United Church of Christ
There is much debate going on now because of Obama’s Pastor, Jeremiah Wright. Pastor Wright and Obama are part of the United Church of Christ, albeit a non-typical part. (Most members of the United Church of Christ are neither black nor men.) Pastor Wright’s congregation in Chicago was an unusual congregation.
The United Church of Christ portrays itself in four terms: Christian, Reformed, Congregational, and Evangelical. At least three of these terms might be questioned. The UCC “Stillspeaking” campaign in 2003 clearly sought to do away with “periods,” insisting that we ought not put a period where God leaves a “comma.” The truth is that the UCC is left with little more than “question marks” for each congregation, if not for each congregant herself, to answer.
You might remember the UCC “Ejector Seat” ad, in which two gay men are ejected from church pews, with the all-to-pious UCC voiceover assuring ad watchers that “Jesus didn’t turn people away. Neither do we.” The same sort of nonsense was promoted in the UCC “Bouncer” ads, where bouncers were waiting at the front doors of the church “bouncing” out all non-whites (and the gay couple, of course).
Non-sensical ads aside, the UCC was the first mainline denomination ( Atlanta , July 2005) to issue a resolution condoning same-sex marriage rights. The resolution, titled “In Support of Equal Marriage Rights for All,” argues for equal marriage for all, regardless of gender. The resolution, though it is not technically binding on any of the local congregations, was approved by an 80% margin.
Historically, the UCC was formed by a merger between the Reformed Church in the United States and the Evangelical Synod of North America. Presently, the UCC is comprised of moderates and liberals from the northeast and reflects precious little of either the evangelical or reformed traditions, although it must be stated that some individual congregations are more conservative or evangelical than others. The leadership, that is, those with the voice and media muscle, appear to be more concerned with liberal political winds than with doctrine and holiness.
Certainly, in the days to come we will hear more about the UCC and Obama’s participation in it. Particularly, Obama’s affiliation with the particular UCC congregation in Chicago under the pastoral leadership of Jeremiah Wright will be a ready topic for conversation. In the meantime, you can check out the UCC website: http://www.ucc.org/ . I think it speaks for itself.
As for Obama, the question which arises now is, “What kind of Christian are you professing to be?” Obama’s difficulty is to clarify in what way Jeremiah Wright could have been a mentor for 20 years and yet represent a view of Christianity and humanity that is “detestable.” The article linked here offers a taste of what I mean.
Things take a slightly different perspective when viewed in the right context.
Whether one agrees with Reverend Wright or not, it seems to me that he has been unfairly demonized to make a media controversy.
Watch Rev. Jeremiah Wright’s 9-11 sermon in context on youtube and decide.
Jeremiah Wright’s God Damn America in context on Youtube