Why Didn't the UCC Discipline Reverend Jeremiah Wright

Why didn’t the United Church of Christ discipline Reverend Jeremiah Wright for his treasonous sermons?

Question seems kind of loaded. Has the UCC ever disciplined a clergymember for the political content of their sermons?

Sermons cannot be treasonous.

qin, you’re not afraid of being sanctioned?

First, the UCC cannot discipline him. Seehere, noting particularly Section 18 of the Constitution. Ebidently, there are provisions for an Association (=presbytery) to do so.

Second, in what way are his sermons treasonous, bearing in mind that treason is strictly defined in the U.S. Constitution? While it’s not impossible to commit treason through the making of an address or addresses, the terms and conditions for the crime of treason are such that it sounds like a very difficult thing to prove.

Substituting in the presumption that you were engaging in a little hyperbole, what precisely did he say or do that might cause his local church or association to discipline him? Provide the specifics that have led you to this concern – I’m not demanding ironclad proof but evidence beyond “Qin says he said something treasonous” to form my own opinion on, as others may also wish to do.

Imprecating America (“No, no not God bless America, Goddamn America!”) and saying the US deserved 9-11 (“The Chickens are coming home to roost”)

Moving this from General Questions to IMHO.

You can still get factual answers and opinions, but this one didn’t rise yet to the level of a Great Debate.

samclem Moderator


Are religious people obliged to think their god has a place in its heart for their country or something? And what is it about opining that US policy abroad was bound to piss off someone willing to do something about it sooner or later that merits punishment? You don’t have to agree with him, but why should Mr. Wright be punished for thinking so?

Neither of which is treason.

While we’re at it, let’s discuss why Liberty University didn’t disassociate itself from Jerry Falwell when he said the 9-11 attacks were a judgement by God for the U.S. “throwing God out of the public square.”

Let’s not mix Democrat apples with Republican oranges.

Also, Curtis, one reason why a Church might not punish people for treason, if treason there is, is because some Christians remember something a dude said, a long time ago, about leaving certain stuff to Caesar.

UCC churches are pretty much run by the individual congregations even if the U stands for United. Even if there were treasonous sermons and churches were allowed to make that call, the UCC wouldn’t be one of the top candidates to choose discipline or sanction.

While I don’t think anything Wright said was treasonous, why can’t sermons be treasonous?


  1. Violation of allegiance toward one’s country or sovereign, especially the betrayal of one’s country by waging war against it or by consciously and purposely acting to aid its enemies.
  2. A betrayal of trust or confidence.

Nothing Rev. Wright said or did approached the definition of treason. Moreover, neither the UCC or any other church has the responsibility to apply discipline in a secular matter. Nothing Rev. Wright said or did went against the precepts of his church. If he had been guilty of heresy or blasphemy, then the church might have been in a position to step in.

That was assholish and unpatriotic, but it doesn’t rise to the level of treason.

Neither of which is treason in the United States. With regards to the US, treason “consist[s] only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort.” according to the Constitution.

Piffle. Prophets have said worse about Israel and Judah. In the Bible.

Christians are under no obligation to flatter any secular institution, nor to overlook its faults. Rather the contrary.

Plus, there’s also something called “Freedom of Speech.” Calling Wright’s comments treasonous (and they were taken out of context and misrepresented, BTW) smacks of things like the law under Henry VIII that made it treason to even discuss the possibility of changing his will (which established who would rule after him).

That’s not treason by any definition of the word. That is opinion, which is covered by both freedom of speech and, in this case, freedom of religion.