As a white person and descendant of pioneer Americans (my Presbyterian relatives arrived from Scotland in 1704), I am heartened by the resonance of the debate sparked by Rev. Wright.
I left the United States in 1995 partly out of family obligations (my spouse is French) and partly because after 25 years, I had no future in New Orleans.
My wife and I were frequent “congregants” at Pastor Paul Morton’s Greater St. Stephen’s Baptist Church, and “worked” hard at cultivating “cross-cultural friendships”, especially where our children were concerned. But after 25 years in the City that Care Forgot” it became apparent that economically and socially we had no future in that city. Legacy “behaviors”, the unspoken behaviors that perpetuate class and racial distinctions were not about to change and no single person could challenge the status quo. Mediocrity ruled.
I can say with conviction that the black church is different but that “different” does not mean “deficient”. The thoughtful defense of Jeremiah Wright’s ministry advanced by John Petty in his blog Hurt Feelings All Around is welcome indeed.
The Obama candidacy and the Obama-Wright debate are truly what we need to awaken from the deep moral sleep brought upon us by great wealth and the industrial transformation of our natural resources, but also by the complacency of a Western world grateful to have been saved twice during the XXth century from total self-annihilation.
For an interesting take on these issues and a book “preview”, readers might have a look at the Boston Globe article by Charles Derber and Yale Magrass(*) which appeared in yesterday’s Boston Globe, “The ‘Wright problem’ belongs to America“.
(*) Charles Derber and Yale Magrass are the authors of Morality Wars: How Empires, the Born Again, and the Politically Correct Do Evil in the Name of Good