Adventist Today offers an opinion piece by John Thomas McLarty entitled Is Jeremiah Wright Right? The article begins:
for treating our citizens as less than human. God damn America for as long as she acts like she is God and she is supreme." -Rev. Jeremiah Wright, 2003 America
Jeremiah Wright is right. I do not mean I agree with every fact asserted by Mr. Wright, though most of his assertions are incontrovertible historical facts. I don't even mean that I agree with every moral valuation assigned by Mr. Wright. But Wright is right when he weighs our country, the
, on the scales of justice and finds us wanting. Wright is right to employ the most forceful moral language available to describe our culpability. He is right to speak dramatically in his appeal for divine action in response to United States of America 's history of slavery, Jim Crow legislation, deeply embedded social evil and ignoble military actions. America
It is an amazing piece of propaganda which though mainly uniformed is the traditional viewpoint found in the
Feel free to listen to one of Wright’s sermons; listen here. You will hear numerous political fantasies of the type that Bush lied about WMD’s or that the Supreme Court gave the election to Bush in 2000. The connection to Barack Obama is something every voter has to decide for themselves but the statement that Wright is Right is so wrong on so many levels.
The main level I want to write about here is that first line quoted in McLarty’s article with a little more context:
"The government gives them the drugs, builds bigger prisons, passes a three-strike law and then wants us to sing 'God Bless America.' No, no, no, God damn America, that's in the Bible for killing innocent people," he said in a 2003 sermon. "God damn America for treating our citizens as less than human. God damn America for as long as she acts like she is God and she is supreme."
How can any Pastor resort to calls for the all powerful and loving God to damn a country? Is God against the idea of building prisons or passing laws extending prison sentences for three time offenders? The part about the government giving them drugs is more factual nonsense whether John McLarty thinks it is incontrovertible or not. Is it in the Bible that God damns countries, does He damn anyone? What kind of God does Rev. Wright and according to this article, John McLarty, serve?
I did a search of three Bible versions, the NRSV, NIV and KJV and could not find one instance of “damn”. Where does this idea of God damning people come from? To explain where Rev. Wright gets his authority to say that God damns
So we realize that to people like Wright and extension McLarty God is still blessing and cursing nations. Because there is a reference to blessing and cursing
The story does not add up with God it does not add up with a normal intelligent human. But it becomes the pretext for making God as the one who makes everything better by destroying it. Of course the earth was not any better after the flood in the story. It just went back to wickedness. God learned a lesson so He did not kill them again at least not wholesale. Then the prophets come along and we find that the rise and fall of nations has a whole lot to do with what a particular nation’s people chose to do; that there are consequences to actions. Finally Jesus arrives and when asked why a man is blind, “who sinned”, the man or his parents Jesus says neither.
The Bible as it progresses in its revelation is trying to tell us that God does not damn people or nations. We are not under the blessing and curses given to
Every nation has made mistakes, every person sins against God and man; even the best of intentions often fail us individually and politically or internationally. Something good can contribute to something bad happening and something bad can contribute to something good happening. It is how we react to things that are important.
The cry God damn them, is not the cry of Jesus, not even when He was tortured on the Cross. It is why Reverend Wright is so very wrong and those who follow his example also so very wrong.