Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Rev. Jeremiah Wright 1/18/17

     “Those who hate hatred coming from the right should hate hatred coming from the Wright as well.” I object to the word “hate” in domestic discussion: I want domestic goodwill. And I object to two-bit artists posing as journalists and imposing self-adulation with sentences like the one quoted above from a recent shameful column.[1] I dismiss it.
     Long ago, I thought nothing of swearing—did it all the time, but changed when I realized it diminished my presence in a debate,[2] so I’m changing the subject to "flag burning."
     On July 4, 2006, The_Advocate kindly published my defense of actual flag burning[3]:  “If my neighbor wants to burn an American flag, I would like to know. Then, I can ask what caused extreme concern and may either express opposing views or spread a patriotic message.” It's a matter of free speech. A neighbor may converse with flag burning. Think about it: A neighbor may converse with flag burning.
     My January 8, 2015 essay in opposition to Charlie cartoons, “On taunting believers,” may be found using Google search. It’s a case of neighbors not triggering unidentified adolescent adults who are indoctrinated to be brutal killers. Neighbors don’t taunt killers using flag burning.
     Rev. Jeremiah Wright is known to civically use flag burning in sermons, and both the press and his friend, Senator Barack Obama could have been faithful to a people by facilitating access to Wright’s message.[4] His message, delivered on Sunday, April 13, 2003, came 25 days after the USA, with token Western support, invaded Iraq, we now know on false pretense. Rev Wright, veteran of both the Marines and the Navy, described the personal anguish of war victims to his beloved flock in very graphic sentences. He cited needless wars in the USA's past. Wright reviewed the scripture, “Jesus wept,” then preached:
"You know, death will make you weep. When you lose someone that you love, you will weep. When you lose somebody that was close to you, the tears will come; I ain't telling you about nothing that I read in a book somewhere, I’m telling you what I know from personal experience. I'm not telling you what I studied in pastoral counselling, I’m telling you what I have lived – for when the pain of death hits and the pain is deep, when the pain of death hits and the pain is personal, when the finality of death comes crashing in on you, and those words “never again” move from the region of possibility to the heart-wrenching realm of reality, that smile that made your day, never again will you see it. That laughter that lit up your world, never again will you hear it. That wisdom that anchored your soul, never again will you experience it in this life. When that happens to you, my beloved, you will weep."
Trust me. When you lose somebody you love, your life will never be the same. You carry a pain in the middle of your chest you cannot escape.
     The body of Wright's sermon established how wrong many of the USA’s past wars were. With the pall of personal losses Wright feared for his beloved flock, he expressed abysmal angst by using metaphorical flag burning. My neighbor may burn his or her flag to get my attention, and I will go ask his or her heartfelt concern. I'm not about to tell a marine veteran he/she can't express the concern then mataphorically burn his/her flag--change the order of events.
     I think the villains in this saga are the March 2008 media for sensationalizing Wright’s metaphorical flag burning and Barack Obama, for not being overtly faithful to his friend and pastor. Fidelity is important to the faithful, because eventually infidelity will out. Obama is today erroneously practicing Wright's sermon by keeping loved ones off the battlefields of war in foreign lands, perhaps to a fault--to the endangerment of this country and our allies. Wright’s is a heartfelt message, and people should have the chance to consider it, despite the metaphorical flag burning. It’s much like understanding to Google “Salem witch executions,” rather than the 1950s civics-lesson title, “Salem Witch Trials.” Christian witch-hunting in Europe was even more devastating than here.
     More importantly, the people of the USA is at fault—at fault for allowing domestic alienation to become so dominant that domestic goodwill seems unattainable. Often, a neighbor can’t talk to a neighbor about civic issues unless the neighbor belongs to the same civic faction, usually based on religion or race. And even if they do talk, they are often talking through each other, for example one talking white Christianity and the other talking black Christianity in code phrases that require the other to yield. Erroneously, black theology turns Christianity into a debate on skin-color.
     Relief is available with a few changes. First, each person separates their civic need, Security, from their religious hopes, perhaps a favorable afterdeath. Most people recognize that, while there are as many religious pursuits as there are inhabitants, mutual civic provision of Security is essential to each private life. Second, recognize that each person is on their personal quest for psychological maturity, no matter what decade of their life they are in and no matter how far from personal autonomy they may be--maybe one addicted to drugs and the other addicted to fundamental ideology or money accumulation. 
     With that recognition, every person who contributes to domestic goodwill may receive appreciation for the peace they offer, regardless of how it is expressed, and may share clear alienation against criminals and evil people, be they humble or mighty. The totalitarian “We the People of the United States” may, from its factions, gain A supermajority, We the Civic People of the United States, may, by example, nudge the approach to the totality We the People of the United States.
     With domestic goodwill an accepted goal, a civic people may use each: the preamble updated for 2017 living for voluntary, collaborative association; the indisputable-facts-of-reality [5] for discovering civic-morality; the Internet to candidly communicate personal civic needs on which to collaborate; two annual celebrations to further promote a civic people; and together nudge governance in public-integrity, still voting as individuals. Under existing statutory law, the individual may enjoy civic morality in freedom from tyranny that empowers the no-harm personal liberty to pursue personal preferences, whether religion is involved or not. We think 2/3 of inhabitants live that way now but do not have the civic language with which to appreciate each other.
     Interested persons are invited to join the work, perhaps starting with discussion of our  presentation, which takes 30 minutes to present and about 1 hour to discuss. Our next library presentation is planned for June 21, at 7:00 PM, to commemorate Ratification Day. On September 17, 1787, 65 % of delegates voted for 100% of inhabitants to be “We the People of the United States.” We’ll discuss what the other 35% of delegates wanted.
      In the meantime, invite us for a discussion with your group.
Copyright©2015 by Phillip R. Beaver. All rights reserved. Permission is hereby granted for the publication of all or portions of this paper as long as this complete copyright notice is included. Revised January 18, 2017.

[1] Quin Hillyer, “Southern bragging about Rev. Jeremiah Wright speaking on campus ‘even more obnoxious’ than Bobby Jindal’s prayer rally,”online at http://theadvocate.com/news/acadiana/11471146-171/quin-hillyer-southern-bragging-about .
[2] Swearing diminishes Thomas Jefferson’s proud claim, “I have sworn upon the altar of god eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man." The simple statement, “I oppose every form of tyranny over the mind of man," is more trustworthy. Online at http://www.monticello.org/site/jefferson/sworn-upon-altar-god-quotation .
[3] Find by Googling “Supporting free expression with flags”or go to promotethepreamble.blogspot.com.
[4] Online at religionblog.dallasnews.com/2008/03/listen-and-read-to-the-whole-g.html/ or blackpast.org/2008-rev-jeremiah-wright-confusing-god-and-government .  Also, Obama’s remarks on March 8, 2008, are at chicago.about.com/od/chicagopeople/a/ObamaSpeechRace.htm .