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Obama’s Church: Bush Vs Black Churches

From the April 10, 2005 edition of Trinity Church’s Trumpet newsletter (pdf file):


Sunday, April 10, 2005

Anyone who celebrates the prophetic role of the Black Church in American history should be appalled at the growing phenomenon of Black pastors embracing the Bush administration and its cynical use of religion to mask policies that will further brutalize people already left behind. It is easy to understand why the President’s political strategists have their eyes on the Black church. Black voters have voted in overwhelming numbers against Republican candidates in recent decades, and getting more of those votes is part of Karl Rove’s plan to build a permanent Republican majority. The Black Church carries a mantle of moral authority that President Bush wants draped across his shoulders.

Sadly, some self-appointed leaders are declaring the need for a “new” Black Church, one more interested in dining with Pharaoh rather than demanding freedom for people in bondage. With the support of some of these pastors, the president increased his share of the Black vote in a number of states. What is going on? Right-wing strategists have been working hard to exploit traditional religious beliefs to create a wedge between African Americans and their progressive allies. But there is more at work. Over the past 40 years, the deep pockets of the far right have created a network of think tanks, grassroots organizations and media outlets. They create and support “scholars” who use right-wing media platforms to build a following.

They’re now using this model on African Americans. Pastors who embrace Bush are welcomed at the White House. They have created, with support from Religious Right groups and their political allies, a “Black Contract with America.” We are witnessing a virtual religious “coup d’etat” with religious symbols traditional to the Black church being subverted, if not perverted, for political gain.

And then there’s money. The Bush administration gave Armstrong Williams $240,000 to shill for its education policies. Williams, a creation of the right-wing media machine, apologized when he got caught. But some pastors have gotten even more. Black churches are often short on money to meet the needs of our communities. Many people linger in poverty even as others join the professional classes. Young men end up in jails and prisons; schools are havens for drug dealers; families disintegrate before our eyes. Churches work valiantly to address the crises in people’s lives. The temptation to embrace a source of new money is strong. But what is the cost of contracting with Pharaoh?

Will pastors receiving a million dollars from the White House swallow the moral outrage that is the only responsible reaction to this administration’s budget priorities? Will they rationalize that the good they accomplish with their government grant justifies their acquiescence in policies that will impoverish others nationwide? Will they read from White House talking points rather than articulate the Black Church’s historic call for justice?

It is offensive to me that so many Black pastors are wittingly or unwittingly supporting a rejection of Martin Luther King’s broad justice vision based on the supposed threat of gay marriage. Make no mistake – the political forces that are trying to make gay marriage a top priority for our churches are the same ones pushing a radical political and legal philosophy that would turn the clock back on many of the social justice gains of the past 70 years. They seek a return to an era when states’ rights and economic power trumped individual liberties. How will Black Americans fare in a country whose legal, political and economic institutions have been aligned to leave average Americans at the mercy of the market, with few social or legal protections to fall back on?

We must raise our voices about the immorality of poverty, the injustice of unemployment among black youth, the devastation of AIDS/HIV in African American communities. We are called to expand the debate about the sanctity of life to include the millions of people who are prevented from living lives of dignity and worth. We must resist calls to abandon public schools and public institutions as means for achieving the common good.

The soul of the Black Church is at stake with political agendas disguised as moral battles, with the creation of new “leaders” by the right-wing media machine, with those who would sell our silence to the highest bidder. Progressive Black pastors must launch a “not for sale” campaign, and must work to strengthen effective alliances with people of good will who understand that America needs the prophetic voice of the Black Church.

This bizarre screed is unsigned, but as it appears on the “Pastor’s Page” it is safe to assume it is from the learned hand of the Reverend Doctor Jeremiah A. Wright, Jr. himself.


Ever-vigilant S&L correspondent Greybeard has found that this anti-Bush rant was actually scribed by the Reverend (of course) Timothy McDonald.

(By the way, Mr. McDonald proudly announces that he is also a member of Norman Lear’s ironically named hate group, The People For The American Way.)

Still, as with other articles posted in the Trumpet on the “Pastor’s Page,” it is a very safe assumption that it appears with the Reverend Doctor Wright’s whole-hearted blessings.

This article was posted by Steve on Wednesday, May 14th, 2008. Comments are currently closed.

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