What has been lost in the whole saga of Obama and Jeremiah Wright is the philosophy espoused by Wright and the fact that it is bankrupt and bad. Forget whether somebody was “thrown under the bus,” forget whether Wright was merely stating an opinion, forget whether he called Obama a liar in front of the national press (he did), forget even whether you agree or disagree that the United States government is the evil perpetrator of countless sins against African Americans among others.
Let’s talk instead about the “chickens coming home to roost.” Let’s talk instead about the evils of paying attention to charismatic blame of the victim. Let us not ignore the divisive, unkind and ultimately in my opinion evil philosophy personified by the wonderfully stylistic image of Jeremiah Wright circling his hand in the air and saying America’s “chickens have come home to roost.” (And if I hear one more time the innocent cry “I was merely quoting the Ambassador,” I say – watch the tape, watch the whole sermon).
Blame has always been the method by which evil men have swayed the downtrodden to their cause. Blame has been used by everyone from Pontius Pilate to Hitler to Osama Bin Laden. The great blame lie has always been – “You may seem like the victim, but in fact you are to blame, you are the cause of our mis-treatment of you — your chickens have come home to roost.” That an African American should use the examples of Apartheid, Hiroshima and Nagasaki and Slavery as the causes, the chickens if you will, of terror is the height of both irony and the most divisive way in which to speak.
A charismatic preacher can always manipulate the masses by blaming those their constituents want to blame. It is easy to sway an audience of color if you can stylistically say that the white dominated government’s chickens have come home to roost. Ultimately the victims can always be blamed, because the truth is that every has some chickens. Maybe what Mr. Wright should have instead referenced is my favorite saying in the New Testament “He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.” Instead he excuses the stone casters and says the victim brought this upon themselves — “their chickens have come home to roost.”
Some examples of how we can blame the victims might be helpful to demonstrate that the philosophy, the essence of his proposal that “chickens have come home to roost” is one that anyone can use to blame the victim: Apartheid – After all the Zulus were a conquering warrior tribe that invaded South Africa about the same time as the Dutch, maybe their chickens came home to roost. Hiroshima and Nagasaki – After all the Japanese empire had expanded, often brutally, throughout Asia and of course dropped bombs on Pearl Harbor in a devastating sneak attack, maybe their chickens had come home to roost. Slavery and the mistreatment of Native Americans – The fact is that whites and particularly Christians have used this excuse forever (as do Muslims about infidels today), the heathens’ chickens always come home to roost because they are heathens, infidels, people who don’t accept the teachings of you name him, their chickens always come home to roost.
The chickens have come home to roost is the first line of defense of evil-doers everywhere, from Hitler, to Osama Bin Laden, to every rapist and abuser who has ever been accused – “The brought it on themselves.” “They made me do it.” “Their chickens have come home to roost.” That Wright promotes this in a sermon is not merely opinion or preaching, it is wrong and evil and it supports evil not only of terrorists, but all kinds of evil including the evil done to those he purports to support.