Why Didn't the UCC Discipline Reverend Jeremiah Wright

Not really relevant. The First Amendment (if that is what you meant) applies to what the government can do, not to what private organizations like the UCC can do. The UCC could have sanctioned Wright, rescinded his license to preach, whatever, and the First Amendment would have offered no protection at all. The government could not have stopped Wright from preaching, but the UCC could at its will.

I suspect the reason the UCC didn’t do anything is because they never heard about it from anyone who disagreed with the sentiment. Let Wright or someone else start saying “God damn liberals” or “God damn homosexuals” in his sermons, and I think they might be a bit more likely to take action.

The nitpick about “treasonous” is a distraction - nobody is suggesting that it fits the legal definition of the term.


Right. Nathan would get right in the face of David – the founder of the kingdom, putative ancestor of the Messiah himself – and tell him God was about to smite the whole of the people over minor crap like a census.

Like **Captain Amazing **said, assholish and unpatriotic perhaps, but not treasonous or seditious. Wright got his punishment in that the next POTUS had to cut him off, thus depriving him of the sort of privileged access few can even dream of.
ETA: And Shodan, that in turn is the freedom of religion/speech/association of the UCC at work. And of course, by extension, your freedom to judge.

I suspect Wright wasn’t disciplined because he retired in early 2008, before the start of the controversy that surrounded him. It’s hard to discipline someone who has retired. That being said, his comments were not at all treasonous, Qin Shi Huangdi. You need to drop that charge (you’ve said it repeatedly) because it is bogus. I’m not sure why we’re discussing Wright at all in 2011; the furor around him was rather silly in 2008.

Qin has stated he takes the following Scripture very seriously:

I can’t imagine how. You right-wingers whined non-stop about it for weeks. Even I heard about it, and I don’t even live in the states. More likely they heard your whining but ignored it, and rightly so.

Are you comparing real right-wing whining over events that actually occured to the imaginary statements you think someone would make if something totally unrelated to anything being discussed here had happened? Why?

Are you surprised? “If this situation had been totally different, everyone would be acting like X” is a pretty common card for him to use in this game.

See post #23. The controversy only arose during the election campaign, and was essentially the first time anyone heard anything about Wright’s treasonous (in the loose sense of the term) statements. Before that, Obama and his like sat in the pews and nodded.

Because it is not totally unrelated. Left wingers hereabout whine constantly about everything the GOP does, and then flip instantly when the shoe is on the other foot. I realize you don’t like it when I point it out, but boo hoo.

If Wright had said something as offensive to the Left as this was to everyone else, and a Republican had been a member of his congregation and dedicated a book to him, you all would have been clamoring for his head. That’s how the SDMB operates. Get over it.


While I’m rolling my eyes at this wording, it probably does get to one core issue: Wright’s most controversial sermons were from in 2001 and 2003, and either nobody complained or not a significant proportion of people complained, so nothing happen. Whether or not they should have complained, or whether or not most people would ever bother making a complaint about something their priest said, the UCC didn’t have much reason to act if not a lot of people registered their feelings on those comments. When Wright became the subject of a national media frenzy, that was different.

I don’t know what the UCC’s rules are, but the UCC and UUs are descended from similar traditions and the UUA has the concept of the “free pulpit”. In other words, the minister is the owner of his own words and maintains sole responsibility for them. He is allowed the freedom to speak his mind without having to subscribe to certain theological ideas or dogma. A UU minister certainly wouldn’t be disciplined for saying what Wright said, even if every person in the congregation and the UUA disagreed. Perhaps the UCC has a similar tradition.

Is anyone suggesting that it fits any other definition of the term? Because it doesn’t.

It’s perfectly relevant. Curtis is asking why the church isn’t enforcing a secular law, and Chuck is pointing out that the secular law hasn’t been breached.

Why unpatriotic? As Senator Carl Schurz said: “My country, right or wrong; if right, to be kept right; and if wrong, to be set right.”

Isn’t it the first duty of a true patriot, if personally convinced that the country is on the wrong track, to try and set it right?

Inflammatory language may or may not be the most effective way to make the point, but I don’t see how criticising the foreign policies of your own country is unpatriotic.

No, but “God damn America” isn’t what you’d call constructive criticism, even in context.

This is treasonous?

He dissed America, big deal :rolleyes:

That’s a matter of opinion. Sometimes, inflammatory language is what catches attention and makes people think.

Put it this way - this many years later, his comments are still generating attention to the issue, while learned monographs on the relationship between US mid-East policy and Arab views of the US gather dust on library shelves.

Which is the more effective way to attract attention to one’s point of view?

His comments are still generating attention, but I doubt one American in 100 knows what the actual issue was.

Donald Trump drew attention to the Republican presidential nomination process, but nobody thinks he actually did any good.

I really don’t care what people say their god thinks about politics, and I don’t give a crap at all about whether somebody’s patriotic or not. But that being said, it’s not hard to understand why people would object to something like “God damn America” - even if a lot of them are reacting just to that phrase and not to the broader argument.

Agreed. I’m an atheist and probably criticize US foreign policy more than anyone on this board (who doesn’t actually want the US to collapse, or to kick off a racial holy war, or whatever - you know, out of the sane people) and it even ticked me off a little.

Here’s a little of the sermon, for those who don’t remember the text. The bulk of the sermon was about the idea that governments are often wrong, but they change, for good or for bad. God is never wrong and never changes. So that’s the context.

*“And the United States of America government, when it came to treating her citizens of Indian descent, she failed. She put them on reservations.”

“When it came to putting her citizens of Japanese descent fairly, she failed. She put them in interment prison camps.”

“When it came to putting the citizens of African descent fairly, America failed. She put them in chains. The government put them on slave quarters. Put them on auction blocks. Put them in cotton fields. Put them in inferior schools. Put them in substandard housing. Put them scientific experiments. Put them in the lower paying jobs. Put them outside the equal protection of the law. Kept them out of their racist bastions of higher education, and locked them into positions of hopelessness and helplessness.”

“The government gives them the drugs, builds bigger prisons, passes a three strike law and then wants us to sing God Bless America. Naw, naw, naw. Not God Bless America. God Damn America! That’s in the Bible. For killing innocent people. God Damn America for treating us citizens as less than human. God Damn America as long as she tries to act like she is God and she is Supreme.”*

Now, Wright said quite a bit that I disagree with, but I never understood what about this quote was supposed to be so treasonous. This is standard stuff for civil rights speeches, for the most part, and rightly so. I suspect he was also inspired by Nina Simone’s song “Mississippi Goddam,” but I could easily be wrong about that.

Definitely not treason. More like bitching and moaning. Treason in the US is trying to overthrow the government by way of assisting the countries enemies. Must be two witnesses. The US constitution prohibits calling lesser offenses treason. Meanwhile, bitching and moaning is protected by the First Amendment.

A remarkable coincidence, I’m sure. Then something else about How Obama Would Destroy America arose, and the imaginary controversy disappeared.

With good reason.

Hadn’t noticed. I’ve noticed a lot of people unhappy with Obama re: kowtowing to you and your ilk, though.

I’ll manage. Your concern is very, very touching.

These are more imaginary reactions to imaginary events, right?