U.S. Sen. Barack Obama spoke out against black anti-Semitism and other bigotry at an African-American church.
Obama (D-Ill.), a leading candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination, spoke Sunday at the Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta to mark Martin Luther King Day.
He noted that African Americans “have been at the receiving end of man’s inhumanity to man,” then went on to say that the community “has not always been true to King’s vision of a beloved community.
“We have scorned our gay brothers and sisters instead of embracing them,” Obama said. “The scourge of anti-Semitism has, at times, revealed itself in our community. For too long, some of us have seen immigrants as competitors for jobs instead of companions in the fight for opportunity.”
A number of Jewish pundits and leaders – most notably Washington Post columnist Richard Cohen – has asked Obama to clarify his relationship with his Chicago-based church, Trinity United, and its radical teachings. On one occasion, a church-affiliated publication honored Louis Farrakhan, the anti-Semitic leader of the Nation of Islam.
Other Jewish figures, including novelist Michael Chabon, have said such demands are overreaching and presumptuous considering Obama’s repeated repudiation of Farrakhan and his ilk.