Responding to Attacks

March 26, 2008 by

2008_03_26wright.jpgYou’ve probably seen a raving, ranting black preacher talking about racism and “God damn America” with a fiery anger on just about every TV channel. The news media found some video clips of sermons given by Rev. Dr. Jeremiah Wright, the pastor of potential presidential candidate Barack Obama. The news media found the most incendiary examples and played them ad nauseam with no context. People began accusing Wright of all kinds of things, including being anti-American, anti-gay and an anti-Semite (based on the context I’ve seen, I concluded he’s none of those things).

But Barack Obama and Jeremiah Wright aren’t my focus today. My focus is what Trinity United Church of Christ, Wright’s church, has done in response.


The church’s web site itself is void of any kind of response. Oops.

But the church does have its own YouTube channel. It was set up last summer and had about a dozen clips posted in 2007. But the remaining 37 clips were posted in the last two weeks. They’re posting full-context clips of Wright’s sermons (as much as can be managed under YouTube’s 10-minute limit), and letting people make up their own minds.

There’s also a Blogspot blog, The Truth About Trinity, set up by a member that gives inside stories from Trinity.

Both of these efforts are allowing the church to tell their story, to give their side of the facts. It’s interesting to note that both are free services, one of which was already in place when the attacks began. It’s too early to tell if this will help restore the church’s image, but it does go along way.

Is your church prepared to handle these kinds of attacks?

Post By:

Kevin D. Hendricks


When Kevin isn't busy as the editor of Church Marketing Sucks, he runs his own writing and editing company, Monkey Outta Nowhere. Kevin has been blogging since 1998 and has published several books, including 137 Books in One Year: How to Fall in Love With Reading, The Stephanies and all of our church communication books.
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10 Responses to “Responding to Attacks”

  • Kirk Longhofer
    March 26, 2008

    I think you’re right… the church needs to be prepared to respond. Particularly if your pastor is going to use rhetoric like Jeremiah Wright… you had better be ready to respond, and willing to take the inevitable criticism. To think it won’t, eventually, happen is naive!


  • Bill LaMorey
    March 27, 2008

    Yes, I do commend them for that.
    Another advance strategy might be to actually stick to using the pulpit in your church to proclaim the gospel instead of social and political rants…just a thought.


  • mikeoles3
    March 27, 2008

    it is sad to see such a great church come under attack like this.
    But I guess that is what happens when you try and to preach and live the true message of Christ.


  • Colin
    March 27, 2008

    I think, just maybe, all this is a result of misusing the pulpit as a way to perpetuate a political agenda first, a personal vendetta second, and without the true biblical Gospel in sight. This is why churches die. This is why the Church as a whole is having a complete identity crisis.
    Their response is moot because it all just seems like consequences. Oprah (who is known to be a believe all things and cross your fingers) left this church because of the hate mongering. That says a lot.


  • Chris
    March 27, 2008

    Mike:
    The problem is that Wright does not preach the true message of Christ. He preaches a perversion of the gospel as Joe Carter briefly outlined.


  • Joe Louthan
    March 28, 2008

    The messages in their entirety have to be heard. You cannot preach damnation without hope. You cannot preach redemption without the heart of the God.
    I find the fact of this preacher’s name is Jeremiah as I compare him to the prophet Jeremiah. I read some of the sins of the country of Judea from the kings down to the people.
    Then I like to compare that to America.
    Can somebody please tell me the difference between the country Jeremiah weeped over and the one Rev Wright yelled over?
    Food for thought.


  • Eric
    March 29, 2008

    The best way to handle this kind of attack is not to make stupid, indefensible statements like that in the first place.


  • Jean Worthy
    March 30, 2008

    It is said that the most segregated hours in America are the two hours sunday morning when church services are held. This is so true.
    Politics, current events and day to day living are and will be a part of the black church. There would be no SCLC or SNCC with out the black church. It’s what the black church is…more than just the gospel, that’s why candidates for as long as I remember make their way to the churches to get their point accross to potential black voters.
    History shows that black churches were more than just a place to hear the gospel. Escapes were planned by slaves at church. Songs gave directions to freedoms. Slaves were secretly taught to write at church.
    Sigh, I wish I could communicate better the relationship of the black church and the people who attend to “outsiders”. I also wish I could explain the relationship of the Pastor and his congregation. I understood perfectly Sen. Obama’s uncle analogy. Your Pastor is like family and although he may say stuff you don’t agree with, you still love him and see him as more than the occasional comments and rantings of a person whose lived through Jim Crow and segregation. You don’t just throw him away with the bath water.
    What kind of person bails at the first sign of trouble? What kind of leader those that?
    OK, i’m done ranting.
    Just call me Jean, the crazy old aunt :)
    Oh yeah, about the marketing of TUCC. They should just concentrate on the positive the church has done for the community. They have done great things through Christ. In the end, that’s all that matters.
    P.S…….still wondering how you can teach the gospel and not make it relevant to or compare it to today. How can you do that and keep people coming back?


  • Gene Mason
    March 30, 2008

    It’s interesting when you look at the video clips that the church posted the overwhelming amount of the time (in the pulpit) is spent on political issues versus preaching the Word.
    I would not necessarily conclude the same things the media does about this pastor with respect to his political leanings, but the fact is, in content, I’m disappointed at how much politicing there is flowing from this particular pastor.


  • Right Is Right
    April 1, 2008

    It’s sad and embarassing that the larger church has received a black eye from someone who consistantly preaches a racist message. It’s a reminder to all of us how important it is to preach the Word and be watchful about who you hang out with (like the racist Louis Farrakhan).
    On a marketing standpoint, I would think that they would want to be up front and not look like they are trying to hide anything. At least make some kind of statement wrapping up and summing up the beating that the church was put through.



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