Media Blog

Defending Jeremiah Wright

From today’s Dallas Morning News:

Dr. Gordon, who said he counts the pastor he calls “Daddy J” as a spiritual mentor, rejects any suggestion that Mr. Wright is himself racist.
Traditional black preaching – particularly from men of Mr. Wright’s generation – carries a style and cadence far different from that found in most white churches. It is frequently delivered in Old Testament prophetic style, in which sins are recounted, punishment promised, repentance called for – with emotion and entertainment value at a premium.
“Black preaching is provocative and steps on everybody’s toes,” said the Rev. Sheron Patterson, senior pastor at Highland Hills United Methodist Church in Dallas. “Black preaching is cathartic for the preacher and for the congregation.”
Black audiences familiar with the style probably hear a more nuanced theology in some of Mr. Wright’s quotes than what comes across from the videos filling the newscasts and Web sites.
Take the sound bite that is getting the most play, the 2003 sermon in which he repeatedly said: “God [expletive] America.” It’s part of a longer passage that condemns the U.S. government for a number of transgressions against blacks, including “treating our citizens as less than human.”
And that, some other black pastors say, is a traditional use of the prophetic voice by a preacher named after the Old Testament prophet who condemned the nation of Israel in the name of God.
“Shall I not bring retribution on a nation such as this?” Jeremiah says, speaking for God. “They shall become as dung on the face of the earth. And death will be preferable to life for all that are left of this wicked folk.”

Most Popular

Liberalism as Faith

The British philosopher John Gray is not someone to shy away from ‘difficult’ topics. If you are looking for a provocative long read this weekend, his new article in the Times Literary Supplement ought to be a contender. I didn’t agree with all of it (for example, I would argue that the supposedly ... Read More

Our Cultural Crisis: A Kirkian Response

Editors’ note: The following article is adapted from a speech the author delivered at the Heritage Foundation on March 14, 2018. Few would dispute that we are in the middle of a grave cultural crisis. A despairing conservative critic wrote: “We are on the road to cultural disaster.” He placed the ... Read More
Politics & Policy

An Enduring Error

Editor’s Note: The following piece originally appeared in City Journal. It is reprinted here with permission. Fifty-one years ago, in July 1967, in response to an explosion of rioting in poor black urban neighborhoods around the United States, President Lyndon B. Johnson created the National Advisory ... Read More

Confirm Pompeo

What on earth are the Democrats doing? President Trump has nominated CIA director Mike Pompeo, eminently qualified by any reasonable standard, to be America’s 70th secretary of state. And yet the Senate Democrats, led by Chuck Schumer, have perverted the advice and consent clause of the Constitution into a ... Read More

The Mournful, Magnificent Sally Mann

‘Does the earth remember?" The infinitely gifted photographer Sally Mann asks this question in the catalogue of her great retrospective at the National Gallery in Washington. On view there is her series of Civil War battlefield landscapes, among the most ravishing works of art from the early 2000s. Once sites ... Read More

James Comey’s Inadvertent Admission

The good folks at the Republican National Committee awaken and realize that perhaps former FBI agents make more compelling critics of James Comey than, say, Maxine Waters. Yesterday afternoon brought the first excerpts of James Comey’s new book, A Higher Loyalty, and we were expected to run around in ... Read More