Joel Gehrke at the Washington Examiner has noted the harsh racism recently expressed by the same pastor who delivered the benediction at President Barack Obama's inauguration in January 2009. Readers should read Gehrke's post as well as the underlying article in the Monroe County Reporter in Forsyth, Georgia to get the full flavor of what the Rev. Dr. Joseph Lowery said at St. James Baptist Church this past Saturday, because you can virtually guarantee the establishment press won't touch it, and this post won't be able to capture every offensive word and phrase.
Selected paragraphs from the Reporter's coverage, including its impact-minimizing subheadline, follow the jump (bolds are mine throughout this post):
Civil rights icons pump Obama in Forsyth
Lowery: Don't think whites going to heaven
Two icons of the civil rights movement visited Forsyth on Saturday to campaign for the reelection of Barack Obama. Andrew Young and Rev. Dr. James Lowery spoke at St. James Baptist Church as part of a Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) tour across Georgia to encourage black voters to cast ballots for Obama.
Lowery, who turned 91 on Oct. 6, founded the SCLC along with Martin Luther King, Jr. in 1957 and has been a national leader and the recipient of many honors since that time. Numerous celebrities praised him at a celebration of his 90th birthday at Atlanta Symphony Hall last year.
Lowery gave the benediction at Obama's inauguration as 44th U.S. president on Jan. 20, 2009. Speaking to the group at St. James Baptist, Lowery said he liked giving the benediction because it gave him the last word. The only thing that followed him on the program was the "Star Spangled Banner." He said it was the first time in his life he enjoyed the national anthem; he said the anthem is too militaristic. He said he would like to see the national anthem changed to 'Lift Every Voice," which is known as the 'Negro National Anthem,' or to "America the Beautiful."
... Lowery said Obama lost Georgia by 200,000 votes in 2008 while 390,000 black folks in Georgia did not vote.
"I don't know what kind of a n----- wouldn't vote with a black man running," said Lowery. "All that he did with the stimulus was genius. Nobody intelligent would risk this country with Romney."
Lowery praised Obama's commitment to the poor and said politicians should quit saying 'middle class' and go ahead and say 'poor.' Then he urged individuals to look at their own character and conduct.
"We've turned our backs on the faith," said Lowery. "America is going to hell in a hand basket. We need to straighten up so God can use us."
Lowery said that when he was a young militant, he used to say all white folks were going to hell. Then he mellowed and just said most of them were. Now, he said, he is back to where he was.
"I'm frightened by the level of hatred and bitterness coming out in this election," said Lowery.
Look in the mirror, pal.
Gehrke reports that not all were enthralled with Lowery's message (internal link added by me):
The local mayor, who attended the rally, rejected that statement from Lowery. “The Bible doesn’t say anything about white or black to go to heaven,” Mayor John Howard said. “I have great number of black and white friends. I’ve been in the military. I make friends with everybody. I’m too old for enemies.”
Howard is much younger than Lowery, who is 91. The Monroe County report also notes that "Howard said he and (the Rev. Antonio) Proctor talked about putting a video of the event on Forsyth Cable TV but decided after his comments that it wasn't a good idea." I'll say.
Lowery's inauguration benediction was not without controversy, given how it closed:
Lord, in the memory of all the saints who from their labors rest, and in the joy of a new beginning, we ask you to help us work for that day when black will not be asked to get back, when brown can stick around -- (laughter) -- when yellow will be mellow -- (laughter) -- when the red man can get ahead, man -- (laughter) -- and when white will embrace what is right.
At the time, according to Wikipedia, with three cited items, "Reporters in attendance called the passage a mocking of racial stereotypes, and said that the crowd received it with good humor." It looks likes Lowery put one over on them in January 2009.
In December 2008, about seven weeks after Obama won the presidency, Mark Finkelstein at NewsBusters noted that Rev. Lowery was opposed to same-sex marriage. In Lowery's world, it looks like some "unimportant" principles can get thrown overboard when "vot(ing) with a black man running" is involved.
The chances that any white pastor anywhere could go four days after saying analogous things about blacks and Obama as Lowery has said about whites and Romney without national press coverage are absolutely zero, regardless of the level of his involvement with the campaign.