Monday, October 20th, 2014
Mostly True
Chain email
Barack Obama's church gave a lifetime achievement award to Louis Farrakhan.

Chain email on Friday, January 18th, 2008 in

Related magazine, not church, gave award

An attack e-mail says the church Barack Obama attends, Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago, gave a lifetime award to Louis Farrakhan. Did it?

It may be a small distinction, but the award Farrakhan received came from a magazine connected to the church, not the church itself.

Trumpet Newsmagazine was founded by the church's senior pastor, the Rev. Jeremiah A. Wright Jr., as a church newsletter. Now it's a nationally distributed lifestyle magazine aimed at socially conscious African-Americans. The magazine gave Farrakhan its Lifetime Achievement "Dr. Jeremiah A. Wright, Jr. Trumpeter" Award for those who work to "save the lives of Africans on the continent and in the Diaspora."

The magazine interviewed Farrakhan and quoted Wright in the introduction. Here is the entirety of Wright's remarks on Farrakhan:

"When Minister Farrakhan speaks, Black America listens," Wright said. "Everybody may not agree with him, but they listen…His depth on analysis when it comes to the racial ills of this nation is astounding and eye opening. He brings a perspective that is helpful and honest.

"Minister Farrakhan will be remembered as one of the 20th and 21st century giants of the African- American religious experience," Wright said. "His integrity and honesty have secured him a place in history as one of the nation's most powerful critics. His love for Africa and African-American people has made him an unforgettable force, a catalyst for change and a religious leader who is sincere about his faith and his purpose."

It's worth noting that Wright appears to be applauding Farrakhan for his message of black empowerment, a philosophy Wright espouses as well. But the two men have different religions: Farrakhan is a Muslim and Wright is a Christian.

Obama said he did not agree with the award; for more on that, see a related statement here .

The magazine award became a campaign issue when Washington Post columnist Richard Cohen wrote about the award. To most Americans, Cohen wrote, Farrakhan is racist with a history of making anti-Semitic remarks.

Though the church didn't give the award, the magazine was founded by the church's senior pastor and is closely related. For that reason, we find the statement Mostly True.