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March 18, 2008

What’s the Big Deal About Anger Anyway?

In Barack Obama's speech earlier today on race, particularly in response to controversial comments made from the pulpit of his former pastor Jeremiah Wright, he gives place to anger:

The fact that so many people are surprised to hear that anger in some of Reverend Wright’s sermons simply reminds us of the old truism that the most segregated hour in American life occurs on Sunday morning. That anger is not always productive; indeed, all too often it distracts attention from solving real problems; it keeps us from squarely facing our own complicity in our condition, and prevents the African-American community from forging the alliances it needs to bring about real change. But the anger is real; it is powerful; and to simply wish it away, to condemn it without understanding its roots, only serves to widen the chasm of misunderstanding that exists between the races.

Rightly, Obama explains why many African-American pastors of the 50+ generation still fight, and rail from the pulpit, against the prejudice into which they were born. He doesn't condone it, but he gives room for it.

But instead of simply trying to understand this anger, why not go a step further and ask the harder question: What is the role of anger in the pulpit? Isn't it to point us to God's righteous anger (the kind that Christ displayed in the temple during Holy Week) and not incite hatred toward other races or political figures?

No anger, but the truly righteous kind, has a place in any pulpit, black or white.

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"But the anger is real; it is powerful; and to simply wish it away, to condemn it without understanding its roots....."

Typical Obamaphor (Barackism?). Every speech he gives elicits the same response: What the heck is that supposed to mean?

Is it OK to condemn Wrights rantings provided we understand its roots? What if we disagree about what the roots are? What about those of us who think the roots just don't justify hatred and paranoia? Is there a real contingent that is trying to "wish it away", or is he just creating straw men for his speeches? Has anyone suggested the anger is not "real"? (Wouldn't feigned anger be less reprehensible?)

Can anyone figure out what Obama is suggesting an appropriate response is supposed to be?


I would think that is driving a wedge between the races even more with hate from the pulpit. I have never heard that kind of preaching from my church.

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