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Friday, November 28th, 2014

Rev. Joseph Lowery Under Fire for Joking that White People Going to Hell – Video

Civil rights icon Rev. Joseph Lowery is under fire for saying at a Georgia get-out-the-vote event that all white people are going to hell—a comment that Lowery later said he meant as a joke, according to a report on the Daily Caller.

With a headline that blared “Obama’s inauguration reverend: All whites are going to hell,” Lowery, who just turned 91 three weeks ago, is being accused of making comments that shocked some of the event attendees. Because Lowery, former president and founder of the SCLC with Dr. Martin Luther King, gave the benediction at President Obama’s 2009 inauguration, the comments are being linked to Obama.

According to the report in the Macon County Reporter newspaper, Lowery also told the audience at the St. James Baptist Church in Forsyth, Ga., “I don’t know what kind of a n—– wouldn’t vote with a black man running.”

But Lowery later said he didn’t remember making that comment.

Lowery told the audience of up to 300 African Americans “that when he was a young militant, he used to say all white folks were going to hell. Then he mellowed and just said most of them were. Now, he said, he is back to where he was,” according to  Reporter account.

“It was a joke” told via the perspective of a young militant, Lowery told The Daily Caller. “When I said it, I said it was a joke, I identified it as a joke,” he said.

Helen Butler, the executive director of Lowery’s Georgia-based Coalition for the People’s Agenda, explained that “He was saying [that] based on all of the hatred that’s going on” towards President Barack Obama.

“He just felt that he should feel the way he used to feel,” Butler said.

“Of course he doesn’t believe that all whites should go to hell,” she added. “That’s not him — he’s a very caring person.”

“He was trying to get people motivated to ensure they go and vote…. [and] he did make the point that there is a lot of hatred in this country,” she said.

But Forsyth Mayor John Howard, who is African American, said he was “pretty shocked” by Lowery’s comments. Howard “said if a speaker had made the same comments about black people, he would have gotten up and left… He said the Bible gives set instructions on how to go to heaven and it doesn’t say anything about skin color … [and] he said he looked at the face of his pastor, the Rev. Antonio Proctor, and could tell he was real shocked too,” according to the Macon County Reporter account.“Howard said he and Proctor talked about putting a video of the event on Forsyth Cable TV but decided after [Lowery’s] comments that it wasn’t a good idea,” the article said.

Lowery, who was given the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2009 by President Obama and who has a major thoroughfare in Atlanta named after him, also got some flack for his benediction at Obama’s inauguration. Lowery ended with an oft-used expression among African Americans that many whites found offensive.
“Lord, in the memory of all the saints who from their labors rest, and in the joy of a new beginning, we ask you to help us work for that day when black will not be asked to get [in] back, when brown can stick around, when yellow will be mellow, when the red man can get ahead, man; and when white will embrace what is right. Let all those who do justice and love mercy say Amen! Say Amen! And Amen!”

About Nick Chiles

Nick Chiles, Editor-in-Chief of AtlantaBlackStar, is a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and New York Times bestselling author. He has written or co-written 13 books and won over a dozen major journalism awards during a journalism career that brought him to the Dallas Morning News, the Star-Ledger of New Jersey and New York Newsday, in addition to serving as Editor-in-Chief of Odyssey Couleur travel magazine.

Comments

  1. Lance Watson says:

    Are you kidding me, a joke, sick sense of humor sir

  2. When free thinking liberated Americans of all colors begin not to laugh at racism couched in the cowards excuse as a "joke", we will begin to know God, reach our potential and begin to leave our children a better world. We should strive for nothing less. Apology is in order from Mr. Lowery.

    • That joke is hilarious – white people going to hell is funny, funny stuff. (Note hint of sarcasm.)

    • It appears Obama surrounds himself with peace loving Reverends. Jeremiah Wright and this guy prove racism is alive and well but mainly practiced by black ministers. Our president is an absolute joke and it would be comical if he wasn't so dangerous to America. Mitt 2012

    • Mark Randolph Watters says:

      From the article:

      'Helen Butler, the executive director of Lowery’s Georgia-based Coalition for the People’s Agenda, explained that “He was saying [that] based on all of the hatred that’s going on” towards President Barack Obama.'

      To liberals, opposing Obama's policies and ideology equals "hatred", which equals racism. It's okay for liberals to slam to the turf anything George Bush, but if conservatives (which equals 'fat, ignorant white people' to liberals) speak against Obama, they're "going to hell."

      Lowery may backpedal and claim it's a joke, but everyone knows there's truth in kidding. Humor is based in truth, and no doubt Lowery — and by association, Obama — believes on some real level that white people belong in hell.

    • Steve Bjorkman says:

      I can shake my head and ignore a racist comment from a man in his 90's…but somehow I doubt the media would be so "tolerant" if, say, Billy Graham made an equally racist statement. You are right…apology in order, then we move on. Did Obama distance himself from the remark? Just wondering.

    • This is not about race and hatred! This is about someone failing in their position! It just happens to be the top position for this country! I don't care what shade your skin is. I would vote for Allen Keyes right now. If he was the nominee.

    • Keep in mind that Black Liberation Theology purports that essentially all whites are racists. What do you expect? It's one of the most deviant forms of religion because the media actually considers it "Christian." Even though it's goal is to free blacks from supposed white suppression and paints Christ as a liberator of the poor, not to salvation, but to wealth.

    • Dude is 91 years old and he's Black, I can imagine the levels of racism that he's seen in his life. My dad lost three close relatives to Anglo-Saxon, well Acadian violence because they refused to emasculated. The fact that their killers were well known in the area, but never brought to justice, filled my dad with a sense of hate that he took with him to the grave. Mike, if anyone is a joke, it's all the motherfuckers who will vote for a dude who is a serial liar, who only has the interest of the sons of bitches who bought his ass at heart. But you're from Rome, Georgia and I wouldn't expect you to vote of our your racial group

  3. Anonymous says:

    Trevon is in hell..

  4. “He was trying to get people motivated to ensure they go and vote…. [and] he did make the point that there is a lot of hatred in this country,” she said. Helen Butler, the executive director of Lowery’s Georgia-based Coalition for the People’s Agenda.
    Why is it okay to say such hateful things about the "white" people, but God forbid if this was said about "black" people. Such double standards. Reverend Lowery should be ashamed of himself. Reverend Wright and now this guy? Who is spreading the hate here.

  5. Yeah, real funny Rev. The simple fact is the so-called Civil Rights Movement was never about equal rights. It was about payback and still is. And, maybe some payback is due. In that case why don't we have some anti-poverty programs, food support, rent support, educational support including race based admissions, race based hiring, race based promotions, direct cash payments and also a complete embargo on any words or terms offensive to American blacks while they can say whatever they want including vicious threats against even white babies? Surely if we do THAT for forty or fifty years everything will be just fine. Let's make that happen.

    • Oh no! White people are totally discriminated against. /sarcasm

      I think you should take your own advice, and stop pretending to be discriminated against.

    • Hmm. I didn't say I was discriminated against. Just that you and yours are enjoy favorable treatment, which you know is a fact.

    • Am I hallucinating? Does this not exist?

    • Yes you are hallucinating. I pay taxes just like you, and anything I own, I've earned. I have never taken any government assistance, and my parents have never taken any government assistance. Unless there is a 'blacks' only tax credit that I haven't heard of, we probably pay the same tax rate. Anti-poverty programs are just that, anti-poverty programs. There is a larger percentage black people who are in poverty then there are white people in poverty, therefore more black people are recipients of aid. If you're poor and of any race, you get the same access to those "poverty programs" despite your race.

    • And so-called Affirmative Action?

    • In most states, race based admissions for public universities are illegal just like in California Proposition 209. Private universities and companies are exempt from that. If it is private, why should we be concerned who gets it. It's not our money. We should only be concerned if our tax money is being dispersed as such, and it is not. If it was, I'd be totally against it.

    • If it were about payback then who many southern whites got lynched? Fucking none. As for that favorable treatment, you've been standing too close to the til that's out behind your double wide. I don't know where you get your information, but you need to stop watching Rupert's bullshit network and stop listening to right wing konservative talk. They're fucking your brain up

  6. Clowns to the left of me jokers to the right…..what can you say?

  7. Bobbie Hand says:

    Vowed to never patronize the Montana Grill again the day he said that!

  8. Anonymous says:

    Shameful. If he really feels that way about us white Americans, then a true man of God would be working to reach out to his fellow man with the Gospel of Christ, but he doesn't seem to be concerned about that…he seems to just be concerned with hating white folks. I mean, that's what this is, hate. To blanket an entire group of people as hell bound based only on their race, without knowing anything of their personal relationship with God isn't even Biblical. Shameful, shameful, shameful. I hope he doesn't think more highly of himself than the worst of the KKK lynchers because his heart is no better.

    If someone says, "I love God," and hates his brother, he is a liar; for.
    the one who does not love his brother whom he has seen, cannot love God.
    whom he has not seen. 1 John 4:20.

  9. Anonymous says:

    I tell you what Mr. Lowery, If I as a White man goes to Hell, I promise to save your seat if I get there first!

  10. all blacks are going to hang, just a joke , get over it.

  11. this was no joke…and he knows it….he said he believed the same thing in his young militant days…which would that be….and they think white people are racist.

  12. Adam Ashbaugh says:

    My favorite part is that the video is literally in front of all your faces, and you're still prattling on with no context. You connect this to Obama, claiming Obama is a racist, even though:
    1) This guy is calling Obama corrupt.
    2) Obama isn't even there.
    3) The guy's 91!
    But hey, I guess all there is to see is what you want to see, right?

  13. it amazing me how Pastors, Ministers, and Reverends can say they are of the christian faith when they are not only not teaching God's word- they have no idea what the Holy Spirit is or speak in tougues–they don't seem to understand the Concept of forgiveness or do not judge —as this is stated all white will go to hell well that must mean Obama is going to hell as he is white as well…….hummmm Obama your regilious leader is damming you to hell….interesting.

  14. Gail Everett says:

    It really bothers me that a man of God no matter his color, makes jokes like this, and thinks it can be excused. We as people of this country will not always agree on policies of this or that president. It is our right to vote they way we want, not based on the color of a person's skin. For the record I am white, and would have voted for Herman Cain had he continued in the race. It is not about color, but the actions and leadership the person exempilfies. Just because someone is the same color as you does not make them a better canidate or person to be a leader. I believe Rev. Lowery is promoting the idea of racism in this country by making these kinds of comments, and it really makes me sad, to think of the wonderful work he did with Martin Luther King, and now we has come to this. Even in jokes it shows our underlying feelings.

  15. I don't have a problem with what he said, taking into konsideration some of the shit that's said on a daily basis on right wing radio talk shows. What upsets me is when the Anglo-Saxon does it, he's bumping his first amendment gums, when "Blacks" do it, then its a problem.

    • Julian Hung says:

      Actually, nobody here has advocated using government force to silence him (contrary to what some might think, the First Amendment does not render one free from criticism, even if it's misplaced). And you're an idiot if you claim that no whites have gotten in trouble with the populace and media for being associated with racism (the conservative publication National Review has kicked out a number of its writers over the years for being affiliated with racism).

      And before you accuse me of being an "Anglo-Saxon tea-bagger", I'm a Taiwanese-American who's voting Obama for the second time.

  16. David Roland Strong says:

    Your article stated, abt Reverend Lowery's benediction, "Lowery ended with an oft-used expression among African Americans that many whites found offensive." Any self-described white peeople who found Reverend Lowery's benediction offensive are just plain out of luck. I do not care if that benediction offended them and pray that they will find happiness, if not in this life then in the next one.

  17. Got a letter from Ted Montana corp. that directed me to ted's website where after a minute I gave up looking for apology. Told them only thing worse than apology was a wild goose chase.

  18. It was Ted Turner talking. There's just gonna be random acts of stupid.

  19. One more disclaimer: While I left long ago, I'm proud to be from Atlanta and these two men (along w/ the Housewives of AtL. reprobates) make it hard to dispel the white Southern stereotype. Pisses me off and insults my Fathers memory and my family heritage.

  20. Lowery – Obama: Leading the fight against racism.

  21. So, what did Reverend Wright say that wasn't true?

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