A Washington Post reporter said the newspaper had called 16 churches to see if they’d heard anything about the first family’s intended place of worship. The white churches responded, eager to share their lobbying efforts to win the Obamas as parishioners. The black churches didn’t respond; they didn’t want to play, said the reporter. “They don’t trust us,” she said, explaining that after the Rev. Jeremiah Wright experience, black church leaders think the media are waiting to descend on them looking for inflammatory sound bites, sifting through tapes and examining church bulletins for anything that might offend white America.
St. John’s Episcopal Church near the White House
Black religious leaders did not stand up for Wright even as they understood and sympathized with the prophetic theology he was steeped in. He had jeopardized Obama’s candidacy and so he disappeared, but the internal fight, much of it generational, continues. Wright has since eased himself back into Trinity Church in Chicago, alongside his successor, Otis Moss III, a voice of the future. The rise of Obama highlighted a cadre of black professionals who, like Obama, were not shaped by the civil-rights battles of the ’60s, or steeped in family memories of slavery and Jim Crow. “We look different; we sound different,” says Eddie S. Glaude Jr., a professor of religion and African-American studies at Princeton who spoke at the Pew conference. “Historically locked out of black politics because we didn’t march, we now have Ph.D.s and J.D.s,” he said, describing this group, of which he is one, as “post-soul babies.” Along with Obama, they are finding their political voices, and the traditional brokers like the Reverend Wright and the Rev. Jesse Jackson are vulnerable, caught in the generational divide that is confounding the black community.
Obama campaigned as the candidate who could bring…
By Eleanor Clift
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