26 April 2008
Rev. Wright's Wrongs, continued
Anyone interested in the subject should go to the PBS website and either watch the video or read the transcript of the Moyers interview with Jeremiah Wright. Having read the transcript, I can confirm that Moyers did not ask him point blank about his charges regarding AIDS or crack. That's regrettable because, as I wrote previously, those charges were among the most offensive details of his sermons to his many newly-minted critics. On the other hand, Wright goes a long way toward clarifying his "God damn America" comments, for all the good that will do with conservatives and other mindless patriots. Those elements would rather have a patriotic clergy, perhaps on the Chinese model, than endure the words of even a would-be prophet. But if we're going to have freedom of religion in the U.S., that means preachers should be able to hold the government to a different if not higher standard than politicians might like, even as secular citizens hold the clergy to a secular standard. I have no use for Rev. Wright as a religious leader, but his courage justifies the freedom of religion that we so often abused by the likes of Warren Jeffs and his polygamist cult. Another way of saying this is that Wright demonstrates the political utility of freedom of religion by using his pulpit to speak against power, while the FLDS, for instance, shows the danger of freedom of religion as an end in itself.