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Sunday, January 21, 2007

Barack Obama & Trinity United Church of Christ

I've only been to one service there and I must say that at that point in point in time I'd have been oblivious to whom attends this church. I had no idea that Cheryl Burton and Oprah went to church there. Of course since Sen. Barack Obama has become something of a hot shot he is bringing some more attention to this church.

I subscribed to the feed from ArchPundit which linked me to this post at Illinois Review. Fran Eaton talks about Barack's pastor one Jeremiah Wright. And one thing Eaton has a problem with is a percieved preaching of black supremacy. On this subject with regard to Rev. Wright she wrote two columns for The Star newspapers. One from December 31, 2006 and the other from January 14, 2007.

Since Obama hasn't been making waves in his very brief time in Washington and his time in Springfield people have been trying to look at him in many different ways. There is more to the man than his votes, but what makes him special? Indeed, what makes him Presidential material?

There have been many angles. Today there's an article about his wife Michelle in the Sun-Times and of course there have been many. A few months ago he got knocks about his middle name being similiar to that of a recently executed dictator. This leads me to a new angle, religion.

Because of Sen. Obama's FULL name it could be assumed that he is a Muslim. He did spend part of his life in Indonesia, but also people will assume he's with the terrorist. Well we do live in those type of days. When some hear Muslim or Islam they automatically panic and think terrorists. It's unfortunate actually.

The fact is that he goes to Trinity United Church of Christ on 95 Street on the far south side of town. If he was ever a Muslim whether because of his father or because of his stay in Indonesia well he isn't now. He goes to church like other blacks in this country.

The two columns I linked to (I think I'll but those in del.icio.us as well) talked about Eaton's visit to Trinity on a Sunday. Her writing suggests a certain amout of culture shock. One thing she notes is exactly in the about us section of Trinity's website,

We are a congregation which is Unashamedly Black and Unapologetically Christian...
Sounds good huh? And me say that while Fran Eaton could refer to Rev. Wright's preaching as black supremacy I would rather think that Wright is actually preaching black nationalism. And I consider there to be a difference. First and foremost black supremacy isn't a very positive term. It suggest blacks can look down on people when they shouldn't but black nationalism suggests pride but it doesn't have to involve looking down on people.

There is probably a perfect explanation for both. I would think it's because black over time has gotten a bum rap from "the other society" (look at my post about Freddrenna Lyle from earlier this week) and some respects from ourselves (I would like to mention that about Michelle Obama but later). To me those terms whether positive or negative suggests that this helps to instill pride in black heritage. Indeed I really believe blacks have contributed so much to America and I could dare say the world with many cultural contributions and such. I think I'm getting off track here.

Ms. Eaton mentions the festive atmosphere of Trinity which is somewhat true at most black churches. You know I think I'll let her set up the scenery. I won't try it, I've not been to a service in years...
There we found Trinity United Church of Christ’s auditorium almost filled for its 7:30 a.m. Sunday morning service. Female worship leaders invited the congregants of all ages to "enter in." Children dressed in African-heritage clothing entered from the rear of the auditorium and filed into the choir loft. Boisterous, hand-clapping worship songs softened to heart-pondering quiet hymns as the morning’s teaching commenced.

The Rev. Jeremiah Wright Jr., Trinity’s senior pastor, reported via audio from his ongoing South American trip. Then associate pastor Otis Potts III encouraged his parishioners to seek the service-oriented spirit of Joseph and be willing to "raise another’s man child." He advocated the orthodox teachings of the deity of Christ, His virgin birth and ultimate return.

An altar call was answered by men who publicly committed to serving their families and the community with their time, talents and money.

Altogether, it was a rather pleasant church service reflecting the spirit of Christmas and Christendom.

Apparently Eaton did her homework on Sen. Obama's church and his minister, but I think I'll save that for later too. Knowing more about the man this is an angle is worth looking at for sure.

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