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Obama ‘Mentor’ Gave Farrakhan An Award

From Reverend Wright’s Trumpet Gala via YouTube:

Trumpet Gala 2007

The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan received the “Rev. Dr. Jeremiah A. Wright, Jr. Lifetime Achievement Trumpeteer” Award at the 2007 Trumpet Gala held on November 2, at the Hyatt Regency Chicago.

And Mr. Farrakhan is the cover story of the November/December 2007 issue of Wright’s Trinity United Church Of Christ’s magazine (a pdf file), which is run by Mr. Wright’s daughter:

The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan

by Rhoda McKinney-Jones

It’s not often that one gets to interview an icon. Someone called by a singular moniker and everyone knows of whom you speak — a person who can walk into a room and cause pause because of his physical presence and historical significance. That’s exactly what I was privileged to do a few days ago from my humble kitchen perch. I interviewed the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan by phone on everything I could think to ask in 15 fleeting minutes.

The Minister’s voice was strong, smooth and steadfast, giving no hint of the health challenges that have plagued him the last few years. He talked about the future of the Nation of Islam, his hope for the faith, his pride in African American people, his love of music and the state of Black America. Then of course, when prodded, he talked of his legacy. I asked questions in quick succession and he willingly responded, eloquently quoting biblical scripture, speaking in parables and peppering his answers with references to the Quran, Malcolm X, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and the Honorable Elijah Muhammad. He spoke and I couldn’t help but listen and learn.

“When Minister Farrakhan speaks, Black America listens,” says the Rev. Dr. Jeremiah A. Wright, likening the Minister’s influence to the E. F. Hutton commercials of old. “Everybody may not agree with him, but they listen…His depth on analysis when it comes to the racial ills of this nation is astounding and eye opening. He brings a perspective that is helpful and honest.

“Minister Farrakhan will be remembered as one of the 20th and 21st century giants of the African American religious experience,” continues Wright. “His integrity and honesty have secured him a place in history as one of the nation’s most powerful critics. His love for Africa and African American people has made him an unforgettable force, a catalyst for change and a religious leader who is sincere about his faith and his purpose.”

But that road has not been an easy one, as his friend Father Michael L. Pfleger of St. Sabina Church in Chicago explains.

“Minister Farrakhan is probably one of the most misunderstood and mis-defined leaders of our day,” says Pfleger. “When you don’t want to deal with someone’s truth, you try to destroy their character or redefine them …That’s what the media has sought to do with Minister Farrakhan. His truth causes America to face its racism and its hypocrisy.”

“Minister Farrakhan has been a personal friend for more than 20 years,” continues Pfleger. “His leadership has evolved, and I believe the coming days will see him as a unifying force, calling real Christians, real Jews and real Muslims to come together on principles of truth and justice… Contrary to those who want to make him anti-white and anti-Semitic, I believe Minister Farrakhan is presently building the umbrella for people of conscience to come together no matter the race or creed. I am honored to call him my brother.”

Because of the Minister’s influence in the African American community, Trumpet Newsmagazine honors him this winter at its Sounds of the Shore gala with an Empowerment Award. It seemed a fitting tribute for a storied life well lived. And as our brief interview drew to a close and he thanked me for taking the time to talk to him, I could not help but think, the Minister, the man with whom I had been so casually speaking, truly epitomized greatness.

Mind you, this is the same Trumpet magazine whose cover Mr. Obama has also graced at least once before, back in March 2007:

Also, lest we forget, Jeremiah Wright is the man Mr. Obama calls his “spiritual mentor.” He is the man Obama credits for getting him into politics.

Obama calls Wright his moral compass, as was noted last year by the Chicago Tribune:

Pastor inspires Obama’s ‘audacity’

By Manya A. Brachear
January 21, 2007

When he took over Trinity United Church of Christ in 1972, Rev. Jeremiah Wright Jr. was a maverick pastor with a wardrobe of dashikis and a militant message.

Six years later, he planted a “Free South Africa” sign on the lawn of his church and asked other local religious leaders to follow his lead.

None took him up on the invitation.

The sign stayed until the end of apartheid, –long enough to catch the eye of a young Barack Obama, who visited the church in 1985 as a community activist. Obama, was not a churchgoer at the time, but he found himself returning to the sanctuary of Trinity United. In Wright he had found both a spiritual mentor and a role model.

Wright, 65, is a straight-talking pragmatist who arrived in Chicago as an outsider and became an institution. He has built a congregation of 8,500, including the likes of Oprah Winfrey and hip-hop artist Common, by offering an alternative to socially conservative black churches that are, Wright believes, too closely tied to Chicago’s political dynasties…

Obama says that rather than advising him on strategy, Wright helps keep his priorities straight and his moral compass calibrated.

“What I value most about Pastor Wright is not his day-to-day political advice,” Obama said. “He’s much more of a sounding board for me to make sure that I am speaking as truthfully about what I believe as possible and that I’m not losing myself in some of the hype and hoopla and stress that’s involved in national politics.”

The rebellious son of a Baptist minister, Wright was hired by Trinity United when he could find no Baptist church to take him. The congregation on 95th Street, then numbering just 87, had recently adopted the motto “Unashamedly black and unapologetically Christian.” They did not mind his fiery red Afro and black power agenda

[Wright] eventually returned to Howard University to finish bachelor’s and master’s degrees in English with a focus on African spirituals. At the University of Chicago Divinity School, he earned another master’s in the history of religions with a focus on Islam

In his 1993 memoir “Dreams from My Father,” Obama recounts in vivid detail his first meeting with Wright in 1985. The pastor warned the community activist that getting involved with Trinity might turn off other black clergy because of the church’s radical reputation.

When Obama sought his own church community, he felt increasingly at home at Trinity. Before leaving for Harvard Law School in 1988, he responded to one of Wright’s altar calls and declared a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.

Later he would base his 2004 keynote speech to the Democratic National Convention on a Wright sermon called “Audacity to Hope,” –also the inspiration for Obama’s second memoir, “The Audacity of Hope.”

Though Wright and Obama do not often talk one-on-one often, the senator does check with his pastor before making any bold political moves.

Last fall, Obama approached Wright to broach the possibility of running for president. Wright cautioned Obama not to let politics change him, but he also encouraged Obama, win or lose

Indeed, Obama says the Reverend Wright is the man who gave him the (vacuous) phrase “the audacity of hope,” which he used for his self-scribed hagiography.

Well, it would seem that Mr. Wright has the audacity part down pat. But it’s more like the audacity of bigotry and ignorance.

This article was posted by Steve on Thursday, January 10th, 2008. Comments are currently closed.

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