The Washington Post reports that the church that President Obama and his family attended on Easter Sunday has received threats of violence after a conservative television commentator played a videotape, recorded in January, 2010, in which the pastor said that those espousing racial prejudice do so “under the protective cover of talk radio.”
Hamil Harris writes:
The Rev. Wallace Charles Smith said the church has received more than 100 threats since Fox News channel’s Sean Hannity aired a tape Monday of a speech Smith gave in January 2010 at Eastern University in Saint Davids, Pa.
“We received a fax that had the image of a monkey with a target across is face,” Smith said. “My secretary has received telephone calls that have been so vulgar until she has had to hang up.”
Smith, who shared several of the e-mails with The Post, said he had not notified authorities but is consulting with church leaders about what to do.
On Sunday, Obama and the first family visited the church, founded in the 1860s by former slaves. On Monday, Hannity aired a clip of a speech Smith gave when he served as president of Palmer Theological Seminary in Philadelphia.
“It may not be Jim Crow anymore,” Smith says in the videotape. “Now, Jim Crow wears blue pinstripes, goes to law school and carries fancy briefs in cases. And now, Jim Crow has become James Crow, esquire. And he doesn’t have to wear white robes anymore because now he can wear the protective cover of talk radio or can get a regular news program on Fox.”
Smith, 62, said that he had been asked to give a speech on racism and that he “was giving some background on what I thought were some of the issues regarding race in this country.”
Hannity compared Smith to Obama’s controversial former pastor, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, whom Obama denounced after YouTube videos surfaced showing Wright saying that the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks were “America’s chickens . . . coming home to roost.”
Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton have attended Shiloh while they were President, each time listening to Smith preach. Hannity did not comment on the content of the actual sermon but took three days to find the clip and create yet another controversy under the protective cover of cable news.