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Every denomination needs one of these...

Thomas plays race card to dodge Wright criticism

Thursday, April 03, 2008

In an effort to change the focus of mounting criticism, United Church of Christ President John Thomas today called for "a nationwide 'sacred conversation' about race in the United States" at a press conference today at Trinity United Church of Christ. From the press conference:

"On Sunday, May 18, 2008 – the Sunday after Pentecost, which also happens to be called Trinity Sunday in the ecumenical calendar – we are asking our 10,000 UCC pastors across the nation to use their pulpits to address the subject of race. We believe this is an important first step in beginning the broader conversation that needs to take place in our nation, in our communities and, especially, in our houses of worship. Over the next six weeks we will be equipping our pastors and lay leaders to help them prepare for May 18 and for the important conversations to follow."
The effort to have a national conversation on race would be admirable had it not been hastily called for in response to the criticism that Thomas and the UCC has been facing in defense of comments in sermons and in publications by Trinity's former minister, Jeremiah Wright, Jr. who did not even attend the press conference. As disgusting and vulgar as it sounds, Thomas appears to be playing the race card to dodge the criticism which ultimately undermines the very conversation on race that he and others are seeking.

The consequences of this will be damaging on a number of levels. First, Thomas has made it pretty clear that he's not going to actually respond to the concerns raised within and outside of the denomination on Wright. Like so many other actions he and the national office have taken, it will be local pastors left to react and they really aren't being given much to work with here.

Second, members of the UCC are pretty wise to what is going on here. The problem isn't race, it's about Wright's comments and Thomas' reaction to them.

Finally, all this has really done is guarantee that this issue won't die down anytime soon.

(AP Photos / M. Spencer Green)
posted by UCCtruths, Thursday, April 03, 2008


Like so many other actions he and the national office have taken, it will be local pastors left to react and they really aren't being given much to work with here.

He's given them the NY Times ad, with its lip service to the UCC tenets of Congregational autonomy and unity in Christ, and then he's framed it as a sacred conversation on race along with a memo to the local pastors with talking points on how to define the issues.

Trinity is geting a PR Firm, all is well, and all will be well.

Those in agreement, say "aye."

The "ayes" have it.

Everybody else in conspiring to destroy the denomination, an unloving critic, or at least a spy.

Rev. Little "Bo" Peep

Anybody seen my sheep?
commented by Anonymous Anonymous, 10:11 PM  
Could not have said it better!
commented by Anonymous Robert, 10:11 PM  
Wow....that was not unlike our Consistory meeting last evening.

commented by Anonymous Anonymous, 8:31 AM  
I miss Carrie Genevechild on days like this. I think her insight would be--
This is so exciting for JT and JW. This is like 1968 all over again. There are battles to be fought! A kingdom to bring in! We are not old farts! We are needed! We are relevant!! It's a crisis! We're under attack!

These from those who pledge allegiance to a Lord who says, "Fear not." The United Church of Quixote.

To say nothing of the opportunity for publicity this is for those who wish we had a real voice in the public square. I'm sorry, but I think there are ways of being self-serving at every point on the theological/political spectrum and that it can be done with the trappings of faith and bought by the faithful.

We are all, me too, so very, very sincere.
commented by Blogger Don Niederfrank, 10:25 AM  
I was planning to have a sacred conversation about the holy Trinity that Sunday, but since JT wants us to talk about race, I guess the Lord will just have to take a back seat! But that's usual it seems in the mainline... God is just the dupe we trot out to justify our politics instead of scrutinizing our politics in light of an authoritative word from God.

commented by Anonymous Anonymous, 11:00 AM  
On this day, the 40th anniversary of MLK's death, I am pretty sure MLK would be shocked at what some of his black brethren have been up to to destroy MLK's dream. His dream, as we are reminded, is to be looked at for the "content of our character and not the color of our skin". Isn't that what we all want? Unfortunately, there are some in the black community like Wright, (Jesse Jackson, et.al.) that have stifled this dream, repeatedly. The reverse of MLK's dream is what has happened for some -- not all, blacks in this country.

The UCC pastors across this nation would do well to read these truths about race, instead of listening to JT's talking points. http://www.townhall.com/columnists/JohnHawkins/2008/04/04/six_uncomfortable_truths_about_race_in_america
As a nation we will never move forward regarding race if we do not address the real issues. JT has just brought attention to the world about how political the UCC is, and how it is impossible for us to address the issue - which should be condemning Wright for his hate speech from the start. Shame on Obama, the UCC, and Thomas.

Before anyone blasts me or calls me a racist, I lived in the black community for 16 years, where I was the minority. I, and my children had many black friends who cringed at the agenda of Jesse Jackson, trying to keep them down, and I'm sure if I went back there, they would not be thrilled with the likes of Jeremiah Wright. My children attended their friends' black churches, and they were quite the opposite of Trinity.

commented by Anonymous Anonymous, 11:09 AM  
The UCC may have 10000 "pastors", but less than 4000 have pulpits.

We do need to have conversations about race, but the pulpit is a monologue! Conversations will require getting outside your denomination. Go to the African-American clergy meeting and make some friends. then some real conversations can take place. As it is, we don't know how to interpret the nuances of language to begin to understand each other.
commented by Blogger Steve, 11:12 AM  
We wouldn't be having this conversation if the UCC had not chosen to become involved in the "Barama Drama" which has rendered God, Faith, and Churches irrelevant for the sake of the national pursuit of recovering the presidency to advance political action and ideology.

The problem with race relations has always been one thing -- we people can't treat people who look like us as Christ would have us do -- how can we ever treat those who look different ever stand a chance?

Nowadays of course this adage is changed to how hard it is to treat others who believe as we do in a positive way let alone those who don't see it our way.

To accomplish this requires supernatural intervention and the leadership of the UCC and most people in our country seemingly has just a little skepticism in seeking and trusting that kind of intervention lately.

It comes down to the fact that Christ is always the unity we must seek and anything taking the focus off of Him (which has always been my issue with JT and the leaders of the UCC) will fail.

This call to engage the "race issue" on Trinity Sunday again exposes a lack of true vision (and trust) in Faith being a unifier rather than using thre pulpit to empower sociological activity.
commented by Anonymous Anonymous, 1:33 PM  
"but since JT wants us to talk about race, I guess the Lord will just have to take a back seat!"

You don't think the Lord has anything to say about race?
commented by Blogger Coffeepastor, 10:17 PM  
I think the Lord has a lot to say that can be applied to the issue of race. And some people think he had a lot to say about politics and economic justice. And some people think he had at least something to say about marriage and sex.

But mostly, I think if we did a word count, we'd find out he talked about God and money. But mostly about God.
commented by Blogger Don Niederfrank, 7:49 AM  
Anonymous says :
"On this day, the 40th anniversary of MLK's death, I am pretty sure MLK would be shocked at what some of his black brethren have been up to to destroy MLK's dream. His dream, as we are reminded, is to be looked at for the "content of our character and not the color of our skin". Isn't that what we all want? Unfortunately, there are some in the black community like Wright, (Jesse Jackson, et.al.) that have stifled this dream, repeatedly. The reverse of MLK's dream is what has happened for some -- not all, blacks in this country."

TruthToPower Says:
It's obvious that you know nothing of MLK his life or his ministry beyond the "I have a dream speech". By alot of your own standards Martin Luther King jr. would have made a crappy 'spiritual adviser' to being that he challenged the government on the war in Vietnam and calling the US government ARROGANT and the greatest Purveyor of Violence in the world! These are Kings words! I'm sure many in his denomination complained about the fact that King organized political movements from his churchs and also made statements relevant to the politics of his day from the pulpit.

The majority of White people including white liberals felt that what King was doing was playing the "race card" that everything would be fine if he just waited and shut up. They felt he preached 'hate'
Isn't it ironic that in 2008 we here the exact same sentiments.
As if the cross were wrapped in the American Flag.
After the unjustified war, the torture, and the continuing selling off of our infrastructures .. the UCC's main problem is who... JW, who applies scriptural text to todays real issues.

I'm shocked... maybe not so much actually
commented by Blogger truthToPower, 2:30 PM  
Truthtopower- Yes, but did King need to lie to make his point like JW did?
commented by Anonymous Anonymous, 2:37 PM  
what lie are you referring too?
commented by Blogger truthToPower, 3:07 PM  
That AIDS was created by the government for genocidal purposes against blacks and that the CIA is putting drugs on the street to harm blacks.
commented by Anonymous Anonymous, 3:12 PM  

I'm glad you are posting here. I'd also like to invite you to join the UCCtruths message board at http://groups.yahoo.com/group/ucctruths/

There are all types of opinions from all kinds of different people and I think your view of this would be valuable to the discussion going on there.

commented by Blogger UCCtruths, 3:16 PM  
Anonymous, I'll give you a break on the AIDS claim only because it can't be proven. I for one don't doubt it. There are many in this country including otherwise main stream white people that honestly believe the government allows dishonest medical experimentation on it's citizens. I believe that recently for the first time a family was awarded a settlement because their kids were given 'immunizations' that 'caused' autism. There is a growing movement in that community that the government knows that their children are given harmful drugs with devastating side effects. As far as medical experimentation related to the African American community, the track record their is HORRIFIC!!! We don't even have to go back as far as Tuskegee either. As recent as 04 it's been found that the medical industry has been giving highly toxic experimental drugs to aids infected black and brown orphans in new york
You can also research the historical to modern day Crisis of medical experimentation on blacks by watching this
and reading the book Medical Apartheid by Harriet Washington M.D.
Now if will any of these sources prove that the government created AIDS to rid Blacks and Africans and Gays,,, no.. but it will give you some insight into why people like me wouldn't put it past the government to do so.....

And regarding the CIA and Drugs... there were almost hearings in congress to address the fact. Again, I'm not surprised that it was downplayed but RESEARCH and find out about it i don't care both pro and con
Elected Officials Show Quick Concern

As public awareness of the series grew, the paper began promoting it more aggressively. For readers wanting more, the Mercury Center carried a separate Gary Webb page, with a daily update of the reporter's appearances on a slew of radio and television programs.

Interest in the series was also fueled by more traditional means.

Senator Barbara Boxer, a Democrat from the San Francisco Bay area who assailed the Reagan Administration 10 years ago over another California newspaper's reports on the contra connections of Mr. Meneses, wrote the Director of Central Intelligence, John M. Deutch, on Aug. 29 to demand an explanation of the C.I.A.'s possible involvement in the matter.

No sooner had Senator Boxer's letter made headlines than the state's other Senator, Dianne Feinstein, also a Democrat, followed with a letter to Attorney General Janet Reno. Maxine Waters, a Democratic Congresswoman who represents part of South-Central Los Angeles, fired off her own letters to Mr. Deutch, Ms. Reno and the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, Representative Henry J. Hyde of Illinois. Investigations were begun by the C.I.A., the Justice Department and the House Intelligence Committee.

Of the many politicians who have voiced outrage over the C.I.A.'s purported role in the drug trade, none have been more vigorous than Representative Waters, who has held news conferences, given speeches, churned out handbills and led a demonstration over the reports.

''The impact and the implications of the Meneses/Blandon/Ross/contra/C.I.A. crack cocaine connection cannot be understated,'' the Congresswoman wrote to Mr. Deutch.
commented by Blogger truthToPower, 3:25 PM  

Thanks for the invitation.

I hope i can provide some insight into this particular situation.

And hopefully gain some understanding of others within the denomination.

There are several dynamics at play here and it's very interesting to watch.
commented by Blogger truthToPower, 3:36 PM  
truthtopower, thanks for making the argument regarding King AND the gov't/AIDS/drugs much better than I would have.

Anon, just a reminder that simply because you haven't encountered the (surprisingly prevalent) belief that the US government manufactured AIDS and that the CIA sold crack in the ghetto to fund the Contras, doesn't mean that Rev. Wright is "lying" when he brings it up.

Rev. Wright is many things - shocking, direct, no-holds-barred - but there is no evidence that he is willfully dishonest. I think that's an unfair accusation.

commented by Blogger Tom, 5:34 PM  
I'm not sure we could call him a liar, but we could call him a "rumor monger" and a "fear monger" for spreading accusations that don't have the least bit of evidence to support them (and yes, the burden of proof falls on those bringing the accusations). It would be like holding on to that old rumor that Sen. Obama is a "secret Muslim" and is really the Manchurian Candidate in this election. No proof for that either...
commented by Anonymous Anonymous, 2:50 PM  
Anon there is more proof than many would like to admit.
When Rev. Wright talks about AIDs being an ethnic weapon, those critics who denounce him haven't examined the speculation that it might have originated in the Koprowski's polio vaccine experiment that was conducted out of Philadelphia.
Those who embrace this theory might find some support in the book, The River A Journey to The Source of HIV and AIDS, by Edward Hooper (Penguin, 2000). A white man wrote this book.
commented by Blogger truthToPower, 9:17 PM  
Here is some footage of an investigative report done by DateLine related to the CIA/crack connection. Like I've already stated this is an issue that went before Congress. Sen. John Kerry even weighed in on this!!!

commented by Blogger truthToPower, 9:19 PM  
Speculation doesn't equal proof. Most credible, mainline scientists debunk
Hooper's thesis. The commonly accepted working model is a mutated SIV virus that became HIV somewhere in the late 50's. What Sen. Kerry believes or doesn't believe doesn't hold hold much sway with me. :)
However, some folks will always see in every corner shadowy figures that are always lying to them. You may be one of those folks. As Swift once said, you can't reason someone out of something that they didn't
reason themselves into to begin with.
commented by Anonymous Anonymous, 11:20 AM  
It's amusing to read the comments accusing the "boogey man government and medical community" of their master plans for the human race. Plans for manipulation and control of the human race by the "man" (probably Geo Bush & Co.). The enlightened "right thinking us" vs. the "wrong thinking them" syndrome. Perhaps you guys could meet at JW's mansion and discuss these evil issues over a round of golf. Open your ears and eyes and stop allowing your political ideologies resort to conspiracy theories in order to defend this raving maniac!
commented by Anonymous Anonymous, 12:25 AM  

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