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[By Dr. Mohamed Elmasry] May 26. 2008


"We [African Americans] were always seen as objects," said the Rev. Dr.

Jeremiah Wright Jr., retiring pastor of Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago, the church Senator Barak Obama used to attend.


"When we started defining ourselves, it scared those who try to control others by naming them and defining them for them; oppressors do not like 'others' defining themselves."


Wright has been crucified by the media for telling the truth his way, for challenging America's rich and powerful to accept responsibility for where their collective greed and self-absorption are taking his country.


Yes, his country; for the United States of America belongs to all Americans

- not just those who send their compatriots into danger and death in Afghanistan and Iraq, or who coldly exploit humanity at home and abroad.


But poor Obama found himself on the defensive and scrambling to implement damage control. Under relentless media scrutiny he distanced himself personally from the man who'd officiated at his wedding and baptized his two daughters, stating that any relationship with his former pastor "has now changed."


Obama felt compelled to respond after Rev. Wright refused to back down from controversial statements made in his famous fiery sermons, which the Democratic presidential hopeful firmly described as "divisive and destructive" and "giving comfort to those that prey on hate."


Furthermore, Obama declared, "I believe that [Rev. Wright's statements] do not portray accurately the perspective of the Black Church. They certainly don't portray accurately my values and beliefs."


But what Rev. Wright is now proclaiming from the pulpit sounds a good deal like what Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X used to say, and what many lesser-known preachers have been saying all along in America's black churches. They are saying what any person of faith in America would say who is rightly concerned about social justice issues.


Wright has hit back hard at his critics, saying that any attacks made on him were attacks on the Black Church itself. He has also referred to his six years of military service as proof of his patriotism. "How many years did [Vice President Dick] Cheney serve?" he asked rhetorically.


"I am not a politician. I know that fact will surprise many of you because many of the corporate-owned media have made it seem that I have announced that I am running for the Oval Office," Wright said. "We [African Americans] just do it differently, and some of our haters can't get their heads around that. I come from a religious tradition where we shout in the sanctuary and we march on the picket lines."


So, just what did Rev. Wright say to upset America's rich and powerful?


Here are a few examples:


* We have supported Zionism shamelessly while ignoring the plight of Palestinians and branding anybody who spoke out against Israel as anti- Semitic.


* We helped put [Nelson] Mandela in prison and supported the Apartheid regime for the entire 27 years of his incarceration.


* We believe in white supremacy and black inferiority and believe in it more than we believe in God.


* We've put more blacks in American's prisons than are in college.


* Racism is alive and well; racism is how this country was founded and how this country is still run.


* America is still the number one killer in the world. It is deeply involved in importing drugs, exporting guns, and training professional killers. We bombed Cambodia, Iraq, and Nicaragua, killing numerous women, children, and innocent civilians of all descriptions.


* We conducted deadly radiation experiments on our own people, with no regard for human life; it's all about the end justifying the means.


* America does not care if poor black and other visible minority children grow up illiterate or become gang members and kill each other senselessly.


* No one seems to care that American has more homeless people than any nation in the world.


* We put far more money into the military than into medicine.


* We maintain our high and wasteful standard of living by keeping billions of Third World people in grinding poverty.


* We are selfish, arrogant and ignorant egotists. We pray at church, yet do nothing to embody the kingdom of God that Jesus talked about.


(Dr. Mohamed Elmasry is national president of the Canadian Islamic Congress. He can

be reached at 

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