There has been a lot of discussion lately (okay, maybe not so much right now as a couple of weeks ago–but hey, I’m a college student and I get to these things when I have time to deal with them) about Barack Obama and his pastor Jeremiah Wright and some things that Wright said that have come to light which the media which supports Obama is not making very much of but the media outlets which are against Obama are turning into a huge stinky deal. Things like America was responsible for 9/11, the U. S. government invented AIDS to kill black people, God should judge America, etc.
A couple of quick points about all of this:
–The statements which are attracting so much attention represent a small fraction of Jeremiah Wright’s preaching. If one were to go to Obama’s church and listen to a full-length sermon or two or three by Jeremiah Wright, one would probably not hear anything objectionable. And if one were to hear the statements in the full context of the sermons in which they were preached, one would probably find them to be not worthy of all the attention that they are getting.
–Statements about God judging America ought not to rankle us. Anyone who has been part of evangelical Protestant-dom for any significant amount of time–whether as part of an old-line fundamentalist Baptist church or in the Pentecostal/charismatic world–has probably been exposed to a significant amount of preaching about God judging America for abortion, homosexuality, taking prayer out of public schools, teaching evolution in the public schools, etc. Besides, if we are fully honest with ourselves, we would admit that as a nation we have done things over the course of our history (or not done things with all of the blessings that God has given us) which are deserving of judgment from God. So when Jeremiah Wright gets up and says that God should judge America–BIG FAT HAIRY DEAL!!!!!
–Finally, what are we saying when we criticise Obama for his ties to a pastor who says the sort of things that Jeremiah Wright says? Are we saying that we can only have friendship and fellowship with people whom we agree 100 percent with? That if you say something I disagree with, then I need to cut you off?
I don’t agree with everything which the pastor of my church says, yet I don’t see that as meaning that I need to find a new church. Obama may or may not agree with all the crazy things that Jeremiah Wright says. I don’t know. But if he doesn’t agree, then I don’t think he needs to cut him off.
So can we quit making a big fat hairy deal over all of this, as if the criterion for friendship or fellowship with another person is complete 100% agreement with all opinions which the other person holds?