chapter  4
41 Pages

The End of Innocence

Jeremiah Wright’s Anti-Jeremiad Jeremiad
ByEric Cheyfitz

In the first part of his sermon, the Reverend Wright quite traditionally identifies the history of enslaved Africans in the United States with the captive Jews. In his anti-jeremiad jeremiad, the Wright captures the people of the United States, as if sleepwalking, repeating the trajectory of Increase Mather's jeremiad against the Indians, although now the savage other is Islam. In using the metaphor of roosting chickens, the Reverend Wright acknowledges that the object of terror, the United States, has itself been the agent of terror. When, in the wake of 9/11, Jeremiah Wright tells us that the chickens have come home to roost, he is in effect pointing to American innocence as an ideology that has become Disinformation. After deconstructing the American jeremiad, the Reverend Wright structures the rest of the sermon around three topics: "Governments lie"/"God does not lie"; "Governments change"/"God does not change"; and "Governments fail"/"God never fails".