The Audacity of Hate
By Paul M. Weyrich
FrontPageMagazine.com | 3/19/2008
As an Eastern Christian, and having lived more than 40 years in metropolitan Washington, D.C., I never have heard a political sermon. In two different churches, one for two years, the other for 38 years, I have heard only preaching from the Gospel. That is as it should be. Extensive media attention has arisen in view of the vicious anti-American sermons of the Reverend Jeremiah A. Wright Jr., the pastor for more than 20 years of Senator Barack H. Obama, who may be on his way to the Democratic nomination for president.
It is quite one thing to demonstrate how Scripture says “choose life” in relation to the current right-to-life issue and quite another to condemn the United States by saying, “God Bless America. On the contrary, ‘Damn America.’”
The Internal Revenue Service in its entire history evidently only twice has revoked the tax exemption of a church. IRS has been careful not to interfere with the preaching of the Gospel, particularly in black churches. But to hear the ravings of the Reverend Mr. Wright I would not be surprised if an investigation is in order. Wright claims that the United States is responsible for 9/11. “The chickens have come home to roost,” he claims. He has used foul language, saying things which would offend almost anyone. This minister baptized the Obamas. He married them. The question is, did he exhibit this political behavior for the past 20 years or is this something recent due to the current political climate and the possibility of a black man’s actually having a shot at the presidency?
The issue is important. Obama says he disassociates himself from the divisive commentary. He has reminded the electorate that he seeks to unite the country, not to divide it. Clearly, were I to have come upon a church such as this, and a minister such as Reverend Mr. Wright, and if I heard what I have heard these days, I immediately would exit that church. I would seek a church in which the Gospel is preached and in which I can learn more about the Scriptures and my faith.
Wright appears to be an advocate of black power. How does this square with Obama’s desire to unite both black and white? Wright claims that we are a deeply racist nation, and so it goes. Either these are the ravings of an angry black man which never manifested themselves until recently, or for years he has preached this line. Given that Wright inspired the book Obama wrote, TheAudacity of Hope, and has been viewed as an Obama mentor, it is inconceivable that he could have been this angry all along. This anger and hatred for the United States of America must be a more recent development.
Why, I am not sure. It seems to me that he has the chance to be the Billy Graham for Barack Obama, giving him advice and telling him which direction to go. But first he must purge himself of his destructive anger. If he does that there may be no end in sight to which he can take Obama. However, if he fails to rid himself of his anger and hatred for this great country he may bring both Obama and himself down.
Obama appears to be a sincere, believing Christian. Yet what may be years of association with such anger and hatred will not do him or our country any good. Senator Obama, in the context of extensive adverse publicity, has disassociated himself from his long-time pastor’s more virulent anti-American comments. Yet The Wall Street Journal reports a close Obama family connection to the church of which Wright has been pastor and casts some suspicion upon the Obama-Wright relationship.
Paul M. Weyrich is Chairman and CEO of the Free Congress Foundation.