Friday, March 02, 2007

Trinity UCC

Via Atrios, I see Sean Hannity did a segment that tried to paint Barack Obama's church, Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago, as "scary" and "like a cult." The supposedly "scary" part is that Trinity UCC promotes "The Black Value System", a mission statement that outlines a vision of black excellence, integrity, and social justice.

Read the BVS for yourself and see how militant or separatist you find it to be. The UCC denomination is the inheritor of Cotton Mather and Jonathan Edwards; it doesn't get much more musty-respectable in American Christianity. Trinity is a black congregation in a majority-white denomination, which is bound to create some added identity issues around "blackness," but also indicates a history of racial accommodation, not separation. Trinity's senior minister, Jeremiah Wright, is nationally known and respected. Trinity's a huge, booming, apparently exemplary church.

I realize none of the above is proof positive of TUCC's non-heresy or benignity, but read the values statement, as a fair-minded person with a smidgen of understanding of American history and culture. (Pretend if necessary!)

The Hannity report is pig-ignorant and unfair. It's also following the classic progression of a right-wing media smear: it starts on a fringe web site like World Net Daily, then a conservative talk show picks it up. Look for it to be mentioned next by Chris Wallace or Brit Hume, one of the "more reputable" Fox News talking heads. After that, I predict, will be the jump to ABC News.

It's hard to push back against this kind of slur, but I hope TUCC (and, maybe more importantly, some of its friends in Chicago) will respond soon.

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