On Easter Sunday, the Obama Family attended Shiloh Baptist Church in Washington DC. Shiloh is an historic black church, founded in 1863 by 21 freed slaves. Presidents Reagan, George H.W. Bush, and Bill Clinton each attended there at least once during their presidencies. I know the pastor, Wally Smith, who is also the current president of the Palmer Theological School (my alma mater). He was on the faculty by the time my wife was a student and he was one of her professors. Palmer is one of the more conservative seminaries related to the American Baptist Churches USA and while Wally falls solidly in the tradition of the African American large church pastor, he is anything but radical. Like the vast majority of African American pastors, as I know him, he leans left on issues of poverty and race, right on issues of sexuality and is conservative in his theology.
That didn't matter to Sean Hannity. It took three days to find something they could use to brand him as controversial but eventually they found a video of a lecture at Eastern University where he spoke about racism and called Fox news and some in the conservative movement on their racism. In Hannity's world, Wally Smith and Jeremiah Wright are one and the same. Can you really believe that there is any church the president could have attended and not been attacked?
If it were not for the results, the story would be laughable it is so ridiculous but there have been results... since the story ran on Wednesday, Shiloh Baptist Church has received over 100 threats including a fax with a graphic of a monkey with a target across its face. And Sean Hannity is claiming the high road? Claiming that we live in an America where racism is no longer a problem? No, the only place where Wally Smith is controversial is in Hannity's warped world... a world where a Fox television host uses race as a way to whip up a political base who have had their ridiculous birther ideas discredited again and so need some new story to radicalize the first Black President.