Posted April 8, 2008 – The pastor of Hillary and Bill Clinton’s D.C. church says that the Rev. Jeremiah Wright is “an outstanding church leader” and warned White Americans against using “sound bites” to polarize Black and White Americans.
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For several weeks, the news media have replayed 30-second snippets of sermons delivered by Wright, who served as Sen. Barack Obama’s pastor for nearly two decades. They show him railing against racism and condemning America for its history of slavery, discrimination and White supremacy.
When the editorial board of The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review asked Clinton recently whether Obama should be taken to task for not cutting ties with his former pastor, of Chicago’s Trinity United Church of Christ, she said, “I think given all we have heard and seen, he would not have been my pastor. ...You don't choose your family, but you choose what church you want to attend."
But the Rev. Dean Snyder, a White senior pastor of the Foundry United Methodist Church in Washington, suggested that the famous First Parishioner has it all wrong.
"The Rev. Jeremiah Wright is an outstanding church leader, whom I have heard speak a number of times,” he said in a statement. “He has served for decades as a profound voice for justice and inclusion in our society. He has been a vocal critic of the racism, sexism and homophobia which still tarnish the American dream. To evaluate his dynamic ministry on the basis of two or three sound bites does a grave injustice to Dr. Wright, the members of his congregation and the African-American church, which has been the spiritual refuge of a people that has suffered from discrimination, disadvantage and violence.
Dr. Wright, a member of an integrated denomination, has been an agent of racial reconciliation while proclaiming perceptions and truths uncomfortable for some White people to hear. Those of us who are White Americans would do well to listen carefully to Dr. Wright rather than to use a few of his quotes to polarize. This is a critical time in America's history as we seek to repent of our racism. No matter which candidates prevail, let us use this time to listen again to one another and not to distort one another's truth."
But Sen. Hillary Clinton, in a statement to BET.com, said Tuesday that Snyder, though now the pastor of her former church, was not there when she attended.
"Let me set the record straight," Clinton said. "Number one, I have not attended or even
visited Foundry Church since 2001. I don't know Reverend Snyder but I certainly respect his right to express his opinion."
Clinton, a lifelong United Methodist, is a member of the First United Methodist Church in Little Rock, Ark. She also now attends church in the New York area and as she travels around the nation and world, the statement said.
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