Rev. Jeremiah Wright Keynotes NAACP Freedom Fund

Published April 28, 2008

Posted April 28, 2008 – The Rev. Jeremiah Wright, whose entire 40-year career as a Christian minister was boiled down to a couple 30-second snippets that caused much of White America to label him a lunatic and hatemonger, gave his critics a different perspective Sunday in an elongated speech before 10,000 at an NAACP gathering in Detroit.

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During an hour-long address, which drew wild laughter and applause at times, the controversial former pastor of Sen. Barack Obama said that he has been blasted by corporate-owned media for telling the truth.

"I describe the conditions in this country,” said the former U.S. Marine and Navy medical corpsman, who holds two master’s degrees and a doctorate. “Conditions divide, not my descriptions. I am sorry your local political analysts and your neighboring county executives think my being here is polarizing and my sermons are divisive, but I'm not here to address an analyst's opinion," he said, reminding that he is not running for the Oval Office. "I've been running for Jesus a long, long time, and I'm not tired yet," said Wright, who served for 30 years as pastor of Chicago ’s Trinity United Church of Christ. "I am here to address your 2008 theme ... (of) change is going to come.”

He said that it is important to understand that Blacks and Whites worship differently, suggesting that many Whites are more disarmed with his fiery delivery than the substance of his message, which challenges injustice.

“The Black religious tradition is different,” he said, noting that he speaks from the perspective of someone whose ancestors were enslaved, rather than from the perspective of those who did the enslaving. “We do it a different way. But differences are not deficiencies. We just do it different and some of our haters can't get their head around that.” He further praised the legacy of the church in American activism. "I come from a religious tradition that fought against lynching, like the NAACP...fought against apartheid...fought against Plessy v. Ferguson ...fought for every citizen to have equal education, regardless of the color of their skin."

The crowd at the civil rights organization's largest annual fundraiser often rose to its feet and cheered the retired pastor. Wright championed the cultural diversity reflected both in predominantly Black Detroit and throughout the nation.

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Written by BET-Staff

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