WTOC in Savannah is reporting tonight that there is an upcoming conference on the family at St. Philip Monumental AME Church.
WTOC quotes the pastor:
“After reviewing data that focused on the number of low-birth weight babies born in the community, the number of children counted truant in our school system, the number of people suspended, those who have dropped out, teenage pregnancies, and finally the number of children engaged in criminal activity all agreed there is work to be done and we need to start now,” said Senior Pastor George Moore, of the St. Philip Monumental AME Church.
The conference is scheduled for June 27 to June 29.
But here’s the kicker: Reverend Jeremiah Wright, Obama’s former pastor and retired minister of Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago, will speak at the conference.
I’m not going to try to recap the Jeremiah Wright controversy here, but I was largely sympathetic to both Obama and Wright during that controversy. The President couldn’t really say it, but I thought he had joined that church mainly as a political move to take advantage of its sheer size and considerable power. And Wright’s extreme statements were, well, extreme. But it’s pretty easy to find extreme statements made from pulpits in America. I was sort of stunned back in 2004 to hear the pastor of one of Savannah’s oldest churches tell the congregation that they should vote for the presidential candidate who would “take the sword to the evildoers.” I’d trade a few anti-America rants for that kind of warmongering any day.
Obama responded to the Wright controversy by giving one of his best speeches, “A More Perfect Union”, but Wright made several more statements to the media that led Obama to sever ties with Wright.
But Wright’s statements to the media did not stop there. In 2009, in news that largely got buried amidst the economic turmoil that Obama inherited, Wright remarked publicly that he had not talked to Obama. As relayed in a great piece in the Huffington Post:
“Them Jews ain’t going to let him talk to me. I told my baby daughter that he’ll talk to me in five years when he’s a lame duck, or in eight years when he’s out of office,” Wright told the Daily Press of Newport News following a Tuesday night sermon at the 95th annual Hampton University Ministers’ Conference.
Wright apologized for his remarks but in other statements reinforced the idea that “Zionists” had undo influence over Obama.
It sounds like St. Philip Monumental AME has laudable goals for its upcoming conference, but it’s hard to see how hosting one of the most divisive figures of recent years is a good idea. I hope those of you who are angry about Rev. Wright’s appearance will let it go. He’s a minister, he’s done some good work, he’s made some inflammatory statements. There’s no reason to let him distract us from trying to work together as a community to solve our problems.