Saturday, May 31, 2008

A Sign Of Things To Come? - Obama Quits Trinity Church!

This is the kind of political decision that troubles me about Barack Obama. So, if white folks howl loud enough, he'll toss black folks under the bus. Obama quits one of the largest black churches in one of the largest black populated cities because of "controversial comments" made by two people, one, the now retired pastor and the other, a visiting pastor? By quiting the church, Obama has labelled and condemned the church and it's congregation as "controversial" forever!

When during all these years of Conservative Christianity has a white politician quit a church, religious organization, or religious leader? What white politician has quit the Moral Majority or dismissed James Dobson and his organization, Focus On The Family? Even after the Ted Haggard scandal, white politicians didn't quit those churches and organizations affiliated with Haggard. And Reverend Hagee has been not been savaged as hard as Reverend Wright has by the public or the media. And white politicians are still meeting with Hagee and enjoying his support.

This is a little beyond Barack Obama doing what it takes to become the nominee. This is a decision that is highly concerning. What message does this send to the hundreds of thousands of black people who support Obama, but will be sitting in churches just like Trinity United Church of Christ tomorrow morning?

Are theses the kind of decisions we can expect from President Obama? So, any time something happens with black people that challenges white people's idea of the world, he will be expected to denounce it or quit it? I think I'm gonna have to support brotha blogger Monroe Anderson on this mess. I feel really let down by Barack Obama on this one.

And something else that does not pass the smell test here. Obama claims to have not been aware of the controversial sermons. Then it seems to me that Obama and his family missed an awful lot of church in the past ten to fifteen years. I can't imagine his preacher was that different from Sunday to Sunday. i can't imagine he was never sitting in church when the pastor or a guest pastor picked fun at America or white folks. Doesn't seem believable to me.

Maybe this is why politicians better stop talking about how religious they are, because it doesn't seem to really hold true. If you believe Obama, he wasn't very active at a church he just quit on! It sounds like he painted a false image of himself and it came back to bite him.


Texas Truth May 31, 2008 at 8:59 PM  

I guess the heat got too much for him. This is another reason not to vote for BHO. He cannot be trusted to stick to his guns when the going gets tough.

As I have said numerous times. This guy is very dangerous. He cannot be trusted. How do you think he will stand up against the enemies of this country? He has no backbone. He will fold like a cheap lawn chair.

He knows it. His party knows it. We know it. And more importantly, the enemies of this country know it. Why do you think they support him for President?

Professor Tracey May 31, 2008 at 9:10 PM  

Well Texas Truth, clearly folks are supporting him because they already know what they can expect from the other side.

I'd rather have a folding lawn chair than the god-damned liar like we have now! Not to mention his lying-ass staff that only wants to tell the truth when it's too late and after they get paid!

No, it not a surprise that folks support Obama.

faith May 31, 2008 at 10:02 PM  

This is where Black people being strategic voters and real power brokers come into play. We haven't been. Our votes have been taken for granted until now and we let it be that way. With proper media coverage that was in our interest this would not have been made into such an issue. We all know the things the white 'religious' men say gets a complete pass when they're blaming women, gays and sex. But why couldn't Trinity have just stayed incognegro? I saw part of the Priest's sermon. It was funny as heck and true, but would bring negative attention to the church and to Obama. At this point he had no choice but to leave. The church needs to be left alone and Obama can finish his campaign. The system was stacked against him to begin with. He probably should have left when he announced his run and it wasn't the best strategic move on his part but clearly he felt at home at Trinity and is probably more 'radical' than he lets on. Plus he wanted to appeal to the evangelicals. We just don't know the rope he has to straddle. And if we don't want to be left out of his administration we'd better get organized. It is our vote that put him over the top against Clinton!! May 31, 2008 at 10:40 PM  

Hi there Professor Tracey,

I debated about whether to write about this on my blog. I figured that every one of my minister friends would be doing so.

Since you put it out there...I'll weigh in here! *LOL*

It was clear that something was amiss when Barack could not explain black liberation theology....and I am not saying that being a church member turns every person into a theologian...

However, after TWENTY YEARS, I would think a church member can can speak in generalities about the foundations of black liberation theology... AT LEAST!

If Barack joins a white congregation or chooses a white pastor, he can kiss his black voters good bye. Even black folks who ARE NOT Christian will retaliate!

Barack was happy to claim affiliation with Trinity when he was an up-and-coming black politician in Chicago who had NO real following. He no longer needed the black currency that Trinity provided among black people in order to meet his loftier political objectives.

While I probably sound harsh about Barack's decision, I will say that in MOST churches, only 15% of the Sunday attendees are actually committed to helping the church grow and devoted to advancing the ministry of the Gospel.

In that respect, the "pew ghosts" (church members who appear and disappear) are the majority.

My former pastor used to walk the halls and stop people arriving at church and say:
"I have members I can count and members I can count ON, now which member are YOU?"

Some members send in a check and then show up whenever it fits their busy schedules. This type of cosmetic membership status is commonplace.

Some people come to church for affiliation...some come to church for socialization...some come to church for representation...and some come to church because they deeply love the Lord and want to be part of the collective work that is being undertaken by others who deeply love the Lord.

What is next...a press conference when Barack says...
"You know, after much reflection, I've decided that Michelle and I were never REALLY Christian at all, we're Mormons!"

We'll have to stay tuned for more shenanigans from Team Obama.

Thanks for letting me blow my trumpet!


Anonymiss May 31, 2008 at 11:32 PM  

*SMH* This is very disappointing. I remember someone saying a while back (perhaps Randi) saying that these appeasement measures that he's taking is his way of trying to "get in." This is a drastic move to leave your church. I cannot respect that move.

I'm contemplating on taking his widget down. I don't think I'll be voting for him anymore. I've gotta think about this. Him politically dissing Blacks and his friends doesn't bode well for the type of presidency that he'll offer.

achoiceofweapons June 1, 2008 at 5:03 AM  

What Black theologian(s) have you ever heard quoted by a White politician or religious leader? We quote Kant, Thoreau, Kilkegard but we denounce our churches and leaders never quoting Bishop Henry Turner, F.S. Cherry, Charles Brooks or anyone else. WOW! Miseduacation of the Negro for real.

A Voice From the Battlefield June 1, 2008 at 4:33 PM  

I think Barak did what he felt he had to do for his family, campaign and church. When reading the article it appears that all involved were being harassed. So, I really can't blame him. I can't judge him on this one. He left the church not the Lord. So, I don't feel he gave up his beliefs to please his critics.

t.s. johnson June 1, 2008 at 4:43 PM  

The church's motto is unashamedly Black and unapologetically Christian.

How the hell he didn't know what Trinity was about?

Tabatha Atwood June 1, 2008 at 8:00 PM  

how did he not know? he says he was not brought up in the church- he says he was skeptical about the church until he met Rev. Jeremiah while community organizing-
i do not think he had a choice on either end- 1. the church was been harassed and the spotlight was not dimming on them and 2. he is authentically to the right of Rev. Wright on questions of race and imperialism and he has to be the moderate he really is- a foot in every camp- to win- he can't be sidetracked into debatea around positions he does not agree.

Professor Tracey June 1, 2008 at 8:06 PM  

Then Obama was extremely naive. How can you be a 20+ year member of this church and not think that it would be viewed as radical to white folks?

And if his tactic was to be a moderate, with a foot straddling the lines, he should been very careful making such a big deal out of his pastor and his church.

As What Tami Says said on her blog today, do we even know how Hillary Clinton's pastor is or John McCain's for that matter. Obama put it out there.

He can't be considered that politically savvy in quitting the church, if he was dumb enough to put it out there in the first place.

Tabatha Atwood June 1, 2008 at 10:09 PM  

i am not catholic- in fact - i was raised in the ucc- my mom's church, but from the time i was very small i would go to the catholic mass with my father's family and just be stunned that they never knew what was going on- just none of the oldtimers ever got the rhymthmn- none of them knew when to stand, kneel, pray- it was obviously alien to them and they had been in that church 20 years before i came along- after my grandmother's death and a trip to the old country we discovered that we were Jewish- so they were Definitely Jewish but non-religious and non-afffiliated in the time of pogroms and other unpleasantness- so when they got to America and they discovered that neither Jews or atheists were well regarded and because they had a lot of fear from the past- they became catholics - like the majority of the immigrants from their country- but they never understood it- they liked it on some level- it was safe and pleasant but they did not get i know that people sit in church without getting it for years. if you are looking for people like you - you may not be overly critical- good, i found some people that think power is being abused, ordinary people are being hurt, and it is up to us to change things- good- hurrah, do i continue to listen- if you are a radical you continue to listen because you want to hear more but not everyone will.
every democratic candidate in the last decade has underestimated the enemy and the machinery with the MSM they had behind them. al gore versus bush- a slam dunk - yes they are two men of priviledge but gore is a guy who went out of his way to live up to the responsibility that demanded- went to Vietnam ( as a reporter but he was there) etc. against the most irresponsible , spoiled brat- but..
oh no the problem is he didn't fight- he wasn't a war hero- john kerry is a bonafide war hero and bush is a liar and a shirker but...
and yes Obama probably underestimated that the attack would be against a minister who even beliefnet holds as a leading light for the church but that is what they do - they take people's strengths and turn them into weaknesses- and unlike Gore or Kerry, Obama is not being confused but staying in the fight against the real enemy the bushies and their surrogate mccain and he has to keep the focus there as much as he can. i think he is a good politician -and we need someone that is a good politician. in the best sense of the word.

Professor Tracey June 1, 2008 at 10:47 PM  

Being catholic and being a member of a church like Trinity is two completely different things. Trinity is seeped deeply in the black church tradition and has none of the rules like being catholic.

As I stated before, Obama must have rarely attended that church to pretend now that he didn't know that he had a fire and brimstone type preacher and I don't believe that for one second.

What kind of priest did your folks have? What priest would let any member of their church sit for 20 years and not understand the rules? They didn't understand mass after 20 years? Or confession?
Or the Rosary? I find that hard to fathom.

I hear your point, but I want more than a poltician, we already have that. Obama claims to be the voice of change.

SheCodes June 1, 2008 at 11:26 PM  

If Barack joins a white congregation or chooses a white pastor, he can kiss his black voters good bye. Even black folks who ARE Christian will retaliate!

AMEN TO THAT! Professor Tracey, do you remember when I started my move into the Obama camp? It was after checking out TUCC, long before Rev. Wright became a household name.

I LOVED (and still really like) what I saw, and thought that maybe, just MAYBE, Barack was 'down with the cause'.

However, he now has no choice to leave, because of the way he threw Jeremiah Wright under the bus. If he had properly defended not only his relationship with Wright, but the VERACITY of Wright's statements, then real progress would have been made.

But after you've done finished denouncing to high heaven, claiming that you never heard that stuff before, then you can't stay in the church if it continues talk in the same vein.

I also think that the church would do itself a favor by sticking to the script for a minute. Someone needs to tell them 'THE BLOCK IS HOT' and to get it together, for the time being.

Sheryl June 2, 2008 at 7:52 AM  

I'm very disappointed that Obama quit his Church over this. Why are we constantly bullied into being "good" negroes. If people say that he's doing what he has to do get in and that's a good thing, please tell me when has this worked? Those nice, agreeable negroes Colin Powell, Condi Rice, and Clarence Thomas sure have been able to do a lot for Black folk once they got "in".

Finally, for those that continue to harp on how they knew that Obama was dangerous and how they knew he couldn't be trusted, PLEASE PLEASE tell me which of the candidates in this race aren't dangerous or can be trusted? I don't see another viable candidate that I feel won't dig us into a deeper hole than we're in. Are you suggesting that Black folk sit this election out? That thought crossed my mind after hearing that Obama was bullied into quitting his Church.

This whole thing is a sham. No matter what the arena, there's always a different set of rules for us than it is for White folk. In the end if you follow their rules you're damned because the rules aren't set up for us to win. If you don't follow their rules, your doubly damned. I'm sick of it.

tusk91 June 2, 2008 at 8:26 AM  

I think the whole thing is sad that he had to leave his church.

His reason's for leaving in his speech he gave was due to the fact that the media was proving so disruptive to the church and its members.

Reporters were camping out there, harassing the members, calling the sick and shut in. It had become a major problem for not just Obama but the members of that church.

The new pastor in his letter seemed to think it was a good idea and was supportive of Obama's decision to leave. Some of the member's were interviewed on CNN and were also understanding and supportive of him and his family having to leave.

I will say this; Obama gets it from all sides, check out this clip from this weekend on the vote in FL & Mich.

Link below:

Felicity June 2, 2008 at 11:48 AM  

I think Barak did what he felt he had to do for his family, campaign and church. When reading the article it appears that all involved were being harassed. So, I really can't blame him. I can't judge him on this one. He left the church not the Lord. So, I don't feel he gave up his beliefs to please his critics.

That is perfectly right! At the end of the day, he needs to be president to make real change!

Randi523 June 2, 2008 at 2:07 PM  

To speak on what Prof. Tracey and other commenters have said about Obama acting "clueless" (my word, not theirs) about the "goings-on" in his church: I've seen a lot of people, of different races, attend/join a church b/c it's "the church". You know, the mega-church with the luxury vehicles, high-tech big screens, etc. with all of the high-profile, well-to-do members.

I'M NOT SUGGESTING THAT THOSE MEMBERS ARE NOT GOOD PEOPLE/CHRISTIANS, OR THAT THERE IS SOMETHING WRONG WITH THOSE CHURCHES. What I'm saying is that some people join or attend those churches for those reasons, which are the wrong reasons. Maybe this is why Obama joined Trinity, I'm thinking. We should be trying to commune with God at church, first and foremost. If Obama was as spiritually tied/connected to Trinity as a lot of us are to our respective places of worship, he wouldn't have let THE MEDIA convince him to leave.

I've heard about the death threats, reporter snooping during the services, etc., but he would have, should have handled this another way, besides resigning his membership. I don't know if I've EVER heard anyone do that before LOL!

Kimmy June 2, 2008 at 9:35 PM  

I would have quit the church as well. That church didn't seem to have his best interest at heart.
Rev Wright has retired, which puzzles me, How does a supposed man of God retired, there is no cut off age to preach and teach the word of god... I'm sure that was decision made by the church, business and church.hmmmmm bad combination...

Professor Tracey June 2, 2008 at 9:45 PM  

Sorry Kimmy,

Reverend Wright's retirement has been in the planning for a number of years. Even a man of God has the right to retire. It's good for him and good for the church to inject new blood. I know too many pastors who stayed too long as head of their congregations.

lena June 2, 2008 at 10:46 PM  

Amen to that professor tracey!! that's exactly what i've been saying since this whole rev. wright 'controversy' started. barackk obama proves time and time and again that he will ditch black people if we do not fit into 'mainstream' americas ideals of how black people should be.

basically, i was almost done with him after o'reilly made the lynching comments about michelle and barack did not speak up against that. he is now FINALLY saying 'hands off the wife" but look how long it took and after how many insults? plus, he never ever mentioned how event though many white racists support mccain and hillary, no controversy was ever made of it.

obama is a VERY weak candidate for black america and yes, he most definitely would toss us under the bus in a minute!

Kimmy June 3, 2008 at 12:39 AM  

Barack made the right decision.If It's not like he was there every sunday on the usher board and praise team..ROFL .. Hopefully he and his family finds a new church where the pastors and guest pastors dont throw him unders a bus every sunday....A pulpit should not be used to attack people personally that's just tacky and unwise. Black america is it's own worse enemy we need no one else to tear us down.. we will do it ourselves and that is a sad fact.

objectiveone June 3, 2008 at 8:55 PM  

I wholeheartedly agree with Kimmy’s comments. I am a black female who supports Obama. I totally understand why he had to break from his church and I applaud him for having the courage to do it. I am sick of republican networks like Fox Noise using footage of the buffoonery antics of Rev. Wright and Rev. Pfleger in a shameful attempt to bring Obama down. I am willing to bet my bottom dollar that these so-called pastors at TCC were paid by McClinton (McCain and Clinton) backers like Sissy Hannity and Greta Van Ugly. The media reporting throughout this election has been so biased and laden with double standards. I wonder why has there not been more coverage of McCain’s associations with Rev. Hagee and Rev. Parsley and all of the lies that Hillary Rodham Clinton has told. McCain was finally forced to severe ties with Hagee in light of his recent hateful remarks towards Jews. McCain actively sought Hagee’s endorsement and he hasn’t been raked over the coals like Obama has been. It amazes me what jack-legged pastors like Wright and Pfleger will resort to when their palms are greased. IMO, Obama did not sell out or even denounce TCC. He did what he had to do. It is obvious that some of the members of that church do not have his best interest at heart and he doesn’t owe them anything. Church is intended for worshipping God not people. The republicans are despicable for using his church to sling mud at him and Obama simply took one of their toys away. This move by Obama was very smart and long overdue. No matter what he does or doesn’t do he will not please everyone. Whatever Obama strategists believe he should do to win, I am all for it. My motto has always been: “If you want to beat someone at their own game, join them.” It is a sad reality that there are black people like Rev. Wright who have that crab mentality. His recent media blitz was embarrassing and hard to watch. With friends like Wright, who needs enemies? My heart goes out to Obama for making what I am sure was a painful decision.

Go Obama!!!

lena June 4, 2008 at 4:36 PM  

To Objectiveone: Sorry, shows what you don't know about many on the chicago religious and political scene. I am from chicago and no, wright and pfleger are definitely not paid "to bring obama down". this is just how they speak - the truth and not to bring obama down. chicago has a long history of people unafraid to speak our minds i.e. min. farrakhan, trinity church, pfleger,even jessie jackson and operation push to some extent!

i dont agree with obama backing off whenevre white people decide that someone around him is racists.

they are ALWAYS surrounded by people who say racists things and their positions/images/reputations are never in danger of being seriously tarnished. obama didn't even make the comments he's apologizing for! that's just weakness at its core. i'm sure david duke has been in support of numerous presidents and you never hear about him "tarnishing" anyone. only when ur black does that happen.

BTW, pfleger, wright, trinity church and farrakhan have been saying the same things in the same manner for YEARS. They have never changed based upon the politics of the day. i know as i have been to many of their speeches and regularly am by trinity. Unfortunately, your argument is based in ignorance of who these pastors really are. You're believing the sound bytes and accepting whatever the media says about them.

sorry wright and pflegr have never waffled or flip-flopped - UNLIKE obama.

But no matter what opinion you have, it's no shock that all the recent powerhouse blacks are coming out of chicago, precisely because of our confidence to do as we please, not do what racists and black-apologists please.

obama was supported by oprah and even our controversial figures like wright and farrakhan are making huge impacts in america, like them or not.

no mush-mouths here and political/media racists don't have to pay them. they speak for themselves, like it or not.

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