The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

Columns

March 20, 2008

Let us harken our nature’s better angels

The Biblical as well as historical day of Jesus the Christ’s crucifixion — one of the core events of Christianity — is a fitting day perhaps to call on high and pray we are moved by the better angels of our nature, a concept made famous by President Abraham Lincoln in his first inaugural address, on March 4, 1861.

Lincoln’s famous comment was intended as an olive branch to the citizens of the Southern states. America’s Civil War had not started when Lincoln uttered his famous words.

Perhaps we could apply those words to today, to an episode played the past week.

Barack Obama, candidate for Democratic nomination for U.S. president, is under highly intense scrutiny and much criticism for his 20-year friendship with the Rev. Jeremiah Wright. Wright has now been made famous for incendiary comments he has made at his preacher’s pulpit at a black church in Chicago’s south side.

Comments like, “The government gives them [African Americans] the drugs, builds bigger prisons, passes a three-strike law and then wants us to sing ‘God Bless America.’”

And — speaking of 9/11 — “We have supported state terrorism against the Palestinians and black South Africans and now we are indignant because the stuff we have done overseas is now brought right back into our own front yards. America's chickens are coming home to roost.”

To many Americans, including this writer, Wright cannot be more wrong.

To make a glib dig at white America using our most intense, horrific national nightmare of modern times — 9/11 — is incredibly insensitive. Aren’t ministers of the Gospel supposed to be sensitive? To comfort us? All of us Christians, not just black members?

Some patriotic Americans have withheld their ire at Wright over his comments about Hillary Clinton not being able to understand what it’s like to be a poor black child raised in a single-parent home because Hillary is part of the rich white power base which controls the United States. After all, those comments appear to be mostly true. How can one become angry at the truth?

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