news-pastors080518

President Donald Trump, center, reacts as Alveda King with Alveda King Ministries, second from right, speaks during a meeting with several visiting pastors at the White House in Washington, D.C. on Wednesday. — AP PHOTO/ANDREW HARNIK

Some local clergy leaders are critical of inner-city pastors who recently lauded President Donald Trump during a recent White House round table that focused on efforts to reform the prison system.

Trump told the group, which included pastors and bishops from across the country, that his administration has been making progress on efforts to make it easier for prisoners to re-enter society and find work. Some of the pastors who attended the meeting on Wednesday are facing backlash from congregants.

Among those gathered on Wednesday was the Rev. Darrell Scott, a black Ohio pastor who was an early supporter of Trump’s campaign.

“This is probably the most pro-active administration regarding urban America and the faith-based community in my lifetime,” Scott told the group, adding, “This is probably going be ... the most pro-Black president that we’ve had in our lifetime.”

He compared Trump to his predecessor, Barack Obama, the nation’s first African-American president, and said, “This president actually wants to prove something to our community, our faith-based community and our ethnic community.”

“The last president didn’t feel like he had to,” he added, saying of Obama: “He got a pass.”

However, some Philadelphia-based pastors don’t agree with his statement that Trump is pro-Black.

In an interview with The Tribune, the Rev. Greg Holston, the executive director of the interfaith group Philadelphians Organized to Witness Empower and Rebuild (POWER) said he was very “flabbergasted” by Scott’s comment.

He said early on it became clear that the president allowed people who have white nationalistic views to have a presence in the White House.

“To call this president the most pro-black president when you allow people with these kinds of very violent, hatred-filled ideals and thinking into the White House, I’m flabbergasted that you would even say that or even think that,” Holston said.

“I point out to everybody that there is a difference between a white supremacy and white nationalism. White supremacy is simply the idea that the favored position in this country should be for white people, but a white nationalist favors exclusive right of being in this nation for white people. They don’t want people of color.”

He cited various policies instituted under the Trump administration that are adversely affecting people of color including the ban on people from certain predominately Muslim countries, the practice of separating immigrant families, promoting the use of stop and frisk by the police, Attorney General Jeff Session’s impact on civil rights and proposed cuts to Medicaid funding.

“It is just an outrage that anybody Black would say he is the most pro-Black president,” Holston added.

“There is no way that this president can be called pro-Black or pro people or color in any shape, form or imagination.”

The Rev. Kevin Johnson, pastor of Dare to Imagine Church, agrees the president should not be regarded as pro-Black.

“President Trump is probably the one who is doing the most to hurt, devastate the Black community,” said Johnson.

“If you look at what Jeff Sessions is doing to civil rights and also to criminal justice reform, it’s not moving the Black community forward, but backwards.”

Johnson said the meeting between Trump and the inner-city pastors benefited the president and hurt the Black church.

“Preachers were there are pawns, not even knowing how to play the chess that Donald Trump is playing,” Johnson said. “It was buffoonery in the fullest sense and it did not help the Black church, but it just further emphasized the lack of the prophetic voice in the Black community.”

During his campaign, Trump accused Democrats of doing too little to help urban communities and often asked African-Americans what they had to lose by voting for him.

The White House has been focusing its criminal justice reform efforts on improving re-entry, rehabilitation and workforce training programs, instead of sentencing reform, which many advocates argue would make a bigger difference.

— The Associated Press contributed to this report

ajones@phillytrib.com (215) 893-5747

(22) comments

Guest

Buffoonery of the highest magnitude. These so-called Christian pastors should be ashamed ... and cast into the wilderness by their congregants. Trump will be remembered by history as an amoral, racist demagogue.

Guest

How does stopping certain people from Muslim
Countries with high terrorism hurt black people?
2000 families separated so Trump Executive Order
But Hispanic not black
Medicaid cuts over 10 years to affect sanctuary
Cities mainly
How does that hurt black people when Fraud is rampant?

Thane a buffoon to know buffoonery?

Guest

I know you're not that stupid, you're spouting the usual precursor for the coming racist rhetoric. We'll just act like all of his appointments are good, upstanding, moral, non-racist people, from the judges to the cabinet. Wait, maybe you are stupid, my bad.

Guesty

Let us give some latitude to those like Brother Reverend Gray and others who was there to help others renter and prison reform. Someone need to be at the king’s table all the Time so let’s think strategically rather than emotionally.

Guest

What did Obama do for OUR people during his eight year reign? At least Trump is trying something new. What do we have to lose? 52nd Street looks worst than ever!

Guest

U are a bigoted troll. A white mess pretending to be black. Kiss my a$$

Guest

U are a bigoted troll. A white mess pretending to be black. Kiss my a$$

Guest

Black folks need to get along better with each other.

Sandra Fields

What has President Obama done for us? Plenty. 1. Ended the 2008 Recession; 2. Modernized Auto Industry; 3. He withdrew troops from Iraq in 2011. He reduced the U.S. nuclear warhead stockpile by 10 percent. 4. Reformed Health Care; 5. Regulated the Big Banks; 6. Eliminated bin Laden Threat and Withdrew Troops from Iraq and Afghanistan Wars; 7. Raised Fuel Efficiency Standards;.
All of these things are things Trump and his administration are trying to or have reversed/overturn.

Sara T

The MEN of GOD went to White House and sat at the table with the DEVIL and their word became VOID. How chilling and how disappointing!! Still trying to pull the knife out of my back.

Guest-Waverly

Some things we shld be held accountable for and that would be keeping our neighborhoods clean. We can do a better job keeping communityclean. Pl stop throwing trash in the streets on the sidewalks. No business is going to invest if the area looks like a dump. We know better so we should do better

Guest

To the trumpets that think he is a better President than Obama--I guess that means that whatever way republicans cheat is alright with you. So
gerrymandering makes it hard for people to vote. I thought there was an amendment about the RIGHT to vote for all citizens. By your statement you are as treacherous as those in office. As for President Obama and his “do nothing for the people” tenure in office, I have said before and you guys just don't get it!! This is a whole lot of do nothing and it is just a FEW of his accomplishments!!

The day Obama took office, the Dow closed at 7,949 points. Eight years later, the Dow had almost tripled, closing at 21,414.
General Motors and Chrysler were on the brink of bankruptcy, with Ford not far behind, and their failure, along with their supply chains, would have meant the loss of millions of jobs. Obama pushed through a controversial, $8o billion bailout to save the car industry. The U.S. car industry survived, started making money again, and the entire $80 billion was paid back, with interest.
While we remain vulnerable to lone-wolf attacks, no foreign terrorist organization has successfully executed a mass attack here since 9/11.
Obama ordered the raid that killed Osama Bin Laden.
He drew down the number of troops from 180,000 in Iraq and Afghanistan to just 15,000, and increased funding for the Department of Veterans Affairs.
He launched a program called Opening Doors which, since 2010, has led to a 47 percent decline in the number of homeless veterans.
He set a record 73 straight months of private-sector job growth.
Due to Obama’s regulatory policies, greenhouse gas emissions decreased by 12%, production of renewable energy more than doubled, and our dependence on foreign oil was cut in half.
He signed The Lilly Ledbetter Act, making it easier for women to sue employers for unequal pay.
His Omnibus Public Lands Management Act designated more than 2 million acres as wilderness, creating thousands of miles of trails and protecting over 1,000 miles of rivers.
He reduced the federal deficit from 9.8 percent of GDP in 2009 to 3.2 percent in 2016.
For all the inadequacies of the Affordable Care Act, we seem to have forgotten that, before the ACA, you could be denied coverage for a pre-existing condition and kids could not stay on their parents’ policies up to age 26.
Obama approved a $14.5 billion system to rebuild the levees in New Orleans.
All this, even as our own Mitch McConnell famously asserted that his singular mission would be to block anything President Obama tried to do.
While Obama failed on his campaign pledge to close the prison at Guantanamo Bay, that prison’s population decreased from 242 to around 50.
He expanded funding for embryonic stem cell research, supporting groundbreaking advancement in areas like spinal injury treatment and cancer.
Credit card companies can no longer charge hidden fees or raise interest rates without advance notice.
Most years, Obama threw a 4th of July party for military families. He held babies, played games with children, served barbecue.
Welfare spending is down: for every 100 poor families, just 24 receive cash assistance, compared with 64 in 1996.
Obama comforted families and communities following more than a dozen mass shootings. After Sandy Hook, he said, “The majority of those who died today were children, beautiful little kids between the ages of 5 and 10 years old.”
Yet, he never took away anyone’s guns.
He was the first president since Eisenhower to serve two terms without personal or political scandal.
He was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.

AMagaGuy

He gave me a tax penalty I didn't deserve for trying to get "affordable health care" that I was refused.

Guest

All 'Pastors' and 'Bishops' are not the same. Here's a test: during an interview a Reporter should ask the person's: educational level *was it from an accredited college?" What's the last book read? What seminary school? I wonder if the pro-Trump crowd are the ones who were already jealous of President Obama's life, intact family, professionally trained wife, Hillary supporters (from Obama vs Clinton) and are happier with a few select modern conveniences. Sad....

#Black&loviME

I read most of the comments on here and some are laughable.We need to stop being fake and get up off our black behinds stop killing people that look like us. If we can ever speak to each other without jealousy gather our coins up a, and build up our poor and property stricken communities with bad road, broken down homes and bullet holes \in mail box so that our little NAPPY headed kids can have a future. (Yeah I said NAPPY).

Those pastors were no different than an ordinary dude on the corner selling heroin. They were selling you dreams where are some of these preachers when your baby crying at night and you have no food? Some of us out here robbing-stealing from each other. The jails are over crowded with Pookie and RARE, and when we get a president like this one in WH with you all not voting , but packing up WaltMart on the 1st with your food stamps packing up 4 carts then we wananna act brand new. Black folks need to get Up- stand up and VOTE. Stop yapping about how the MAN have done you injustice, brush your teeth- comb your hair. Pull up your pants so we don’t have to look at your dirty draws. Put your money back in the community and not in the hands of Ms. CHIN nail salon and buying 32 inches wigs hanging pass your backside. You know darn well your hair even with magic portion it won’t grow that long. Apple $700 phone. Gucci IP phones makling them a billioneers when your mama ain’t got no food in the fridge. Not sure if our people will ever see the light… “Lets see how many of yous will stand in line come November.

Guestonemadblackmomma

Amen and amen again. All is not negative in the black coommunity. There are a lot of married two parents working black households. All of our children are not gangbangers. But you will never see the positive side of black life in most media outlets. Our problems did not begin with Trump and they won t end with Trump. When will we as a people take responsibility for our actions and lives? Maybe we re always viewed in a negative light because of self hatred for our own race, how else can you explain the senseless violence in our inner cities. We are so much better than this. So much more has to be done by us for us to save a whole generation. Parents do you know where your kids are???????

AMagaGuy

“President Trump is probably the one who is doing the most to hurt, devastate the Black community,” said Johnson. Really? Check out the current poverty rate for Philly. It's over 25%. That didn't happen under Trump's watch and it didn't improve under Obama's either. This is a Democratic controlled city. Figure out who deserves credit for that outrageous statistic of mostly Black and Brown people living at and below the poverty line.

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Guest

These preachers who support TRUMP are traitors to their race. Obama was the greatest president we will ever see. HE did all he could with a REPUBLICAN Congress.I can't wait for DEMOCRATS to take over the House and start impeachment proceedings against Trump. Now we are a hillbilly nation dominated by poor rural white folks filled with hated against all people not like themselves

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