By William A. Von Hoene Jr.
During the last two weeks, excerpts from sermons of the Rev. Jeremiah Wright Jr., pastor for more than 35 years at Trinity United Church of Christ on Chicago's South Side, have flooded the airwaves and dominated our discourse about the presidential campaign and race. Wright has been depicted as a racial extremist, or just a plain racist. A number of political figures and news commentators have attempted to use Sen. Barack Obama's association with him to call into question Obama's judgment and the sincerity of his commitment to unity.
I have been a member of Trinity, a church with an almost entirely African-American congregation, for more than 25 years. I am, however, a white male. From a decidedly different perspective than most Trinitarians, I have heard Wright preach about racial inequality many times, in unvarnished and passionate terms.
In Obama's recent speech in Philadelphia on racial issues confronting our nation, the senator eloquently observed that Rev. Wright's sermons reflect the difficult experiences and frustrations of a generation.
It is important that we understand the dynamic Obama spoke about.
It also is important that we not let media coverage and political gamesmanship isolate selected remarks by Wright to the exclusion of anything else that might define him more accurately and completely. ...