Soundbites and Context

22 03 2008

After listening to more of Reverend Wright’s sermon in which he claims “America’s chickens have come home to roost,” I think its reasonable to conclude that its much more in line with much of Christian pacifism in the black church and liberal anti-war left immediately after 9/11 than unqualified anti-Americanism. Feel free to disagree after watching the following video clip.

Of course, this does not make all of Rev. Wright’s other statements excusable. But it does provide greater context in which to understand his pacifism.

Anti-war Christian pacifism has deep roots and a robust tradition in America. Dr. Martin Luther King’s fierce anti-war criticism is one of the best exemplars of this tradition. In the video clip below Dr. King explicitly made the case that the war in Vietnam undermined key domestic initiatives, and that the U.S. will earn the wrath of God for its arrogant ways.

Watch it.

To be sure, to say that Rev. Wright operated within a certain tradition is not to say he himself was emblematic or represented the best of it. Nor is this post intended to equate Rev. Wright’s ministry with that of Dr. King’s. I honestly don’t know that much about it myself. But if we are to get past the mere spectacle of race, or pacifism for that matter, we have to at least consider the greater cultural context that give rise to certain controversies.

Now, its entirely possible that after due consideration we may still disagree with what gets expressed, but its better than walking away with the cartoonish notions that dominate our sound bite and image driven media world.

(H/T: Reader Wayne)

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One response

24 03 2008
Wayne

What’s interesting to me is Dr. King’s unfinished sermon was entitled ‘Why america may go to hell.’

http://www.stanford.edu/group/King/publications/sermons/680331.000_Remaining_Awake.html

The double standard for christian conservatives and the christian left is appalling. now granted, noone wants any member of jerry falwell’s crew to be hopping into potus status, but sociopolitical commentary is not a rare occurrence behind the pulpit, and in at least one or two of his tirades, he was right on point.

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