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As a part of the on-going discussion with various persons on various blogs, I call attention to an article from today’s local paper, the Winston-Salem Journal concerning the reaction of local black pastors to the speech made by Rev. Wright.

I know Rev. John Mendez (I often attend his church and consider him my pastor) and Bill Leonard (from Wake Forest. I first met him at a snake handling on campus. 🙂 ) Know in this case, means, if I met them in the mall, they would recognize me. I’m familiar with Rev. Sir Walter Mack and never heard of the fourth man on the panel.
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I offer a couple of excerpts. Emphasis mine.

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“My concern is, how does mainstream America understand the African American church?” said the Rev. Sir Walter Mack, the pastor of Union Baptist Church. “The truth of the matter is this is the first time many of them have ever heard of liberation theology. They’re going to attach the message to the messenger.”. . . Liberation theology, Mack said, is about speaking to people who have been marginalized in society. It says that God has a special care and concern for people who are oppressed, and God gives them the strength to endure. . . .Ultimately, liberation theology brings healing to the oppressed as well as the oppressor, he said. . . . “We have to take people somewhere, and that’s to the message of restoration, love, hope, faith,” he said. “And leaving them with a sense of optimism that God’s way will prevail.”. . . Obama had to distance himself from his pastor, Mack said, in order to secure the presidency.

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John Mendez, the pastor of Emanuel Baptist Church, said he concurs that Obama needed to distance himself from Wright. . . . “He’s running for president, not for mayor,” he said. “He’s got to be very inclusive.” . . . Wright represents the particular perspective of black Christians, Mendez said, while Obama needs to represent a far larger view. . . . Mendez said that for him, the main issue is that Republicans and others who are threatened by Obama have spent days going through tapes of Wright’s sermons in order to hurt Obama by association. . . . “The Achilles heel they were looking for was the black church and Jeremiah Wright,” he said. . . . The aim is to make Obama look like an unpatriotic, nationalist fanatic who would separate and scare white people, Mendez said. . . . “It’s playing the race card in the most subtle way,” he said, “to raise Jeremiah Wright up as the bogeyman that everyone can target and shoot at, hate, dislike–and the fallout is on Obama.”

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The Rev. Roy Swann, the pastor of Goler Metropolitan AME Zion Church, said that as a child of the civil-rights era, he is cautiously optimistic about Obama’s candidacy. . . . “We realize what we came through,” he said. “That backlash could pop up again any time.”. . . He said he is not overly worried about the Wright controversy damaging black churches. . . . “We’ve always been a target. They bombed the churches in the ’60s,” he said. “A verbal attack is nothing new. The media makes it more of an issue than it is.”. . . The silver lining in the controversy, he said, is that liberation theology has gone mainstream, he said. From that standpoint, the media has done black people a favor. . . . Wright is addressing politics from a spiritual perspective, Swann said. He is saying that America reaps what it sows. America has allied itself to such dictators as Manuel Noriega and Saddam Hussein. . . . “It’s going to be a wake-up call to America,” he said, “to examine our own selves. How do we treat others? How do people around the world view us?”

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