess – Donna Brazile – ate her words last Sunday. I suspect, though, that her comments had less to do with doing what’s right than doing what is politically expedient.
The fact that black folk weren’t up in arms about this mischaracterization of an institution that has been the bedrock of our community truly saddens me. Are we truly willing to give up our souls in order to nominate a black man?
And to what end? By allowing this to happen, the wounds of racial division in our country have been ripped wide open. We don’t talk about issues anymore, we talk about what percentage of the black vote Obama is getting and look for racism under every rock. Everything has racial overtones. Health care, the economy, the war in Iraq – none of these are important anymore.
Because no one had the guts to stand up and say ENOUGH ALREADY.