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UCCtruths

Every denomination needs one of these...

Wright on Moyers

Friday, April 25, 2008

You couldn't have watched Bill Moyers interview with Jeremiah Wright and not come away with a greater respect for Wright, where he's come from and where Trinity United Church of Christ has come from. I was particularly impressed with his knowledge and study of the Old Testament and how he brings it into context for today's world. That said, it was not much of a journalistic interview with challenging questions. Not surprisingly, it was clear Moyers came into the interview as an advocate and not as a journalist. As Moyers questioned Wright about Louis Farrakhan, I thought he might actually examine Wright's more controversial comments, but he didn't take it that far.

The two biggest concerns about Wright's sermons -his blaming America for 9/11 and his claim that America created AIDS- were not sufficiently addressed at all. Although Moyers referenced Wright's "canard" about the origination of AIDS in the introduction of the show, it never came up in the interview.

Moyers did spend a fair amount of time trying to apply context to Wright's post 9/11 sermon, but all it really did is confirm that Wright connects many of the historically bad things the U.S. has done to 9/11 in a biblical context. The irony is that Moyers back in 2002 was furious when Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell suggested that what happened on 9/11 was God’s judgment on a decadent America:
Repugnant? Of course, but under that Bill of Rights they so detest they are entitled to their repugnant opinions. But such rights cannot mask their repulsiveness as human beings – piously spreading their virus of holy hate from the safety of plush studios and stately pulpits where they are isolated from the consequences of their malevolence. Let God do the dirty work – while they rake in the takings of bigotry and bile. We must say to these people – over and over again – what Mohammed Ali said to bin Laden: God is not an assassin.
There isn't a whole lot of difference between what Robertson and Falwell did to Wright claiming that "America's chickens are coming home to roost". They may use different examples to make their point, but they all came to the same conclusion. Moyer's disdain is clearly reserved only for those he simply doesn't like. Hardly respectable. For Wright's part, he's entitled to an opinion like everyone else is... no matter how assinine it is.

In the end, the interview isn't going to change many opinions... those who were outraged by his comments are still going to be outraged and those who weren't alarmed probably found the interview affirming. For me, there are many elements of truth to what Wright says, particularly as he discerns the difference between allegiance to our country and our allegiance to God. While some pundits might confuse this as being unpatriotic, it is not. In spite of the many elements I might agree with Wright on, I simply can not accept that a pastor -any pastor, not just Wright- would blatently lie from the pulpit and not feel some obligation to clarify or apologize for it. In this specific case, it was a particularly egregious lie that is perpetuating a myth held about the origin of AIDS.

For our denomination, it's particularly disappointing that in light of the attention that Wright has brought us, none of our leaders can muster the honesty or the courage to embrace Wright as a brother in Christ while making it clear that we do not embrace everything he says.
posted by UCCtruths, Friday, April 25, 2008

15 Comments:

"There isn't a whole lot of difference between what Robertson and Falwell did to Wright claiming that "America's chickens are coming home to roost".

I'm guessing you missed the part where he specified that he was repeating the words of US ambassador to Iraq Peck, a white man, who had said that America's chickens had come home to roost. Maybe you should watch it again
commented by Blogger truthToPower, 1:04 AM  
I didn't miss that at all... Wright agrees with Peck, right?
commented by Blogger UCCtruths, 1:38 AM  
I would bet like myself Wright was surprised that all those things the words of Malcolm X could be repeated by a white government official. That was definitely something that definitely comes up in barber shop conversations

But personally .. if you're aware of the things the government has done around the world that has caused death and destruction especially in the third world, you'd have to admit , they do not hate us for our 'freedoms' they hate us for our foreign policies! Wright is not the first to voice that opinion
commented by Blogger truthToPower, 9:36 AM  
Indeed, he isn't the first at all. Many others have expressed the same sentiment with regards to 9/11 and the inevitable consequences of our foreign policy. Falwell and Robertson said quite clearly they thought the attack was a punishment meted out by God; it's not clear Wright makes this association he just seems to be saying it was a consequence of foreign policy rather than divine wrath. Still, the AIDS comment is of concern and should have been addressed.
commented by Anonymous Anonymous, 10:10 AM  
I watched the entire interview and came away from it believeing that it was scripted, rehearsed, and in no way challenging to Wright. He was on truly "friendly" turf. I would rather have seen the tape from the cutting room floor!
commented by Anonymous Anonymous, 10:53 AM  
Why is it so hard for folks to say that regardless of what the USA may or may not have done in the past, the people who flew planes into the WTC and the Pentagon, and attempted to fly one into the Capitol or the White House, are (were) evil people?
commented by Blogger Firezerk, 2:10 PM  
PBS newsman Bill Moyers’ interview with Rev Dr Wright was excellent. There wasn’t any shouting or talking over his guest, there was genuine respect and a sincere attempt to promote understanding of Rev Dr Wright’s preached messages. It is sad that the main stream media is getting there information from youtube and Hannity (who barely finished high school), they are not real journalist, they have their agenda to shape public opinion, especially “fixed news”. A lot of people fell for the cable noise.

I might not agree with some of Dr Wright’s assertions, yet, Rev Dr Wright’s sermons are powerful; they empower many people and they make some people uncomfortable, he is powerful story teller. The sound bite, taking the messages out of context, exposed the fear that is behind political nastiness, it was the way some people rush to judging Dr Wright as anti-American or racist. The obvious talking points have been extremely insulting to Obama’s wife and children, and to the worshippers at Trinity UCC. In trying to nail Obama, the ugly came out as they made their political move too soon.

Thank you Rev. Dr Wright for getting this out in the open

tlew4512
commented by Blogger tlew4512, 12:48 AM  
There wasn’t any shouting or talking over his guest, there was genuine respect and a sincere attempt to promote understanding of Rev Dr Wright’s preached messages.

?? Why would Bill Moyers shout or talk over Wright? Obviously, Wright had no need to shout or talk over his host, as he has done in other more challenging interviews where he is actualy questioned by someone not inclined to agree with him.

A sincere attempt to promote the same message ?-- sure.

Promoting agreement with the message is not the same as promoting understanding of it.

Rev. Little "Bo" Peep
commented by Anonymous Anonymous, 2:44 AM  
tlew4512:
If your idea of an "excellent" interview is to have softball questions lobbed up by a sympathetic interviewer, be my guest. Good interviewers are respectful, AND ask difficult questions. I, however, would have liked to have heard some more probing questions, like, "If the sound bites took you 'out of context' what context SHOULD we make of the government-created-AIDS, government-sold-crack, chickens-coming-home-to-roost comments"?

"Warm and supportive" may make for the stuff of a good support group, but not of a good interview. Tim Russert would have asked those kinds of questions, as would have any interviewer worth their salt.
commented by Anonymous Anonymous, 8:05 AM  
Why would UCC member Bill Moyers be likely to challenge the word of UCC Pastor Wright? Mr. Moyers made some reference to both being members of the UCC.

Didn't Bill Moyers also address the UCC General Synod, along with presidential candidate Obama?
commented by Blogger Robert, 4:43 PM  
"But personally .. if you're aware of the things the government has done around the world that has caused death and destruction especially in the third world, you'd have to admit , they do not hate us for our 'freedoms' they hate us for our foreign policies! Wright is not the first to voice that opinion"

Now stack those things up against all the goodthings we have done around the world.

The negative stack would barely register on a graph

The liberals love misery and love to complain and they love to tear down this greatest of nations

Gob Bless America
commented by Blogger Paul Jamieson, 7:04 PM  
OMG! Of course the terrorists who flew planes into the WTC were evil--or least acting in the service of evil--great evil. What has that got to do with this debate? Let the truth be told! Their evils do not make our evils any less damnable, now do they?
commented by Anonymous Anonymous, 9:33 PM  
anon (12)
A little secret for you: the 9/11 terrorists attacked us because they are jihadists who took a fundamentalist interpretation of the Qu'ran. Don't tell anybody, though. I wouldn't want to ruin the "fun" for all of the folks who think we had it coming to us...
commented by Anonymous Anonymous, 12:19 AM  
Yes, so true. I heard that Al Qaeda was planning on targeting Sweden but the USA was closer.

/sarcasm
commented by Anonymous Anonymous, 1:21 PM  
Anon (14)
It is apparent that you've never read the Qu'ran or bin Laden's own explanations for why he attacked and (bene note) what he really wants from us.

Here's the link. Read it if you have an open mind:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2002/nov/24/theobserver
commented by Anonymous Anonymous, 2:04 PM  

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