Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Jeremiah Wright, Barack Obma, Woody Guthrie, and "Is this land made for you and me?"

Above quoted from Woody Guthrie's "This Land is Your Land."

["This Land Is Your Land" is one of the United States' most famous folk songs. Its lyrics were written by Woody Guthrie in 1940 on an existing melody, in response to Irving Berlin's "God Bless America," which Guthrie considered unrealistic and complacent. Tired of hearing Kate Smith sing it on the radio, he wrote a response originally called "God Blessed America for Me"]

When Barack Obama's pastor's sermons got the soundbite treatment from the So Called Liberal Media, they made him look like a raving racist.

Nevertheless, reading and considering excerpts in the historical context he used shows a man concerned with the worth and dignity of all human beings as interpreted through the Bible.

Consider: [...the United States of America government, when it came to treating her citizens of Indian descent fairly, she failed. She put them on the 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 the citizens of African descent fairly, America failed. She put them in chains. The government put them on 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 the racist bastions of higher education and locked them into positions 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 its citizens as less than human, God damn America as long as she tries to act like she is God and she is supreme. The United States government has failed the vast majority of her citizens of African descent."]

Seriously, can we expect a man named after the prophet Jeremiah to pretend the history of the USA has no moral stains upon it?

i think not. So please at least read the Tribune article before condemning Wright's words.

[The book of Jeremiah depicts a remarkably introspective prophet, a prophet struggling with and often overwhelmed by the role into which he has been thrust. Jeremiah interspersed efforts to warn the people with pleas for mercy until he is ordered to "pray no more for this people" -- and then sneaks in a few extra pleas between the lines. He engages in what may seem like strange behaviour, but which we might describe as 'acted parables', such as walking about in the streets with a yoke about his neck and engaging in other efforts to attract attention....He was often bitter about his experience, and expresses the anger and frustration he feels.]