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UCCtruths

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UCC leaders serve up lame cover for Wright, Trinity

Saturday, March 15, 2008

It took five days to muster something up, but the leaders of the United Church of Christ are rushing to the defense of Jerimiah Wright and Trinity UCC. From UC News:

"Trinity United Church of Christ is a great gift to our wider church family and to its own community in Chicago," says UCC General Minister and President John H. Thomas. "At a time when it is being subjected to caricature and attack in the media, it is critical that all of us express our gratitude and support to this remarkable congregation, to Jeremiah A. Wright for his leadership over 36 years, and to Pastor Otis Moss III, as he assumes leadership at Trinity."

Thomas says he has been saddened by news reports that "present such a caricature of a congregation that been such a great blessing."

"These attacks, many of them motivated by their own partisan agenda, cannot go unchallenged," Thomas emphasizes. "It's time for all of us to say 'No' to these attacks and to declare that we will not allow anyone to undermine or destroy the ministries of any of our congregations in order to serve their own narrow political or ideological ends."
In typical UCC style, the national office huffs and puffs that it won't let the attacks go "unchallenged" but does nothing to actually challenge or put into context the outrageous statements that have come from Wright which have been widely publicized by the networks.

This is a big mistake and it will reflect poorly on the whole United Church of Christ, not just Trinity, Wright or Thomas.

Some UCC insiders might say that the national office is no position to challenge Wright or Trinity since each local church has a level of autonomy. However, UCC leaders have never had a problem chastising other local churches and their leaders when it suited them - particularly conservative churches that considered affiliation with the Evangfelical Association (see September 15, 2005 archive). We also cannot forget Thomas' angry Gettysburg College speech and other repeated calls to "distinguish loving critics from hurtful ones". Without doubt, the national office would quickly chastize any local UCC church that would say anything on par of what Jeremiah Wright said if it were directed towards gays and lesbians (as they should). The hypocrisy here is that UCC leaders are not only silent on the actual comments Wright made, they plainly support him and Trinity UCC.

99 percent of UCC ministers would never come close to saying the things that Wright said. This weekend when UCC'ers meet for coffee in their fellowship halls, the topic of Wright and Trinity UCC will come up and most pastors will distance themselves and deflect by claiming that each UCC church is autonomous. This is where the gap between the national office and the pews will be at its greatest.

UCC leaders could have affirmed Trinity UCC but made it clear that Wright's opinions were not widely held across the UCC. This would have been a unifying statement that could have been broadly supported by most people in the UCC. Instead, the national office and our leaders have plainly demonstrated just how disconnected they are from the rank and file of the UCC.
posted by UCCtruths, Saturday, March 15, 2008

2 Comments:

I was surprised at how peevish, disingenuous, and unresponsive the comments on the UCC corporate web site were. In their own way, they seemed as sad as the slander uttered -- one presumes over many years -- by the Rev. Wright.
commented by Anonymous Anonymous, 2:02 AM  
"Without doubt, the national office would quickly chastize any local UCC church that would say anything on par of what Jeremiah Wright said if it were directed towards gays and lesbians "

Well said
commented by Anonymous Anonymous, 4:25 PM  

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