Arriving in Washington DC during the 80's, my most difficult challenge was finding a church home. Having grown up in the Pentecostal and Methodist faith Sunday worship was a staple of my weekly routine. For almost 10 years I canvassed the nation's capitol seeking a church that would nourish my fleshly failings and remind me of what our creator expects of us as human beings. What was consistent in going from pulpit to pulpit was that ministers were more interested in political rhetoric, the endorsement of political candidates, and the denouncing of some government or community proposal, than the gospel. It was quite disheartening for many years knowing that ministers were not teaching or preaching the word of God, but that their sermons were becoming political rallies. I was stunned at the blame cast upon the White man, the racial divisive, and all the things that seemed to divide and separate us from our neighbor. Then in 1995 I attended First Baptist Church in DC where the Rev. Frank Tucker presided and my spirit finally found what it was seeking. I will never forget meeting with the Pastor prior to joining and expressing my feelings about what I was looking for in a church. I made it clear that my interest was in the word of God and not political rallies, condemnation of America, and various politicians occupying the pulpit on Sunday. He shared my concerns and promised that this wasn't the case at his church. Since being a member of Pastor Tucker's church for about 13 years, he's never disappointed my spiritual yearning. Throughout the years I've taken Whites, Muslims, Jews, and people of all walks of life to worship with me and they all have left feeling that they could join the pastor's congregation.
There are still pockets of so called black churches and mosque today that can identify with the Rev. Wright‘s lace-filled, anti-American, hypocritical sermons. During the 50's, 60's and 70's the black church was a place where blacks could gather and unite away from the harshness and brutality of racism and vicious hatred. It was a place where ministers could help their congregation express their anger, frustration, and America’s ungodliness towards their brethren. Many ministers during those tumultuous times were considered heroes and pillars of the community for they were preaching against an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth. People like Jeremiah Wright are still preaching as though we’re in the 50’s or 60’s and are locked in this time warp. They refuse to elevate and celebrate the progress of America and how Presidential candidate Barack Obama’s campaign is evidence of that amazing paradigm shift.
It is impossible for Senator Barack Obama and his wife to have patterned Rev. Wright's church and not have embraced his teachings and vision of America. My minister does and has always had a profound impact on my outlook about life and strengthening my spirit to forgive the transgressions of this world and not to induce more hate and separation. I find it difficult to believe Senator Obama when he tells us that he was unaware of his Pastor's vicious message from the pulpit and that had he known there would have been condemnation. Many black intellectuals are still angry for what they perceive as the continuous crippling effect of racism and slavery in America on their careers. The irony is that many of their children have embraced this country, finding success and prosperity, while their parents continue to allow their wounds to be nurtured in this hopeless mindset preached from the pulpit. Michelle Obama’s expression of how for the first time she was proud of America was indicative of the influence of her Pastor.
Senator Obama should admit to the fact that since campaigning he’s seen a different America. He must show that he rejects and repudiates this school of thinking. Furthermore that no one should be a member of congregations and mosque that preach this hatred and conspiratorial thinking, which continuously emphasize the worst in our country and not the phenomenal progress made. This past week was not an exemplary moment for the man who prided himself on integrity and honesty throughout this campaign. The fact is the Senator has no plausible excuse for why he remained a member of Rev. Jeremiah's church. He and his family should have immediately left his congregation for the embrace of a church that teaches the bible rather than the alienation, lunacy, and outright mockery of Christian teachings.
It was impossible for my spirit to endure these churches, as can be evidenced by my negative descriptions of them. It makes no sense for someone in search of America’s promise and potential to worship in a place where a doctrine of hatred is the central theme. I was taught that church was a place of escape and rest, but I didn’t want someone who is supposed to be a religious leader feeding me poisonous information. My reason for going to church has always been for a spiritual recharge, not more of the same; I deal with politics 24/6, and one day a week I get a chance to take a break from all that. I believe this to be healthy, and think it sad that I had to try so hard for so long to find a church that was able to provide the rest or Sabbath, mentioned in the Bible. The day must come when churches (Black or otherwise that preach this hate speech) will return to the Word. No one should ever be forced to search for such a lengthy duration or give up and settle in a church that is unacceptable and pay the price that will eventually implode Senator Obama’s to date well run campaign.