Four clergymen seeking change in New York City's Harlem community have begun a fight with civil rights leader and minister Al Sharpton over what they perceive is his failure to focus on local issues.
In response, the four pastors started a new coalition, Speak Out Say It Loud, aimed at creating a unified African-American power base with reach across New York City, and have invited more than 100 churches to remove Sharpton from his political pulpit.
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Mount Neboh Baptist Church pastor Johnnie Green, whose church headquarters the coalition, said Sharpton has ignored black issues at home while pursuing fame on the national stage.
"While (Sharpton) is jet-setting around the country, people are going to our churches saying they don't have money to eat," Green told the New York Daily News
. "People need somebody to fight for them."
The group has scheduled a rally for Oct. 24 to express their views.
"We are the church and our voice shall be heard to the benefit of our community," the coalition stated on its Facebook event page
. "Join more than 100 pastors and congregations assembling at the Mount Neboh Baptist Church to Speak Out about the deplorable conditions of our community and the injustice against our people. The church is still the church and with God we have miraculous power."
The ministers claim that Sharpton is more concerned with promoting his new book, "The Rejected Stone," and his MSNBC program.
"Sharpton isn't a community organizer. He's a personality," Raymond Blanchette, head bishop of the United Churches for Kingdom Building, told the Daily News.
Sharpton has been a lightning rod for controversy long before he became the host of MSNBC's nightly talk show "PoliticsNation."
He doesn't believe his position should be tested.
"I challenge anyone to match what we do every day, all day," Sharpton told the Daily News. "We need to attack the issues, not each other. If you want to be the big guy, be the big guy, be that. Don't act like I'm not doing anything local. I am. I run a civil rights organization. They're not going to do what I do. ... I don't run a church organization."
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