What do you know. I was wrong. It appears that a major, mainstream American newspaper in a powerful American city has published an article about a Pentecostal or conservative African-American minister reacting to the controversy about the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, Jr., and all of those sermons that have done so much to make Sen. Barack Obama's media life interesting in recent weeks.
It's even one of the most famous ministers in America, the man who is often called the black Billy Graham. You'd have to say that he is one of the two or three most famous preachers -- period -- in the whole dang state of Texas, which is saying something.
You had to know that this preacher talking about the hot, hot Wright story would be big news.
So here is the entire article, as published at the Dallas Morning News religion weblog:
Bishop T.D. Jakes comments on Dr. Jeremiah Wright 9:07 AM Tue, Apr 01, 2008. ...
Bishop Jakes, of Dallas' Potter's House, is blogging these days. And his most recent entry is on the controversy over Barack Obama and his longtime pastor Jeremiah Wright.
There you go. You might want to read it again.
Or, better yet, head on over there and read what Jakes has to say, because it's pretty interesting. In all fairness, the are so many internationally known African-American conservatives in Texas that, perhaps, we can assume that the News is preparing a Sunday A1 story on this angle, so we should be patient. Hey, it could happen. I would certainly like to hear from the Rev. Tony Evans, to name another pulpit superstar in Dallas.
Over in the alternative press, The Daily Voice ("black America's daily news source) did publish a news report on the Jakes commentary. Here is a piece of that.
Jakes ... accused the media attempting to "discredit, or at least question" Senator Obama because of his allegiance to his former pastor. But he also made an effort to explain the sermon in context to his readers.
"To be sure, the tenor of the infamous sermon sounded angry and that anger is unfortunately not without chorus as there are some blacks who feel left without true vindication. But please know that we are not monolithic and all blacks do not all agree with him, with me, or with anyone else," he writes.
Here is another interesting piece of the Jakes commentary, straight from his weblog:
Senator Obama, in his follow-up speech, made some very profound statements in order to bring some context to his faith, his experience at his church, and the far more important issue of where race relationships are in this country. While there are many things about the headlines that I find reprehensible, the one thing that gives me some sense of thanksgiving is the fact that people are talking about it absolutely everywhere. I do not know of a preacher anywhere who isn't grappling with could've, would've, should've in one way or another as we listen as the secular and sacred press try to bring clarity to the murky waters of a painful past some would rather forget than to forge into. As a senior statesman in our Lord's church, I always worry when the church is under attack, misunderstood, or poorly represented. At the end of the day, I am afraid that when the politicizing stops the image of the church may incur irreparable damage in the minds of secularists who only draw their context of faith from sound bites and newspaper clippings. ...
As a pastor I have -- for years and years -- believed in racial reconciliation and have tried to exemplify diversity in my own hiring practices, and by diversifying our worship experience at our church. Thus, it is gratifying to see the subject get its just due in our conversations and in our desire to confront what some of us have experienced, especially those of us who were born from the bitter womb of racism and slavery. Not wanting anyone else to know that kind of pain has been the catalyst of my hiring women and men, Hispanics and Whites into our church leadership at least as a starting point toward healing. Our church, though predominantly African American, is still comprised of some 20 different nationalities -- and is almost 50% men! I believe that when people come to a church and they do not see anyone who looks like them up front, they do not feel as welcome as they do when they see diversity in music, leadership, and ministers that come in and speak.
Read on. As I keep saying, there is another side to this story out in the pews and pulpits. Meanwhile, the Dallas Morning News should seize this opportunity to add some diversity to its news pages.