Wright's sermon: close to Book of Mormon curses.
(May 28, 2008: I've updated this post with a couple scripture references at the end.)
I watched a video of Bill Moyer's interview with Rev Wright. And in that video is a clip of the controversial part of Wright's sermon.
BUT, Moyer's clip of Wright's sermon shows enough of the sermon to put the controversial lines in context.
Looking at Wright's sermon in context, shows me that Wright's premise is in line with the Book of Mormon's (and the Bible's) promises of blessings and cursings upon this land.
I will disagree with Rev Wright about whether the US government is actually fomenting drug use and helping to spread AIDS. Those parts may be just conspiracy theory.
But he lists enough other valid collective sins by our country and by our government that, in my opinion, would qualify our land to merit the curses promised in the Book of Mormon.
Our own (LDS) prophets have told us that all the sins of Sodom and Gomorrah are present in our country. I think some of the Brethren have said such sins are even more prevalent now.
Many Christians have jokingly said that if God doesn't punish us for what's going on in our country, he's going to have to apologize to Sodom and Gomorrah.
We need to turn and better follow God's ways, both individually and collectively as a nation.
I think the slams against Rev Wright are akin to what people said in the Book of Mormon against Abinadi and Alma (and in the Bible against Isaiah and Jeremiah) when those prophets testified about the sins of the people, and warned them that God would curse (damn) them if they didn't repent.
Such warnings about consequences of obedience to God versus rebellion against God are clear in the Old Testament. Keep God's commandments and prosper. Disobey God's commandments and face his curses.
I don't agree with everything in that sermon. But Rev Wright's pleas for God to damn America seem to me to be pleas for God to fulfill scriptural promises concerning the obedience/disobedience or righteousness/unrighteousness of a people or nation. Which promises are laid out plainly in the Bible, Book of Mormon, and Doctrine and Covenants.
In my opinion, those who are condemning Rev Wright over this matter are very close to making the same mistakes of King Noah's priests who called for Abinadi's death, and also those Ammonihahites who threw Alma and Amulek into prison.
Rather than saying Rev Wright is crazy or un-American, we ought to be saying that our country, collectively and as individuals, needs to repent of our wickedness. The guy's got a point, and the scriptures back him up.
In the Bible, Leviticus chapter 26 contains the promises of blessings for obedience, and cursings for disobedience. Those were specifically given to ancient Israel, but I think they can also apply to any people who profess to be God's people.
Such promises of blessings and cursings are repeated in the Book of Mormon, in 2 Nephi 1:20, and Alma 45:15-16. These promises are specific to "this land" where the Nephites lived, which we believe to be the Western hemisphere, putting aside for the moment just how much of the Western hemisphere was actually occupied by Nephites.