Wright: 'Black Evangelism' Produces 'Religion of Hatred'

July 7, 2008 - 7:06 PM

(CNSNews.com) - In an essay entitled "What Do I Tell My Children" that was published in the August 2007 issue of Trumpet Newsmagazine, a publication of Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago, the Rev. Jeremiah A. Wright Jr. spoke critically of a "Black Evangelism," which he said "produces a religion of hatred, gay-bashing and heterosexism."

"My grandson, Jeremiah, has already run head-on into the contradiction called Christianity in his twenty-one years of life," Wright wrote. "He has seen the racism of Christianity that has produced slave castles and white supremacy. He has also seen the ignorance calling itself 'Black Evangelism' which produces a religion of hatred, gay bashing and heterosexism."

"While serving as a keyboardist for the Howard University Gospel Choir, my grandson has heard at concert-after-concert-after-concert that the definition of being 'saved' meant 'being delivered from homosexuality' and speaking in tongues," Wright wrote. "He said to me, 'That is all I hear in terms of what it means to be 'saved,' Grandaddy. Isn't there more to Christianity than this? Isn't there more to salvation than this?" [Italics in original.]

"What do I tell my grandson, Jeremiah, about the rabid denial, the lying, the 'DL' ['down low'] life among Black psalmists, Black preachers, and 'saved' Black Christians?" wrote Wright. [Italics in original.]

Wright is the pastor emeritus at Trinity United and, until recently, was an official campaign "spiritual adviser" to presidential hopeful Sen. Barack Obama (D.-Ill.), who has been a member of the church for 20 years. Wright presided over the marriage of Obama and his wife Michelle, and the couple's two daughters were baptized at the church.

In response to Wright's criticism of "Black Evangelism," the Rev. Jesse Lee Peterson, president and founder of Brotherhood of a New Destiny (BOND), told Cybercast News Service: "Barack Obama said that Rev. Wright brought him to Christ, but how can a man of hate bring you to the Prince of Peace?"

"I cannot see how this man could bring anyone to Christ when his sermons and writings indicate that he hates Christianity," Peterson said.

The Rev. Clenard H. Childress Jr., senior pastor at New Calvary Baptist Church in Montclair, New Jersey and president of the Life Education and Resource Network, also responded to Wright's criticism of "Black Evangelism."

"To watch Obama and certain news commentators attempt to justify Wright's message is disturbing," said Childress. "They all give the impression that the Black Church speaks some cryptic ethnic language that you have to be Afro-American to understand. It's ridiculous!"

"Does America have any problems understanding Martin Luther King and his words?" said Childress. "'I have a dream that the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will sit down at the table of brotherhood.' Does that sound like something Wright would say?"

Deneen Borelli, a fellow with the non-profit Project 21, a black leadership network, was also critical of Wright's remarks.

"(Wright's) message has nothing to do with love, forgiveness or unity," Borelli told Cybercast News Service , "which is unfortunate considering the size of his former congregation and the access he had to get it out."

"And what about the children?" Borelli said.

Wright was also critical of some African American clergymen in an essay entitled "I Am Black and Beautiful" that was published in the May 2007 issue of Trumpet .

"The story of Africans before slavery really gets lost in the shuffle because the story of Africans during the Transatlantic Slave Trade is not told," Wright wrote. "That makes you end up with 'colored preachers' who hate themselves, who hate Black people, who desperately want to be white and who write and say stupid things in public to make 'Massa' feel safer, and that is so unfortunate.

"Those Black enemies of beauty are just as dangerous as are the white racists who really do believe in white supremacy. They live and die by white supremacy--an ideology based on ignorance!" said Wright.

In a March 18 speech in Philadelphia, Obama distanced himself from what he described as the "incendiary language" used by Wright, but declined to "disown" him. /ldblquote [W]e've heard my former pastor, Jeremiah Wright, use incendiary language to express views that have the potential not only to widen the racial divide, but views that denigrate both the greatness and the goodness of our nation and that rightly offend white and black alike," said Obama.

"Did I strongly disagree with many of his political views?" said Obama. "Absolutely, just as I'm sure many of you have heard remarks from your pastors, priests or rabbis with which you strongly disagree.""

"I can no more disown him than I can disown the black community," said Obama.

Last week, Obama distanced himself further from Wright, saying that if the pastor had not retired he would not have stayed in Wright's church.

"Had the reverend not retired, and had he not acknowledged that what he had said had deeply offended people and were inappropriate and mischaracterized what I believe is the greatness of this country, for all its flaws, then I wouldn't have felt comfortable staying at the church," Obama said on ABC's "The View."

Cybercast News Service obtained copies of Trumpet Newmagazine from the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, a division of the New York Public Library.

Calls to the Trinity United Church of Christ requesting comment were not returned.

Make media inquiries or request an interview about this article.

Subscribe to the free CNSNews.com daily E-Brief.

E-mail a comment or news tip to Penny Starr

Send a Letter to the Editor about this article.