Rev. Jeremiah Wright it still out giving fiery sermons, but some journalists are either lazy publicists or Obama-loving whitewashers. On Wednesday at noon, Rev. Wright will speak in Cleveland at the "Amistad Chapel" of Cleveland's United Church of Christ for Black History Month. It's open to the public, but you must register and bring photo ID. (Isn't asking for photo ID a scheme for racists?)
We'll put Washington Post columnist Lisa Miller in the "whitewasher" category for hailing Wright's "great learning" and "homiletic gifts" on Saturday. In the lazy-publicist category may be Akron Beacon-Journal religion Colette M. Jenkins, who presented Wright as a religious eminence who was misunderstood in 2008, when "many scholars and clerics have defended Wright, saying the statements publicized during the political campaign were taken out of context."
Jenkins made no attempt to explain how you take "God damn America" out of context for Americans, or any of Wright's other crazy remarks and conspiracy theories or liberation theology. This is how Jenkins described Wright's larger career:
Wright, who will speak Feb. 29, is pastor emeritus of Trinity UCC in Chicago. During his 36-year tenure, the predominantly black congregation grew from 250 to 6,000 members, becoming the largest church in the predominantly white UCC denomination. As a pastor, he combined his studies of African traditional religions, African music, African-American music and the African-American religious tradition with his studies of Judeo-Christian thought to create ministries that addressed the needs of the community.
This is the journalistic equivalent of phoning it in. See how similar that Jenkins paragraph is to the official United Church of Christ "all our welcome (with photo ID) press release:
As senior pastor of Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago, where he served 36 years, Wright combined his studies of African traditional religions, African music, African-American music and the African-American Religious Tradition with his studies of Judeo-Christian thought to create ministries that addressed the needs of the community and enriched the lives and faith of his congregants by moving ministry, as stated in his own words, "from theory to praxis." Describing Wright's preaching style, the Rev. Otis Moss III, the pastor of Trinity and Wright's successor, says, "The weight of the holy is upon his words."