By Jennifer Harper
March 21, 2008
The tone and ferocity of the Rev. Jeremiah A. Wright Jr.’s comments about American racism which came to national attention last week may not be typical in many mainstream black churches. The content — concerns that racism persists — still surfaces at many pulpits, however.
Jeremiah Wright greeting President Bill Clinton during a 1998 prayer breakfast at the White House, to which Clinton had hand chosen Wright to attend.
“Inflammatory rhetoric is certainly a minor approach to congregations within black Christian circles. That rhetoric needs to be criticized. But the larger agenda Reverend Wright is pointing to, the deep frustration over racism, is a common theme preached at black churches across the country,” said Anthony B. Pinn, a professor of religious studies at Rice University.
“The topic is viable. The rhetoric is not,” Mr. Pinn added.
“No one can rationally attribute to an estimated 56,000 black American churches the comments of a black pastor in a black church which is a member of a white liberal denomination — the United Church of Christ,” said the Rev. Eugene F. Rivers III of the Azusa Christian Community in Dorchester, Mass.
“Everyone gets the point that those quotes were indefensible and over the top. Everybody gets that,” he said.
Rev. Jeremiah Wright
Mr. Wright, who recently retired from the 8,000-member Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago, has been family pastor and spiritual guide to Sen. Barack Obama for years. .
Mr. Wright’s sermons have included stark references to racism. In a highly publicized speech Tuesday, Mr. Obama affirmed his friendship with his pastor but repudiated his extreme opinions.
Read the rest: