Easter sermons focus on race

March 23, 2008 7:43:17 PM PDT
On this Easter Sunday, many churches throughout the country again visited what critics say was the inflammatory sermon of the Dr. Jeremiah Wright and the speech on racism by Senator Barack Obama.

In the Bay Area, black churches seemed ready to discuss the issue while others decided to stay with the traditional message of Easter.

"We may be going through a crucifixion in this country that's in denial of its history," said

The reverend J Alfred Smith changed his resurrection Sunday sermon today to deal with current events. He told his congregation here at the Allen Baptist Church of Oakland that black churches have to speak out against injustice.

He spoke about the controversy linking Senator Barack Obama and Dr. Jeremiah Wright's comments which many critics say were un-American.

"Do only white men have the authority to speak out about injustice?" said Rev. J. Alfred Smith from Allen Temple Baptist Church.

Reverend Smith says that black churches are un-muzzled, that they have a responsibility to speak out when racism rears its ugly head.

He says Dr. Wright's words were taken out of context and that the reverend has yet to be able to explain what he really meant.

"They use race to appeal to the basic instincts to the animal instincts of hatred and bigotry and they have been able to win campaigns by doing it," said Rev. J. Alfred Smith.

Parishioners agree that black churches need to address the needs and concerns of their community not only religion.

"I think that the black church has a right to its own opinions about what happens in America," said parishioner Jacque Huggins.

People here say they thought Senator Barack Obama's speech on racism was magnificent. Obama's condemnation of Dr. Wright's sermon while still considering him his pastor and friend showed his supporters that he was an honorable man.

Across the bay at San Francisco's Grace Cathedral, parishioners were content with just concentrating on Easter services.

"Maybe politics should stay out of Easter services," said Rev. Allen Jones from Grace Cathedral.

Grace cathedral's the very right reverend Allen Jones agrees.

"I'm not speaking to it directly, I'm speaking about that Easter is about hope," said Rev. Allen Jones.

Many pastors decided to use today's sermons to just deal with Easter and its promise of new beginnings.