President-elect Barack Obama’s former preacher Jeremiah Wright is Back or at least was back for a day. He gave his fiery sermons at his old pulpit yesterday, and while there bashed every media vehicle and personality he could think of. Obama’s former mentor even bashed Elizebeth Hasselback, branded her as a dizzy blond. Which were pretty strong words for the preacher who during his sermon called December 7th the anniversary of the dropping of the A-Bomb instead of what it was the anniversary of Pearl Harbor. Read more below:
Wright visits Trinity pulpit, lashes media December 7, 2008
For the first time since his retirement last spring, Rev. Jeremiah A. Wright Jr. returned to the pulpit of Trinity United Church of Christ this morning with two goals: glorifying God and vilifying the media.
In honor of Trinity’s 47th anniversary, Wright preached Sunday worship services in place of Rev. Otis Moss III, who was attending his father’s farewell from the pulpit of Olivet Institutional Baptist Church in Cleveland.
Citing the revelation to Mary by the angel Gabriel that she would conceive a child to be born the Son of God, Wright said Mary’s disbelief was similar to the doubts some faithful shared about the future of Trinity after Wright’s retirement and the possibility of a black man being elected president.
“Our legitimate questions tend to be asked from the vantage point of limited horizons,” said Wright during the 7:30 a.m. service. “Mary had a limited horizon. She couldn’t see how it was possible.”
“In almost every instance where I have encountered this phenomenon, what I have discovered is that the limited horizons are caused by the tendency to look for a person to provide you with answers for your legitimate questions,” Wright continued. “I really should say our legitimate questions, not your legitimate questions, because God knows I’ve got some questions myself.”
Wright, Trinity’s former pastor, gained prominence when President-elect Barack Obama in his memoirs cited the pastor’s inspirational sermons.
But shortly after Wright’s final appearance in the pulpit at Trinity last February, he became the center of controversy when segments of past sermons surfaced on the Internet and replayed on cable news programs. Pundits questioned his patriotism based on sound bites, including one where he shouted “God damn America!”
The resulting media onslaught fueled tension around an already sensitive transition and prompted Moss, Wright’s hand-picked successor, to implement strict guidelines for the media, banning cameras and recording devices and instructing members not to grant interviews.
On Sunday, church officials turned reporters away from the worship service. But services were streamed live on the Internet, and audio and video recordings were sold in the church bookstore.
Wright said no amount of media coverage could dampen Trinity spirit.
“Jesus said upon this rock I will build–listen to the promise–my church,” he said. “And the gates of Hell–listen to the promise–the gates of Hell–neither ABC nor CNN–the gates of Hell–neither Hannity nor O’Reilly–the gates of Hell–neither Time, Time magazine, Chicago Sun Times, Chicago Tribune … the gates of Hell shall not prevail against it. Nothing will be impossible with God.”
At the 11 a.m. service, Wright belittled “baby milk believers,” who, he said, suffer a delusion that politics don’t belong in the pulpit. He pointed out that “Luke the evangelist, not Wright the radical” lambasted the oppressive policies of the Roman government in the Gospel story that recounts Jesus’ life.
“Any preacher who dares to point out the simple ugly facts found in every field imaginable is demonized as volatile, controversial, incendiary, inflammatory, anti-American and radical,” Wright said, taking time out to note the thousands of Japanese civilians who died 67 years to the day when American warplane dropped an atomic bomb on Hiroshima. (Actually, Dec. 7 marks the day when the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor.)
He implied that his previous use of derogatory language to describe Italians in a past sermon referred to the Roman oppression Luke condemned.
“Emperor Augustus in Rome–that’s in Italy, dizzy blond on the View,” Wright said, presumably referring to conservative television personality Elisabeth Hasselback, who has railed about Wright on the ABC daytime talk show.
Wright also thanked an employee at Fox News–“a saint in Caesar’s household”–who advised him to cancel his October speaking engagements because the network had an advance copy of his schedule.