Thursday, May 29, 2008

'Traditional Black Churches' Criticized as Homophobic by Obama

-- From "Obama Praised Wright, Criticized Traditional Black Churches on Homosexuality" by Penny Starr, Senior Staff Writer 5/29/08

( - In an Apr. 10 interview with The Advocate magazine, Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) said "homophobic" messages are coming from the pulpits of black churches because blacks attend church more regularly than other people and interpret the Bible more traditionally. In the same interview, Obama praised the controversial Rev. Jeremiah Wright, his former pastor and long-time spiritual adviser, for being on the right side of the homosexual debate.

"There's plenty of homophobia to go around, but you have a unique perspective into the African-American community," Kerry Eleveld, news editor of The Advocate, a homosexual publication, said to Obama, during the interview.

"I don't think it's worse than in the white community," Obama replied. "I think that the difference has to do with the fact that the African-American community is more churched and most African-American churches are still fairly traditional in their interpretations of Scripture."

"And so from the pulpit or in sermons you still hear homophobic attitudes expressed," said Obama. "And since African-American ministers are often the most prominent figures in the African-American community, those attitudes get magnified or amplified a little bit more than in other communities."

"I mean, ironically, my biggest ... the biggest political news surrounding me over the last three weeks has been Reverend Wright, who offended a whole huge constituency with some of his statements but has been very good on gay and lesbian issues," Obama said. "I mean he's one of the leaders in the African-American community of embracing, speaking out against homophobia, and talking about the importance of AIDS."

In an essay entitled "What do I tell my Children?" that was published in the August 2007 issue of Trinity United Church of Christ's Trumpet Magazine, Wright criticized "black evangelism."
"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."

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