The views that Wright has put forth, most specifically his theory about AIDS and his view of 9/11, are not original to him and are actually not uncommon. I have heard AIDS conspiracy theories for years and, of course, governments are not above such things. Smallpox was used intentionally as a biological weapon during the colonial era in North America and, of course, there are the infamous Tuskegee syphilis experiments. Further, numerous biological weapons were developed during the Cold War. I don’t believe that AIDS was intentionally created by the United States, but I must admit that such a scenario is not impossible. I can also see how someone might be inclined to believe in such a claim.
In regards to 9/11, Wright’s view is shared by other preachers. For example, Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson placed the blame for 9/11 on Americans:
“I really believe that the pagans, and the abortionists, and the feminists, and the gays and the lesbians who are actively trying to make that an alternative lifestyle, the ACLU, People For the American Way, all of them who have tried to secularize America. I point the finger in their face and say ‘you helped this happen.'”
Their discussion on the September 13, 2001 edition of the 700 Club can be read here.
As with the AIDS matter, I think this view is mistaken. But, Wright is not alone in his views in regards to these points.
There is something very appealing to conspiracy theories and hence it is easy to get drawn into them. Further, it is also appealing to want to believe in purpose rather than chance-even if the purpose is a malicious one. Just as people once attributed diseases to the gods, it is tempting to attribute them to human agents (and sometimes this is dead on correct). It is also tempting to believe that suffering is the result of sin-that people have brought harms upon themselves by their misdeeds. This is a common theme in religions.
As such, it is not surprisingly that Wright holds these views and that he is hardly alone in holding them.
There is the question about whether he is correct or not, In regards to AIDS, the best evidence seems to be that it is a naturally occurring disease. Nature certainly brings forth a multitude of horrific ailments and AIDS seems quite at home among them.
In regards to 9/11, it is obvious that past American actions helped motivate the attack. But, there is the further question of whether or not we deserved to be attacked-whether it was our chickens that were coming home or not. A strong case can be made that the United States has acted badly throughout the years and hence deserved to be attacked. However, a good case can also be made that America did not deserve such an attack. In any case, it is certain that those who were murdered that day in September did not deserve to die.