the suzi parker files

Politics, Pop Culture and Ponderings

Hey, Glenn Beck: You Should Listen to Rev. Jeremiah Wright

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Obama doesn’t believe in God?

Of course he does. Here’s a simple reason why. After sitting on a pew Sunday after Sunday listening to the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, as Obama once did, no one could doubt the God of the Bible exists and no one could pretend to be a believer to boost an image or political future.

The talk about Obama and God stems from remarks by Glenn Beck, who raised doubts about the president’s religious beliefs after the talk show host’s D.C. rally last Saturday. As Politics Daily editor Melinda Henneberger wrote, Beck’s rally wasn’t about politics, so Beck said, but rather about God. And Obama’s God is suspect in the view of Beck and others who listen to him. I think — after hearing Wright preach last Sunday in Little Rock — that the reverend would jump right in and forcefully disagree.

Sure, Wright is political, but black ministers often are. They have to be given the history of blacks in this country. Slavery, Jim Crow laws, the civil rights movement – all are wrapped up in complex politics that are bound by Negro spirituals and a strong faith in God. To put the Bible in context, black ministers sprinkle politics and calls for social justice throughout their sermons. That just might anger some people.

But Wright is also a masterful storyteller who makes you believe. Granted, I was a believer before I walked in the door and plopped down on a back pew, so it wasn’t too hard to convince me. But his stories — aside from his criticism of former President George W. Bush and the Iraq war — were haunting about the power of God.

He talked about his great Aunt Hattie, the kind of old soul who could see things before they happened. God spoke through her because she was that in tune with a higher power.

Wright said that one night his young daughter was crying, saying she saw a man in the window. Sure, Wright thought, she wants to sleep in her parents’ bed. The child could not be pacified. What did the man look like? Wright asked. She said his grandfather. Sure enough, the phone rang soon after. It was Aunt Hattie, saying she thought the baby was upset and that Wright’s great grandfather had passed away.

Great storytelling? Or the truth? Everyone in the church said their “Amens” and shivered just a bit, including the big burly man beside me.

Wright’s stories percolate in you and make you think. Did God speak to Aunt Hattie? Could God speak to me that way? Are angels among us?

In Obama’s “A More Perfect Union” speech that he delivered after Wright’s controversial remarks about an array of topics, from the Sept. 11 attacks to America’s treatment of blacks, Obama said, “Did I know him to be an occasionally fierce critic of American domestic and foreign policy? Of course. Did I ever hear him make remarks that could be considered controversial while I sat in church? Yes. Did I strongly disagree with many of his political views? Absolutely — just as I’m sure many of you have heard remarks from your pastors, priests or rabbis with which you strongly disagreed.”

Obama, in the same 2008 speech, said that Wright was divisive and the country needed unity. Isn’t Glenn Beck just as divisive? The answer is a resounding yes. Not so unlike Jeremiah Wright. Wright just used his own pulpit to preach and Beck uses federal property and the airwaves.

Is Beck’s God any better than Aunt Hattie’s God? Must we really argue over such a thing? Maybe Glenn Beck should pay a visit and hear Wright when he guest preaches next time. He might just think twice before he opens his mouth. Aunt Hattie might be watching.

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Written by suziparker1313

March 8, 2011 at 8:46 pm

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