March 18, 2008
From my direct observation, these Christian Fundamentalist churches have all -- every single one -- had congregations composed of all the races. From my auditing of the sermons I have never, not once, heard a message of race hate preached. Neither have I heard race hate promoted in the social meetings after. Not one single time, not even in the whitest of congregations. I have never, not for one instant, felt anything coming from these meetings that is anything other than embracing tolerance and Christian love for mankind. I have never, not for one instant, detected a whiff of bigotry or of anti-Semitism in these gatherings. Being a reformed radical from Berkeley in the 1960s I have keen radar for this sort of thing. Like many of my unreformed cohort I can detect it even when it doesn't exist.
What has also become clear to me -- what has been a revelation to me -- in the last week is that you do find racism embedded in some Christian Fundamentalist churches; churches whose congregation is almost strictly African-American. Indeed, scanning the tapes of the Reverend Wright Church that Barack Obama has attended it was difficult for me to find one white member of the congregation. I have, it is true, seen a tape where a white female pastor of another church was brought in to gush over the church, but that seemed to me to be a special occasion; something performed for the cameras.
While I can imagine many parishioners of many of the fundamentalist churches I've attended over the last few years sitting through a lot of sermons on this or that, I cannot imagine a white person sitting through the kind of sermons I've heard coming out of Reverend Wright's mouth -- unless they were overwhelmed with guilt and had a twisted sort of Christ-complex.
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