March 20, 2008
Wright defies convention on gays
Posted by: Chris
Barack Obama and many other parishioners of the Trinity UCC in Chicago have said that Rev. Jeremiah Wright has been unfairly caricatured by the brief excerpts of sermons playing in endless loop on cable TV and YouTube.
It does seem that whatever ugly intolerance and divisiveness he spews on those videos, Wright has been more accepting of gay parishioners than many in the black church, especially those who preach "black liberation theology":
As a leader, Wright defied convention at every turn. In an interview with the Chicago Tribune last year, he recalled a time during the 1970s when the UCC decided to ordain gay and lesbian clergy. At its annual meeting, sensitive to the historic discomfort some blacks have with homosexuality, gay leaders reached out to black pastors.
At that session, Wright heard the testimony of a gay Christian and, he said, he had a conversion experience on gay rights. He started one of the first AIDS ministries on the South Side and a singles group for Trinity gays and lesbians—a subject that still rankles some of the more conservative Trinity members, says Dwight Hopkins, a theology professor at the University of Chicago and a church member.
None of that excuses Wright's hateful rhetoric in the pulpit, but it gives a fuller version of the man than we've been getting.
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