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Wednesday, May 04, 2005




Andrew Spark

I think we need to focus for improving health and quality of life and potentially reducing health care costs.

Orenda Warren

Hello Jasmyne, I just read your commentary (courtesy of Tim M.). It's great input addressing the escalating anti gay phenomenon occurring in our community based on financial survival, greed and selfishness. Anyway, I just wanted to take a minute to say 'Stay On It Sistah, you (and your mighty words) are appreciated!'

Orenda Warren


Beautifully written!!

I just wish we could send this in the form of an open letter to black ministers everywhere.
Well done

Phill Wilson

this might be the best piece you've ever written. I hope it gets wide distribution.

Phill Wilson
Executive Director
Black AIDS Institute

Ben Fuller

Thank you for your honesty. I just read the article you wrote about black churches selling out to the GOP. That is the same thing that happened this last election all over the country. If that is their example of what a Christian is supposed to be, I am not sure that I want to be one. How can Gay marriage be the biggest issue facing us today, how? I am sick of this hypocrisy. Is this really how Jesus would have acted? Is this the path he would have chosen? I don't think so..
God bless you for bringing the truth out.
Ben Fuller

Vanessa Church

My dear sister, I count it a priviledge to run this article. I am the religion editor for the Chicago Crusader Newspaper. I will send you a copy. most likely it will run in the March 5 edition. Keep me in the loop. your writing is superb.
Vanessa Church



I read your article and I found it be very true. I've belonged to somewhat mega churches before and the focus is not there. So sadly, black ministers can only see money and not the value of the souls of their congregation.

Also, ministers (black & white) desire to been seen/prominent and not fully focusing on what they are being seen as. Unfortunately, our people still rely on ministers to deliver them and have forgotten that only God can do so. It's a twisted and dark time in the world right now and we believe that evil is in the Middle East............but, it is at the top of our government.

It is sad, but people will sell their souls for fame and fortune.

Rev. Jeremiah A. Wright, Jr.

Dear Jasmyne

This is a powerful article. May we have permission to print it in our weekly bulletin next Sunday?

Rev. Jeremiah A. Wright, Jr.
Trinity UCC
Chicago, Illinois 60628


Re your 2/27 column on Black pastors which appeared in Sunday’s Pasadena Star News:

Thank you! I have long watched the pastors of Pasadena jump on the Bush train, salivating at the thought

of getting more grant money to fund their do-nothing programs. Years ago I was on the Altadena Town Council

and began investigating (on my own) some of the various programs in Pasadena that were being run by churches

and other private entities. Eventually even the FBI was called in, but no one was ever prosecuted.

In my opinion, many Black pastors see Federal and private grants as a form of welfare. I’ve seen far too many hire

smart grant writers who invent clever acronyms for programs that sound good on the surface, but really do nothing

in terms of helping the community. Of course, the so called “faith-based” funding the President praises will come

back to haunt us all. I’m sure we’ll one day discover a white supremacist neo-Nazi group has been funded for a “meals

on wheels” program!

But you are 100% correct – churches need to focus on more important issues than gay marriage, which shouldn’t be

an issue at all.



Dear Jasmyne,

I want to commend you on your article in BC today. Most people of our generation have not one clue that MOST of our own people opposed Martin, Malcolm, Huey, Harriet, and Marcus. Most of us are "trained" by bought "handlers" to keep the status quo. Keep up the great work and I will push my email listing of 47 to check out your site.



Dear Ms. Cannick:

Having just returned from Tavis Smiley's "State of the Black Union"
Conference (where Eddie Long and Harry Jackson were reprimanded by Jesse
Jackson, Al Sharpton, Michael Eric Dyson and Louis Farrakhan), your article
in BC was dead on target.

For your feedback - I posted a similar article on Daily Kos and my own
blog, Get Rid of the DLC. I wanted to share it with you and to say thanks
for a well-written and educational piece.


Glen Ford

Dear Ms. Cannick:

We are the ones who are greatful to you, for your wonderful mind.


Glen Ford

Ron Jackson

Ms. Cannick,

Excellent piece.

Continued success to you.

Ron Jackson


Thanks to my pastor, I read your article “Purchased Pulpits and Spiritual Exploitations. I just want to say keep on speaking out my sister. I find it very disturbing that our so called “men of God” have no idea what God is about. God is about Justice and a fair equitable system for all. He did not get hung up on these moral issues. These pastors don’t even realize that Jesus was a non-violent revolutionist who challenged unjust systems not individual moral issues. Good was about freedom from the oppressive state. The Christian right is just wrong and we need more people to speak out against it. I am a 40 year old lay speaker in the United Methodist Church. I will be speaking on Sunday March 13th. The title of my Sermon is “Don’t get caught up in wealth.” It is coming from the Gospel of Luke Chapter 6:20-26. I will be speaking to the very issue that causes us to side with an unjust system.

Thanks for speaking out.


Your article Purchased Pulpits and Spiritual Exploitations in the latest issue of Black Commentator is on e of the best I have read on this topic. The frightening aspect of Black pastors who fail to address the immediate and more valid concerns of their congregations, is that there are many parishioners in their congregations who will follow these misguided turncoats in the name of loyalty to the church. I saw it in the last sham presidential election and it seems the trend continues. This is Bush and Company at their best – manufacturing issues and leading unsuspecting fools to do their dirty work for them. Black folk ought to know better. Could it be that people are too afraid to tackle the very real issues facing the Black community and opt for jumping on a bandwagon that seems “winnable” instead? Moral outrage, followed by action, would be better spent on the issues outlined in your article. The appalling statistics about Black women and the rising rate of HIV infection is of far greater importance and urgency than the thought of same-gender marriages or civil unions.

Over 100 Black pastors gathering at Crenshaw Christian Center to discuss issues of importance to Black people could have been powerful had the group focused on chronic joblessness, racial disparities in health care, etc. Instead, they spent valuable time peering into someone else’s bedroom and thumping those considered sinners over the head with the Bible – a book that actually advocates finding common ground with our brothers and sisters.

Thanks you for your contribution in helping to spread the word about these frauds.

Deborah in Connecticut


Why don't you just call them what they are: pieces of shit. Uncle Tom has become so used that it has lost its sting. Witness Conde Rice, Colin Powell, Ward Connelly, & that bum on the Supreme Court whose name escapes me at the moment.

Preachers have always been the Judas goats of Black people; always will be. Thank God for what they are now doing; now one can see what they truly are; now is the opportunity to break away from the entire Christian hypocrisy.

You might want to remember that King was not the one to initiate the movement he led.

J. Hutton


I really enjoyed your essay on ministers selling out to the GOP, but I have a question:

First, let me tell you that I a a white guy from New Hampshire, so please forgive me if I am missing some crucial point in this argument. NH isn't very integrated, and our school systems gloss over a lot of things. It is the sort of place where you're likely to hear someone say, "I'm not racist, but..."

Anyway, it seems to me that the way blacks have been treated in this country since emancipation could be seen as directly parallel to some gay issues. In particular, the idea of gay marriage is, in my mind, akin to the idea that blacks and whites should not marry each other. As I noted earlier, the most benign of these arguments might be "I'm not racist, but I think interracial marriage is just asking for trouble." Clearly a disturbing view. While that sort of attitude is easy to find among the folks north of the Mason-Dixon line, I'd venture to guess that in some of those states that still fly a confederate flag without shame, this attitude is not only common, but nearly endorsed. Why are black Americans reluctant to see civil rights as a struggle among many groups that don't fit into the white, Euro-centric mold of what Rush Limbaugh would say is "the way things ought to be"? Didn't I see on 60 Minutes a story about a young, black boy who was lynched for (allegedly) whistling at a white woman? Clearly, there are a lot of people who don't want blacks and whites to find common ground and happiness together, bonded by love.

I certainly don't think black Americans have achieved full equality in this country, but shouldn't there be some empathy for other groups struggling with human rights? I just can't fathom that a generation or two from the powerful and inspiring work of Dr. King and the continued work of Jesse Jackson, that blacks in this country thin that the struggle of any subjugated minority does not reflect past injustices that are still bittery painful.

I just want to understand. And by the way, I am not gay, and have no vested interest in the outcome of this debate other than the fact that as long as one group is victimized, we all lose a little freedom. Thank you for your time.

Jamie Cowan


Great piece, which I saw in The Buffalo Report, edited by Bruce Jackson.
Re the reference to the Bible: it is also the book used to justify slavery.
Best wishes
David Snyder


Dear Ms. Cannick,

"Purchasing the Pulpit" was an extraordinary article - thank you so so much. And it comes amongst a number of recent articles on the the relationship between the Black Church and the GOP. I think we are finally coming around to realizing that the greatest threat to freedom today is coming not from white supremacists or the White Citizens Republican Party - but from the houseslaves, uncle Toms and stupid white Hispanics that underpin the GOP. At this late stage in the historical game, "they" can only go so far - but with African American and Latino support - there is no limit to how far resurgent white supremacy in this country can go.

You are right to call attention to this problem - just as WEB Dubois began a movement for Black self-consciousness by first exposing Booker T. Washington's acceptance of the American apartite system as a threat to black freedom in the "Souls of Black Folks." This problem has to be dealt with before we can deal with white supremacy per se.

I hope that more and more African-American and Latino leaders turn up the heat on the Colin Powell's and Condi Rice's' of the world - we need to expose them for what they are - people would the Country - and worse, their own people down the toilet for political and financial gain.

Thanks again - and please keep it up!!!

Angelo J. Rivera


really enjoyed your piece on the above noted subject.

The argument can be made that the modern day Black church, in terms of addressing the practical needs of its community, is as much of an underachieving institution today as it was an overachieving institution in past generations.

Having said that, I felt that the implication that Black Church homophobia is being newly promoted by unholy alliance was not historically accurate. Black people in general have always been socially conservative, though this has been more difficult to tell since the freedom of choice that the Civil Rights movement brought about for us.

Finally, I noticed the various issues that you routinely speak about including Gay Rights vs Civil Rights.

Is there a distinction between the two? I would love your feedback on the issue.





Thank you for a finely argued piece on black pastors conniving with GOP stalking horses. I subscribe to the Net edition of Black Commentator.com and am inspired by much of the writing.

Your piece made me sit up because I had long grappled with how to explain the role of the church in reactionary politics, and here you explain the American situation entirely succinctly.

I look forward to a time when progressive people everywhere may act in concert.

Thank you.


Dear Jasmyne,

As an African-American follower of Jesus, I find your article, "Purchased Pulpits and Spiritual Exploitations" featured in Black Commentator a very scary article. It saddens me that a bunch of handkerchief-headed, kissin' and grinnin', Uncle Tom Negroes would sell the souls of their people the proverbial "piece of ham and bottle of liquor" to such a homophobic propaganda mill like "Traditional Values Coalition."

But, my Sister, as one who's been raised in the church, there are deeper issues involved that if you were to get these ministers alone you may find out:

These "New House Negroes" ("NHN's") still crave "massa's" approval. They look to the White conservative evangelicals for their "blessing". This translates into the dollars you mentioned about (via Bush's Faith-Based Initiative). Plus it gives their ministries legitimacy as well. This goes into...
Money for building "Christian" schools sponsored by these churches. These NHN's want to attract the middle/working class parent who (understandably) seeks better schooling for their kids. At these church schools, they'll find an environment light years from the public school: uniforms, a safe environment, teachers that support "traditional values". As mentioned elsewhere in Black Commentator, this will allow the conservatives to put a wedge between Black taxpaying parents and the teacher unions-disrupting the Democratic Party. And if these "schools" subsidize poor students, it could be a death knell for public schools.
This will allow the TVC types to disseminate their "gospel" into Black churches, creating more NHN's in the process. And if they get hold of Fred Price's Crenshaw Christian Center with its worldwide outreach, the TVC would have a very serious stronghold.
And one more thing that ties into No. 1: a false sense of "security". Many of these churches are male-headed. And many Black men in the ministry are very insecure (due to a host of factors), especially in their sexuality. These men are unnerved around GLBT's, and feel their "manhood" threatened. With TVC's help, they'll have security against GLBT's as they attack these innocent people whose only "crime" is their sexual preference. Plus, they can use this attack to avoid facing the real issues facing our communities while still smelling like roses.
Let's work to make sure that TVC and its ilk do not enslave the Black community via the churches. The first time we were enslaved, it wasn't our choice. This time we have a choice not to be enslaved.


Debbie Jones

I enjoyed reading your article about purchased pulpits, and I'm as upset as you are.

My first knowledge of this was an article in the New York Times last week entitled "Black Churches Struggle Over Their Role in Politics." I was/am outraged, just as I was outraged that 52 million people had basically voted on abortion and gay marriage, nevermind the other more challenging issues facing this nation at this point in time.

This whole "religious/political" topic is a very disturbing one and appears to be getting worse. Bush is buying power by bribing, but he's bribing the very ones - preachers - who should know better, and who certainly should know that Bush is not applying Biblical teachings. These preachers should be running, not walking, away from Bush.

I agree with you that with all the problems the black community faces, these preachers are allowing themselves to forget all that and focus on two "wedge" issues, abortion and gay marriage. Why are their congregations falling for it is what I don't understand.

You've got grandmothers raising their grandchildren because the parents are drugging out or in jail, but they'll support these preachers who concentrate only on abortion and gays? Bush lowers the amount of money the drug programs receive, which help blacks, but they think that's okay?

You've got bad schools where teaching is severely lacking, violence is running rampant, but abortion and gays take a front seat?

You've got a majority of black Americans who were disenfranchised during this last election, standing in line for hours; a vast majority of black voters taken off the Florida voter rolls simply because they were black, but abortion and gays are the problem?

And then there's healthcare, the imbalance of blacks put in prison over whites, but they're worrying about - well, you know.

They're slobbering over the money they may receive (bribery) for faith-based initiatives, but what are they going to do with the money? Are they really going to help the black community or are they going to spend that money on buying their congregations for the republicans?

It's very disturbing, and just as I think the Bush administration has sunk to a new low, he seems to lower the bar. If he sinks much lower, he'll be in the pigpen pushing up mud right along with the pigs. Oh, and in case you don't know, pigs eat their piglets. Now if we can just convince the preachers of that.

Keep up the good work! I printed out the Times article, and I intend to email or fax the preachers mentioned to let them know they're on the wrong track, for all the good it will do. But at least I won't have sat back and done nothing.


Hello Jasmyne,

I'm a big fan of yours and have followed your editorials as well as the work of the National Black Justice
Coalition. I work for the Sacramento Observer part-time as a typesetter/copyeditor and just finished your
"Purchased Pulpists" article and I could not have agreed more. As a straight Black women ( well, I don't
believe in the labels but whatever helps someone define me as a means to understand me, so be it), I am
appalled by the African American ministers who preach love all the way to the GOP and skip over those
less deserving (GLBT). What really boggles my mind as a non-christian is the fact that Black America still
doesn't see the institution of the church as the last shackles of slavery. This institution continues to herald
the message of gender inequality, discrimination and hypocrisy (thou shalt not kill lest ye be an American
enemy) and many of my family members continue to hold on. I understand the history of the church and
the position it has held for our people but I abandoned it in favor of opening up my own eyes to the truth:
churches, clubs, whatever you label them, are all elitist and seperatist. I have to acknowledge the modern
church that accepts everyone and directs a new agenda to their members but these houses of worship are
barely springing up. The bible, that incessent book created by man divides us so well. I see it as the best
hatched plan to continue seperation and prejudice in this country. That book teaches more hate than a
loaded gun and our community is unwilling to see it. At some point, this war will prove pointless and we
will have to turn off the lights and notice the obvious: we will all die, someday, sometime, and we will all
bleed the same and leave loved ones behind.

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