Simpson College officials have given the college’s "Carver Medal" to the black Chicago minister who is Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama’s pastor.
This past Sunday, the Reverend Jeremiah Wright seemed to wade into the campaign tit-for-tat between Obama and rival Hillary Clinton. Wright told his Chicago congregation that Bill Clinton had done the same thing to African Americans that he did to Monica Lewinsky. On Thursday night at Simpson, Reverend Wright never mentioned the Clintons or Obama. "This comes as a major surprise and shock to many of our members, but God is neither a Democrat or a Republican," Wright said, sparking laughter in the crowd. "…There were no Caucuses, not even in Iowa — there wasn’t even an Iowa when Jesus was on the face of the Earth."
In 1972, Wright took over a United Church of Christ congregation in Chicago that had 87 families on the membership roll. Today, the church has more than 8000 members and its work in mission and outreach was cited by Simpson College officials as they gave Wright the award named for inventor George Washington Carver.
Carver was a Simpson student who went on to Iowa State College and became Iowa State’s first black faculty member in 1894. "George Washington Carver is named after a slaveholder. George Washington held slaves. God set the captives free. Thomas Jefferson raped a black teenager — an oppressor — but God helped her maintain her sanity. I get amused every time I see something about the love story between Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemings. She was 15. That’s called pedophilia. We condemn Michael Jackson for it, but we honor Thomas Jefferson," Wright said. "God is a righteous judge."
Wright told the crowd Christians make a political statement when they pledge allegiance to God and to Jesus. "And when your allegiance is to God, you don’t let the hypocrisy of governments fool you, frighten you or make you back down," Wright said.
As Wright concluded his speech, he seemed to boast of the criticism that has come his way from commentators like Lou Dobbs and Sean Hannity. "I want the Lord to use me to bring hope. In spite of what Hannity or (Dobbs) say, I want the Lord to use me to restore change," Wright said. "I want the Lord to use me to give back courage to people, to use me to expose governmental hypocrisy so people people can see the heart of God and so that people will stand up and say, ‘What matters to God matters to me.’"
You may listen to Wright’s entire speech by clicking on the audio link below.