Rev. Wright Comes to Town, Shows Obama the Love
They may be estranged from one another, but during Sunday morning services at the Brown Memorial Baptist Church in Brooklyn, Pastor Jeremiah Wright showed nothing but love for his onetime congregant, President Barack Obama.
Wright was introduced by Reverend Clinton M. Miller to an overflowing crowd. "Were it not for Reverend Jeremiah Wright," he said to hoots and cheers, "we wouldn't have South Side Chicago baptism of Malia and Sasha. We would not have the inauguration of President Barack Obama."
Though Wright has recently retired after three decades in the ministry, he was as free-wheeling as ever during the course of a twenty-minute sermon. Wright covered many topics, most of which fell into a few familiar categories:
1. Insulting the greedy. (People for whom "bling bling has blinded them to the people getting murdered in Gaza," Wright explained.)
2. False piety (i.e., "People who think they've got the Lord on lock-down," people who are "so phony they don't even know how to laugh anymore.")
3. People who did not believe that a black man could be president of the United States of America ("Those people are blind!" Wright warned. "They are crippled by their experiences."
Wright is the kind of speaker who has a lot of tools to draw upon: he can be alternately funny, arrogant, self-depreciating, and righteous-sounding. He peppered his speech with a Dionne Warwick impression and added 360 degree turns for effect (he spun around after saying something he thought was particularly effective)
But his favorite topic of the day was clearly Barack Obama - and the sorry black folks who just couldn't believe he could win the presidency. "The Lord stepped into his story, and gave him a new attitude," Wright said of Obama. That attitude, he explained, enabled him to "do something no person of African descent had ever done before." It enabled him to surpass the "menage-a-trois of racism, capitalism, and militarism." Wright then shouted the words, "new attitude" five more times and warned the congregants not to see themselves through the eyes of people who don't believe in their potential.
The church-goers, some of whom didn't even know that Reverend Wright was going to be there that day, went home impressed. "I think more people need to come out and say things that have bothered them for many years," said Barbara Jacobs, a Brooklynite in her fifties. She reflected on what many said were Wright's unpatriotic comments about the U.S. role in 9-11. "There's a lot that bothers us about America," she said.
Another congregant was also untroubled by Wright's comments: ""People make mistakes," he said."People have ups and downs. Sometimes they say things that shouldn't be said."
But Denise Jacobs, 57, wasn't so forgiving. "At one point he said he didn't approve of Obama, but now he's by Obama's side. Make up your mind!" she said of Wright. "He needs to think twice about what he says."