*The Rev. Jeremiah Wright is back in the headlines. In his sermon Sunday at New Millennium Church in Little Rock, President Barack Obama’s controversial former pastor accused people who wrongly believe Obama is Muslim.
Wright was defending the church’s pastor, former state Court of Appeals Judge Wendell Griffen, for speaking out against the Iraq War when he began comparing Griffen’s opponents to those who incorrectly think Obama is Muslim.
The president, whose full name is Barack Hussein Obama, is Christian.
“Go after the military mindset … and the enemy will come after you with everything,” Wright told the packed church.
He added: “He will surround you with sycophants who will criticize you and ostracize you and put you beyond the pale of hope and say ‘you ain’t really a Baptist’ and say ‘the president ain’t really a Christian, he’s a Muslim. There ain’t no American Christian with a name like Barack Hussein.’”
As previously reported, a poll released this month found that nearly one in five people, or 18 percent, said they thought Obama was Muslim, up from the 11 percent in March 2009. The proportion who correctly said he was Christian was 34 percent, down from 48 percent in March of last year.
The poll, conducted by the nonpartisan Pew Research Center and its affiliated Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life, surveyed 3,003 people.
Griffen lost a re-election bid for the Arkansas Court of Appeals in 2008, after high profile battles with a state judicial panel over the rights of judges to speak out on political issues. Griffen was elected in May to a judicial post in Pulaski County, the state’s most populous county that includes Little Rock.
Griffen said he invited Wright to speak at his church as part of a monthlong focus on the relationship between faith and the community.