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New Pastor: Wright’s Sermons Are Art Form

From the Sacramento Bee:

George E. Curry: Rev. Wright’s replacement defends pastor

By George E. Curry – Friday, March 21, 2008

The Rev. Jeremiah A. Wright Jr., Barack Obama’s former pastor, had his retirement all figured out. His handpicked successor, the Rev. Otis Moss 3d, pastor of Tabernacle Baptist Church in Augusta, Ga., would leave his church, move to Chicago and serve as Wright’s understudy for two years, then assume the mantle this year in a seamless leadership transition.

In the first interview since Obama’s defining speech Tuesday on race, Moss recounted how the controversy over some of Wright’s inflammatory sermons had altered the plan. Holy Week, leading up to Easter, suddenly became holy hell at Trinity United Church of Christ.

“Before, we had been sharing the pulpit,” Moss said. Wright “gave his final sermon (in February), and then we did a three-week celebration. Instead of retiring in May or June, six months ago he said: ‘I want to leave early.’ … Then, BAM — all of this blew up.”

Moss used “this” to refer to fallout from videos of Wright that are being constantly replayed on the Fox News network and the other news outlets. The incendiary sound bites feature Wright changing the words “God bless America” to “God damn America” for treating its citizens as less than human, and pointing out that Hillary Rodham Clinton has never been referred to as the N-word or been accused by members of her race of not being white enough…

Whites unaccustomed to the language and customs of black churches were understandably appalled. Blacks, having heard even stronger language in church over the years, were not surprised…

“We’ve been under Internet attack for a year,” Moss said. “It was either ‘Obama is a Muslim’ or we are a ‘separatist church’ because of our motto: ‘Unashamedly black, unapologetically Christian.’ “When Barack won Iowa, that’s when it changed,” he said. The tone of the faxes, e-mails and letters, Moss said, turned uglier.

To understand the frustrations — and language — of Jeremiah Wright, one has to understand the black church, Moss argued.

After the founding of this country, some of the strongest supporters of slavery were white Christian ministers who proclaimed that God wanted slaves to obey their masters. On the other hand, black ministers, such as Nat Turner and Denmark Vesey, led slave rebellions and saw it as part of their religious calling to free those shackled by the inhumanity of slavery.

“The black church brings together not just the religious, it brings together the social, connecting with each other,” Moss explained. “It brings together the political, in terms of how we move together collectively. It brings together the economics because you bring together collective resources. The psychological. Literally, it keeps people from going out of their minds. … So, you got all of these elements that have come together and literally dictate how we’ve been able to survive.” The black minister often speaks from that pain and suffering.

“You have ministers who relate with interesting rhetoric through their personalities and hyperbole to highlight ideas and ideals,” Moss said. “The ideas are the truth, and those are wrapped around metaphors and rhetoric. Sometimes, that’s supposed to make you incredibly uncomfortable; sometimes, it makes you fall out on the floor and crack up laughing. It’s really an art form when it’s done well.” And Wright was one of those who did that exceptionally well.

“We’re going to fight for the voice of the prophetic tradition,” Moss said. “You cannot caricature Rev. Wright. This is an attack on the collective black church.”

Mr. Moss is supposed to represent the flower of black seminary learning.

“We’ve been under Internet attack for a year,” Moss said.

Here he confuses our efforts to get at the truth with an “attack.”

After the founding of this country, some of the strongest supporters of slavery were white Christian ministers who proclaimed that God wanted slaves to obey their masters. On the other hand, black ministers, such as Nat Turner and Denmark Vesey, led slave rebellions and saw it as part of their religious calling to free those shackled by the inhumanity of slavery.

And here he shows that he has no knowledge of American history. For it was the white Christian abolition movement in this country that eventually brought about the end of slavery. (And, of course, Republicans.)

Whereas Messers Turner and Vesey’s “rebellions” only helped prolong the pernicious practice.

“You have ministers who relate with interesting rhetoric through their personalities and hyperbole to highlight ideas and ideals,” Moss said. “The ideas are the truth, and those are wrapped around metaphors and rhetoric. Sometimes, that’s supposed to make you incredibly uncomfortable; sometimes, it makes you fall out on the floor and crack up laughing. It’s really an art form when it’s done well.”

The KKK must have been an art form as well, by this argument.

“We’re going to fight for the voice of the prophetic tradition,” Moss said. “You cannot caricature Rev. Wright. This is an attack on the collective black church.”

“Prophetic tradition”? Is that what they call lying about our country? Lying about history?

Is this the new term for vicious racism?

Mr. Moss is clearly cut from the same cloth as Mr. Wright. Which is not surprising, since he was handpicked by Mr. Wright to be his succession.

This article was posted by Steve on Friday, March 21st, 2008. Comments are currently closed.

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