Hannity selectively excerpted interview with Obama's pastor in order to paint him as "separatist"
Research ››› ››› ADAM SERWER
On the March 20 broadcast of his nationally syndicated radio show, Fox News host Sean Hannity repeated allegations that Trinity Church of Christ -- of which Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL) is a member -- is "separatist." Specifically, Hannity claimed that he "discovered" via the church's website "that the pastor of the church has very Afro-centric and separatist views." Hannity proceeded to air an audio clip of an interview from the March 1 edition of Fox News' Hannity & Colmes, in which he confronted Rev. Jeremiah A. Wright Jr., pastor of Trinity, about the church's 12-point "Black Value System." After the brief clip concluded, he stated: "[I]t got very heated later in the interview, but I won't play that now."
But Hannity omitted the subsequent portion of the interview in which co-host Alan Colmes asked Wright directly about allegations that Trinity is "a black separatist church." In response, Wright explained that Trinity's philosophy does not "assume superiority nor does it assume separatism." Wright continued: "We have no hierarchal arrangement. When you say an African-centered way of thinking -- African-centered philosophy, African-centered theology -- you're talking about one center. We're talking about something that's different, and different does not mean deficient ... nor does it mean superior or inferior."
In response to widespread distortions of its philosophy, Trinity recently posted "talking points" on its website that state: "To have a church whose theological perspective starts from the vantage point of Black liberation theology being its center, is not to say that African or African American people are superior to any one else."
From the March 20 broadcast of The Sean Hannity Show:
HANNITY: Now, we have on this program chronicled Barack Obama's church. Now, I don't believe we should have religious litmus tests. And I've talked about that, you know, I think, for example, Mitt Romney, has a legitimate faith, he is a member of the Latter-Day Saints, the church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints -- LDS - perhaps better known as the Mormon Church, and I think he has been unfairly singled out for his religious views. Now, with that said, I don't really care what the religious affiliation is of Barack Obama. And I think we ought not have religious litmus tests. But once we looked at, for example, the website of the Trinity United Church, where he goes, this is where we discovered that the pastor of the church has very Afro-centric and separatist views. And that's why they have these precepts: you know, commitment to the black community, commitment to the black family, it goes one. What else here? You know, it's all on and on and on. And it says, for example, "Pledge to make the fruits of all developing and acquired skills available to the black community." "Pledge to allocate regularly a portion of personal resources for strengthening and supporting black institution, personal allegiance to all black leadership." Embracing, you know, the "Black Value System." And I had his pastor, the Reverend Jeremiah Wright, on Hannity & Colmes.
[begin audio clip]
HANNITY: Commitment to the black community. Commitment to the black family. Adherence to the black work ethic. It goes on, pledge, you know, acquired skills available to the black community. Strengthening and supporting black institutions, pledging allegiance to the black leadership who have embraced the "Black Value System." Personal commitment to the embracement of the "Black Value System." Now, Reverend, if every time we said "black," if it was a church and those words were "white," wouldn't we call that church racist?
WRIGHT: No, we would call it Christianity. We've been saying that since there was a white Christianity, we've been saying that ever since white Christians took part in the slave trade, we've been saying that ever since they've had churches and slave castles. We don't have to say the word white, we just have to live in white America -- the United States of white America. That's not the issue --
[end audio clip]
HANNITY: You know, and we got -- it got very heated later in the interview, but I won't play that now.
From the March 1 broadcast of Fox News' Hannity & Colmes:
COLMES: I want the public to understand where your church is coming from, because you're being accused of being a black separatist church, and thus Obama is being accused by default of being a black separatist. Could you straighten that out for us please?
WRIGHT: OK. The African-centered point of view does not assume superiority, nor does it assume separatism. It assumes Africans speaking for themselves, as subjects in history, not objects in history. It comes from the principles of Kawaida the second principle being Kujichagulia which is self-determination -- us naming ourselves, and not saying we are superior to anybody. We have no hierarchal arrangement. When you say an African-centered way of thinking -- African-centered philosophy, African-centered theology -- you're talking about one center, we're talking about something that's different, and different does not mean deficient.
COLMES: Aren't there black churches --
WRIGHT: Nor does it mean superior or inferior. The whole notion of hierarchical, one's superior, let's be separate because we're better, that's nothing -- has absolutely nothing to do with us.