12 May 2011
- Written by Tri-State Defender Newsroom
NNPA News Service
Racial threats were hurled at one of the Washington D.C. district’s most prestigious black churches after a visit from President Barack Obama and The First Family on Easter Sunday.
Shiloh Baptist Church, in northwest Washington, became the target of criticism after a member of the FOX Nation, a national organization of white conservatives linked statements made by the church’s pastor on another occasion to Obama’s visit.
“We received over 100 calls, from across the U.S., that were extremely nasty, disrespectful and challenging,” said Shiloh Pastor Wallace Charles Smith. “Some were so outrageous and vulgar until we had to hang up.”
Shiloh also received faxes from a group called (Defecating on Obama) that depicted the president as an ape. The faxes labeled the church congregation as the “Obama Ass Sniffing Chimps of Shiloh Baptist.”
One fax kept referring to Obama and the congregation using the “N” word and called for their deaths.
“The calls seemingly came from people who were opposed to Obama’s policies and presidency, in general,” said Smith. “They questioned whether our church was really Christian and claimed that I was racist.”
The matter has been turned over to the U.S. Secret Service, which provides protection for the president and his family. Under federal law a threat against the president is a felony.
In January 2010, pastor Smith gave a speech at Eastern University in Pennsylvania. In the sermon he said that people with the mentality of the Ku Klux Klan wear pinstriped suits and might be talk show hosts on FOX-TV. This angered members of the FOX Nation when it was brought to their attention by talk show host Sean Hannity, well known for his outspoken remarks against Obama.
Hannity had several heated shows following the Obama Shiloh visit, stirring controversy that some observers link to the onslaught of backlash against the Shiloh minister.
Several calls and emails were sent to FOX-TV for response. No response had been received by press time.
(Special to the NNPA from the AFRO-American newspapers)