Saturday, March 22, 2008


Today is what some call the Great Vigil. In keeping with that tradition, it's a good day for another rant about politics and religion, again wrapped in yarn and flowers to sweeten ill humor. In the interest of full disclosure, the yarn is a wip, but that could be misread as advocacy for violence and there's been quite enough misunderstanding already.

Here's the yarn, in the process of becoming Annetrelac Socks by Sandy Beadle with a 64-st cuff, instead of 72 sts. Knitting backwards for the entrelac always makes me crazy, but I'm loving how the yarn is pooling. It's my March Sockdown! sock.

Annetrelac sock

Here's the rant: By now just about everyone with access to U.S. news media knows that Barack Obama's former pastor, Jeremiah Wright of Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago, has preached fiery sermons that sometimes include strong language – there's video to prove it. But what is less known is the brief excerpts shown incessantly by some media outlets actually were selectively redacted in ways that distort them beyond necessary summary into willful misrepresentation.

For example, in Dr. Wright's first sermon after September 11, his words, "America's chickens are coming home to roost," are a quotation of a quotation. The originator of the phrase was Malcolm X, but the speaker who used the words and who is cited in the sermon was Edward Peck, a former U.S. Ambassador to Iraq and Deputy Director of President Reagan's Terrorism Task Force. See for yourself – Trinity Church has posted a longer excerpt of the sermon on YouTube. Ed: Audio of the entire sermon of September 16, 2001 is available here (scroll down). It's about 36 minutes long and is very worth hearing in its entirety.

Or view here.

For those unfamiliar with Christianity, the sermon has as its text Psalm 137. The psalm's opening lament is well-known, but (as the preacher notes) its cry for wholesale payback gets less attention. Remarkably, Dr. Wright is preaching against the popular demand and the biblical license for total war. Some may find his explicit call for self-examination and implicit call for a measured response counter-cultural, radical, or offensive, but this sermon is hardly the hate-filled raving of a lunatic black racist. I think it's fair to wonder why some have characterized it and him as such.

Trinity Church is in the process of posting more excerpts of Dr. Wright's sermons. They're worth a look. I may not always agree with the content of Dr. Wright's jeremiads and my pastors may use a less loud preaching style, but the church denomination we share has a long history of freedom of the pulpit and freedom of conscience. This does not mean ignoring or wishing away what seems difficult or different in others, but rather serious, respectful engagement with one another and deep commitment to the theological principle of unity in diversity. Thus endeth today's rant.

Here's the flowers: cherry blossoms from Branch Brook Park.

Cherry blossoms

I'm dreaming of the Cherry Blossom Festival next month.


dragon knitter said...

somehow i thought that whole mess was blown way out of proportion. while there are racists of all races and creeds, i can't believe that barack obama would have such poor judgement as to choose a church that would foster such things. that would look bad (which is what i think the media was aiming for in the first place).

i'm tired of the politics, sigh.

nice sock, though!

Bezzie said...

On NPR someone made a really good point--black people are familiar with the way traditional white church services are held. Why aren't white people more familiar with the way black services are held?
I've been to one black church service. It was actually for a funeral. But it was the BEST damn funeral I've ever been to! It was appropriately sad (the deceased in question was a murder victim) and yet so uplifting! Way better than the other funerals at traditionally white churches I have been to.

Jessica said...

Love the sock!

As the daughter of a retired cop, I know all too well how the media manipulates what they hear into what they want it to be to sell papers. I can tell you stories...

Kim said...

Those entrelac socks are so grogeous they are worth the aggravation of backward knitting. Sadly, it comes as no surprise that the media distort and redact comments and speeches to suit their needs/agenda.
If the media really wants to go after preachers for racist or hateful sermons, the pickings are good among the right-wing white preachers. No editing required.

craftivore said...

The pooling of your sock is really beautiful. It makes me want to do one of those socks.

Nice to follow your rant with a lovely picture of cherry blossoms. It warms the heart when I was starting to feel gloomy.

Deborah said...

I think knitters ought to organize. You, Ina, are an inspiration.