Now on the speakers' circuit, Wright spoke this morning at the National Press Club. Continuing to dog Obama, Wright joked that he would be open to serving as vice president.
He rejected suggestions that his willingness to associate with Louis Farrakhan, the head of the Nation of Islam, meant that he was anti-Semitic. He said Mr. Farrakhan was “not my enemy” and was too important a black leader to be ignored. When Mr. Farrakhan speaks, he said, “all black America listens — whether they agree with him or not, they listen.”Nice try, but I'm not buying it. My friend Manya at the Chicago Tribune has blogged a bit about Wright's new platform. But she says the feel after this morning's talk was that he, so far, has proven too immature for the national spotlight.
Historically, he said, when black people were prohibited from meeting in groups, they did so anyway “out of the eyesight and earshot of those who defined them as less than human.”
The result was that black churches, which have existed in America since the 1600s, were “invisible to the dominant culture.” Because of slavery and racial discrimination, he said, black churches focused on the themes of liberation and transformation.
“The black church’s role in the fight for equality and justice from the 1700s to 2008 has always had as its core the non-negotiable doctrine of reconciliation, children of God repenting for past sins against each other,” he said.
As a result of this background and the unfamiliarity of many white people with black preaching, he said, some might find his sermons unsettling. He also noted that the widely circulated clips of his remarks were only short snippets lifted out of the context of much longer, closely reasoned arguments.
“We root out any teaching of superiority, inferiority, hatred or prejudice,” he said. “And we recognize that for the first time in modern history, in the West, that the other who stands before us with a different color of skin, a different texture of hair, different music, different preaching styles and different dance moves; that other is one of God’s children just as we are, no better, no worse, prone to error and in need of forgiveness just as we are.”
Here's the full transcript and the video clips: