Letter to the Editor: Let's have the Wright conversation

Let's face it: there's way too much flaming that goes on in internet forums and in local newspapers over Reverend Wright's sermons.

It generates a lot of heat, but no light.

So how about if we back up a little and try to do what Barack has asked us to do: sit down and have a quiet conversation and try to understand one another?

Here is a letter that I sent to my local paper (in Patrick McHenry's district). I'm adjusting it slightly for blogs and forums, but the message is the same: let's educate ourselves first and then have the conversation.

(Permission hereby granted to plagiarize if you think this might be useful.)

To the Editor:

Most of us had an immediate, gut reaction when we saw the excerpts from some of Reverend Wright’s sermons. Several of us have expressed our anger and outrage in this paper. If our goal was to vent, then we have succeeded. We need do nothing further. I hope it has helped us feel better.

But if our goal is to understand, if our goal is to communicate, if our goal is to influence others, then we owe it to ourselves --- and to each other --- to take a few moments to familiarize ourselves with some of the background and context for the sound bites we have been exposed to.

Here is the link to the transcript of the full sermon in which Rev. Wright talked about 9/11 and “America’s chickens coming home to roost:”

http://ac360.blogs.cnn.com/2008/03/21/the-full-story-behind-rev-jeremiah-wrights-911-sermon/

Here is the link to the transcript of the full sermon in which he said G-D America for its racism:

http://ac360.blogs.cnn.com/2008/03/21/the-full-story-behind-wright

And finally, here is a link to a website that offers more information about Trinity United Church of Christ and Reverend Wright:

http://truthabouttrinity.blogspot.com/

Learning more about this issue may validate our initial reactions or it may lead us to different conclusions. Most importantly, though, we will have made reasoned judgments based on a fair evaluation of the facts… and this can be the foundation for meaningful and constructive conversations with each other.