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Thomas Jefferson and the Rev. Wright

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March 24, 2008

MICHAEL PAULSON'S article "Local clergy say pastor's devotion, deeds overlooked" (Page A1, March 19), which canvassed local clergy on the subject of the Rev. Jeremiah Wright and his celebrated and respected role in the African-American church, and the United Church of Christ in particular, was informative and helpful.

The current obsessive brouhaha over a handful of angry, impassioned sound bites cherry-picked from Wright's voluminous writings and sermons over his long, distinguished career as one of the foremost preachers in America today brought this question to my mind:

Would the following statement cause a similar firestorm? Imagine it being played and replayed on YouTube, cable and network news programs, and talk radio had the technology existed at the time:

"I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just: that his justice cannot sleep for ever."

Thomas Jefferson wrote those words about our great national sin of slavery, in his "Notes on the State of Virginia," and they are carved on panel three of the Jefferson Memorial.

NANCY F. KAPLAN
West Bloomfield, Mich.

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