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Black Ministers Watching Their Words on Barack HUSSEIN Obama

Posted by Job on June 9, 2008

Black Ministers Watching their Words on Obama

HAMPTON, Va. (AP) – An island in a sea of pastel suits, alligator shoes and elaborate pocket squares, the Rev. Jeffrey Bryan stood out at a meeting of black ministers for his simple fashion choice: Denim shorts and a black T-shirt emblazoned with the face of presumed Democratic presidential nominee Sen. Barack Obama. He’s posted campaign signs and even has snapshots of himself with Obama, who once made a stop at his Newark, N.J., church.

But that’s as far as he’ll go to show his support — there will be no sermons peppered with “Obama in ’08.”

“It’s a historical time for black people, we cannot ignore what’s going on,” said the pastor, who was nonetheless resolute that “you can’t tell people who to vote for.”

In the black community, the pulpit has long played a powerful role in shaping voting decisions. But the role of the church in politics has been under increased scrutiny since uproars involving prominent pastors.

Now, as the nation stands closer than ever to electing its first nonwhite president, pastors face a delicate balancing act: Maintaining the church’s historical status as a bridge between blacks and politics, while being careful not to overstep their bounds — even at a time when their considerable sway with black voters could help shape history.

At an annual minister’s conference in Hampton this week, a gathering of roughly 7,500 pastors, faith leaders agreed they would continue pushing for Obama, personally supporting the candidate whenever they can.

But they were unanimous in saying they would steer very clear of anything that could be construed as endorsement and were careful to frame plans for support as a private choice.

The Rev. William B. Moore, a Philadelphia pastor, said he’s helped organize voter drives in his congregation, given money to the campaign and posted an Obama ’08 sign.

But he didn’t plan much else.

“The black church has, over the years, made that distinction between church and state and God and state. I think the media has made it more than it really is,” he said, later adding, “We know how to walk that line.”

The Hampton Ministers’ Conference, which began in 1914, gathers church leaders to discuss issues of faith and relate them to daily life. As Obama claimed the delegates necessary to secure the Democratic presidential nomination before a crowd of cheering thousands in St. Paul, Minn., on Tuesday, the energy rippled through the conference. Just a year earlier, the Illinois senator used the conference to challenge the Bush administration for failing to diffuse a “quiet riot” of discontent brewing in black America.

By midweek, pastors openly supported Obama’s historic candidacy — but chose their words carefully. Many said they personally endorsed him, but stopped short of saying more.

Robert Franklin, head of Atlanta’s Morehouse College, urged pastors to seize the spirit of the day — one of interracial cooperation — in a speech Tuesday.

“That’s part of the attraction of Sen. Obama,” he said afterward. “He gets that.”

Later in the week, Franklin warned churches against endorsing a candidate. Federal tax rules bar nonprofits from engaging in partisan activity.

His comments reflect a changing landscape in which churches, long an unchallenged force in politics, have come under increased scrutiny.

This election year has seen an effort by the IRS and church-state separation watchdog groups to significantly step up their monitoring of churches and other nonprofits. Obama’s own denomination, the United Church of Christ, was investigated and quickly cleared by the IRS for hosting the candidate at the religious group’s national meeting last year.

Meanwhile, pastors’ sermons are being posted on YouTube and analyzed for any clue to the values of the candidate.

Obama distanced himself from his former pastor, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, after video snippets of Wright’s sermons were broadcast and the clergyman made contentious public appearances. Obama recently left the Chicago congregation where he had been a member for over 20 years.

John McCain, the certain Republican presidential nominee, has had his own pastor troubles. He accepted, and then spurned, prominent Texas preacher John Hagee’s endorsement and later rejected Ohio Pentecostal pastor Rod Parsley’s endorsement because of their controversial remarks.

Some pastors at the Hampton conference wouldn’t talk publicly about politics, fearful of hurting their church.

One reverend who didn’t want to be identified told an Associated Press reporter he believed some churches might increase security and monitor for recording devices during Sunday morning services.

Some criticized media coverage they say focused on black ministers doing something white ministers have done for years.

Michael Battle, president of the Interdenominational Theological Center in Atlanta, pointed to ministers like Moral Majority founder Jerry Falwell and Christian Coalition founder Pat Robertson.

“For a long time those preachers have been very,very engaged in this effort to get people to register and to vote for the candidate of their choice — so it is not new to the black church, nor is it new to the white church, to encourage participation in the democracy,” Battle said.

Hampton University Ministers Conference

(Photo: AP Images / Gary C. Knapp)
Bishop Charles Blake, center, the presiding bishop over the 6-million member Church of God in Christ and the pastor of the West Angeles Church of God in Christ located in Los Angeles, Ca., joins hands in prayer with Dr. Dwight Riddick, right, the senior pastor at Gethsemane Baptist Church in Newport News, Va., and Dr. William Curtis, left, the President of the Hampton University Ministers Conference and the senior pastor at the Mt. Ararat Baptist Church in Pittsburgh, Pa., before he, Blake, delivers the evening worship service during the second day of the 94th Annual Hampton University Ministers Conference at on Tuesday, June 3, 2008. The conference will continue thru June 6.

14 Responses to “Black Ministers Watching Their Words on Barack HUSSEIN Obama”

  1. goodtimepolitics said

    To late now! Its all on the Tube! and will come back time and time again along with what Hillary has been saying about Obama! http://goodtimepolitics.com/2008/06/07/obama-wants-a-1-trillion-tax-increase-on-the-middle-class-americans-hillary-said/

  2. Job said

    Goodtimepolitics:

    As if Hillary Clinton is not a Marxist who will also raise taxes just as much as Obama? The only difference between Obama and Clinton is that where Clinton wants to redistribute the revenue to pay for her suburban soccer mom priorities (health care, environmentalism) Obama wants to use it on jobs and housing for the inner city. That is why the two camps – the urban wing versus the suburban /rural wing – hate each other. This is the same fight that has been going on in the Democratic Party since 1968. The only reason why Obama’s side prevailed against the suburban/rural wing is A) Obama is a black Columbia/Harvard guy with no ties to the civil rights movement and B) Hillary Clinton voted against the war.

    That is one way of looking at it. Another way is that, well, if Hillary Clinton actually wanted to win she certainly had a funny way of showing it. Hillary Clinton was acting as if she wanted to lose the whole time, and McCain is acting the same way. What does that tell you?

  3. I got to say this. I am pro life so I must and will vote pro life. Hillary and Obama are both for partial birth abortions. To me; even though I don’t like McCain, the choice is clear. As a minister I do not allow anyone to have a voice in the church when it comes to matters outside the gospel message message, which is Jesus, the blood etc. It is the Lords house and His word is all that is preached. Sometimes people get angry because I dare to be different, on well.

  4. Hi Pastor Williams,

    I have a few posts about McCain I’d just like you to review, so you’re aware of some things about him.

    Personally, I won’t be voting for McCain or Obama.

    Both John Sidney McCain III and Barack Hussein Obama, Jr. are Using Junk Science to Play Americans for Fools!

    Bad Idea Alert! John McCain Desires His Own Form of United Nations, the “League of Democracies”. As if Yet Another Globalist Group is a Good Thing.

    Presidential Candidate John Sidney McCain III Wishes Homosexual “Every Happiness” on Announcement of Her Gay “Marriage”.

    Who Helped Keep Your Gas Prices High By Not Promoting Enough Domestic Oil Drilling? John McCain!

    Arnold Schwarzenegger Straddles the Fence on the Truth of Marriage. Fronts for John McCain.

    John McCain Says, Using Some Babies as Guinea Pigs is OK With Him!

    Obama Idolatry, Babies Forsaken and More McCain Flip Flops Includes evidence McCain is NOT pro-life.

    But What Else is Wrong With John McCain? Plenty!

    McCain was against every effort to Amend the US Constitution regarding what marriage really is.

  5. Job said

    Reverend Patrick Williams:

    As Cynthia McKinney of the Green Party and Bob Barr of the Libertarian Party are not options, please consider voting for Pastor Chuck Baldwin of the Constitution Party. He is not perfect, but he is pro – life.

  6. Personally speaking, I took a quick look at “Pastor Chuck Baldwin” and knew I won’t be voting for him either.

    First, Job you know my first reason. I don’t vote for anyone that claims they were led to lead the House of God and then suddenly claims an epiphany that they are called to lead the politics of man.

    Second, I hear Mr. Baldwin lies and claims to be a “Doctor” when he’s only got honorary degrees.

    Platform wise I guess he’s better than the rest, but I can’t endorse him.

    At this point I have not honestly found a candidate running that I can endorse, none of them. I’ll just write in Duncan Hunter or something since he’s the one I agreed with on most things and he never made double minded claims that he was called to lead two houses (God’s and man’s). Perhaps by November another name of someone honestly trying to run will come along that I can write-in.

  7. Job said

    IC:

    “I don’t vote for anyone that claims they were led to lead the House of God and then suddenly claims an epiphany that they are called to lead the politics of man.”

    Actually Baldwin is more of the Jesse Jackson sort … never running for an office that he can win. He is more of an activist than an actual politician. As far as the “Dr.” thing, that is a real down point, you are right about that. But for me, my main strike against the fellow – whom I did refer to as “not perfect” I mind you – is that he is a member of the Reagan worshiping cult. I have a real problem with people who do not acknowledge that Reagan was a Vatican globalist with a necromancer wife. By the way, Ed Koch claims that Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell were the ones primarily responsible for telling Reagan to open official diplomatic relations with the Vatican!

  8. And it was not just Reagan’s wife who was into the occult mess, Reagan was too! He was having witches do readings for him also. (Oh I think the politically correct term for that form of witch today is “psychic”…)

    By the way, Ed Koch claims that Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell were the ones primarily responsible for telling Reagan to open official diplomatic relations with the Vatican!

    Well I think you need to provide the supporting proof of where you saw that and make a post about it. Because that really is news if that’s true.

    One could say Reagan was ignorant to what the cult of Mary is about, but we know Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell know/knew what that cult is about. And if they were behind it, that’s news, real news. With Reagan, I don’t find any excuse for his dabbling with witches, that one is much too obvious.

  9. I ain’t voting.

  10. I use the word ain’t to show my disgust with the entire system. Lairs, cheats they are. It can’t be fixed without the Holy Ghost and thats the bottom line. I pray Jesus will come soon.

  11. One of the things I don’t appreciate is some folks (from both major parties) saying that you have no right to speak if you don’t vote. Well, that’s a weak argument since folks spoke ought throughout human history for righteousness whether they voted for a candidate or not. We have a right to vote or not to vote. Certainly Chuck Baldwin is better than many of the candidates, but even he has issues. As for Ronald Reagan, he knew what he was doing by the end of his term. Once, he refused to have George H. W. Bush as his Vice President candidate then he was forced to do it. His wife wasn’t only a occultist following mediums. Ronald Reagan was also a honorary 33rd Degree Freemason who worked with John Paul II.

    By Timothy

  12. Oh yes, Ronald Reagan was an honorary 33rd Degree Mason. They came right up into the White House to bestow the honor on him!

    As far as someone telling you can’t speak if you don’t vote, it’s a cheap cop out when they don’t want to engage a differing opinion. Bottom line is, if you voted for anyone they didn’t like they’d write you off (still not desiring to hear you) and so your only option with them was to vote for who they wanted you to vote for, be their hand puppet.

    Some claim you can’t talk about war if you didn’t sign up for the military, which would prevent most of the nation from having a voice on such an important issue. These are all classic cop outs, don’t fall for it.

    Personally, at this point I’ll write-in something for President and vote for whatever other races are on my ballot that appear to be worth my time and interests. I knew I’d have to skip the Presidential slot one day, I just didn’t know it might come this soon.

  13. I wonder if during his funeral if the Masons dropped some of their occult symbols in the ground with his casket? Anybody who has seen how Masons do at a funeral for one of their own knows what I’m talking about! They won’t even let your rotting corpse get away from their cult once they get you in.

  14. James said

    Alan Keyes got 17 votes in my city. I was glad to be one of them even though I know he won’t win. The others are such squishy backbones. Obama cried during a song at Trinity according to his story but his books never talk about him following Jesus Christ.

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