(CNSNews.com) - Black clergymen are among those criticizing the Rev. Jeremiah Wright for saying that attacks on him are really attacks on the black church. The pastors say it is Wright's politics, not his race or religion, that has caused so much controversy.
"It appears he's made his career pandering to a certain constituency and it appears his chickens have come home to roost," said Bishop Council Nedd of the diocese of the Chesapeake, Episcopal Missionary Church in Harrisburg, Pa. "As clergymen, we have a mandate to preach the gospel from the pulpit, the good news of Jesus Christ. When you start preaching politics, it will lead to trouble."
Wright, who was Sen. Barack Obama's pastor for many years, made more inflammatory comments on Monday in a speech at the National Press Club in Washington. Among other things, he said the U.S. government is "capable" of having invented the AIDS virus as a means of committing genocide against people of color. He also accused the U.S. of supporting "state terrorism" against Palestinians and South African blacks.
Wright was responding to criticism of previous unpatriotic remarks he's made in various sermons over the years.
On Tuesday, Obama, the front-runner for the Democratic presidential nomination, was forced once again to distance himself from his former pastor -- amid questions of how Obama could sit in a church pew for so many years and not be offended by what Wright was saying.
"The person I saw yesterday was not the person I met 20 years ago," said Obama in his strongest denunciation yet of his former pastor. "His comments were not only divisive and destructive, but I believe that they end up giving comfort to those who prey on hate, and I believe that they do not portray accurately the perspective of the black church."
Earlier this year, Obama said he could never "disown" Wright. But on Tuesday, he appeared to do just that, admitting that Wright's comments "offend me. They rightly offend all Americans, and they should be denounced. And that's what I'm doing very clearly and unequivocally here today."
Obama also said Wright's comments are "a show of disrespect for me and an insult for what I'm trying to do in this campaign."
Mychal Massie, chairman of Project 21, a conservative black think tank, said he finds Wright's remarks about the black church "vulgar."
"There is no black church," Massie told Cybercast News Service . "There is no white church. There's only the Christian church. And if it's not (a Christian church), it's an abomination to God."
Massie, who holds theological degrees, said he bases his opinion on the Bible, specifically Acts 34-35: "Then Peter opened his mouth and said, 'Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons. But in every nation he that feareth him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with him."
"I defy him to do a study of the word of God and produce anything that he has to say," Massie said. "It isn't in there."
Massie said Wright's message is anything but biblical. "You cannot preach division, you cannot preach hatred, you cannot preach any theology that goes against the word of God," he said.
Kenneth Hutcherson, senior pastor of Antioch Bible Church in Seattle, said Wright misrepresented himself by claiming that attacks on him are attacks on the black church.
"I didn't know Reverend Jeremiah Wright was the sole representative of the black church," Hutcherson told Cybercast News Service . "He was attacked for what he said, not because he represents the black church. And if he does represent the black church, he should be attacked."
Hutcherson added that he thinks African-Americans can learn something from what Wright has said. "I don't think black people as a whole will ever be free until they truly give thanks for America, not curse it," Hutcherson said.
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