At the end of 2007 Obama's campaign unveiled a coalition of black leaders heading Obama's nationwide African American Religious Leadership Committee. The press release read;
U.S. Sen. Barack Obama’s campaign today unveiled its African American Religious Leadership Committee at both the national and statewide levels. Together, they represent two groups of key national and South Carolina religious leaders who are supporting Obama’s bid for the Democratic nomination. These groups are truly without equal and reflect the belief among clergy that Obama has dedicated his public life to living the values of his faith outside of his house of worship.Taking a closer look at that African American Religious Leadership Committee may reveal just what values Obama has dedicated his public life to living.
The Reverend Jeremiah "God Damn America" Wright was on the Committee of course. Willie Barrow, whom I'm written about in far more detail, appears there as well. Both are close supporters and associates of Louis Farrakhan.
Wright's ties with Farrakhan are long a matter of public record, with Farrakhan being honored by Wright and Farrakhan praised from Trinity's pulpit. Farrakhan's thugs have even provided security for Wright.
Willie Barrow meanwhile has said, ''I love my brother, Minister Louis Farrakhan. The devil don't like it, Chicago don't like it the world don't like it, but we love it.''
But that's just the beginning when it comes to Obama's African American Religious Leadership Committee. For starters it is quite instructive to compare the list of names on Obama's African American Religious Leadership Committee and the "Millions More Movement" coalition list commemorating Farrakhan's Million Man March.
The figures listed in both places include
Bishop Vashti McKenzie,
Bishop Larry D. Trotter
Dr. Major L. Jemison
Dr. Joseph E. Lowery
Rev. John Hunter.
These men and women were the official co-conveners with Farrakhan of the Millions More Movement. They're also all members of Obama's national African American Religious Leadership Committee. And those who attended in person shared a stage that showcased not only Farrakhan himself, but such bigots as
* Malik Shabazz of the New Black Panther Party, well known for his racism and antisemitism and claimed Israel carried out the attacks of September 11,
* Leonard Jeffries who claimed Jews were behind the slave trade, white people are an inferior race and celebrated the Challenger Shuttle disaster as it "would stop whites from spreading their filth through the universe."
* Al Sharpton, whose hatefilled rhetoric against Jews, Asians and white people helped lead to riots and murders in Crown Heights and Harlem.
* Dr. Maulana Karenga who spent time in jail for torturing two women with a soldering iron
These among others were the co-conveners of the Millions More Movement. The rally of which itself was controversial for its rejection of a role for a black gay leader by the Millions More Movement's executive director Willie F. Jones, who had previously claimed that black women getting good jobs led them to become lesbians and that his son couldn't get a date to the prom because all the girls in his class were lesbians. The rejection resulted in a rally protesting against the Millions More Movement.
(An interesting side note is that a number of the co-conveners including Shabazz and Barry were there for Wright's God Damn America number)
...but of course we're sadly just getting started with these seven.
The The Rev. Dr. Grainger Browning, Jr. is one of the first names listed on Obama's African American Religious Leadership Committee. Grainger Browning invited Farrakhan to speak at his Ebenezer African Methodist Episcopal Church.
There Farrakhan proclaimed, "White America is now attempting to "put a balm on our pain... He’s offering you false friendship as a balm for your pain. He’s offering you his daughters... and his sons, too. But to heal your condition of self-hatred, he has not offered you his mansion."
The latter of course is a notable jab at racial intermarriage, which Farrakhan opposes. The Pulpit Pimps blog denounces Grainger Browning for it in no uncertain terms.
In attendance too were Rev. Vashti Murphy McKenzie, also on Obama's National Committee, as well as Bishop Larry D. Trotter, again. Murphy McKenzie has also appeared at Wright's Trinity speaking in defense of Wright after the scandal.
Freddie Haynes, another member of Obama's African American Religious Leadership Committee, who allowed Farrakhan to use his Friendship-West Baptist Church, who regularly hosts the Nation of Islam's Black Marriage Day and who also played host to Wright after the fallout and praised Wright for his statements which is unsurprising as the two men are friends.
It doesn't end there though, because Freddie Haynes is a member of Al Sharpton's National Action Network board and is the President of the NAA Dallas Chapter. And as we've seen Haynes is far from atypical of the sort of black leader on Obama's African American Religious Leadership Committee. Racism, ties with radicals and bigots, all serve as a common thread across the committee.
The Reverend Gerald Durley, also on the committee is on record as endorsing the original march. Durley also joined a Nation of Islam effort in Atlanta.
Another member is radical black liberation theologian Obery M. Hendricks. On March 17th on an NPR broadcast about Wright, Hendricks defended Farrakhan as a "consistent speaker against racism" and argued that if Farrakhan had to be disavowed, Ronald Reagan would have to be disavowed too.
Obery Hendricks also spoke at Al Sharpton's National Action Network's Birmingham meeting
Committee member, Arthur L. Hilson teaches a course on black nationalism that culminates with Farrakhan.
Another member of the Committee, Barbara Williams Skinner worked to promote the original Farrakhan led March. She was a co-convenor of the Millions More Movement
Even with Wright and Pfleger, another FOF, Friend of Farrakhan, tossed under the bus... Obama is still surrounded by clergy who have ties of affinity to that vile racist group Nation of Islam led by Louis Farrakhan. Those are simply ties that few have looked into in any detail in part because they are so positively ubiquitous in Obama's circle.
It is actually harder to find non-radical clergy affiliated with Obama than it is to find radical clergy. It is harder to find clergy surrounding Obama who will disavow Farrakhan than to find clergy surrounding Obama who will disavow Farrakhan.
That alone should be a bracing wake up call of just how ugly the atmosphere surrounding Obama really is and what his brand of religion really looks like. Wright was simply the loudest most obnoxious tip of a very deep iceberg that shows how intertwined radicalism and bigotry are with Obama's religious identity.