Comments on Barack Obama and Jeremiah Wright

March 19, 2008

politics / theology

Along with much of the country, I have been aware of the issues surrounding Barack Obama’s former pastor, and his church. Through my education, I have at least a decent understanding of liberation theology (in various forms). I resonate very strongly with a lot of the beliefs that are common to this kind of theology.

However, I do feel that many of its proponents have missed out on actually encountering the risen Christ, through only emphasizing the solidarity that God has with the poor and suffering. Of course, as I have said before, evangelicals are at least as guilty on the other side, often only emphasizing personal spirituality.

In any case, liberation theology grasps powerful truths, and it can have a powerful voice in speaking to those who are in power. I’ll go ahead and say this: I don’t believe Jeremiah Wright was wrong in the statements we’ve all been hearing. Certainly, God stands against the many injustices that stain the hands of the United States, just like he was against the many injustices that stained the hands of ancient Israel. Certainly, the injustices he mentions are very real, and there are other injustices that could be added.

Even though I agree with many of the things Wright says, I have a vast amount of respect for the way Barack Obama addressed the issue and his disagreements with Wright in his speech yesterday.

While the speech is over 30 minutes long, it is entirely worth watching, as it is easily the most significant speech addressing issues of race and racism that a public figure of his caliber has made in my lifetime in the United States. In stating his disagreement with the statements of his former pastor, and yet also stating his strong support of his ministry, he was able to involve and challenge all of us to really examine the issues that are at hand.