Rev. Kevin Johnson, senior pastor of Bright Hope Baptist Church in Philadelphia, had been invited to be the sole baccalaureate speaker in May at his alma mater, Morehouse College. But after the prominent black pastor wrote a strong opinion piece critical of President Obama, he said his invitation was revoked.
The controversy began after Johnson wrote an op-ed article, titled “A President for Everyone, Except Black People” in the Philadelphia Tribune on April 14, that criticized Obama’s lack of African-American appointees in his cabinet.
As President Barack Obama begins his second term, there is something noticeably different about his new cabinet – the absence of African-American leaders and advisors.
In sum, when one compares the first African-American president to his recent predecessors, the number of African-Americans in senior cabinet positions is very disappointing: Clinton (7); Bush (4); and Obama (1). Obama has not moved African-American leadership forward, but backwards.
Moreover, while having African-Americans in senior cabinet positions does not guarantee an economic agenda that will advance Black people, it at least is a starting point and puts us in the driver’s seat. With President Obama, we are not in the driver’s seat – or even in the car.
But controversy has since ensued, with Morehouse College President John S. Wilson Jr. firing back telling the Philadelphia Tribune that Johnson’s assertion was incorrect.
After Johnson’s article appeared, Wilson contacted Johnson by phone and stated that the article was “untimely” given that Obama is Morehouse’s 2013 commencement speaker. He amended his decision to have Johnson appear as the sole speaker and opted to add two more baccalaureate speakers. Johnson refused the offer on the grounds that it was a departure from the college’s tradition of having one baccalaureate speaker and all initial representations made to him.
Citizens for Change, a group of prominent Morehouse alumni, denounced Wilson’s decision last week and called for him to honor his original invitation to Johnson and have him appear as the sole baccalaureate speaker, according to East Atlanta Patch.
“The idea that Dr. Johnson’s views disqualify him as a candidate to deliver the Morehouse baccalaureate address is quite disturbing. The views expressed in the article in question are consistent with views he has expressed in his monthly columns and national media appearances,” Rev. Delman Coates, senior pastor of the Mt. Ennon Baptist Church in Clinton, Md. said in a release.
Other Morehouse alumni are also speaking out.
“If President Wilson turns his back on one of our most distinguished alums because of an exercise of free speech and political commentary, he will have set Morehouse on a dangerous course and departed from the great tradition bequeathed to us,” said the Rev. Dr. Amos Brown , senior pastor of Third Baptist Church in San Francisco, Calif.
H/T – The Blaze
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