3 Things about Rev. Jeremiah Wright

I have to get this off my chest. Certain people will not let this thing go and totally ignore the historic speech Senator Obama gave in reference to Rev Wright’s comments. However, I have to make 3 points and get this over with.

1: What Bible are people reading?

I ask this question because many accused Rev. Wright of not preaching the Gospel. They are so far off with that assertion that I have to ask if they ever read the Bible and know anything about their religion. Granted, I know I’m a Muslim, but I grew up in the Black Church, was Baptized in the Black Church, and love the Black Church, so I’m just a “little” offended at the notion that Rev. Wright’s words are “angry”, “hate-filled”, and not true to the message contained in scripture. I know this may be hard for many to swallow, but in the majority of Black Churches, since we were allowed to have them, preachers have always taught and spoke in this manner, even our beloved Dr. King taught in this manner. The issues from the pulpit have always been those of the community, of the people our struggles and sacrifices. So the vernacular is that of the audience so that the message can reach us, comfort us, and give us a voice when we have none, and strength when we need it. It was fiery sermons that helped abolitionists continue, fiery sermons that kept the struggle for civil and human rights going, and that same fiery sermons today that remind us that injustices are still prevalent even today in America, lest we forget that it was just last year that 6 black boys in Jena were about to go to jail for “almost murdering” a fellow white student, who by the way was beaten so bad, that he was released the same day and went to a party that night….. So I don’t think there is anything to apologize as it relates to rhetoric, but how does this line up with scripture?

Christian or not, let it be known that Jesus (as) was not some milquetoast sissy, hippie, etc. who always walked around with two fingers up saying “peace”. This same Jesus (as) is reported to have said “Think not that I have come to bring peace, but nay a sword…” (Matthew 10:34-39) What is meant here? They say that Jesus (as) is the “Prince of peace” right? So what does this mean? Now admittedly, I have used this verse against Christians to say that Christianity is a violent religion, but for the record I was being sarcastic. 🙂 I know very well what this verse implies. What it implies and means is that Jesus (as) brought a message, a word from God, so powerful that the truth of the message would make people uncomfortable. It would be so anti-establishment that it would be like the very words from his mouth would be warring within the peoples heart as a sword does on the field of battle. This truth would divide families and communities because you will have those who readily accept as well as those who readily reject and therefore, you would have an obvious division. So Rev. Wright’s method, that same method that is historical in the Black Church, did exactly as it has always done: make people feel uncomfortable. Such was the teachings of Jesus (as). His messages made the people uncomfortable, but moreso made the establishment uncomfortable, so much so that they sought to crucify and kill him as the did the Prophets before him, but they failed. So here today we have a modern day crucification with two crosses, one for Rev. Wright and one for Senator Barack Obama. But it doesn’t just end there. Jesus (as) also turned over the tables and chased the money changers out the temple did he not? How did that make them feel? Did they look at Jesus (as) as many of you do? Did they not consider him “dangerous”, “fiery”, “anti-Roman”, etc? So don’t tell me, he wasn’t teaching from the scripture especially when he said “God damn America”. First of all, that wasn’t the entire statement you workers of inequity. He referred to the Bible when he made that statement saying that God wouldn’t be pleased with an America that we have. How is he lying? What kind of God do you believe in? Either God is the same God that creates earthquakes, floods, wind, rain, and hail. Destroys entire civilizations for their sins and disbelief, or it’s just a fairytale. Sure God blesses us with sunny days after the storm, calm after the earthquake, and relief after the fire. But, God reminds us that we have to remember that chastisement is real. As God says in the Qur’an “How many nations have we destroyed because of they were immersed in evil doing?”(Al-Hajj 42-45) but it gets better, God also says in the Quran “If He were to punish mankind according to what they deserve, there would not be a single living creature on Earth” (Fatir 45). So yes, God is the Most, Merciful, Compassionate, etc. but God is also a God of Judgment. So yes, I used the Qur’an to elevate my point, but this is also in the Bible. What happened to Sodom and Gomorrah? Are these just fairy tales? Some of the things America is doing and has done over it’s short history, would make some of the ancient places God destroyed look saintlike in comparison. This is a “Christian nation” or so they say, yet with all our wealth, how do we treat the meek, humble, needy, the children, orphan, and wayfarer? These are the brethren of Jesus (as) are they not? Did he not say the least of the people are his brethren? Did he not say suffer the children who come unto him? So, yes with all our faults as a nation, we want God to bless America. We should pray that God blesses America, but to deny that God will damn America if we don’t shape up, to deny that we have done and are doing evil, especially when you profess to be a Christian, Jew, or Muslim, means you are living a fairytale! It’s just a book to you, put it down and read something else, because you obviously have been mislead if you believe God would be pleased with us in our current state!

2: What did he say that was wrong?

I hear a lot of commentary on TV, Radio, and on the web. But I have yet to hear what it was that Jeremiah Wright said that was wrong. His delivery may not have been flawless, but what did he conceptually say that was wrong?

“Hillary Clinton has never been called a N-word” well has she? Ask yourself this, what did he mean by bringing it up, did you actually read or listen to the whole statement, or just listen to a sound-bite? Outside of the obvious truth that she hasn’t been called that, he was talking about Barack’s unique experience of having been there done that. For all his ‘white-ness’ Senator Obama has also experienced a very real ‘black-ness’ here in America. He understands what it means to be a black person in America where your very skin color and often name, can and often will hold you back in life. Minorities (not just blacks) have to work that much harder to prove themselves. Don’t look at Barack, Oprah, Will Smith, etc. as the model. They are the exception to the rule, but know for a fact that each one of them will admit, some have openly, that they had to fight to get where they are, primarily because of their skin color. So that statement was the truth. The context of the statement was real. So what’s the problem? Oh, I know, it’s not polite to speak the truth in Church! Where else should he have said it? Let us not forget that is what many of them came to hear! His pulpit wasn’t meant for CNN, MSNBC, or Fox “News”. It was meant for his Church, his congregation, and his people. But if you must take it out of that environment, than instead of just saying your mad, tell us why your angry? Tell us that he is a liar. Haven’t heard that yet……“The chickens have come home to roost” The nay-sayers love that one, because then they get to bring Malcolm X from the grave and equate the two, it’s a two for one special! Let’s get Rev. Wright and Malcolm again if we can, just for good measure and to scare white people even more! In the context of9/11, it is quite foolish to think that Al-Qaeda attacked America again for no Earthly reason. We can pretend all we want that these attacks happened in a vacuum, but the truth is clear from the falsehood. Even Bin Laden said if he was attacking us for our “freedom” or “democracy” or because we are a “Christian” nation, why go through the trouble of attacking America, when Europe is right there and easier to get to? Osama Bin Ladens exact words:

Before I begin, I say to you that security is an indispensable pillar of human life and that free men do not forfeit their security, contrary to Bush’s claim that we hate freedom.

If so, then let him explain to us why we don’t strike for example – Sweden? And we know that freedom-haters don’t possess defiant spirits like those of the 19 – may Allah have mercy on them.

No, we fight because we are free men who don’t sleep under oppression. We want to restore freedom to our nation, just as you lay waste to our nation. So shall we lay waste to yours.

No one except a dumb thief plays with the security of others and then makes himself believe he will be secure. Whereas thinking people, when disaster strikes, make it their priority to look for its causes, in order to prevent it happening again.

But I am amazed at you. Even though we are in the fourth year after the events of September 11th, Bush is still engaged in distortion, deception and hiding from you the real causes. And thus, the reasons are still there for a repeat of what occurred.

So I shall talk to you about the story behind those events and shall tell you truthfully about the moments in which the decision was taken, for you to consider.

I say to you, Allah knows that it had never occurred to us to strike the towers. But after it became unbearable and we witnessed the oppression and tyranny of the American/Israeli coalition against our people in Palestine and Lebanon, it came to my mind.

The events that affected my soul in a direct way started in 1982 when America permitted the Israelis to invade Lebanon and the American Sixth Fleet helped them in that. This bombardment began and many were killed and injured and others were terrorised and displaced.

I couldn’t forget those moving scenes, blood and severed limbs, women and children sprawled everywhere. Houses destroyed along with their occupants and high rises demolished over their residents, rockets raining down on our home without mercy.

The situation was like a crocodile meeting a helpless child, powerless except for his screams. Does the crocodile understand a conversation that doesn’t include a weapon? And the whole world saw and heard but it didn’t respond.

In those difficult moments many hard-to-describe ideas bubbled in my soul, but in the end they produced an intense feeling of rejection of tyranny, and gave birth to a strong resolve to punish the oppressors.

And as I looked at those demolished towers in Lebanon, it entered my mind that we should punish the oppressor in kind and that we should destroy towers in America in order that they taste some of what we tasted and so that they be deterred from killing our women and children.

And that day, it was confirmed to me that oppression and the intentional killing of innocent women and children is a deliberate American policy. Destruction is freedom and democracy, while resistance is terrorism and intolerance.

This means the oppressing and embargoing to death of millions as Bush Sr did in Iraq in the greatest mass slaughter of children mankind has ever known, and it means the throwing of millions of pounds of bombs and explosives at millions of children – also in Iraq – as Bush Jr did, in order to remove an old agent and replace him with a new puppet to assist in the pilfering of Iraq’s oil and other outrages.

So with these images and their like as their background, the events of September 11th came as a reply to those great wrongs, should a man be blamed for defending his sanctuary?

Now before people lie about me, know that I reject and denounce, Osama Bin Laden and any and all like him who kill innocent people and terrorize citizens in the name of my religion. I am a proud American, a Marine, Father, and loyal citizen who has sworn numerous oaths to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies foreign and domestic….So don’t go there. But the point still stands.

We cannot lie to ourselves thinking that our actions in the Middle East and in the world have no ripple effects. Is it an excuse for OBL? Hell no, Allah (swt) in the Quran says “never let hatred of any-one lead you into the sin of deviating from justice” (Al-Ma’idah 8). So no, our actions are not an excuse to kill innocent men, women, and children Muslim and non-Muslim alike. I have said this many times. However, at the same time, we shouldn’t feel ourselves so self-righteous as to think, that there are those out there that have and will respond for many reasons, one being a direct result of our actions in the present and those of the past. So how was Rev. Jeremiah Wright wrong on this point as well? Did not our actions in Lebanon, Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia, Palestine, etc. etc. etc. not make somebody angry? Hell, the king of terror himself said this was a major part of his reasoning and he used to be our “freedom fighter” when he fighting the Soviet Union for us. Just like when Rumsfield was smiling and shaking hands with Saddam Hussein while we were helping him get the weapons he used to kill millions of Iranians in their war by proxy. We may have a short memory, but when entire generations have been killed because of politics in done in our names, I would imagine that those people haven’t forgot. So I ask again, was Rev. Jeremiah Wright lying about this too?

“The gov’t created AIDS and injected black people with it” This is the only somewhat legitimate argument the pundits have. This is speculation and conjecture more like a conspiracy theory, however with teeth. I don’t need to go into lengthy detail with this, but historically speaking, the US government has in the past been complicit in chemical/biological experimentation on black people. There are well documented case of this in the past and even some in the modern era. From the syphilis injections, to sterilizations, to the alleged AIDS vaccination experimentation on children in NY. mercury in vaccines and all other chemicals that affect not only black people but all Americans have been well researched and documented. There are research papers out now that suggest that AIDs was created in a laboratory and many of the scientists we imported in the 40’s and 50’s were working on immune system inhibitors. Whether the theory is right or wrong, given the very real history of what has happened to blacks as it relates to this topic, I can surely see why many blacks feel and believe this way. Does that make him a liar? Well you would have to prove his theory incorrect and since there is no conclusive evidence on any side about the origin of AIDS this doesn’t make him a liar but one forwarding his beliefs based upon his evidence. At best, that makes him irresponsible, but still can he be proven a liar?

Now I’m certain there are more lines that are can be cherry picked, but I will continue to come back to the same formula:

A: Is he wrong as a Minister to teach and preach against injustice and suffering real or perceived?

B: Did his statement(s) have any merit of truth in them, or is he flat out lying?

C: Did you even hear the entire statement in context, or just a sound bite?

3: Why is this even an issue?

Senator Barack Obama is running for President. Not his former pastor Rev. Jeremiah Wright. Senator Obama, has explained how he personally feels and that should be the end of it, because that is the person that is running. Many act as if this is something new. Like there hasn’t been leaders of Churches who have said “controversial” things. I don’t see other Congressmen and women leaving their churches or religions. I don’t see them being asked to reject, denounce, or leave their Pastors or congregations. How many Catholics we have in politics? Have they been asked to leave the church or denounce the Pope? I mean afterall, he’s the head and leader, so he must have known about the scandals and the shifting around of priests and the paying of millions to families. Why not stop being a Catholic? What about the Evangelicals in politics? How many of the Rev’s in those churches have called entire religions and people evil, satanic, etc. how many have they condemned to hell and called all manner of vile words. Pat Robertson, Hagee, etc. Both have supported candidates, have any of the candidates been asked to repudiate them on this level? Some of these very Rev’s have blamed 9/11, Hurricane Katrina, etc. on God’s wrath! This is plain hypocrisy at it’s finest. I believe the real truth is what we are not discussing which is why by and large it was white Americans that were angry about this particularly those of the Republican persuasion and some Hillary Clinton supporters as well.

I personally, don’t believe many of them are racist. That’s a controversial statement to make in of itself as many are quick to label people as racists. I believe that this situation if you will, is another resurfacing in a long line of historical resurfacings of the fear and guilt that many have about race in America. There is nothing like a fiery black leader, religious or not, that scares the pants off of white America. It has always been this way. But why? Is what we should be asking. Pat Robertson could literally spit venom against Muslims, Gays, etc. and no one would bat an eye. At best they would ignore him as “aloof” and move on. But let a Black minister do the same and it will be the in the news cycle for days. Why is that? Why try so hard to pin it on Obama? Let’s not fool ourselves. This whole Obama candidacy has been plagued with issues of race from the beginning. Whether it was black people saying he wasn’t black enough, a puppet, uncle tom, etc. to now the sudden “realization” that he has majority black support, a black wife, and children oh, and of course goes to a majority black church, and a typical black pastor. They even threw Minister Farrakhan in this for good measure because we know how white people and Jews hate him and tied them all together in some kind of black conspiracy to destroy white people. And do what? Is may question? Could this fear be rooted in the same fear that the slavemaster and his family had of their slaves? The fear that they knew they were wrong and being unjust and maybe the slaves would revolt? Maybe it’s just me, but I think that a lot of this fear is do to the fact that everybody knows that America for all her good and greatness, and I will die to see that flag flying high, has in fact even to this day, not have done right by black people and minorities collectively. So I believe many white people feel that a black man in power, or a black man that is outspoken and makes known these ills, will try to enact to kind of war or retribution on white people. This is where I believe the theory of “white guilt” comes from.

You have some whites who will just shrug their shoulders and say “it wasn’t me so I don’t care” then you have some whites who will understand what has happened and work toward fixing it. But I digress, I don’t want to get into a post about the psychology of race in America. I conclude on this subject, that this is why many white people are perplexed that the masses of black people support Minister Farrakhan, Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson, etc. Many wonder how is it that Farrakhan can get millions of blacks to come hear him speak and the majority aren’t even in the Nation of Islam, or remotely Muslim. Why is it that he can on any given Sunday preach in black churches and give eulogies at black Christian funerals like Rosa Parks for example? This perplexes white people because no matter how they demonize him in the press, black people love him and those like him.

Therefore, this is why they are trying to pin this all on Barack Obama. They want to paint him as a “typical black” and therefore, somehow unfit to lead this nation. They want to scare white people into thinking that somehow he is not capable, because you know how those black people are. What they want you to think is that somehow he’s going to give Rev’s Sharpton, Jackson, and Minister Farrakhan cabinet positions or something. They want to bring up the same stereotypes of the incompetent, savage black man, that’s out to get white people. The sad part is the Clinton’s have been silent supporters of these attacks. (Guess they are showing blacks their true colors, so much for that “First black President” crap) I rightfully blame the Clinton’s. Not because of what their people have done, but what they haven’t done. If they were for blacks as they have alluded to all these years, now is/was the time to stand with Obama and say enough of this crap, we need to discuss the issues. Where is Bill Clinton, the beloved of Blacks denouncing the media and those who are trying to put Obama in this corner? Where is the honorable John McCain, saying that race and religion has no place in our politics. These are supposed to be agents of change who want a better America too right? Yet they are silent when the America of old and the agents of old, continue with the same tricks against one who advocates change. I wonder why?

We can all wonder why, but the truth is, until we wake up and as Obama said say “Not this time” we will continue our self-destructive pattern, give into our fears, and allow ourselves to be victims of the past and never look toward a better and brighter future.

Rev. Wright said it and I will echo it. God Damn America for her ills, injustices, and lack of righteousness. God Damn America who has heard the word, but refuses to act. God Damn America for her continued ignoring of you message and your messengers. But God have mercy on us and forgive us for our iniquity. God bless and continue to bless those who do work, have heard, and do act.

I truly feel we are on the cusp of a major decision. We can live in the past or we can move on. We can work on and understand those things that divide us, or we can focus on them and use them as tools the widen the gap. It’s truly up to us.

I believe Senator Barack Obama is the best candidate that can help change America and how she is perceived by her citizens and especially the world. I believe that his Presidency can elevate politics and allow people to work together who ordinarily would not. I believe that Obama is truly change we can believe in. I happen to be one of those who dare to hope and dare to dream. I know that my countries best days are ahead, but they can be increasing worsened based on our choices.

As Langston Hughes wrote:

Hold fast to Dreams,

For if Dreams die, life is a broken-winged bird that cannot fly,

Hold fast to Dreams,

For if Dreams go, life is a barren field frozen with snow

Even Master Yoda said: “Try not. Do or do not, there is no try.”
May Allah (swt) continually forgive, bless, and guide us, America, it’s leaders, and the world,

As Salaam Alaikum

Robert Salaam

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8 Comments

  1. This is a very good brother. I hope you got my email by the way. Racism is very real in the US and the Obama/Rev. Wright issue highlights what I have said to my white counterparts over and over again. “If I don’t view America through your eyes I am less of an American” but viewing America through their eyes all too often means ignoring real faults of America for their utopianism. Bringing Rev. Wright to the fore gives many whites (they know who they are) the chance to suggest that Obama is in fact reminding white people of how white they are.

    Reply

  2. Salam, I agree, I didn’t see it as anything spectacularly offensive, worse is said every day by white preachers, on and off the TV. Besides, there IS a LOT to be angry about and a lot to work on in America. Obama’s time in the spotlight has brought up these issues of race, injustice and bigotry into the national news, where they’re not usually seen by average people.

    You point out that “They want to paint him as a “typical black” and therefore, somehow unfit to lead this nation.” That’s true. They show a black guy on TV “acting up” and that scares the crap out of a lot of people. They’re not even listening to what he’s saying. Only the “God damn America” part seeps in.

    Obama is such a calm, collected guy, now he’s being associated with someone, as Jon Stewart put it, “so BLACK and ANGRY” and one can’t help but think this translates into his being written-off as a “typical black” — always yelling about social problems, injustice and inequality… what’s their problem?!? :-/

    Regarding whites thinking that a “minority” president would enact retribution on whites for their injustices: I never actually thought about that and I haven’t encountered anyone who thinks that. I certainly don’t believe Obama or even Rev. Wright would do such a thing, but there is a certain section of white society that is desperate to remain in control. That whole “white, Christian, male” thing has been going on for so long, this election has them all out of sorts.

    I do believe many white people don’t like to have these things talked about because they think, “I didn’t lynch anybody today, my kids are in school with black kids, racism is over! Why keep digging up the past?” The effects of the past and very-much-still-alive racism and inequality escape them, for the most part. Ok I’ve rambled enough!

    BTW, Did you read this article? http://www.ijtema.net/2008/03/20/a-letter-to-barack-obama-wheres-the-change-barack/

    Reply

  3. Peggy Noonan in today’s Wall Street Journal had lots of praise for Obama’s speech. She called in intellectual and effective and called upon both NcCain and Hillary to follow Obama’s lead.

    And Peggy Noonan is clearly a “white patriotic American” I agree with Noonan.

    I also agree that the theme of the speech is more “how great is America” than “God damn America” because of the progress that we have made in resolving many of our race problems in Ameica over the past 25years.

    Reply

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