Thursday, March 13, 2008
Who is pulling Wright's sermons off the web?
Turns out the text was available for $5 download ten days ago at PreachingTodaySermons.com. Google has a cache of the order page, but the page is no longer available. (Copy of Google cache page here.) Neither does Wright's name any longer appear on the website's "Sermons by African Americans" page. (Wayback shows his name on the page in August of 07, their last update.)
So who is responsible for taking the sermon down? PreachingToday is a business, so I am guessing that the request had to have come from Wright, which would presumably have been in response to a request from Obama. I sent an email asking whether they withdrew this crucial piece of information from the public of their own volition, or whether they were asked by Wright or others to remove it. Will update with any reply.
In the meantime, does anyone know if text or video of this sermon is available from any other source?
UPDATE: I got an answer from Preaching Today. They say they took the Wright sermon down because he has become so controversial. They were not trying to keep the text out of the public eye, but simply did not want to be interpreted as approving or promoting Wright's views by selling his sermons on their site. When I let them know that they seem to be the only source for this important public document, they very graciously made the text available for anyone to view free of charge.
I see that Townhall columnnist Amanda Carpenter was also able to get the text of Wright's sermon from Preaching Today. She even has the audio (also from Preaching Today).
As Carpenter notes, this sermon lacks the racism and hatred of America that permeates Wright's other sermons. There is a suggestion that America is somehow oppressing the third world, but it is passing. The main examples of dispair in this overall bleak sermon all have to do with family relations.
The explanation for this dramatic change in style seems pretty straightforward. It is not Wright's sermon. Wright attributes it almost entirely to "Reverend Frederick G. Sampson of Detroit, Michigan." Wright talks a bit at the end about his own parents, but otherwise it seems that this is Samson's sermon.
Interestingly, this sermon swapping is the purpose of the PreachingTodaySermons.com website. It is a resource for preachers, where they can purchase each other's sermons. When I first inquired about the availability of Wright's sermon, the gal on the line asked me if I needed it for this weekend.
So that's a plus for Wright. His own sermons are abhorrent, but at least the sermon he borrowed from Samson is perfectly decent. Obama's association with Wright is still damning. ("Obama says that rather than advising him on strategy, Wright helps keep his priorities straight and his moral compass calibrated.") But there is nothing wrong with his borrowing the title of his autobiography from Sampson.
Get the right combo and Obama is finished.
This isn't the sermon as it was preached by Wright to his Trinity congregation, but is a reading done specifically for the Preaching Today website. It is essentially an instructional reading, so that other preachers who want to give the same sermon can hear clearly what Wright is saying.