In the Washington Post's June 5 Prince George's County Extra insert, staffer Hamil Harris penned a story focused on how Barack Obama's decision to leave his controversial church "is not sitting well with some African American pastors and scholars in Prince George's County."
Harris went on to quote two preachers disappointed with Obama, as well as University of Maryland's Ronald Walters, a reliably liberal pundit. The closest Harris found to being critical of Obama's former church was a pastor who conceded that some ministers may need to "rethink how [their] message of liberation is being communicated."
At no point in Harris's 11-paragraph story, however, did he pick up on any county clergy who have strong misgivings about Rev. Jeremiah Wright or Trinity's theology and its impact on the faith community.
Perhaps Harris should add Prince George's County minister Bishop Harry R. Jackson, Jr. to his Rolodex. Jackson serves as the senior pastor of Hope Christian Church in Beltsville, Md., and has devoted at least two of his recent Townhall.com columns to critiquing the theology and temperment of Obama's former senior pastor. From Jackson's May 5 column, "The Way That Seems Wright" (emphasis mine):
Last Monday morning, Rev. Jeremiah Wright confirmed to the world that concern about his theology and worldview was justified. In response to his critics he said that criticism of his opinions was part of a media attack on the black church. As an African-American preacher, I was surprised at Reverend Wright's presumption and hubris.
Most people I talked to after the event, felt that Jeremiah Wright's true colors came out in his press conference. Most evangelical bible scholars were concerned about Wright's answer to the question of whether Muslims will go to heaven. Given his flippant answer, theologically conservative Christians concluded that Rev. Wright is preaching "another gospel" as the apostle Paul termed the divisive heresies of his day.
From Jackson's March 17 column, "The Foolishness of Preaching" (emphasis mine):
As an African American minister who has spent over 25 years attempting to promote racial unity, I am disappointed with Pastor Wright's presentation of the gospel.
His message unhealthily taps into the deep sense of rejection and victimization that many blacks have experienced over the years. He painted Hillary as a person who has lived in the lap of luxury compared to the ordeals that Senator Obama and other Blacks go through daily. In the name of "telling it like it is" old wounds can be re-opened - without the benefit of clear solutions. The kind of "scape goating" and blame shifting that was done by the Chicago pastor is especially unfortunate because our nation has all the tools necessary to solve generational poverty, educational disparities, and business and real estate ownership issues.
We all should be mature enough to realize that it appears that Pastor Wright is trapped in identity based politics at its worst. Instead creating hope this pastor's world view may inadvertently reinforce a sense of hopelessness.
How can we move beyond the racial wounds of the past? The answer lies more in faith than in politics. Only the church can say that prejudice is a sin. Only the church can impact the conscience of an entire nation. A clear headed church can unite Blacks, whites, Asians, and Hispanics based upon the common ground of the scriptures to address both problems and solutions.