Rev. William Barber, president of the NC NAACP, has called for removal of the NC Republican Party's "race-baiting" political ad. See coverage by the N&O's "Under the Dome" column. WRAL.com: NAACP Says GOP Ad Inserts 'Racist Sentiment' Into Election
Here's Rev. Barber's full statement. Below it you will find Rev. Jeremiah Wright's sermon in full, not just the sound bite taken for the inflammatory GOP ad, and at NAACPNC.ORG, you will find Rev. Barber's letter to NC Republican Chair Linda Daves:
The NAACP is fiercely non-partisan. We do not endorse candidates. But for over 99 years, the NAACP has also been fiercely anti-racist. In 1898 White Supremacists who controlled the North Carolina Democratic Party at that time, published racist cartoons, lies, and half truths about Black people to plow the fields for a terrorist attack that killed scores of Black people and exiled Black and White leaders of the fragile political alliance that was forming. The cartoons, the attack ads of the day, stirred up hatred and violence that scared poor White voters out of the alliance, and disenfranchised Black voters for three generations of Jim Crow.
founded the NAACP 11 years after the racist pogroms initiated by the
then Democratic Party in Wilmington. This terrorism was spread
throughout the South and there was a particularly vicious terrorist
attack in Springfield, Illinois that prompted a call to White
anti-racists and courageous Black leaders to form the NAACP on
Lincoln's birthday-February 12th, 1909. Our purpose then and our
purpose now is to stop such attacks and build an America free of race
hatred. Now, 110 years since Wilmington, we will not tolerate similar
attacks bent on division and fear today.
Yesterday, with a race baiting sledge hammer, the Republican Party of North Carolina put a short ad up on the Internet showing Sen. Barack Obama and his former minister, Rev. Jeremiah Wright. The ad took a short snippet, completely out of context, of a long quote from one of Rev. Wright's sermons. The internet ad, which the Executive Committee of the Republican Party has promised to put on television soon, is a not-so-subtle attempt to smear not only Black culture, the Black Church, but Prophetic ministers and to insert racist sentiments into the electoral process. The Republican's midget sound-bite deliberately distorted the full context and social analysis of Rev. Wright's sermon for obvious divisive reasons. Candidates have a right to criticize one another but not a right to lie and distort the truth.
Several elections ago, this same group bought massive television ad spots two weeks before the vote was taken, showing a pair of Black Hands while a serious announcer blamed these hands for taking jobs away from White workers. Again, we see desperate politicians brazenly resorting to the Wilmington race-baiting tactic.
I have sent a letter to the full Executive Committee of the Republican Party requesting a written response from the full Committee as to its intentions with this race-baiting ad, and any other similar efforts the Committee has commissioned to inject the old racist politics into this year's important elections. North Carolinians deserve an election focused on the great issues of our day: education, poverty, healthcare and economic empowerment, and war.
I have also today begun consulting with black and white clergy about holding a theological forum and church service here in Raleigh which will focus on prophetic preaching and the necessity of such critiques in the social arena.
I also call on National Republicans, Democrats, Independents and Civil Rights leaders of all races to denounce this kind of activity in North Carolina or in any state and I applaud the leaders who have already done so. I applaud WRAL, who has refused to run the race-baiting ad and I hope and call on other media to do the same. If anything is run, I hope the media will run Rev. Wright's whole sermon, which I have appended to this statement.
Rev. Jeremiah Wright is a strong preacher when you listen to his whole sermon rather than a short phrase, snatched from a long quote. But Rev. Wright's messages are not much different from the messages being preached in many North Carolina churches-Black and White--every Sunday morning.
Like Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., who dared to challenge injustice with tough, stinging words of righteousness, who was mislabeled as the most dangerous Negro in America, many of my brother and sister ministers-White and Black--who have supported our 14-Point People's Agenda, are preaching with strong words against the war. . .against the terrible poverty our people face . . . and against the racism in our schools and other institutions. In fact strong socially prophetic words like those spoken by Fredrick Douglas, Harriet Tubman, Ida B. Wells, our own National Chairman, Julian Bond, myself, and countless other civil rights leaders and social justice advocates are often not appreciated until years after history proves them to be true.
In Chapter 58, the Prophet Isaiah says: "Cry Loud and Spare Not. Tell the people of their sins." The job of a prophetic minister is to lift the government's corporate veil that disguises their policies of social injustice and mistreatment of the poor. The job of the prophet is to rail against this common government tactic. In the Bible prophets said, "Prayers offered by those who oppress others have the stench of manure". Praise to God without concrete actions of justice and love was considered nothing but, "noisy sin and irreverence."
They said when leaders abuse the vulnerable and poor children, "they participate in whoredom against God". Prophets cursed government practices that did not bring good news to the poor and healing to the broken hearted. This stinging prophetic speech is not new. It's as old as the Bible itself. Politicians who put their hands on the Bible when they swear themselves into office would do well to remember this.
Jeremiah Wright’s Sermon Complete and in Context
Prior to Abraham Lincoln the government in this country said it was legal to hold Africans in slavery in perpetuity. Perpetuity is one of them University of Chicago words that means forever. From now on.
When Lincoln got into office the government changed. Prior to the passing of the 13th, 14th and 15th Amendments to the Constitution, the government defined Africans as slaves, as property. Property. People with no rights to be respected by any whites anywhere. The Supreme Court of the government, same court, granddaddy court of the one that stole the 2000 election. The Supreme Court said in its Dred Scott decision, in the 1850s, no African anywhere in this country has any rights that any white person has to respect at any place any time.
That was the government's official position backed up by the Supreme Court—that's the judiciary, backed up by the executive branch, [and] that's the president, backed up by the legislative branch and enforced by the military of the government. But I stopped by to tell you tonight that governments change.
Prior to Harry Truman’s government, the military in this country was segregated. But governments change. Prior to the civil rights and equal accommodations laws of the government in this country there was backed segregation by the country, legal discrimination by the government, prohibiting blacks from voting by the government. You had to eat in separate places by the government. You had to sit in different places from white folk 'cause the government says so. And, you had to be buried in a separate cemetery. It was apartheid American-style from the cradle to the grave all because the government backed it up. But guess what! Governments change.
Under Bill Clinton we got a messed up welfare-to-work bill. But under Clinton, blacks had an intelligent friend in the Oval Office. Ooh, but governments change. The election was stolen. We went from an intelligent friend to a dumb Dixiecrat, a rich Republican who has never held a job in his life, is against affirmative action, against education—I guess he is, ha!—against health care, against benefits for his own military, and gives tax breaks to the wealthiest contributors to his campaign. Governments change—sometimes for the good and sometimes for the bad.
But I'm fixing to help you again. Turn back and say: 'He's fixing to help us again.' When governments change, write this down: Malachi 3:6, Malachi 3:6: 'Thus said the Lord,' repeat it after me, 'For I am the Lord, and I change not.' That's the King James Version. The New Revised says: 'For I the Lord do not change.' In other words, where governments change, God does not change. God is the same yesterday, today, and forevermore. That's what his name 'I am' means. You know, he does not change. There is no shadow of turning in God. One songwriter puts it this way: 'As thou has been, thou forever will be. Thou changest not. Thy compassions, they fail not. Great is thy faithfulness Lord unto me.' God does not change.
"God was against slavery on yesterday and God who does not change is still against slavery today. God was a God of love yesterday, and God who does not change is still a God of love today. God was a God of justice on yesterday, and God who does not change is still a God of justice today. Turn to your neighbor and say: 'God does not change.'
"Where governments lie, God does not lie. Where governments change, God does not change. And I'm through now. But let me leave you with one more thing.
"Governments fail. The government in this text, comprised of Caesar . . . [and] Pontius Pilate, the Roman government failed. The British government used to rule from East to West. The British government had a Union Jack. She colonized Kenya, Ghana, Nigeria, Jamaica, Barbados, Trinidad and Hong Kong. Her navies ruled the Seven Seas all the way down to the tip of Argentina in the Falklands. But the British government failed. The Russian government failed. The Japanese government failed. The German government failed.
And the United States of America government, when it came to treating her citizens of Indian descent fairly, she failed. She put them on the reservations. When it came to treating her citizens of Japanese descent fairly, she failed. She put them in internment prison camps. When it came to treating the citizens of African descent fairly, America failed. She put them in chains. The government put them on slave quarters, put them on auction blocks, put them in cotton fields, put them in inferior schools, put them in substandard housing, put them in scientific experiments, put them in the lowest paying jobs, put them outside the equal protection of the law, kept them out of the racist bastions of higher education and locked them into positions of hopelessness and helplessness. The government gives them the drugs, builds bigger prisons, passes a three-strike law and then wants us to sing 'God Bless America'?
No, no, no, not 'God Bless America,' 'God Damn America.' * That's in the Bible, for killing innocent people. God damn America for treating its citizens as less than human, God damn America as long as she tries to act like she is God and she is supreme. The United States government has failed the vast majority of her citizens of African descent.
*The Republican ad soundbite.
- NAACP Calls for Removal of Ad (N&O Under the Dome)