Praise God for Obama's Pastor

Obama's pastor has gotten in the news recently. If you haven't heard, some sermons the Reverend Jeremiah Wright gave in 2001 and 2003 are causing some problems for Obama. Relevant passages include:

We bombed Hiroshima, we bombed Nagasaki, and we nuked far more than the
thousands in New York and the Pentagon, and we never batted an eye. We have
supported state terrorism against the Palestinians and black South Africans, and
now we are indignant because the stuff we have done overseas is now bought right
back to our own front yards. America's chickens are coming home to roost.
That was the Sunday after 9/11, the day I was searching for a non-patriotic church to attend and came upon Friends Memorial Quaker Church. A couple years later The Reverend Wright said:

The government gave [the blacks] the drugs, builds bigger prisons, passes a
three-strikes law, and then wants us to sing "God Bless America". No, no, no.
God damn America. That's in the Bible, for killing innocent people. God damn
America for treating our citizens as less than human. God damn America for as
long as she acts like she is God and she is supreme.
Finally, someone willing to speak truth about America's actions- and what the rest of the world has long known. As horrific and evil as the 9/11 attacks were, they didn't take place in a vacuum. There were things we did that encouraged them. But I don't want to talk about that.

I find it interesting that people who (rightly) decry the invasion of religion into politics by the Religious Right now want to force the Rev. Wright to not speak from the pulpit certain ideas, for they are politically appropriate. But I don't want to talk about that.

And I want to say that, as much as I admire the Reverend for what he said, in some places he went overboard. He should not have said "God damn America", but rather the past tense, that God has damned America, for we are called to bless, and not curse. And rather then say damn, he should have said "God judged America", for no man can know the soul of another, and certainly not that of a nation. I think Reverend Wright was looking for the rhetorical flourish, but some words should be very carefully used. Had he said, "God has judged America and found us wanting," he would have been on very solid Biblical ground.

That's what I want to talk about.
The Reverend Wright was simply fulfilling the role of the prophet- a role we find throughout the Bible. If there is one most repeated theme in the Old Testament, it is God and his prophets calling the people back to justice and kind treatment of the outcast- and retribution if they do not return to righteousness.

Lest we think though that this is only an Old Testament deal, Jesus stated his mission as

to preach good news to the poor...
to proclaim freedom for the prisoners
and recovery of sight to the blind
to proclaim an acceptable Year of the Lord.

This is very clearly a reference to the Jubilee Year, a year commanded by God every 70 years (but probably never actually practiced by Israel), a very socialist event where all property is redistributed, loans canceled, and slaves freed. Its so clear that this is an Old Testament reference, that Jesus is actually quoting III Isaiah 61.1,2- that's why its in verse form.

Of course, there's another theme to the prophets. They are all rejected, and many of them killed, which ended up happening to Jesus too. Prophets by their very nature are not acceptable to the establishment. Prophets and kings rarely got along in the Old Testament. Come to think of it, Herod and Jesus didn't get along too well either.

Now, Obama has come out and said that he supports a lot of what the reverend Wright says about justice and hope (and even wrote a book based on one of Wright's sermons), but he utterly rejects and denounces what the Reverend said in these two sermons, for which Obama wasn't present.

I wish Obama hadn't done that. I want a candidate who will stand up and reject the evil that America has done. Who will be so adamant in the pursuit of justice that they will even admit when America has not been just to others, as we have not been so many times in our history.
I want a prophet. But Obama is running to be our equivalent of king.

This is why it is impossible to fully follow Christ and be Caesar. The kind of power a political leader has was antithetical to the way of Jesus. Christianity is inherently a minority suffering community, and has no truck with the ways of power and oppression.

But I also know that, had Obama supported his pastor, he wouldn't get elected. You have to rally around the flag to be elected President. Even if the people are called to hard work, as Kennedy did and Obama is doing, they don't want to be told that what they have done is evil, no matter how true. Americans don't want prophets. They want to be told that all is well, or will be well, and profit will return.

I want someone to be President who will call us to justice, no matter what. I want someone elected who is inherently unelectable.

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