The controversial Rev. Jeremiah Wright Jr., the former pastor of presidential candidate Barack Obama, was praised Saturday at a the State of the Black Church Summit in Dallas for provocative statements that some have labeled racist and others anti-American.
"We don't love America uncritically; you don't just tell the good things," said the Rev. Frederick Haynes III, pastor of a Dallas church. "He (Wright) has dared to unwrap the flag from around the cross, and when you do that, you give the cross the power to tell the flag which way to wave."
Haynes and six panelists spoke and answered questions for three hours, switching from scholarly discourses to fervent sermons and back again as they focused on topics including patriotism, voting and making the black church better understood. Listeners at the summit, hosted by Fort Worth's Brite Divinity School, frequently applauded and punctuated speakers' comments with "Amen" and "That's right."
Wright was supposed to speak at the panel discussion and attend a banquet in his honor on Saturday night, but he canceled because of security concerns for his family, himself and attendees. Part of the summit was originally scheduled to be at Texas Christian University, where Brite is located, but TCU and Brite officials agreed to move it for security reasons.
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