News Release

Rev. Wright: Dialogue Beyond the Sound Bites


Deckenback is conference minister for The United Church of Christ (the same denomination as Rev. Jeremiah Wright). Hagler is national president of Ministers for Racial, Social and Economic Justice of The United Church of Christ and senior minister of the Plymouth Congregational United Church of Christ in Washington, D.C.

They are both participating (along with Rev. Wright) today and tomorrow at a conference on the African American church in Washington, D.C.

Hagler said today: “Recent events have helped shed light on the progressive, radically empowering, evangelical church that has been kept in the shadows because so many focus on televangelists like Pat Robertson.”

Longtime civil rights organizer in South Carolina and former president of the state ACLU, Gray is author of Waiting for Lightning to Strike: The Fundamentals of Black Politics and the forthcoming The Decline of Black Politics: From Malcolm X to Barack Obama.

Gray said today: “People who are attacking Rev. Wright are in fact largely attacking the foundation of the black experience and black history. They certainly seem to be trying to diminish liberation theology.

“Wright was correct in saying that come Nov. 5, if Obama is president he will need to be a primary target of scrutiny. But he should be critiqued today. Unfortunately, we’re in a racial atmosphere that is telling black folks they should be on mute because of Obama’s success.

“Part of the problem is that we’ve grown to expect people to tailor themselves to the media rather than just speak their mind.”
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Muhammad is author of a recent study, “The Unrealized American Dream,” from the Program on Inequality and the Common Good at the Institute for Policy Studies. Among the study’s findings: “Since Dr. King’s death, the African American high school graduation rate has increased by over 214 percent. At this rate, African Americans will reach equality with white Americans by 2018.

“The African American college graduation rate has increased by almost 400 percent since 1968. Yet, at this rate inequality in college graduation between blacks and whites will linger till 2087. …

“In 1967, African Americans earned 54 cents for every dollar white Americans made per capita. In 2005, African Americans earned 57 cents on every dollar earned by white Americans. In other words, African Americans have made only 3 cents of progress in four decades. At this rate, it will take over 537 years before income parity is achieved.”
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For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy:
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; or David Zupan, (541) 484-9167