As this whole sordid episode has played out over the last week, I wanted to understand what he said in this speech. I’ve been saying all week that context is important, and I just wanted to know what the hell was going on.
I am actually listening to the sermon Rev. Wright gave after September 11 titled, “The Day of Jerusalem’s Fall.”
One of the most controversial statements in this sermon was when he mentioned “chickens coming home to roost.” He was actually quoting Edward Peck, former US Ambassador to Iraq and deputy director of President Reagan’s terrorism task force, who was speaking on FOX NEWS. That’s what he told the audience. He was quoting Peck as saying that America’s foreign policy has put the nation in peril.
Wright then went on to outline the instances the nation was involved in terrorism, beginning with the Native Americans – taking it from them; took Africans for slavery; then went on to talk about bombing Grenada, Panama, Qadafhi’s home, bombed Iraq and killed unarmed civilians, bombed a plant in Sudan that killed innocent people, bombed Hiroshima,…”and we never batted an eye,” he said.
“We are indignant that the stuff that we have done overseas is brought back into our own front yards. America’s chickens are coming home to roost. Violence begets violence. Hatred begets hatred. And terrorism begets terrorism. A white ambassador said that y’all, not a black militant. Not a reverend who preaches about racism. An ambassador whose eyes are wide open and who is trying to get us to wake up and move away from this dangerous precipice upon which we are now poised. The ambassador said the people we have wounded don’t have the military capability we have. but they do have individuals who are willing to die and take thousands with them. And we need to come to grips with that.”
He went on to describe seeing the photos of the aftermath because he was in Newark when the planes struck. After seeing the plane slammed into the building, he spoke passionately about what if you never got a chance to say hello to your family again. “What is the state of your family?”
And then he told his congregation that he loved them and asked the church to tell each other they loved themselves.
1. This is a time for self-examination of ourselves and our families.
2. This is a time for social transformation (then he went on to say they won’t put me on PBS or national cable for what I’m about to say. Talk about prophetic!) “We have got to change the way we have been doing things as a society,” he said. He then said we can’t stop messing over people and thinking they can’t touch us. He then said we may need to declare war on racism, injustice and greed, instead of war on other countries. “Maybe we need to declare war on AIDS. In five minutes the Congress found $40 billion to rebuild New York and the families that died in sudden death, do you think we can find the money to make medicine available for people who are dying a slow death? Maybe we need to declare war on the nation’s healthcare system that leaves the nation’s poor with no health coverage? Maybe we need to declare war on the mishandled educational system and provide quality education for everybody, every citizen, based on their ability to learn, not their ability to pay. This is a time for social transformation.”
3. This is time to tell God thank you for all that he has provided and that he gave him and others another chance to do His will.
By the way, no where in this sermon did he said “God damn America.” I’m not sure which sermon that came from.
This doesn’t explain anything away, nor does it absolve Wright of using the N-word, but what it does do is add an accurate perspective to this conversation.