National Public Radio's Morning Edition celebrated the end of 2008 on New Year’s Eve with black commentator (and Huffington Post contributor) John Ridley listing the top "non-troversies" of 2008, which he defined as "what seemed monumental then, in retrospect has all the significance of a Dennis Kucinich stump speech." Ridley’s top "non-troversy" was Reverend Wright’s sermon clips about America deserving 9/11 and the U.S. government inventing AIDS. Ridley claimed he was only saying what the Robertsons and Falwells did:
And the number non-troversy of 2008? Are you ready for this? How dare Jeremiah Wright say the bigoted, hurtful things in the privacy of a black church that men of God like Pat Robertson, John Hagee, and the late Jerry Falwell said in public? Barack Obama denounces Wright, comes across as a rational black man, then delivers a historic speech on race in America and ends up in the White House. I mean, the whole thing worked out so well, I have a feeling that somewhere Wright and Obama are secretly sharing a cigar, swapping one of those terrorist fist jabs Fox News warned us about, and saying to each other, ‘We got 'em, baby. We got 'em.’
You know, hard to believe so much almost important stuff just about happened this year. You know, if 2009 is anything like 2008, we can look forward to many hyperbolic moments hardly worth the cable news space they fill. Happy New Year, everybody.
It’s a good thing Ridley is safe in an NPR studio and not having to face rebuttal. Where did Falwell or Robertson preach "God damn America"? Yes, Falwell did say (on Robertson's TV show) that the gays and the ACLU may have caused God to lift his veil of protection over the United States that allowed the September 11 attacks (for which he apologized). That’s not the same as asking God to condemn your country.
Falwell was forced to apologize. When you’re a liberal preacher and you say America deserved it because of Nagasaki or our alleged neglect of the Palestinians or South Africans, liberals like Ridley see no need for apologies – and Wright never offered one. Ridley, by claiming Wright was a "nontroversy," is suggesting he finds nothing objectionable in Wright mocking Italians as "garlic noses" and wild conspiracy theories about AIDS, among other things.
Ridley also has a blog at NPR.org called Visible Man, where he posted the commentary.