Why I’m glad Barack isn’t a UU, and the full Rev. Wright Sermon

A few months back, I pretty much endorsed Barack Obama from a UU perspective. Click here.

Now I’m glad Barack isn’t a Unitarian Universalist. The amount of shared exploration and miss-statements that occur at a good UU service would feed the media with enough quotes to bring down Thomas Jefferson himself. I consider spiritual exploration and missteps to be a good thing among friends, but a damaging exercise in the face of hostile media attention.

A favorite Huffington Post and DiscoverUU blogger of mine is Rev. Debra W. Haffner. Please check out Debra’s blog post on Hilary Clinton’s condemnation of Wright. Sexuality and Religion: What’s the Connection?: How Could She Have Said That?

I’m not endorsing everything that comes out of Rev.Wright’s mouth, but Barack Obama’s minister deserves a second look, before we- especially UU’s- condemn either him or Obama.

“America’s chickens are coming home to roost” is a quote we’ve all heard in clips of Wright by now. Barack has been forced to disassociate himself from Wright’s words for this and other comments that Wright has made. I wasn’t sure quite what it meant, and longed for more context.

It turns out that the chickens quote attributed by Rev. Wright was taken from Ambassador Peck. Peck was the Deputy Director of the Reagan White House Task Force on Terrorism. He served as Chief of Mission in Baghdad (Iraq 1977 to 1980) and later held senior posts in Washington and abroad. Edward Peck also argued against invading Iraq prior to the March 2003 invasion.

Wright uses this quote, not to say that Americans deserved the attacks of September 11th, but that ‘violence begets violence’ and ‘hate begets hate.’

Most Americans did not bat an eye when our own government committed extreme acts of violence, and Wright calls for each of us to examine ourselves in this time of need and see if/how we are participating in this cycle of violence and hatred. There is a big difference between calling for an understanding our role in the cyclical nature of violence, and proclaiming an attack on Americans ‘justified’.

Wright calls on people not to hate. Not to strike out. Not to be a part of the cycle. He uses inflammatory language at times, but any minister that challenges their congregation will likely fall into this at one point or another.

Wright’s overall message remains.

It’s wrong to attack someone for the words of their minister. I can only imagine if I were held accountable for every word I’ve heard at every UU sermon. Goodness! Part of the reason I enjoy attending is the struggle with the ideas put before me. If I leave a sermon thinking and slightly pissed off, odds are, it was a good sermon. In the end, I may not agree with what was said, but the process has made me explore my own beliefs and ideas. Sometimes I go BECAUSE I know I may not like/ will be challenged by the sermon.

Please watch Wright’s full sermon in context. It makes a difference.

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UU CREED

I believe in my duty to find the sacred, to chose it for myself, and hold it in my heart.

I affirm this right in you as well.

Together we can share the joy of community, the power of reverence, and the burden of freedom.

This is the creed of my heart, extended to you, and expressed through this loving institution.

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5 Responses to “Why I’m glad Barack isn’t a UU, and the full Rev. Wright Sermon”

  1. gijew Says:

    I’m glad someone finally put the whole context out there. Maybe now someone will look at it.

  2. Lizard Eater Says:

    The two main sermons, in context:

    http://ac360.blogs.cnn.com/2008/03/21/the-full-story-behind-wright%e2%80%99s-%e2%80%9cgod-damn-america%e2%80%9d-sermon/?s-%20?god-damn-america%20?-sermon/
    http://ac360.blogs.cnn.com/2008/03/21/the-full-story-behind-rev-jeremiah-wrights-911-sermon/

  3. shaktinah Says:

    Hi Aaron, namaste.

    “Barack Obama’s minister deserves a second look, before we- especially UU’s- condemn either him or Obama.”

    Are any UUs condemning Obama or Wright? I haven’t met any. Given our diversity I’m sure there are some, but methinks they would be a small minority. At least I hope…

  4. What to write about Wright « Aaron Sawyer’s DiscoverUU Blog Says:

    […] while back, I wrote about why I was glad that Barack Obama was not a Unitarian Universalist. Obama’s description of his church experience lays focus on the church COMMUNITY, not the […]

  5. Wayne KIng Says:

    The phrase about “chickens coming home to roost” was common in the militant civil rights movements of the 60’s. Still there is a great deal more than that in Rev. Wright’s sermons. Even where his attitude might could be understandable given where he was coming from, it certainly was not something that the average voter was going to understand. Sometimes it almost seemed the Rev. Wright was deliberately trying to undermine Obama’s chances at the presidency.

    On another issue. Does anyone know how I can contact the Unitarian Universalists for Obaman group on the Obama website? I joined but my membership has been kept “pending” for several days.

    Wayne King
    member All Souls UU Church, Colorado Springs

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