“Expose White Entitlement”–New sermon at Barack Obama’s still racist Trinity Church

Transcript: excerpt of Rev. Michael Pfleger’s remarks at Barack Obama’s Trinity church in Chicago. Date of speech unknown. Video link |here|

…We must be honest about it to address the one who says, don’t hold me responsible for what my ancestors did, but you have enjoyed (applause) the benefits of what your ancestors did, and unless you are willing to give up the benefits, throw away your 401 fund, throw away your trust fund, throw away all the money they put away and the company you walked into because your daddy and your grandaddy and your great daddy…unless you’re willing to give up the benefits, then you must be responsible for what was done in your generation cuz you are the beneficiary of this (inaudible–injurious policy?) (prolonged applause)

It must be honest enough to expose white entitlement (male voice-‘okay right on’) and supremacy where ever it raises its head. I said before and I really don’t want to make this political because you know I’m very unpolitical (laughter and applause) but, Reverend Moss, when, when Hillary was crying (cheers) and people said that was put on, I really don’t believe that was put on. I really believe that she just always thought this is mine. (applause) I’m Bill’s wife, I’m white, and this is mine, I just gotta get up and step in to the plate, and then outta nowhere came hey I’m Barack Obama, and she said oh damn, where did you come from, (shouting) I’m white, I’m entitled, the black man stealing my show (cheers and applause) Yeeeeehhhhh…(cries and wipes face with white handkerchief) (standing ovation) She wasn’t the only one crying, there was a whole lot of white people crying. (cheers and applause) I’m sorry, I don’t want to get you in any more trouble, the live streaming just went out again.”

Oh great. Now I’m supposed to have both a 401 fund, whatever that is, and a trust fund–I don’t know what that is either–and money put away for me and a corporate job, just for being white.

Hey! I’m white!!!! Where’s my trust fund already????!!!!!????

Maybe the memo didn’t go out.


Okay, for those who are sensitivity-impaired, I’ll spell out exactly what is wrong with Pfleger’s statements:

Racism is wrong, because it denies someone equal opportunity because of what they look like.

Sexism is wrong, because it denies someone equal opportunity because of what they look like.

Stereotyping is wrong. It means you demonize someone according to what they look like and then react to the label you put on them instead of seeing the real person.

Prejudice is wrong. It means you “pre judge” someone. It means you judge them by what they look like and not according to how they themselves act. A typical way to act prejudiced is to make up something about what the person is thinking, usually uncomplimentary–and then react to the person on the basis of their imagined thought process.

Oh, and this church is still tax exempt for some reason, and not registered as a PAC–that means the rest of us pay more taxes to support their political speech.

Here’s where Pfeger’s remarks are both racist and sexist:

  • All white people did not have ancestors who owned slaves. Somebody wasn’t paying attention in school during the lesson on the great immigration waves.
  • All white people are not rich. Do I really have to explain this one? A lot of the antagonism in Chicago between racial groups is not between the rich whites and the poor blacks, or between the rich blacks and the poor whites–after all, the wealthy already have what they need–but between poor whites and poor blacks who compete for limited resources.
  • It’s not quite clear here, but it sounds like this says inheriting ANY money is wrong, or having a trust fund is wrong, but only for whites. Are Michelle and Oprah and Jesse Jackson allowed to have trust funds? Can their children inherit their money or benefit from their positions without incurring “entitledness”? What about the Kennedy family money made by bootlegging during prohibition?
  • Ridiculing Hillary crying as she is asked “how do you do it? For this one, refer to the portion of the Bible where the Roman soldiers mock Jesus and strike him as he is beaten and crucified. How is it Christian to mock someone’s pain?
  • Claiming Hillary’s status comes from her husband. Hillary is a lawyer and a senator in her own right. In spite of having put aside her own personal goals many times to support her husband’s career and raise her child, as many women do, she does have her own resume and her own achievements.
  • Imagining that Hillary was having racist thoughts. How do you know what someone is thinking? By what they do and what they say. I don’t agree with painting people as racist who are not racist.

The crowd at Trinity was jumping up and down and cheering–and probably filling the collection plate very nicely too. Maybe it’s hard to step back from pandering to a crowd that is ready to cry “crucify”. Maybe the teachings of Jesus just don’t “sell”.

Now what was that 9th commandment again? Thou shalt not dare mall fitness… prayer fall smitness…snare thrall litmus…oh, I’ll think of it.

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Links: Jeremiah Wright transcripts and videos

Links to transcripts and videos of Rev. Jeremiah Wright, NAACP speech in Detroit, National Press Club speech, Sen. Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton response.

Chickens come home to roost

A longer excerpt of the “chickens” soundbite:

Rev. Jeremiah Wright attributing the “chickens come home to roost” quotation to both former ambassador to Iraq Edward Peck and Malcolm X–ABC video (after a 30-second commercial) |here|, transcript |here|.

The Moyers Interview

Moyers/Wright interview April 28, 2008–full transcript |here|, video from PBS |here|

National Press Club Breakfast

10-minute video clip and excerpts from Huffington Post |here|

Jeremiah Wright at National Press Club, April 29, 2008–the speech in its entirety–video segments are about 10 minutes each |part 1| |part 2| |part 3|comments: |part 4| |part 5| |part 6|

Video–Obama response to Wright National Press Club remarks: |here|

Video–Obama answers questions after press conference April 29, 2008 |here|

Sen. Hillary Clinton response on Fox O’Reilly show: video (after commerical) |here| transcript |here|

The National Press Club audience included officials from the New Black Panther Party and Louis Farrakhan’s Nation of Islam. Wright’s security was provided by Farrakhan’s Nation of Islam bodyguards.

NAACP speech

Jeremiah Wright speech to NAACP April, 27, 2008, transcript |here| video |here|

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“Americans United” Pastor from Obama’s Church of Christ watches separation of church and state–like a fox watches a chicken house

It’s a good thing that Americans United for Separation of Church and State is watching out for our religious freedom. But who is watching the watchers?

The IRS announced it would be investigating the Church of Christ for electioneering after one of the denomination’s most visible members, Senator Barack Obama, gave a speech at its 2007 convention. But the Americans United for Separation of Church and State decided not to file a complaint with the IRS. “We saw no evidence of UCC officials seeking to appear to endorse his candidacy”, says Americans United Executive Director Rev. Barry W. Lynn, who is also an ordained minister in the United Church of Christ.

Americans United might take a look at the comments made by Rev. Jeremiah Wright from the pulpit of Barack Obama’s own Trinity Church of Christ. Video |here| Transcript of video:

“it just came to me with in the last few weeks y’all why so many folk are hatin’ on Barack Obama. He doesn’t fit the model. He ain’t white, he ain’t rich, and he ain’t privileged. Hillary fits the mold. Europeans fit the mold. Guiliani fits the mold. Rich white men fit the mold, Hillary never had a cab whiz past her and not pick her up because her skin was the wrong color. Hillary never had to worry about being pulled over in her car as a black man driving in the wrong aaaaaaahhh sick of Negroes who just do not get it (two males run up behind Wright and pound him on the back). Hillary was not a black boy raised in a single parent home, Barack was. Barack knows what it means to be a black man livin’ in a country and a culture that is controlled by rich white people. Hillary can never know that. Hillary ain’t never been called a n***** , Hillary has never had her people designed as non-persons. Hillary ain’t had to work twice as hard to get accepted by the rich white folk who want everything or to get a passing grade when you know you are smarter than that C student sittin’ in the white house. Ooooooh, I am so glad that I got a god who knows what it is to be a poor black man in a country and culture that is controlled by and run by white people. He taught me, Jesus did, how to love my enemies, Jesus taught me how to love the hell out of my enemies, and not be reduced to their level of hatred, bigotry, and small-mindedness, Hillary never had her own people say she wasn’t white enough. Jesus had his own people siding with the enemy. That’s why I love Jesus y’all. He never let their hatred dampen his Hope.”

If that doesn’t say Barack Obama is God and Hillary Clinton is The Enemy, I don’t know what does. But is that electioneering or is it theology?

Hate speech and Roger Stone: Hillary has never been called a ….

Is it true–as the Rev. Jeremiah Wright asserted in the now infamous sermon in which he thundered the “n-word” from the pulpit–that Hillary Clinton has never been the target of hate speech? Forget for a moment that when Wright talks about the other candidate, who just happens to be a member of that church, he doesn’t use the familiar first name, but respectfully uses the senator’s first and last name, Barack Obama. But when it comes to Senator Clinton the name thundered from the pulpit is “Hillary”.

Hillary ain’t never been called a n***** , Hillary has never had her people designed as non-persons.

If you really think Hillary has never been subjected to hate speech–assuming you don’t classify the above as hate speech–or had “her people” “designed” as non-persons, you might google Roger Stone’s Citizens United Not Timid (yup, that’s the acronym) a “527” organization dedicated to educating “the American Public about what Hillary Clinton really is.”

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Maya Angelou: a birthday party upstaged by Jeremiah Wright–and a new poem for Hillary

I hadn’t thought about Maya Angelou for years.

This week she made the news, not for being her own intriguing self, but because Senator Obama’s controversial pastor, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, was given a standing ovation when he turned up as a surprise guest at her birthday party at Chicago’s Saint Sabina Roman Catholic Church. |video|

maya3.jpgThe first time I ever heard of Maya Angelou was in a philosophy class some fifteen years ago. The instructor asked the class what they were reading and who inspired them. Several of the black women said Maya Angelou, and recommended I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings.

Then, Angelou attracted national attention on January 20, 1993 when she read her poem On the Pulse of Morning |video| |text| for the Clinton inauguration. It contains some now familiar themes: hope , change and yes, courage:

Lift up your eyes upon
The day breaking for you.

Give birth again
To the dream.

Although the Rev. Wright is said to be a personal friend, Angelou is known to be a Hillary Clinton supporter. The new poem for Hillary:

State Package for Hillary Clinton

You may write me down in history

With your bitter, twisted lies,

You may tread me in the very dirt

But still, like dust, I’ll rise.

This is not the first time you have seen Hillary Clinton seemingly at her wits’ end, but she has always risen, always risen, don’t forget she has always risen, much to the dismay of her adversaries and the delight of her friends.

Hillary Clinton will not give up on you and all she asks of you is that you do not give up on her.

There is a world of difference between being a woman and being an old female. If you’re born a girl, grow up, and live long enough, you can become an old female. But to become a woman is a serious matter. A woman takes responsibility for the time she takes up and the space she occupies. Hillary Clinton is a woman. She has been there and done that and has still risen. She is in this race for the long haul. She intends to make a difference in our country. Hillary Clinton intends to help our country to be what it can become.

She declares she wants to see more smiles in the family, more courtesies between men and women, more honesty in the marketplace. She is the prayer of every woman and man who longs for fair play, healthy families, good schools, and a balanced economy.

She means to rise.

Don’t give up on Hillary. In fact, if you help her to rise, you will rise with her and help her make this country the wonderful, wonderful place where every man and every woman can live freely without sanctimonious piety and without crippling fear.

Rise, Hillary.


According to Maya Angelou’s official website, she was born April 4 , 1928, which makes this her 80th birthday. May the years be gentle with her.

Obama’s Trinity Church and Hamas

The latest buzz about Senator Barack Obama’s Trinity United Church of Christ is about an opinion piece by Hamas senior official Mousa Abu Marzook. It was printed in the pastor’s column of the Trinity church bulletin in July 22, 2007, when Rev. Jeremiah Wright was still officially the senior pastor.

. tucchamascolumn072207.jpg

The editorial originally appeared in the LA Times and was criticized for being grossly inaccurate. And the author, Abu Marzook, the deputy of the political bureau of Hamas, which the State Department considers to be an official terrorist organization, has been accused of funneling money to al Qaeda through the Global Relief Foundation and the Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development.

So what’s the context? Why have I found this so intriguing enough to track down as many of the original sources as I could find and put them in one place? Maybe the most interesting thing about it is it’s lack of context. The entire editorial was just reprinted in the church bulletin, but with a new title ,”A fresh view of the Palestinian struggle.” Is it just meant to be something different and maybe easy to reprint in the summer when a church’s staff and clergy is mainly on vacation? Or is it meant as an endorsement? Reprinted as it was on the pastor’s page, and taken in context with Wright’s Libya visit with Qaddafi, the Rev. Jesse Jackson and Louis Farrakhan, I would take it as an endorsement. I would like to see an explanation, but maybe it is all the more interesting, and flexible in terms of future usefulness, for not having one.

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Jesus Lite and Victimology at Obama’s Still-Racist Trinity Church

“Black people! Grow up! Stop helping white people!”

So thundered the preacher from the pulpit of Obama’s Trinity Church.

After the first time I wrote about Obama’s home church, one of the members of that church posted a comment here defending Trinity and inviting me to visit. I decided I wouldn’t write anything more until I had seen it for myself.

A few weeks ago I made the pilgrimage to Trinity. Clicking on a map ad for directions to the church, I ended up at the wrong address–their old building few blocks west. Walking around the building I saw a parking lot with a sign declaring “members only”. Would that be the topic sentence for my visit?

Just as I was deciding that this wasn’t the same building as in the website, a guy in a van–a shuttle from the remote parking lot–offered me a ride to the church. As the driver picked up more people from the street, I inquired about Rev. Jeremiah Wright. Would he be speaking today? Rev. Wright was retiring, I was told. Rev. Moss was in the process of taking his place.

We were dropped off and entered the building, sunlight filtering through two stories of stained glass inside, and were immediately stopped by a gesture from a pair of white gloves. A between-services prayer had just begun in the sanctuary, and the ushers, women in white gloves, were stopping everybody in their tracks. It reminded me of a movie set I saw once at Daley Plaza with all the extras playing pedestrians frozen in place prior to rolling the cameras.

The prayer over, I walked around the narthex a bit to see if I could glean their story. Walking upstairs to the balcony entrance, I looked at the stained glass window a little more closely. Black faces and a tribute to the NAACP, the first time I’ve ever seen that as a stained glass theme in a church. Then I saw white faces immortalized in the stained glass. Who were they? A male judge and man in a police uniform. Between them stood a man with a black face and a dejected posture. The story was obvious. The only white people pictured here were Oppressors.

Enough time for a pit stop before the service started. On my way to the rest room I noticed how many people were wearing African costume. In the ladies room the mirror area was crowded. More women in African gear were making last minute makeup repairs before the service. I was definitely underdressed. Hopefully I would be undernoticed as well.

It was time to find a seat for the service, so I decided on the main floor, but far enough back to be unobtrusive. I like to listen for God in the silences as well as the words and music, but Trinity isn’t that kind of church. Audience participation is the order of the day. Trinity parishioners are in the habit of calling out “amen” or variations thereof whenever they like something.

For those who find music indispensable to religious practice, Trinity certainly has a world-class choir. Their rendition of the Lord’s Prayer gave me goose bumps. At least I think I had goose bumps. Everyone holds the hand of the person next to them during prayer, so I couldn’t really see my arms, but I know I had goose bumps. I kept waiting for the hush after each musical phrase where the spirituality of the moment comes through, and you can feel the building itself inhale, but everyone seemed compelled to fill up the silences with amens.

Some of the women were even more vocal. While only male voices were heard from the authority of the pulpit, at various times throughout the service women called out from the congregation. One young woman in the front shrieked repeatedly. She looked like she might have Tourette’s Syndrome, but no one paid any attention to her. Later in the back a well-dressed woman stood up and shouted, “Something! Something!” Again, everyone acted as if that were par for the course.

No hymnals in this church, there isn’t even a place for a hymnal in the pews. The words to the one hymn were printed in the bulletin, but no one was reading it–or singing it.

The gospel reading, I Corinthians 13, was also printed in the bulletin, done as a unison reading:

…When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child; when I became an adult I put an end to childish ways. For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then we will see face to face…

Then the sermon. The lesson to be taken from Paul’s letter to the Corinthians was about slavery.

  • The mirrors of Paul’s time were not of a good enough quality to see a clear reflection because they were made by slaves.
  • Walmart practices a form of slavery. (I gave the speaker a silent “amen” for speaking out about Walmart’s labor practices.) Then …
  • “Black people! Grow up! Stop helping white people!”

Oopsie! Is this really the Christian message? Help people in your neighborhood, of course. Patronize local businesses instead of overseas sweatshops, yes. But “stop helping white people”?

I once heard a speech by Louis Farrakhan, and this is how he spoke. First he started out with things everyone could agree with. Helping your neighbors. Economic development. After about twenty minutes, when everyone was nodding in agreement, Farrakhan would start in with the hate speech.

Even though slavery ended 140 years ago and no member of Trinity has ever been a slave, the Trinity Church narrative is about slavery. Our story is about being persecuted, it says, our story is about being victimized. And where other churches might talk about the devil or about evil, Trinity demonizes white people. Never mind that there were whites who marched for civil rights. Never mind that there were whites who lost their lives trying to register blacks to vote in the South. Never mind that every day there are whites–clergy and ordinary people too–who quietly defend justice and insist that the value of a person is more than skin deep. That doesn’t fit the Trinity Gospel of Victimology.

As I left Trinity I looked for some symbol that anyone there had recognized value in any white person. There it was, at the bottom of the stained glass window. A figure on a horse, bent over with fatigue. This could only be one of the circuit riders, the early preachers who traveled on horseback, and rarely lived past the age of thirty. As far I know, circuit riders were all white, but unlike the full-color treatment of the rest of the stained glass, this figure was done in sepia tones and you couldn’t tell its skin tone. No, a white person with a calling from God wouldn’t fit their narrative.

Today I was back at my home church. The faces in the pulpit were black, white, Asian, male and female. As we greeted each other during the passing of the peace, the faces in the pews were just as diverse. As the communion was shared we sang:

One bread, one body, one Lord of all,
One cup of blessings which we bless.
And we, though many throughout the earth,
We are one body in this one Lord.

Gentile or Jew, servant or free, woman or man, no more…

One bread , one body, one Lord of all, ….

And at the end of the communion where the printed ritual in the hymnal says

Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord…

the entire congregation spoke in one voice without hesitation

Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord…

unwilling to participate in perceived gender discrimination, no matter what the authority behind the printing of those words.

How did I feel as a result of my visit to Trinity? Closer to God? Yes. For sure. But I was also reminded of the gentile woman who asked Jesus to heal her daughter. Jesus refused, based on the woman’s cultural identity. So did she just leave? No. The woman rebuked Jesus. Even the dogs eat the scraps that fall from the table she told Jesus. A bitter snark, that, considering the Middle Eastern attitude towards dogs. In the Biblical story, Jesus accepted the gentile woman’s rebuke and healed the child.

No one will be rude to the white person who visits Trinity, but they don’t exactly consider white people to be members of the same family of God either. If you are white, you will have to be content with the scraps that fall from the table.

Trinity needs to heed the criticism of the negative publicity it has been receiving. There is some healing to be done.


Related posts:

Is Barack Obama’s Trinity Church Racist?