A Tale of Two Reverends-Jeremiah Wright & Edward Pinkey


A Tale of Two Reverends -Jeremiah Wright & Edward Pinkey

By Ted Glick

On this Easter weekend, it is appropriate to write about Rev. Jeremiah Wright and Rev. Edward Pinkney, two African American ministers in the upper Midwest who have made a good faith effort to live their lives as Jesus of Nazareth lived his, and who have suffered for it as a result.

jeremiah_wright-225Rev. Wright, of course, is much more well known. He was Barack Obama’s minister for 20 years at Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago . In his book, “Dreams From My Father,” Obama describes the personal impact of attending a Sunday morning church service in the mid-80’s presided over by Rev. Wright:

“I imagined the stories of ordinary black people merging with the stories of David and Goliath, Moses and Pharaoh, the Christians in the lion’s den, Ezekiel’s field of dry bones. Those stories—of survival, and freedom, and hope—become our story, my story; the blood that had spilled was our blood, the tears our tears; until this black church, on this bright day, seemed once more a vessel carrying the story of a people into future generations and into a larger world. Our trials and triumphs became at once unique and universal, black and more than black. . . I felt for the first time how that spirit carried within it, nascent, incomplete, the possibility of moving beyond our narrow dreams.”

Last year, however, right around this time, Barack and Michelle Obama decided that they would leave this church that, unquestionably, had been a major influence on their lives. They did so, it is very clear, because they felt that there was no chance Barack would ever become President if he didn’t. The corporate and right-wing media had distorted comments made years before by Rev. Wright, and the media frenzy forced Obama into choosing between his Presidential ambitions and loyalty to a man who had been a friend, a mentor, an inspiration and more.

Wright understood what was going on. He said at the time, “I do what pastors do. He does what politicians do. I am not running for office.” He also said, presciently, referring to Obama, “November 5th, I’m coming after you, because you’ll be representing a government whose policies grind under people.”

He hasn’t changed those views. In an Associated Press interview on March 5th, 2009, Wright was quoted as saying in Selma , Alabama , that “he’s like any other president. He’s a politician and he’s got to do what politicians do.” During a speech that day in Selma , he is quoted as saying, “Barack’s name ain’t Jesus. There are things we’ve got to do on our own.”

To his credit, Rev. Wright seems to have handled well the tremendously negative, essentially racist attacks on his character and credibility. He retired last year as minister of Trinity church, but he has been traveling the country speaking, letting people see and hear for themselves. He continues his life of prophetic witness on behalf of the least of these, the victims of imperialism, a word he doesn’t hesitate to use, in opposition to oppressors and on behalf of the oppressed.

So has Rev. Edward Pinkney of Benton Harbor , Michigan , doing so effectively, and as a result he has been under indictment, under house arrest, in prison, and/or fighting ridiculous charges for over three years.

Benton Harbor is a town of about 11,000 people on the southwestern side of Michigan , 90% black and overwhelmingly poor. It burst onto the national scene in 2003 when its young people rose up in response to a series of local police killings and beatings.

revedpinkeyRev. Pinkney and a local community organization, BANCO, have been involved for years working to change the conditions of life for Benton Harbor’s residents. In 2005 he helped lead a successful recall election of a notoriously racist and abusive city commissioner. The local white-dominated power structure had that result overturned and then went after Rev. Pinkney with false charges of paying people to vote the right way. They failed to gain a conviction in their first trial in 2006, so in their second trial they made sure that there were no blacks on the jury, and in March of 2007 an all-white jury convicted him. He was sentenced to one year in prison and five years on probation. From May to December of that year he was kept under house arrest on an electronically monitored tether.

In December of 2007 Rev. Pinkney wrote an article in the People’s Tribune newspaper in which he quoted a part of the Bible in reference to the judge, Berrien County Chief Judge Alfred Butzbaugh, who had presided over Pinkney’s trial. The Bible quotation said, in part, “The Lord shall smite thee with consumption and with a fever and with an inflammation and with extreme burning.”

For writing this article, Butzbaugh revoked Pinkney’s probation and sent him to jail, and in June of 2008 another Berrien County judge added a three to ten year sentence for Pinkney’s literary “crime.”

After a year in jail, and after his case was taken up by the American Civil Liberties Union, he was released on bail just before Christmas, 2008, once again confined under house arrest. Just recently, a June 9th date was set for a hearing on his case before the Michigan Court of Appeals in Grand Rapids .

Just prior to that hearing, ex-President George Bush will make what may be his first domestic post-presidency speech to the Economic Development Club of Southwestern Michigan in Benton Harbor on May 28th. The primary corporation of this “club” is the Whirlpool Corporation, headquartered in the Benton Harbor area and a major force behind plans to build a private golf course in the city’s lakefront park. In the words of The Michigan Messenger, “Last year, after heavy lobbying from local Republican congressman Fred Upton, the National Park Service approved a plan to swap public lakefront and dune property for a series of inland parcels that are contaminated with industrial waste. In an ongoing federal suit locals are suing to reverse federal and state approval of the project.”

Rev. Pinkney is not keeping quiet about this land grab. He and BANCO are calling for a world-wide boycott of Whirlpool. In a letter sent out recently, he explains:

“We must stop Whirlpool, Rep. Upton, and Harbor Shores developers. We are calling for an International Boycott of all Whirlpool Products to begin May 1, and all stores which sell Whirlpool products.

“We appreciate any effort you can make to spread the word: BOYCOTT WHIRLPOOL AND ALL SUBSIDIARIES, MAY DAY, 2009

On this weekend when hundreds of millions of people worldwide celebrate the continued inspiration of a man who, 2,000 years ago, threw the corrupt money-changers out of the Jerusalem temple, we would do well to remember and appreciate our present-day prophets, people like Reverends Wright and Pinkney.

More information on the boycott and the Benton Harbor struggle can be found at http://www.bhbanco.blogspot.com. Rev. Pinkney can be contacted directly at 269-925-0001 or banco9342@sbcglobal.net.

Ted Glick has been a progressive social change organizer since 1968. More information and past writings can be found at http://www.tedglick.com.

A Response to Marvin X from The Ansars About Askari X & Lovelle Mixon


TO MARVIN X #1 4-10-09

The Difference with AEM is the Muslim name: Ansar 

Anyone can call themselves by a Muslim name such as Ansar.  However, the Muslim Name; Ansar is not a mere Nick name.  In fact the Holy Quran states; evil is a bad nick name after faith.  Muslims must take a Shahada to truly receive an Attribute [Name] of ALLAH.

The name Ansar comes from the history of Islam and Life of Prophet Muhammad.  The Ansar were/are the Helpers of Muhammad.  The Ansar [of Arabia] had a reputation of being warriors.  Today many groups loosely apply the name to their movement or organization.   

Thee True Ansar of This day sign a covenant kept in a Temple Registry in order to officially wear the name Ansar.  They also change all of their ID’s legally.  It is most notable to acknowledge that all throughout the world there are groups using the name Ansar.  There is even a city in Palestine bearing the name Ansar. 

Important to note also is, that there are some differences of beliefs of those Orthodox Muslims in the Middle East, and the Black (s/c African American Muslims) in the Nation of Islam.  One most significant difference is the belief in a spook or invisible god, and a heaven in the sky. 

This fact is; a most important point for reflection as we investigate the motive for Marvin X’s false presumptuous, slanderous, defaming, reckless, careless and potentially deadly  writings [where he attempts slandering the Ansar by Associating them with the Deadly shooting of Police Officers in Oakland].  To do this Marvin X purposely misapplies and confuses several tenets of the teachings and ignores vast differences between the ideology or interpretation of eastern Muslims and those of the Nation of Islam.  As well Marvin X totally fabricated portions of his writing to suite his bogus claim. 

Not only are there differences in the Islamic teachings of the Middle East and those of The Nation of Islam here in the West.  There is also a difference in the manner in which the majority of members inherit the faith.  Most in the Middle East are born into Islam and facing a slightly different form of oppression than we “currently” face.  While the young original Black American s/c Negroes inherit the faith by discovery, often this discovery happens in stages. 

Anyone vaguely familiar with the plight of the American s/c Negros knows that 85% are steeped in the western stereo-typical image and hip hop/thug culture, which in many cases, is deemed as glorifying guns, drugs, sex and violence. 

Regardless to an individual’s affinity, curiosity or fascination with any organized religious group, we should not assume they are properly espousing that group’s doctrine without research and proof, nor should we assume that they are registered members of that group without research and proof.  In addition, there is also the fact of a persons membership standing.  Aside from fairy tales etc, reality proves that some make resolutions, commitments, and join churches, synagogues, mosques etc, and later fall back to their old, weak, or evil ways.  Should the Movement they at one time sought to become a part of, be guilty for their actions after their fall from grace?  Think on it [we’ll come back to that].

There is much obvious evidence that Mr. Mixon was not an Ansar El Muhammad, nor even influenced by Islam whatsoever.  Marvin X Himself whereas the X popularized by the Nation of Islam, yet certainly does not hold any official membership in the Nation of Islam, nor is the Nation of Islam responsible for his slanderous writings, simply because he somewhat falsely where’s an X.  Most Muslims do not hide there faith as TV shows have popularized the term [Taqiyah] as Americas atmosphere against Muslims has not risen to that level of severity, however statements, false slanderous reckless penmanship as done by Marvin X could start or speed America up on this downward trend.

Even the DC Sniper gave his name as Muhammad, though he had no current, valid, or true affiliation with the Nation of Islam.  Clearly Mixon utilized the name Mixon. 

Askari X, as a young black man growing up in Oakland faced the same societal influences that most s/c African American males face, with a fascination into the Thug Life, He, Askari X was later introduced to The Socialist Ideology of The UHURU movement, and later to Islam as taught by Ansar El Muhammad.  The neighborhood 72nd and Lacey Street was popularized in Askari X songs only after he was influenced by His fellow group Members RBG.  That neighborhood is where some of them grew up.  As young Black males, they began searching for knowledge at a young age, which is how they came to espouse some of the ideology of the UHURU Movement.  They later and began unofficially studying some Ansar El Muhammad literature in 1988-89.  At this time the only bona-fide Ansar El Muhammad study groups were in the prison, besides [of course] those students who were released from prison and reported to Richmond to meet and follow the Baldhead Man.   

Askari experienced many of the growing pains as any other young Blackman searching to find himself, and upon finding Islam as taught by Ansar El Muhammad, He sought to be restored and reestablished on his righteous square.  RBG released a five song maxi single in 1989, which influenced Askari to Later write the Album, Ward of The State, which boost him into neighborhood stardom.  The neighborhood [72nd and Lacey] was somewhat effected, yet nothing near the ridiculous relation given by Marvin X.  Many young African American males fascinated with the hip hop phenomenon, will conform to whatever will give them access to stardom.  In addition many young black people naturally gravitate to Islam as it frees them from the deceptive false religions that evolved out of the Nicean Council.  

Askari X espouses a mixture of ideologies, one being that of a revolutionary, who uses carnal weapons and guns to obtain freedom, along the lines of the Black Panthers and the Afrikan Peoples Socialist Party.  The other being that of s/c Black Islam [Teachings of thee Nation of Islam] as taught by Ansar El Muhammad, Thee Select One, thee ALLAH Master J, which is foundated on the teachings of Thee Messenger, Thee Glorious  Most Honorable Elijah Muhammad, which strictly forbids the use of or even possession of guns or carnal weapons of any sort.  Askari Also mixes in various levels glorifying the Thug culture, slang, even drug use at times, all with an intent of capturing the imagination of African American youth with audio imagery similar to the conditions they grow up in.  As any movie script writer, director, or producer, He [AskariX] without double standard could be innocent of any negative influence his songs may have on those who listen to his songs.

In addition, those who hear his songs may adopt some of his slogans, and even begin loosely referring to themselves by the name he promotes in the songs [Ansar or RBG].  Does this mean they are Official Members? 

Of course this question relies heavily on the fact, of whether or not there is any such thing as an “Official Membership Organization.”  Once an Official membership Organization is Established, a clear distinction can be easily made.  Marvin X mentions the Founder of Ansar El Muhammad, yet mentions nothing of the fact that many students learned direct from the founder at a home in Richmond [which is considered the Holy City by Thee True Ansar.  The neighborhoods around, 72nd and Lacey are not by any stretch of the imagination an Ansar Stronghold.  Very few if any in or around that neighborhood know anything about Ansar El Muhammad, other than the name itself and the greeting “Sajada Lahu.” 

A true Scholar, or good journalist, especially one who cares for black people would never, write such slanderous things about a group trying to help our struggling communities, and would never make such potentially deadly false associations in the weeks and aftermath of so many police killings. 

A True scholar researches before rushing to try to catch the next trend of Popularity.  

As with any Religious Ideology, there are those falsely claiming the faith, there are others who are purposely placed saboteurs, while others are innocently confused, then there are those sincere yet snared by societal addictions, yet with any good calling there are those who have achieved degrees of success in being restored to righteousness.  You go tell that fox I do miracles today and tomorrow I am perfected, as Jesus stated, A friend of Politicians and sinners, yet wisdom is justified by the children.  

Thee True Ansar El Muhammad students of Ansar El Muhammad Thee Select One Thee Allah Master J, were blessed to Established J’s Temple of Islam as a bona fied religious non profit organization in 2005, after serving our people since 1966 following the instruction of Thee Holy Spirit of Truth Ansar El Muhammad Thee Select One Thee Allah Master J. 

To make a clear distinction between anyone who claim the name and are yet involved in the societal influence of crime etc.  For anyone who seek clarification of our teachings, or would like to receive more information about our history please contact J’s Temple of Islam at 510-238-2883.  You can also write us for an invitation to J’s Temple of Islam at P.O. Box 3406, Oakland, CA 94609 

Yours Truly Ansar El Muhammad [True Founder of RBG]

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