Local ministers react to Rev. Jeremiah Wright's comments - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Reported by Ben Watson

Local ministers react to Rev. Jeremiah Wright's comments

The Rev. Jeremiah Wright The Rev. Jeremiah Wright

When the Reverend Jeremiah Wright criticizes American for a history of racism, Memphis ministers like Leonard Dawson agree with him.

"What Reverend Jeremiah Wright, Junior I think was saying is that America has been so unjust as it relates to people of color that God really is not in position to bless America," Dawson said in an interview Monday. "What it looks like, if God is going to do justice, he's going to damn America."

Dawson heads up Memphis' Baptist Ministerial Alliance.  He and many others in the organization feel the attacks on Reverend Wright are unjust.

"I would think it's an attack on every faith based institution when you question the right to freedom of speech of a gospel preacher sharing a sermon," the Rev. Dwight Montgomery said.

Ministers feel that Wrights' comments are under scrutiny because he is Senator Barack Obama's former pastor, and not because they feel Wright has a point.

"There is a great segment of Americans that are in denial of what has gone on in this country, and they become offended when its talked about, when in reality, America is over due for repentance for an admission of what she has done," Dawson said.

"Jeremiah Wright cannot cause God to damn American," Montgomery said. "Jeremiah Wright can not cause God to condemn America. America condemns itself by not wanting to recognize the ills that exist in this nation. Racism and bigotry does exist."

Ministers in the alliance are calling on misters of all races to weigh what Wright is saying against what they feel are the duties of a minister to speak out.  They feel if its done sincerely, Wright's message has a chance of bringing this country together, instead of tearing it apart.

"He has helped us to re-focus on reality - a reality that many want to cover it up, and covering it up does not help the situation," Montgomery said. "Why sweep it under the rug?  lets deal with it. It is going to bring about more dialogue."

Montgomery said it is important that ministers of all races to speak the truth, and that history will remember Wright for doing just that.

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