Nearly four years after disappearing from the public eye, the controversial Reverend Jeremiah Wright is making waves on conservative media outlets with a series of sermons he gave recently.
Wright was in Charleston, West Virginia last week to speak at a revival for the Metropolitan Baptist Church. Over the course of three days he preached the topics “Believers Beware,” “Your Faith Has Saved You,” and “The Good Shepard.”
Wright began his first sermon warning that what he had to say was not meant for everyone. “This message is addressed to believers,” said Wright. “They don’t understand shouting,” he said of “non-believers.” “Sometimes they’re studying black religion. They’re studying the phenomenology of African spirituality….I need to tell you in advance this sermon is not for them.”
Wright preached for nearly an hour. Reading from the Bible, he touched on the nature of relationships between men and women and finally on foreign relations.
Nearly 20 minutes into it, Wright began discussing military operations, making distinctions between invading and occupying armies, and stopping to comment on current U.S. operations.
“I was in the military six years,” he said. “Neither Hannity nor O’Reilly were in the military. Let me tell you one thing they taught us in the United States Marine Corps: fighting for peace is like raping for virginity.”
It was Wright’s comments on the following days of the revival that have drawn the most ire. Just days after Wright’s last sermon, FOX News host Sean Hannity had a segment on his show about the “re-emergence” of Wright with right wing political strategist Dick Morris.
“I do not believe that it is a total coincidence that Reverend Wright has now surfaced after four years in absentia,” said Morris, “And I think that what may be happening here is that there may be a deliberate orchestrated effort by the Obama White House to promote racial division that gives them the basis for stoking an African-American turn-out in the election.” He continued, “And you just look at the signs there and connect a couple of dots, you begin to realize that this is not a coincidence. The Trayvon Martin thing, this thing.”
The panel at Fox and Friends the next morning told a similar story, saying that Wright was back with “hate-filled” sermons. They played a clip where Wright said, “There are politicians that are making decisions about your life, about your future, about your family, about your children. And the real tragedy is that they live in a different world from your world all together. There are people in power right now who have opinions about you based on their privilege of skin color.”
“I don’t know what that means,” said Brian Kilmeade.
Of Morris’ suggestion that Wright’s preaching in West Virginia was part of a tactic by the Obama administration, Fox and Friends’ Gretchen Carlson said skeptically, “I don’t know about that. I don’t know what the relationship between those two men is anymore. I do know Rev. Wright has criticized President Obama in the past.”
It was the emergence of Jeremiah Wright in 2008 that put the Obama primary campaign in jeopardy. By March of that year, the news media had gotten hold of Wright sermons at Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago — where Wright was the pastor and the Obama family were parishioners. Wright’s sermons often included controversial and racially-tinged rhetoric and became fodder during the campaign season.
Republican pollster Whit Ayres told CNN are an awful lot of people, when you just ask, ‘What do you think of when you think of Barack Obama?’ who bring up Jeremiah Wright’s name. They bring up the anti-Americanism. They wonder why it took him so long to separate himself from him.”
That April, candidate Obama denounced Wright. In a press conference he said, “His comments were not only divisive and destructive, but I believe that they end up giving comfort to those who prey on hate, and I believe that they do not portray accurately the perspective of the black church. They certainly don’t portray accurately my values and beliefs.”
The Obamas withdrew their membership from Trinity United Church of Christ shortly after. Wright also retired as the pastor of Trinity United Church of Christ in early 2008.
Follow Donovan X. Ramsey on Twitter at @idxr