Rev. Wright, the retired pastor of the Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago, has been vilified in the media for some excerpts from some of his sermons deemed to be un-American, non-patriotic and anti-Christian. I do not know Rev. Wright personally nor have I ever heard him preach in person; however, there are several people whom I hold in high regard who hold Rev. Wright in great esteem. For seven years I was the pastor of the First Baptist Church of Hamilton, NY, the Mother Church of Colgate University. Rev. Wright was invited to preach the Baccalaureate sermon at Colgate in 1998 (after I came to the West Henrietta Baptist Church). He was one of two to whom Colgate rewarded honorary degrees at their Commencement that year (the other was New York Governor George Pataki). Neil Grabois, the president of Colgate, said that Rev. Wright's voice "is consistently raised for the radical inclusivity of the human community and whose rooting is profoundly biblical."
I would point out that it is unfair to judge any preacher by taking a few small quotes out of context. Take for example, Jesus' words: "“If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and his own life also, he cannot be My disciple." (Luke 14:26).
It is proper not only to pray that God bless America but also recognize that all nations, including America, stand under the judgment and righteous condemnation of God for their sins. It is not just black preachers who have pointed this out. Read Abraham Lincoln's Second Inaugural Address -http://showcase.netins.net/web/creative/lincoln/speeches/inaug2.htm
Note also the words of Thomas Jefferson (inscribed on his memorial in Washington, D.C.) - "I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just; that his justice cannot sleep forever." Jefferson's words, as were Lincoln's, were in regard to slavery.
There are many sins for which God should damn American. There are many sins for which God should damn me.
I would encourage those of you who have broadband Internet connections to listen to Rev. Wright's remarks in context. See the article and video here - http://www.alternet.org/blogs/election08/80481/
See this video which contains the "God damn America" remark - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RvMbeVQj6Lw
Lastly, see this video where Wright preaches on Jesus' unending love, not hate -http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dqphQcOUI4A&feature=related
This is from the American Baptist News Service -
American Baptist Church Leaders And Head Of United Church Of Christ Speak Out For Dr. Jeremiah Wright, Jr.
VALLEY FORGE, PA (ABNS 03/24/08) — In a letter to American Baptists and the wider religious community,National Ministries’ Executive Director, Dr. Aidsand F. Wright-Riggins III calls for consideration of the life-long ministry of the Rev. Dr. Jeremiah Wright, Jr. and his foundational contribution to the prophetic tradition of the black church in America. Wright-Riggins’ letter follows below in its entirety and introduces statements made by three other prominent American Baptist pastors and authors. Also included is an analysis by the Rev. John H. Thomas, general minister and president of the United Church of Christ.
From The Rev. Dr. Aidsand F. Wright-Riggins, III
The Rev. Dr. Jeremiah Wright, Jr. is the retired pastor of Trinity United Church of Christ inChicago where presidential candidate Senator Barack Obama is a long-term member. Dr. Wright is also a Judson Press author. Among other works, he has published From One Brother to Another: Voices of African American Men, Volume 2; What Makes You So Strong?—Sermons of Joy and Strength and Good News!—Sermons of Hope for Today’s Families. He was the keynote speaker for a major Evangelism Convocation that American Baptist Churches National Ministries held at the National Cathedral in Washington D.C. in 1992. He is a founder of the Samuel DeWitt Proctor Conference, an ecumenical forum and working group of prophetic African American church clergy and lay leaders, of which I am a member.
Click here to read more - http://www.abc-usa.org/news/2008/20080324a.htm
Andrew C. Jayne
American Baptist Churches USA
Mission Resource Development