The View From 1776
Monday, March 24, 2008
Senator Obama and Christian Love
Distressing remarks from the Senator’s pastor have been hashed and rehashed, but something more needs to be said.
In addition to assessing the inflammatory preaching by the Rev. Jeremiah Wright in terms of patriotism and decency, let’s also examine it from the viewpoint of Christian love.
Let’s acknowledge at the outset that we in the general public do not know the typical content of Rev. Wright’s sermons, whether his condemnation of the United States and of whites was an aberration or the norm.
Therefore judge nothing before the appointed time; wait till the Lord comes. He will bring to light what is hidden in darkness and will expose the motives of men’s hearts. At that time each will receive his praise from God. (1 Corinthians 4:5)
But, however humanly understandable may be Rev. Wright’s vitriol reported in the media, it is far removed from the teachings of Jesus.
If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing.
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when perfection comes, the imperfect disappears. When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me. Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.
And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love. (1 Corinthians 13:1-13)
Just as the Apostle Paul, in loving solicitude, chided the straying members of the church in Corinth, it is not out of order to suggest that the author of blacks’ difficulties in our society is more their own dominant culture than racism.
As commentators endlessly have noted, other oppressed minorities have, by pulling up their own cultural socks, managed to do well in the United States. Roman Catholics in general and the Irish in particular spring to mind, both as reviled in their time as have been the blacks since Emancipation.
Bill Cosby nailed the problem.
As I wrote in Bill Cosby Collides With the Liberal Establishment: