Posted by PrestoPundit on 03/15/2008

of the sermon titled “The Audacity of Hope” delivered by Rev. Jeremiah Wright, one of the Wright sermons which inspired Barack Obama during his time at Harvard Law School.  The man speaking in this evening presentation of his talk is a very different Jeremiah Wright from the one revealed in his widely circulated “God Damn America” sermon.

The two persons become united as one when you read this account from American Thinker of Jeremiah Wright’s theological inspiration — Dr. James Cone — whose book Black Theology & Black Power was highlighted on the Trinity Church website (until late last year) “as required reading for Trinity parishioners who wished to more
thoroughly understand the church’s theology and mission.”  The great influence of his life reveals Wright as an intellectual with a deeply Manichean view of the world, one in which white America represents the great force of darkness and devastation in the world and Black Christianity represents the great force of light and hope.  It is a near impossibility that Barack Obama would have failed to be aware of this overarching theological structure in Jeremiah Wright’s ministry. Indeed, you can easily imagine Wright’s sophisticated anti-American/European Manicheanism appealing to the Barack Obama who wrote this:

To avoid being mistaken for a sellout, I chose my friends carefully. The more politically active black students. The foreign students. The Chicanos. The Marxist Professors and the structural
feminists and punk-rock performance poets. We smoked cigarettes and wore leather jackets. At night, in the dorms, we discussed neocolonialism, Franz Fanon, Eurocentrism, and patriarchy. When we ground out our cigarettes in the hallway carpet or set our stereos so loud that the walls began to shake,we were resisting bourgeois society’s stifling constraints. We weren’t indifferent or careless or insecure. We were alienated.

Finally, here’s Obama’s account of his encounter with Jeremiah Wright and his sermon “The Audacity of Hope”:

The title of Reverend Wright’s sermon that morning was
“The Audacity of Hope.” He began with a passage from the Book of
Samuel–the story of Hannah, who, barren and taunted by her rivals, had
wept and shaken in prayer before her God. The story reminded him, he
said, of a sermon a fellow pastor had preached at a conference some
years before, in which the pastor described going to a museum and being
confronted by a painting title Hope

“The painting
depicts a harpist,” Reverend Wright explained, “a woman who at first
glance appears to be sitting atop a great mountain. Until you take a
closer look and see that the woman is bruised and bloodied, dressed in
tattered rags, the harp reduced to a single frayed string. Your eye is
then drawn down to the scene below, down to the valley below, where
everywhere are the ravages of famine, the drumbeat of war, a world
groaning under strife and deprivation.

“It is this world, a world
where cruise ships throw away more food in a day than most residents of
Port-au-Prince see in a year, where white folks’ greed runs a world in need, apartheid in one hemisphere, apathy in another hemisphere…That’s the world! On which hope sits!” 

And so it went, a meditation on a fallen world. While the boys next to me doodled on their church bulletin, Reverend Wright spoke of Sharpsville and Hiroshima, the callousness of policy makers in the White House and in the State House.
As the sermon unfolded, though, the stories of strife became more
prosaic, the pain more immediate. The reverend spoke of the hardship
that the congregation would face tomorrow, the pain of those far from
the mountaintop, worrying about paying the light bill…

UPDATE:  The NY Times interviews James Cone as part of its story on Barack Obama’s denunciation of Jeremiah Wright’s hate speech against white people and America.  Quotable:  “If you’re black, it’s hard to say what you truly think and not upset white people.”

UPDATE II:  Here’s the text of Wright’s “The Audacity of Hope”, along with the painting which is the theme of the sermon.   Note well that the painting Wright cites differs discernibly from Wright’s description of it.


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