google analytics

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Comparing Martin Luther King Jr and Jeremiah Wright

Consider -

The distance of time, and his death by assassination has all but made a saint of Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. – in the same way that President Abraham Lincoln is revered now as a ‘founding father’ but was divisively hated in his own time…  But Martin Luther King Jr. was despised in his day.

Compare -
Martin Luther King Jr. has been made tame, made safe. Where he was once a burr and a bone of contention and challenge, he’s now respectable and honored. Perhaps we’ve lost something in his elevation. Read through his sermon “Standing by the Best in a Time of Evil” (August 6, 1967 – Ebenezer Baptist Church, Atlanta, Georgia).

Notice that he says, “The judgment of God is on America now.”

“Oh I weep for my nation. And I must think about the fact that I live in a country that is the greatest purveyor of violence in the world. … And I’ll tell you my friends I’m going to stand by my convictions. I’m going to stand by the principle that the Spirit is mightier than the sword. The judgement of God is on America now. “(page 6 of 9) 

In the relatively recent past, The Reverend Jeremiah Wright was vilified by white Christians in America for his “God damn, America” sermon.  But read the full text (and not just the out-of-context inflammatory sound bite…).

“Governments fail. The government in this text comprised of Caesar, Cornelius, Pontius Pilot – Pontius Pilate – the Roman government failed. The British government used to rule from east to west. The British government had a Union Jack. She colonized Kenya, Guyana, Nigeria, Jamaica, Barbados, Trinidad and Hong Kong. Her navies ruled the seven seas all the way down to the tip of Argentina in the Falklands, but the British failed. The Russian government failed. The Japanese government failed. The German government failed. And the United States of America government, when it came to treating her citizens of Indian decent fairly, she failed. She put them on reservations. When it came to treating her citizens of Japanese descent fairly, she failed. She put them in internment prison camps. When it came to treating her citizens of African descent fairly, America failed. She put them in chains. The government put them in slave quarters, put them on auction blocks, put them in cotton fields, put them in inferior schools, put them in substandard housing, put them in scientific experiments, put them in the lowest paying jobs, put them outside the equal protection of the law, kept them out of their racist bastions of higher education and locked them into position of hopelessness and helplessness. 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. Not “God Bless America”; God damn America! That’s in the Bible, for killing innocent people. God Damn America for treating her citizen as less than human. God damn America as long as she keeps trying to act like she is God and she is supreme!”

Is there a significant difference between what Martin Luther King jr (now safe, and respectably in his grave) said and what Jeremiah Wright said? No. Not really. So… should Wright have been treated with more respect – with a larger measure of the respect we now give to Martin Luther King Jr.? Probably.

But, then again, perhaps we shouldn’t have allowed Martin Luther King Jr to have been tamed, to have been made safe. 

1 comment:

  1. You're definitely right that Dr. King has been made tame over the past 20 years or so. Suddenly, he's the respectable one who would never raise his voice, block a street, or violate a law ... or something.

    Rev. Wright was absolutely right in what he said, and anyone who's ever read an Old Testament prophecy knows it. Unless, of course, they only listened to the four word clip and assumed that they know everything they need to know.

    Or don't believe that a black preacher might be the one bringing the truth.


Jeff Carter's books on Goodreads
Muted Hosannas Muted Hosannas
reviews: 2
ratings: 3 (avg rating 4.33)

Related Posts with Thumbnails