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    Posted March 21, 2008 by
    Atlanta, Georgia
    This iReport is part of an assignment:
    Race, politics and the White House

    Georgia Bishop releases a statement about latest racial tension with the Reverend Dr. Jeremiah Wrigh

    With a lot of controversy surronding the Reverend Dr. Jeremiah Wright, Jr., An AME Bishop(Dr. William P. Deveux) of the Sixth Episcopal District(Georgia) releases a statement, Please see below: SIXTH EPISCOPAL DISTRICT 2900 Chamblee-Tucker Road Building Three Atlanta, Georgia 30342-4156 WILLIAM PHILLIPS DEVEAUX PRESIDING ISHOP March 19, 2008 We, the Sixth Episcopal District of the African Methodist Episcopal Church, representing more than 80,000 members and clergy in the State of Georgia, USA, express support for our clergy colleague, the Reverend Dr. Jeremiah Wright, Jr., retired pastor of Trinity United Church of Christ. Rev. Wright is a renowned religious scholar, nurturing pastor and outstanding preacher. He built Trinity from a small flock of eighty to a grand congregation of 8,000 members. Our friend and fellow minister of the gospel has been vilified in the national media for practicing the Great Commission to go ye preach and baptize in my name. Indeed, Rev. Wright has received untold criticism for bringing souls to Christ, the very thing that he was specifically ordained to do. We repudiate the irresponsible and shameful behavior of the national media for replaying and sensationalizing Rev. Wright's words out of context simply to accommodate a salacious sound-byte. Quite frankly African Americans articulate and use language differently than whites by juxtaposing words to paint indelible psychological pictures. For example, in the overplayed sound-byte Rev. Wright was not cursing America or its people. Rather he was pointing out historical and modern day incidents of racial intolerance or violence that were both heinous and damnable. From the outset it must be understood that the charges of racism against Rev. Wright are simply false, as it is doubtful that the United Church of Christ, a white denomination, would have appointed him to pastor one of its churches. For us in the A.M.E. Church , and indeed African American clergy, controversy is to be expected as we preach a liberation theology that condemns any effort to persecute human beings. In fact, our faith compels us to honor God by confronting injustice whenever and wherever it occurs. Slavery, segregation, and apartheid were acceptable to society, but to us these disgraceful practices deserved denunciation and protest. We willingly did so and our acts of defiance were defined as controversial by whites. Obviously, the two races viewed these peculiar institutions through different lenses. We were pleased that Democratic Presidential candidate Senator Barack Obama chose the city of Philadelphia to deliver his masterful Race in America speech because it is the birthplace of the African Methodist Episcopal denomination that was founded by Richard Allen in a blacksmith shop in 1787. The race factor spawned the A.M.E. Church simply because our founders were ejected from worship at the altar of Saint George's Episcopal. They left and formed the A.M.E. denomination which practiced our Christian faith alongside a strong social justice ministry that included: * Opportunities for worship and Bible study * Interpreting biblical scripture in current and understandable terms * Opposition to slavery; and the harsh treatment inflicted upon freed blacks * Self help to improve members' quality of life and employability * Creation of schools and later institutions of higher education * Venue for fellowship and social interaction To A.M.E.s, as well as other African Americans, the church was and remains a multiplex of activities anchored by worship but inclusive of educational, health, employment, and recreational pursuits. Traditionally for the black community, church is an extension of home where much time is spent in daily activity not specifically related to worship. This practice is unlike the larger community who often reserve their time in church strictly for worship. As people of faith, we recognize that God in His great divinity utilizes what appears to be an adverse situation to accomplish greater purposes as epitomized in the scriptural reference all things work together for the good of them that love the Lord (Romans 8:6). To that end we applaud Senator Obama for his strength of character and integrity in refusing to denigrate Pastor Wright who so impacted the lives of himself, his wife Michelle and daughters Malia and Sasha. More profoundly, we laud the Senator's unflinching honesty (a rare commodity in presidential politics) as well as his leadership and great courage in illuminating the real and painful truth of race in America . Senator Obama boldly placed the issue of race squarely on the table for further discussion and as an impetus to accomplish the kind of change that he has espoused throughout the Democratic presidential campaign. Sincerely, /s/* William P. DeVeaux Presiding Bishop Sixth Episcopal District The African Methodist Episcopal Church Phone: 770.220.1770 FAX: 770.220.9996 Email: sixdistr@bellsouth.net
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