There’s an interesting conversation going on in the comment thread to my Obama post below about what is hate speech and what it anger…and several commenters have also pointed out that Jeremiah Wright was quoted out of context when he talked about America’s “chickens coming home to roost” on 9/11. Yes and No. Wright was quoting a U.S. Ambassador as saying the chickens were coming home to roost, but he was clearly endorsing that idea and added a fair amount of embroidery–Hiroshima and Nagasaki–of his own. I like Andrew Sullivan’s reaction to the sermon. And you should certainly take a look at the YouTube excerpt.
Along with Andrew, I don’t agree with Wright’s apparent pacifism. But I will say this: His message–that we should think about the acts of violence we have committed over time–is exactly the sort of thing all of America needed to hear before the decision was made to go after Al Qaeda…just to keep things in perspective. It is a most Christian message: turn the other cheek. I would have still gone to war–Afghanistan was a just war, I believe–but I would much rather have been sitting in Jeremiah Wright’s congregation than in Pat Robertson’s or John Hagee’s that Sunday. That sermon would have given me pause, something important to think about, which is to say: Jeremiah Wright was doing the Lord’s work.
I can’t believe, however, that peddling the notion that AIDs was a government conspiracy to kill black people–unless Wright was quoting someone else in order to shoot down that vile conspiracy–or comparing white America to racist terrorists (U.S. of KKK A) is anything than Godless hatefulness. It is the equivalent of a white preacher saying that most blacks are sociopathic criminals. I call that hate speech. And it is entirely possible for one flawed man to be both righteous and hateful from time to time.