April 29th, 2008 08:29 EST
God Damn America, Insightful
Gary McCullough submits the following for publication and is available for comment:
When I first heard Rev. Jeremiah Wright`s "God damn America" quote I was concerned by the media`s use of it, but as a McCain supporter I felt little obligation to say anything. Here we are weeks later and this morning on a nationally syndicated radio talk show the host referred to this quote as the "top of his list" as he snickered and played the quote.
Before I continue with my criticism, you should know that I will be working against the election of Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama. I sided with Obama`s last political opponent, Alan Keyes, whom I consider a friend and a client. And I will most assuredly support Obama`s next opponent, whomever that may be.
Furthermore, I do not know Rev. Wright. I do not know his opinions on Israel, race relations or the origination of the HIV. As is with the vast majority of our nation, my opinion of Rev. Wright has been formed by snippets of his sermons replayed ad nauseam on talk radio and cable news.
As a strident anti-abortion activist, I have listened to countless sermons that have included the speakers commenting on God`s judgment of America for the destruction of innocent life. So when I first heard Wright`s "most popular" quote, "God bless America ... No! ... God damn America ... for killing innocent people ... for treating her citizens as less than human," I said to myself, "Obama`s pastor sounds like he is pro-life."
Monday at the National Press Club Rev. Wright pointed out an indispensable foundation for the attacks he is receiving -- the misunderstanding of the style of prayer and preaching used in black churches today.
Can I hear an Amen?
I have been the only "white guy" in church several times, in America and overseas. What best describes my experiences may be summed up by something told to me by a wise Irishman; that we are a people divided by a common language. The troubles comes when we, whether Irish to American, Catholic to Protestant, or black parishioner to white, hear or say something and assume it is clearly understood because of our common language.
The phrase used most often to pigeon hole Rev. Wright would receive several hearty Amens in most churches across America if only the word "damn" was replaced by "judge." "God bless America ... No! ... God judge America ... for killing innocent people ... for treating her citizens as less than human."
For twenty-years, it has been my job to present ministers and pro-life leaders to the media. More than most, I have seen, first-hand, the abuse of a quote by the media for ratings or agenda. Many print articles and broadcast segments have been built entirely upon taking a single quote, and assigned a sensational meaning to it.
I probably would walk out in the middle of a Jeremiah Wright sermon, based on what I have seen in the media. But I have been a hypocrite to not defend Wright after my two decades of berating reporters for similar attacks upon my clients and friends.
What was true in the defense of my friends is true in regard to Rev. Wright; the deliberate misuse of a quote is a signal, a tripwire if you will, that the truth behind the man`s message is most likely too difficult to face.
In the case of abortion, the possibility that innocent babies being put to death is far too disturbing to face -- so the media focuses on faults with the messenger or flaws in the structure of the message.
My repeated experiences with the media leads me to now ask what is that truth behind Rev. Wright`s message which is far too disturbing to face.