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Every denomination needs one of these...

UCC President John Thomas stoops to race baiting

Monday, May 19, 2008

Just when you think United Church of Christ President and General Minister John Thomas couldn't do more damage to the denomination and to his own reputation, he finds new ways to disappoint. From his sermon yesterday in response to his own call for a conversation on race:
The ugliness we watched on television as media manipulators tried to scare people from voting for a black candidate by presenting a deliberately frightening caricature of his black pastor reminds us how ugly the conversation on race can be.
This is clearly and plainly race baiting... and it's contemptible.

It was one thing for Thomas to argue that Jeremiah Wright's sermons needed "context" to be properly interpreted. It's an entirely different thing to then claim that the media interest in Wright's sermons stemmed from an evil plot to scare people away from voting for Obama. History is full of clergy who have said stupid things and, regardless of their color, the media has a field day with them. Whether it's Pat Robertson, Jerry Falwell or Louis Farrakhan, the media never misses a beat to show stupid comments from clergy.

Thomas' comments weren't just stupid because they were wrong, they were stupid because they undermined the purpose of the sermon which was supposed to foster a "sacred conversation on race". Like some have speculated about Wright, I wonder if Thomas isn't adding fuel to the fire to undermine Obama's campaign. This supposed "sacred conversation on race" only succeeded in putting Wright's inflammatory comments back into the spotlight just as it was starting to die down. Is this any way to start a conversation on race?

I guess I'm also dumbfounded that anyone, especially the leader of a denomination struggling for credibility, would make such an unsubstantiated claim without any supporting information or logic that might give credence to the statement. How does he read that and feel good about it?
posted by UCCtruths, Monday, May 19, 2008


This sermon remark also reveals the "range of emotions" press release, issued soon after Wright's Press Club outburst, for what it was-- a sham PR move from Thomas designed to mirror what folks saying to Cleveland and not a genuine pastoral word from Thomas.
commented by Blogger Living the Biblios, 8:35 AM  
Let me understand this. John Thomas thinks ABC news broadcast the snippets because they wanted to subvert Obama's campaign? He thinks racism is a greater functioning motivation for the media than capitalism?

I have no doubt--because I've heard with my own old ears--that some conservative commentators used Rev. Wright to talk about how scary an Obama presidency. I have no doubt that racism functions in this country, but to approach labeling every negative response to Rev. Wright as racist simply compounds the error of Rev. Wright's defense that criticism of him was criticism of the Black Church. Sometimes it really is about the person.
commented by Blogger Don Niederfrank, 10:25 AM  
Hi Don.

I'm glad you posted. It was a pleasure meeting you this past Saturday at St. John's. Unfortunately it wasn't under better circumstances. You did a wonderful service for Rev. K.

God's Blessings,
commented by Blogger daver, 11:46 AM  
I don't see how this is race baiting at all. He's absolutely correct.
commented by Blogger Giosue, 12:58 PM  
Thomas is not addressing the subject of racism with any credibility. He presides over the UCC which has the Trinity Church as a member. This church has adopted Black Liberation Theology in its vision statement. It is a theology created by James Cone, which is an incitement to racial hatred towards whites.

Despite huge strides in racial reconciliation, as recently as 2004 James Cone wrote the following in an essay;

“Black suffering is getting worse, not better... White supremacy is so clever and evasive that we can hardly name it. It claims not to exist, even though black people are dying daily from its poison.”

Does anyone want to argue that white racism is getting worse? Worse than slavery, Jim Crow Laws or segregation?

Does anyone want to argue that Rev. Wright has any credibility for arguing that “the government lied about inventing the HIV virus as a means of genocide against people of color”?

Thomas starts off his “Conversation on Race” by saying;

“The headline in The New York Times on Wednesday read, “Clinton Wins West Virginia, With Race a Factor.” The lead sentence reported Hillary Clinton’s victory in the Tuesday primary and then went on to note that “racial considerations emerged as an unusually salient factor”. Whether you’re a Clinton, McCain, or Obama supporter, or even a political drop-out, news like this is deeply discouraging for all who yearn for America to exorcise its demons of racism and xenophobia.”

Notice that he doesn’t give you any details about what he is talking about and just quotes a headline... According to exit polls 69% of the whites in WV voted for Clinton and 39% voted for Obama. Since only 3% of the voters were black there are no statistics for how many blacks voted for Obama.


But the exit polls for Kentucky show those statistics because black voters made up 9% of the voters. Associated Press noted that white voters showed an even stronger preference for Clinton in KY than WV.


However, the statistics are very curious. 72% of whites voted for Clinton and 23% voted for Obama, but lo and behold… 90% of blacks voted for Obama and only 7% voted for Clinton.


So we begin to see how misleading Thomas’s opening statement was when he goes on to say, “The ugliness we watched on television as media manipulators tried to scare people from voting for a black candidate by presenting a deliberately frightening caricature of his black pastor reminds us how ugly the conversation on race can be”.

Not once in his many condemnations of white racism, which ruled most of his “sacred conversation”, did he examine the hatred that corrupted Trinity church or question that perhaps the African American community could harbor a backwards-racial bias against whites. Instead he made the dubious claim that the media is biased against blacks, warning of how it attacked black candidates and a black pastor. Meanwhile he chastised privileged whites for ignoring this “sacred conversation” on race, but what about the 90% of blacks that voted for Obama in KY? How do you have a one-sided reconciliation under those circumstances?

Thomas made an issue of racial preference in the presidential primaries at the opening of this so-called conversation, but he failed to reveal all of the facts. Instead he used it to push a bogus claim of bias against black politicians in the media and then went on to condemn whites who he claims are seduced by “the segregated privilege of white liberality”. How cheap!

A Democratic Party political strategist, David Sirota, wrote, “…but where the black vote is too small to offset a white vote racially motivated by the Clinton campaign’s coded messages and tactics.”


In the many years that Hillary Clinton has been in the spotlight I have never known her to be accused of racism (if there have been accusations I am not aware of them). Her husband is often called “the First Black President” in a tongue-in-cheek manner. It was coined as a testament of black gratitude towards Clinton by Nobel prizewinner, Toni Morrison. Morrison praised Clinton because he was very popular with the African-American community. Black journalist, DeWayne Wickham, even asserted that Clinton is held “in higher esteem than… Jesse Jackson” in the black community. The Clintons’ move to Harlem further enhanced such prestige. So what exactly is the “Clinton campaign’s coded messages and tactics”? When Americans resort to such hysterical accusations I have to concede that we do need a sacred conversation on race, but nothing like Thomas’s mischaracterizations.


If we are going to have this conversation then lets not start off with such misleading statements as Thomas’s and address the issue without using it to hide the problems of the Trinity Church. Why didn’t he ask if Black Liberation Theology is reverse racism? Why didn’t he ask why the privileged Rev. Wright is so full of hatred? Why? Why? Why?!!!
commented by Blogger Freedomnow, 11:04 AM  
"presenting a deliberately frightening caricature'

Quoting people in context is now deliberately frightening? What a lame attempt to push the pro-Obama political agenda of the UCC.

I scoff at those in UCC - especially those like Chuck Currie - who campaign endlessly for Obama. What a self-parody.

And putting "sacred" in front of your topic is just a wimpy way to over-spiritualize your views and to imply that you are in the right. After all, if your conversation is sacred it must be right.

As a Methodist and Bush supporter I was glad to see the church stay out of it. Any mention of Bush being Methodist was just trivia fact. I attend an orthodox Methodist church and can't remember one single mention of Bush during either campaign.

P.S. Obama would be an absolute disaster for the U.S. He is clueless on foreign policy, has counter-productive tax strategies, and has non-Christian views on sexuality and abortion. He's even pro-partial birth abortion.
commented by Anonymous Anonymous, 4:41 PM  
I'm sorry that some people think that Black liberation theology is reverse racism, which is curious, since Reverse Racism doesn't exist.

One can only oppress from the top down, not the bottom up. It doesn't work that way, one needs power to oppress, and there is no power shift, so your analogy, FreedomNow, is lost.

Long posts do not equal well-informed ones.
commented by Blogger Giosue, 7:35 PM  

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