When I first heard Jeremiah Wright scream, “Not God bless America; God damn America!” I shuddered and said to myself, “Is this a sermon in a church?” Yes, it was. The Trinity United Church of Christ. And as the hateful rhetoric spewed forth, I asked, “How could they call this hate doctrine Christ-like? We have one Master, even Christ, who we are to emulate. Would He have delivered those sermons that Wright gave? I don’t think so.
They call themselves the church of Christ. The church is His very body in the earth. It is where He resides. It is his house, and there is no hate in His house. “If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar…and he that saith he is in the light, and hateth his brother, is in darkness…(I John 4:20; 2:9).
The church is a spiritual entity of called out believers who have His Spirit and who love one another. And “by this shall all men know that you are my disciples, if you have love one toward another.” These are Christ’s very words.
We are “new creatures in Christ. Old things are passed away. Behold all things are become new.” We are a new spiritual being with a new heart of love for our fellow human beings. Old hatreds, strifes, and envies are put to death with Christ on the cross when the true believer is delivered from sin and death. Old prejudices are dead, too.
In the spiritual body of Christ (the church) “there is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.” We are one in Him. One. Race is not an issue. A person’s flesh is not the criteria whether we are accepted by God into His fellowship. It’s the heart. It’s the spirit you are of. Another American black preacher once longed to be “judged by the content of his character and not the color of his skin.” That is all any of us can ask.
This theology prides itself on helping their own poor, and this is commendable. These “things ye ought to have done and not left the other undone,” Christ said. “And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor…and have not love it profiteth me nothing” (I Corinthians 13:3). Without the love from above flowing, though, it is all vain in God’s eyes.
Christ said, “Bless and curse not…Love your enemies. Pray for them that despitefully use you.” The church, the body of Christ, is not created to take vengeance. “Vengeance is mine, saith the LORD. I will repay.” We are made to forgive and love. But Wright’s congregation is told that white people are basically the great Satan. Are there not a few white people on the face of the earth who have the Spirit of Christ in them? To include them in a sweeping hateful judgement is wrong, for “do not call good evil and evil good.”
My question to Wright and his followers is this: Why drag Christ into your religion? Hey, you have freedom of religion. God bless America for that! But Christ’s teachings have nothing to do with this vitriolic hatespeech. To the contrary.
All I can say to Wright and his congregation, which includes Barack Obama, is this: Love white people and save the world. The very one you can’t stand is the one you must learn to love, in order to please God. You have to forgive and move on in His love. Kenneth Wayne Hancock
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